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Out Here [French] Alpin' in Chamonix

So, Alli, did you go skiing in the Alps? Why yes, yes I did. And, naturally I went to Chamonix, France - the home of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps.

It took me a combined total of about 15 hours of travel to get to the Alps, but I made it and was in for a fast but awesome trip in one of the most scenic and awe-inspiring places I’ve ever been.

There’s something totally different about skiing in the Alps than in the Rockies or in the Eastern US, each of which have their own unique elements. However, in the Chamonix Valley, it is utterly impressive, to say the least. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but I love the home I find in the mountains.

I wanted to share a couple of short stories with you depicting different portions of this trip. Read one or read them all but, don’t worry, there are photos at the end too. Pictures really are worth a thousand words in Chamonix.


It’s about three in the morning. I’m on a train, in a compartment to myself. I’ve been trying to sleep for hours, to no prevail. I’m laying across three seats with the corner of one digging into my hip and another into my ankle. Cold, uncomfortable and awake.

I manage to drift off at about 4:30. The train arrived an hour and a half later.

Transfer, quick nap. Transfer, quick nap. Bus. Alps.


I’m pushed into a corner on this cable car. Thankfully by windows. We’re traversing 2807 meters - the world record in a cable car. Surrounding us are mountains in every direction, the Alps - French, Swiss, Italian.

It’s sunset. There are colors in the sky that I never thought I’d see. Mountains jut up left and right. There’s even a glacier to my left. We can feel the steady rocking of the cable car. The wind too, but it’s not bad. Really, we’re all pretty distracted. I mean, look outside.

We ride over a few small peaks. It’s just part of the journey down - we did it on the way up too. Unexpectedly, the cable car quickly dips and it feels like the floor is no longer there. My stomach is suddenly in my chest, my heart is racing, and I’m laughing - purely out of terror. Wait, that’s right, I’m afraid of heights.


I quickly gain my balance after stepping off of the gondola. Gear in hand, we make our way around the corner and there they are, there we are, about to make our first run down THE ALPS. But before that, there’s a sign. Not a that must be a sign kind of sign, but a literal sign. It depicted the avalanche likelihood for the day.

Today? Oh, no worries. It was only a 3... out of 5. There was only a considerable risk of avalanches today.

We only saw one.


Two boarders and a skier go down a run. I, I am one of the boarders.

It’s a little later in the day, so the runs are beginning to get a little icy. There are also a fair amount of moguls on this run too. Anyone who’s ever been boarding before knows that moguls and ice are much easier on skis than on a snowboard.

So, like I said, icy and mogul-filled. We begin the run. Brad, on skis, goes ahead, but I’m perfectly content just cruising.

About halfway down the run, I see Dan, the other snowboarder, and we both go sit off to the side. It’s been a long day. Our legs are sore. I have a headache. We’re both pretty tired. This break is welcomed.

A couple minutes later and the break’s over. Dan looks at me. “Straight down. No falls or stops,” he says. I nod, and we begin. There really isn’t too much left. We get going. About 50 meters ahead is a small turn and then it’s relatively straight to the end of the run.

Dan is in front of me as I come around this turn. I look up, there he is. I look down, there’s some ice. I look up again, he’s down. He’s mid-somersault when I see him, but somehow recovers. Two seconds later, he’s down again. So much for no falls, I think before my body also meets the ground. I slide about 20 meters before stopping right next to Dan. Well, so much for no falls.

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