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Early season skiing in Chamoinx

I’ve been in Chamonix for about two and a half weeks now and if I’ve learn anything; it’s to give myself more time. About two days after I arrived it started dumping down and has continued to do so every few days. Being unused to all this, I wasn’t prepared for the amount of time you’d have to leave yourself for digging the car out of the snow, for driving anywhere, to find parking anywhere. All this has made everything a little more stressful, as I’m just not that organised. My first ski trip a few days after arrival was to Courmayeur- and with quite a bit of walking around to get to the lift, I was grateful of my new gadget– the Portaski.  I find it near impossible to carry skis without them sliding apart, and me almost knocking people out with them balanced on my shoulder. The Portaski allowed me to save some precious slope time and arm energy by carrying 70 per cent of the skis weight. The gadget has velcro straps to keep the skis together and a handle, enabling me to pull them along the road on their wheels. Parking deep below the Emporio Armani ski lift this was very handy.

The Italian resort had a few lifts open, and I can honestly say it was some of the best conditions I’ve ever skied in. Heading up to Plan Checrouit at 1704m there were a handful of chairlifts and a bubble get us to some lush powdery blues and red… enough to keep us going for a first day of rusty skiing on wobbly legs. Again, after a pretty exhausting day it was good to slot the skis into the Portaski and roll them back to the car with little effort!

Since then the snow has been coming down thick and fast. My friend Brian, from my local climbing club back home, drove over on Saturday and after his first run at Grands Montets declared it was the “best powder he’d ever skied in.” On Sunday I joined Brian at the Grands Montets. Gearing up for the day there was no question, I used the Portaski again, and it handled the heavily powdered pavements just as well. I even had a few people asking where I got it from. The weather was pretty bleak; it was very cold, with very low visibility. There were only a few lifts open, but with the amount of powder that had fallen and the opportunities to go off the piste, it turned out to be an amazing day. Although the avalanche risk was 3, using the Marmottons, Tube and Plan Roujon lifts there were so many opportunities to slide down nearby gullies and weave between trees safely, it really was a full day out. I must have buried myself in the snow a dozen times, especially as I was using piste skis – I remembered my ribbon tracers to tie to the skis next time!

A few hot chocolate stops and a Vin Chaud to finish and it was certainly one of the best days skiing I’ve had in a long time- pushing myself- not too much, but just a little bit. Don’t want to go too mad to early obviously.

portaski · 1889 days ago
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Early season skiing in Chamoinx