Shredding in Chamonix

By Published On: February 25th, 20110 Comments

Shredding in Chamonix

JC (main buyer at The House) and I (web sales stuff) decided to go back to Chamonix to get a fix of good steep lines and some culture.  Below is a day by day recap with some photos and video at the end.

Day 1 – > 2 Planes, 3 Trains, and 1 Automobile

The day started out with some good signs.  I saw a bald eagle driving to the airport, my loaded 55lbs boardbag didn’t get weighed, and our flight to Paris was pretty much empty.  From Paris we had a quick flight to Geneva and from Geneva we took three trains to Chamonix.  The trains take a bit longer and cost more money than a bus but once you start climbing through the Alps the views are amazing…it’s like a roller coaster that just keeps climbing.  We got into our hotel and took a quick inventory of our gear.  All the gear was there plus a Dwyane Wade Jersey.   [Packing advice…don’t just throw a bunch of loose outerwear and base layers in your boardbag.  Customs agents open all boardbags and shuffle through your gear.  Stuff socks into your boots, gloves into your bindings, beanies and goggles into your helmet, and roll your layering up and tie the pieces together with shoes laces.] I poured out a little Branca Menta for my Wade lovin homie who’s missing his new jersey.  Then, we went out to dinner and then to The Pub (best place in Chamonix for a Pint and good conversation…if you go, say what up to Hodge and Brett).

Day 2-> Good Turns, Good Food, and Good Company

Forcing ourselves to stay up past 8:00, popping some Advil PM, and sleeping 11hrs got us on Euro time in one day.  We stopped off at a café, threw down some espresso and a pastry and made our way up to the Gondola.  Day one of riding was a perfect intro.  We had blue bird conditions and no crows.  We got our legs back, killed some groomers and took note of exposed rocks…knowing we were going to get some snow the next day.  At mid day we did a hike at the top of Flégère (L’Index lift 7,860ft) because we wanted some fast fresh lines and the slide risk was low.  We burned out half way from summit and dropped in.  There was about 6 inches of dust on crust but we had some fast lines.  That night we stopped off for some Après Ski drinks, dinner, and then went to The Pub to plot out our next day of riding.  Courmayeur (Italy) had a better base and seemed to be getting more snow.  Snow was in the forecast for the next day! Going to bed in Cham knowing it’s going to snow the next day is a bit like a little kid going to bed on Christmas Eve.

Day 3 -> “They’ll be dead people today”

We had been up a bit late the night before so day 3 started a bit slower.  I was trying to get motivated to get up when JC looked out the window and said “It’s puking outside”.  Hodge from The Pub picked us up at our place and we made our way to Italy.  As we made our way up to the Mont Blanc Tunnel (a 7 mile tunnel straight through the mountain) we were talking about the unstable snow pack and the new snow that had fallen.  Hodge said very matter of fact, “They’ll be dead people today”.   The Valley has been dubbed “the death-sport capital of the world” and claims approximately 300 lives a year.  That set the tone a little more serious especially knowing we were riding with locals that like to bite off some heavier lines.  The snow and terrain at Courmayeur was amazing.  We posted up for lunch at this little restaurant on the hill and went back out and road till close.

Night 3 -> The Thunder from Down Under

So we ended up back at the Pub having a rap session about the day and planning out the next day.  Meanwhile about 10 Australians show up and are in full on party mode.  We notice more and more of their shirts were coming off.  Then they started after every other dude in the bar.  First it was a couple older British guys with their wives.  The Aussies circled around them chanting, “Shirt Off, Shirt Off, Shirt Off…” until the guys took their shirts off.  They worked through the whole bar until every guy was bare chested…including the staff.  We had a laugh and a few pints but when the Aussies started dropping their pants and wangs were flying we decided to put our shirts back on and get the f#*k out of there.  Walking back from the Pub we decided we needed to decompress from the homo-erotic experience we just had (not that there’s anything wrong with that).   We stopped in at the Yak & Yeti where young good looking women were dancing and all the dudes had their clothes on.

Day 4 -> Slides, Crowds, & Clouds with a Silver Lining

We took a few lifts up to get to the top of Flégère.  As we’re sitting on the cat track strapping up a slide kicked off on the slope right above us and covered half the cat track.  It wasn’t anything major and no one got buried but seeing that first thing in the morning gets you all jacked up.  We had heard earlier that 50-100 people get buried on piste in the Chamonix area a year.

For some reason there was a grip of people on the hill and clouds were moving through all day.  At times you couldn’t see the chair in front of you on the way up the hill.  We took our time when it went white out, but around noon we found a pow stash and we pigged out.  The first go through we were a bit timid not knowing if we’d discover any rocks but then we murdered that section of the mountain.  We had to take two lifts and a Poma (like a t-bar) to get there but it was worth it to binge on some pow.

We ate at Napoleans in Chamonix and had some amazing wine and pizzas.  We headed back to The Pub to scheme and have some pints.

Day 5 -> Riding and Laughing our Asses Off

We were a little nicked up on day five so we took our time getting out.  Brett from The Pub came and picked us up, we picked up Hodge and went up to the mountain to do some more riding.  With some local help we were able to bite off some more fresh lines and push some snow around.  Hodge had booked us for Comedy night at The Jekyll in Chamonix.  The Jekyll is a rad bar and restaurant a little out of town center (south) but an easy walk and well worth it.  The opening act was an American named, Dave Fulton, and no joke I haven’t laughed that hard at a stand up show ever!  Apparently Mitch Hedburg used to open for Dave.

Day 6 -> Back home

We got up early and made our way back home.  Thankfully it was uneventful.

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