For all you ski fans, I thought I’d share a bit about my recent travels to colder parts. I spent last weekend at the Chamonix valley to watch the men’s downhill (known as the Kandahar), a trip sparked off by a chance conversation over a beer 18 months ago! Having flown into Geneva airport and picked up our hire car (Avis of course!), we set off on a leisurely drive into Argentiere, a lovely little village with plenty of spectacular scenery en route. Of course, we made ourselves at home pretty quickly, making our way around a few bars on the first night (a big hello to Paul in the Slalom bar! – thanks for the cocktails!) and a spot of sightseeing.On day 2, while one of our party took himself skiing at Plan Joran, the rest of us relaxed in the sunshine on the large open air terrace to enjoy the view and a fine lunch. We spent the evening in Chamonix watching the draw for the race. A great atmosphere with a large crowd and a spectacular firework display.
On Saturday, we set off to Les Houches for the race. The slopes weave through forest scenery and the famous “Verte des Houches” on which the race is held. It has to be one of the most beautiful World Cup downhill trails. With our snow shoes on and after a long trek up the side of the piste, we enjoyed a quick beer in fine sunshine at les vielles luges, after which we settled down to watch the race. Spectacular is the word I’d use! Fast and furious action with no room for error. Watching it on Ski Sunday does not portray the real picture! These guys are super quick and on the ragged edge most of the time! With the race over, we set off for some more sightseeing of the area compagnie du mont blanc.
There was no chance to experience the famous Aiguille Du Midi this time, but if you’re out there and get the chance, you have to visit! Be warned though – you’ll need a head for heights! 3,842 metres high and a 20 minute cable car journey, at times the car feels almost vertical, so don’t look down. But the view at the top is breathtaking. The earth seems to meet the sky and as you look at Mont Blanc in the distance, the sheer scale of the scenery has to be seen to be really appreciated.
It was an early start on Sunday back to Geneva for the 0945 flight back home. A great weekend and we’re already planning our next trip, probably in the summer this time for some serious walking. We’re open to other suggestions however, so if you have any ideas on how to combine an energetic yet relaxing long weekend, answers on a postcard to the blog please!