Maura Whalen & Mike Rosenberger off-piste in Chamonix • February 11 - 16, 2011

Maura and Mike, in celebration of Mike's "significant" birthday, took a skiing vacation in the Alps. They joined Kathy and Mark for 4 days, mostly in Chamonix, but also venturing as far as Zermatt and Cervinia.

With no new snow for some weeks, we had decidedly firm conditions, but at least the skies were blue.

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Maura and Mike posing in front of Mont Blanc.


This sign at the top of the Grands Montets ski lift pretty well describes the conditions du jour. But the snow was still fun skiing, offering just enough chalkiness to give a good edge.


Atypically, the Grands Montets lift broke down while we were in it. They limped us back down to the lower station. Those of you who are clever would have noticed that the previous photo was from the top of the lift. Well, after a few minutes of waiting, it was indeed repaired, and we continued with "Plan A".


Part way down from the top of the Grands Montets, we found a good spot for this photo shoot. The Aiguille d'Argentiere behind.


Maura enjoys skiing along the edge of the Argentiere icefall.


A well-deserved beer at the end of the day. The pisteurs eventually had to shoo us off the terrace in order to close the ski area down for the day.


The following day, we skied the Vallee Blanche under beautiful clear skies.


Celebrating the "removal of the rope" after the descent of the arete.


Sweeping vistas, wide open crevasses and fast, firm snow.


Mike digs in on the Petit Envers route.


Descending down to the Requin hut for a bite to eat.


Almost to the hut. We entered this bowl right next to the ice on the snow slope just above Mike's head.


And the final few turns to the hut, and lunch.


From the Requin hut, a quick traverse, and a bit more fall-line skiing brought us to the base of the impressive Geant Icefall.


How sweet it is.


Maura and Kathy at the exit of the glacier at Montenvers.


On our third day, we skied the Courmayeur area. Here we are riding the Arp lift to the top, enjoying a quick bite to eat.


We made a couple runs down the steep gullies that lead into Val Veni. The Miage Glacier below.


At the base of the Zerotta lift, after a glass of wine (or two).


Mike and Mark made one more run down the Val Veni side


And finally, another excuse for a beer.


The sun sinks low in the west as we again close down the bar, and get chased off the hill by the ski patrol.

With poor weather the following day, we opted to stay indoors. However, with a bit of clearing forecast we decided to go to Zermatt for a day on the pistes there. Unfortunately we have no photos from that adventure. Though the sun only shown briefly, we did find a bit of fresh snow from the storm.