Chamonix Apres Ski Report
28th February 2008
School holidays are soooooo exhausting – and I don’t even have children! There are just so many things going on at the moment, both on and off the slopes, that I’m completely worn out trying to keep up!
So what’s been going on this week then? Well, we began on Sunday with the Swatch O’Neill Big Mountain Pro that I mentioned in last weeks report. 24 of the world’s best freeride skiers and boarders kicked off the event with a scenic run down the Vallée Blanche. Even though we haven’t had any new snow in the valley for about 3 weeks (unless you count the dusting we got a couple of nights ago….), American skier, Cody Townsend was quoted as saying "this was the best sightseeing run I've ever been on. My neck hurt from looking around so much." The day ended in perfect style with the guys flying off a specially prepared kicker just above the Hotel Montenvers at the bottom of the Vallée Blanche. So far their 8 day quest for the best freeride conditions in the Alps has taken them to the face of Le Buet (3099m), just above Vallorcine, the Val de Bagnes towards Verbier and Sestriere in Italy. Don’t forget you can follow their progress with highlights and daily live webcasts on www.freecaster.com. The event is on until Sunday March 2nd.
Tuesday was another freeride event, but this time for amateur riders – the Helly Hansen Cham Winter Ride. Every month, Helly Hansen and Evolution 2 organise this off-piste contest for anyone that wants to enter. The goal is to discover the best off-piste runs of the valley and do them in the fastest time. Each event is held at a different ski area – Flegere (Jan), Le Tour (Feb), Brevent (19th March) and Grands Montets for the super final on April 16th. Due to conditions, this week’s event was shifted at the last minute from Le Tour to Grands Montets but it still drew a big crowd of wannabe freeride champions. If you fancy entering yourself, you can pay €10 and register on the day of the event at the base of the ski area involved. Helmets, transceivers and off-piste insurance cover are essential.
With so many families in town at the moment, many of the activities have been targeted at our younger visitors. We’ve had a Snowball Tour sponsored by Gore-Tex, which was basically regulated snowball fighting in a specially designed arena on the Savoy piste. Anyone capable of throwing a snowball, regardless of age, was invited to join, and those who could throw with some degree of accuracy walked off with the prizes. There was also a big Children’s Carnival in town yesterday with face painting and costume competitions, a procession through town and lots of silly string.
If you’re a bit more mature but still enjoy a costume party or two, then the FuBar in Argentiere is holding a “Circus Freaks” fancy dress night on Friday from 10.30pm. If you’re staying in Cham, then ask at Bard’Up as they are running a shuttle service between the two. Something to consider when planning your outfit – you’ll more than likely end up having at least one go on the mechanical rodeo bull up there – so bear that in mind when sifting through your wardrobe! Also tomorrow, the Monkey Bar and Legend Board & Bike shop have clubbed together to hold a K2 Party at Monkey with a Gyrator and a Mix board up for grabs. Tickets can be bought in advance from Legend in Cham Sud.
On Saturday, the action is continuing with Run & Skate, the first event of its kind that combines trail running and cross-country skiing. Competing in two’s, the teams will complete a 20km trail run up the moraine of the glacier des Bois before handing over to their skiing team mate, who will do a 22km circuit of the Nordic trails on the valley floor. And remaining on the slopes, next Wednesday is the North Face Ski Challenge at Grands Montets. A freeride and freestyle event reserved strictly for teenagers that will make the rest of us realise we should have started practising years ago if we were ever hoping to look cool in the snow park…..
If all this is far too energetic, then how about stuffing your face with a load of free cake? Anyone with a sweet tooth will be delighted to know that the makers of probably the most delicious chocolate brownies in the world – Gü - will be in Chamonix on Sunday and Monday, distributing their sticky wares at the Tourist Office and at the foot of the slopes. Running under the catchy slogan “ceux qui ont du Gü, ont du gout!“ (“Those who have Gü, have taste“), the reality is more likely to be “Those who have Gü…..have bulging cheeks and it smeared across their face” – or will that just be me??? :O)
Have a great week!