TR: Chamonix Day 3 – Powder at Grands Montets

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Richard skiing out of the Argentiere Glacier
Richard skiing out of the Argentiere Glacier

Every skier has a list.

Whether it involves particular destinations, activities or achievements, these are the goals that provide the motivation and rewards for doing what we love.

If skiing powder at Les Grands Montets isn’t on your list, I highly recommend you add it. It wasn’t our first powder day there, and I am certain it won’t be the last, but there is something absolutely breathtaking about the moment when you descend the stairs from the top cable car, put on your skis and look across the Argentiere Glacier to the Aiguille d’Argentiere & Chardonnet & just think wow.

Even better than that, we were comforted in the knowledge that 1000m vertical of untracked pow awaited us on the glacier on the glacier. It was a little wind affected, but I did not mind one bit. Although we would be skiing in the shadow of the 4122m Aiguille Verte, the sky was blue and spirits high.

The most gratifying part of the skiing was that the third day of the trip is often the biggest struggle, the brick wall you have to break through created by the efforts of the first couple of days on a non-battle hardened body. So there was a degree of trepidation coming into the day but it was totally ill-founded. 2 days warming up had been plenty and I had my mojo. Unfortunately the cold affected the camera battery so we have precious few shots of the morning.

Richard skiing out of the Argentiere Glacier
Richard skiing out of the Argentiere Glacier

So after the first run off the top we made another reservation for the cable car 40 minutes later, so that gave us enough time to play in the pow off the Bochard Gondola and we headed up to the top again.

True to form Jerome found us some great powder, and while in the line for the cable car a friend of his mentioned that there was good snow in a couloir off the back of Le Tour down into Vallorcine. So we jumped in the car, had a quick bite to eat and headed for Vallorcine. I believe the line was called ‘Couloir Buet’ and it is one of the shots below the Aiguille Posette. It was a consistent 35deg pitch with some lovely soft snow, although scraped off in places. It was a perfect steepness to ski aggressively but without consequence and we enjoyed it immensely. About 2/3 of the way down the snow became sun affected so the lower reaches turned into combat skiing but it was well worth it. At least at the lower elevation our camera decided to work again.

The ski out to Vallorcine was pretty amusing, skiing next to a train line at one stage and straddling a barbed wire fence! Once we reached Vallorcine we jumped in the car and had a couple of well-earned beers in Argentiere before heading home. Jerome asked the innocent but leading question of whether we were comfortable rappelling. I wonder what’s in store…..

Skiing on the Train line
Skiing on the Train line
Barbed Wire
Barbed Wire
Crossing a River
Crossing a River

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