"Val Maira Italy" in Chamonix. • February 8-12, 2016

This year our first ski tour was to have been in the lovely Val Maira of Italy. As the time grew closer, and snowstorms continually pounded Chamonix and environs, we grew increasingly despondent as we realized none of these storms was reaching Val Maira, tucked in its little rainshadow vis-a-vis the prevailing wind direction of all of these storms. When the time grew too close to hold out hope for any kind of skiing conditions, we offered the group an alternative venue, Chamonix! Where there was plenty of snow, and more on the way.

Joining us were (from left to right) Tim Rosenberg, Elizabeth Hampson, Mark Sauer and Scott Kingland.


Other Trips with Scott and Elizabeth

Ortler - March 2013
Albula - March 2015

Return to all recent trips


Our first day we attempted to do one of our favorite day tours, the Crochues-Bérard traverse in the Aiguilles Rouges.


However, strong winds, a small but growing and fragile wind slab, and a near encounter with the latter released from above by another party, made us change our plan. We descended a bit and headed up to Lac Blanc and the Col des Dards. Wind, clouds and snow alternating as we climbed back up.


The wind was really very strong, and the snow quite hammered. We did our best to ski but it was battle conditions!


Our day 2 being forecast to be a big dump, and all the lifts pretty much shut down in Chamonix, we headed to Punta Croce over in Italy for some tree skiing. Beautiful skinning up through the woods in the fluffly snowstorm.


And some lovely snow on the descent! Visibility didn't matter too much as teh snow was really very good.


On day 3 the weather cooperated to get up high, so we opted for the Vallée Blanche. A bit of temptation on our way to the lift.


Kathy and Mark S. as we wait for our benne.


The arête in fine form, crowded but not out of control, and the day looking promisingly sunny.


Looking back up the arête.


Some pretty nice snow!


Elizabeth liking it.


Mark too!


Oh, and Tim...


... And Scotty all get their portraits taken.


We skinned up toward Pointe Helbronner on a mission for more pow pow...


But the light got rather flat and another bout of weather closed in, so we headed back down while we could still see where we were going.


Heading out toward the Requin hut lower down.


And pausing for the views.


Elizabeth is ready!


Ice detail...


On our last day, we thought we had time before the next storm's arrival to get that pesky Crochues-Bérard thing done, but we were wrong.


After crossing the first col and descending far enough down the other side to determine that the snow was too deeply wind deposited for our tastes and not that stable, we beat a hasty retreat back along our tracks.


Back at the Col des Crochues, a genuine maelstrom has come up!


Oh what fun! After escaping to the safety and warmth ßof the slopeside cafe, a couple of the group stayed for a couple of laps in the trees while the rest of us headed back for a hot shower. An adventure, anyway! Thank you to all the crew for your good humor, flexibility and excellent ski skills and company!

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