Mini New Year Break in Chamonix

The snow conditions were looking very poor in Chamonix with the endless sunshine in the Alps. The Atlantic frontal systems that should have been delivering frequent snow storms were being concentrated in to torrential rain over the north west of England. However, it still seemed like a better option than watching that endless rain in Cumbria…

Rock Climbing

Oddly for the time of year our first day out wasn’t the seasonally normal activity of finding our ski-legs – we went rock climbing!

Sport climbing at Malsaire
Sport climbing at Malsaire

Celebrations

After our family Xmas celebration at home we continued the fun in France with New Year…

Xmas dinner left-overs - turkey, gammon, and leek pie
What an awesome way to enjoy some of the Xmas dinner left-overs – turkey, gammon, and leek pie. Thanks Paul Hollywood!
Zac getting ready for the traditional Chamonix New Year madness
Zac getting ready for the traditional Chamonix New Year madness
Laetitia and Pete out in Chamonix centre seeing in the New Year
Laetitia and Pete out in Chamonix centre seeing in the New Year
Casino and Fireworks
Chamonix’s casino and some fireworks overhead – despite fireworks having been banned due to poor air quality trapped in the valley by the endless high pressure weather
Chamonix on New Year's eve
The traditional madness that is Chamonix on New Year’s eve – champagne sprays, (banned) fireworks, hundreds of people, etc.

Skiing

Skiing at Grand Montets
After the New Year eve’s light snow we enjoyed a day of skiing at Grand Montets with slightly improved snow cover – still only a few runs were open and nothing down to valley level though
Laetitia trying to re-warm her feet
Laetitia trying to re-warm her feet at the Logan lift station at Grand Montets

Cham New Year 14/15 Skiing

We’re just back from a little over two weeks of skiing in Chamonix. Well, I say two weeks of skiing, but in fact the first week was a bit short on the skiing as there was no (very little) snow. We did manage a few days, but in the end we decided the lift pass was too expensive to justify for the amount of skiing available.

Despite the poor snow it was nice to enjoy Xmas in the sunshine relaxing and checking out all the shops in Chamonix with Ian. Ian is out in the Alps for the whole season. Lucky (ski) bum!

However, on Thursday it started snowing – a lot! It kept snowing all day Friday too! And Saturday! Although on Saturday the rate had slowed a bit and the visibility was better, that is it was just about possible to breath, so we ventured out for a great powder day at Grand Montets.

The second week of skiing was of course much better thanks to the new snow. Plus we had Saskia, Nick, James, and Oliver with us for the week and to help us see in the new year.

Here a few piccies from the trip…

Ian, Laetitia, and Pete on a hot-chocolate break
Ian, Laetitia, and Pete on a hot-chocolate break
Pete skiing in the deserted Combe Pendant at Grand Montets
Pete skiing in the deserted Combe Pendant at Grand Montets
Laetitia and Pete celebrating in the madness that is Chamonix town centre on New Year's Eve
Laetitia and Pete celebrating in the madness that is Chamonix town centre on New Year’s Eve
Fireworks over Cham at New Year
Fireworks over Cham at New Year
Laetitia executing a jump at Les Contamines
Laetitia executing a jump at Les Contamines
James, Pete, Oliver, Saskia, Ian, and Nick with another warming hot chocolate. But why did we sit at the only shady cafe on the mountain?  Everywhere else was in glorious sunshine!
James, Pete, Oliver, Saskia, Ian, and Nick with another warming hot chocolate. But why did we sit at the only shady cafe on the mountain? Everywhere else was in glorious sunshine!

New Year in the Black Forest

Happy 2010 from the Black Forest to all of you! With 15 people we occupied Mathias’ dads birth place in the middle of the southern black forest. No cell phone reception – relaxing times guaranteed! It was great to have lot’s of our friends arround and even the table seemed to miraciously getting longer and longer. Finally we also got enough snow to go out and play! Who is up for snow ball fights? More “New Year in the Black Forest”

Chamonix New Year

It seemed strange to leave England’s fantastic snowy weather and arrive in France for a week’s skiing only to find it raining! But of course up higher it was snowing.

Floodlit Slalom Racing
As Anna says, one skiing picture looks a lot like any other. That is unless the skier in question is one of the real French Olympic team (note to Ian 😆 ), so we took a trip out one evening to see the French slalom ski team at the floodlit les Planards. The last time I was at les Planards it was to whizz down the concrete toboggan run in the summer! 😛

That's not snow falling, it's rain!

How many dudes-in-red does it take to organise a slalom race?

Concentration

Faster, faster!

New Year
As everyone knows, Chamonix goes Mad on New Year’s eve…

Laetitia's in front of her favourite Chamonix shop...

Fancy celebrating New Year by eating some fire anyone?
Paying respect to "Balmat and Saussure" New Year style!

Oh, and some Skiing…
In between the rain when we thought we actually stood a chance of seeing where we were going, and when the lifts were open enough to warrant the trip out, we took to the slopes.

Lots of fresh powder snow
Check out the snow laden trees!

And finally
The traditional reward for a day on the hill … cake! :yum: Sorry, the camera lens had fogged up from the transition from freezing cold outside to warm in – but we couldn’t wait any longer for it to clear, the cake’s looked too tasty! 😀

Cake - yum!

Meall nan Tarmachan

Meall nan Tarmachan
Meall nan Tarmachan

To finish off our few days away, on New Year’s day we headed for Meall nan Tarmachan, our third and last Munro of this short break, taking in the lovely horseshoe walk taking in the Tarmachan Ridge.

Again the weather was superb and we needed axes and crampons (at last!)

Heading up Meall nan Tarmachan
Heading up Meall nan Tarmachan
Looking back to Ben Lawers and Beinn Ghlas
Looking back to Ben Lawers and Beinn Ghlas

We saw a bit of wildlife..

Spot the Ptarmigan
Spot the Ptarmigan
The Tarmachan Ridge
The Tarmachan Ridge
Heading home on the last section of ridge
Heading home on the last section of ridge

The final section of horseshoe
The final section of horseshoe

And as the sun went down, the sunset was magical.

Sunset over the Tarmachan Ridge
Sunset over the Tarmachan Ridge

Munros to go: 276