Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Vallee Blanche

Yesterday we skied the Vallee Blanche with all the staff. It was touch and go as the guides predicted high winds, and said the Montenvers  lift might be closed.  This lift is the one that you get at the end of the trip.  You have to climb something like 450 steps carrying your skis and wearing ski boots before you get to it.  If it is closed then you have to climb a similar additional distance.  I have never had to do the last part and never want to.   Climbing 450 steps just about finishes me off. Anyway, we were extremely lucky as the wind died down.
The day did not start off particularly well.  The Mont Blanc lift company look over the Megeve lifts at the beginning of the season, and we were told we could issue ski passes for Chamonix.   Oh no! Chamonix can issue passes for Megeve but not the other way round.   So we got to the lift barrier( after about an hour's queue) to find the ski passes didn't work.  So we had another half an hour's wrangling with the lift office before we got the right passes.  But as it happened we got lucky, as in that time the wind dropped so the walk down the arrete was fine.  It would have been very unpleasant in high wind.  Before you put your skis on the guides rope you up and you then walk down the arrete to where it levels out and you can start to ski.  There is a rope to hang on to.  You just don't look down as Chamonix is 3000 metres below.
We all skied together which was fun.  It was a bit icy the first few turns but then the snow softened up. In fact, when we got to the Mer De GlacĂ© (which is the flat bit of the glacier) it was almost too soft.  It was a great day and the sun shone, so we all ended up stripping off loads of layers.   We had been told it would be -25C so had dressed appropriately.  
What a way to end the season!   Most of the staff are having a few days in Budapest to round it off.
Here is one of the many group photos.

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