Okay, the trip to Chamonix was…..a challenge!
If you have read my blog on Chamonix – well I was determined to get beyond the negative! Our trip provided an opportunity to ski Italy and Switzerland – and from France, this was all good. Access to Italy was easy, access that to Switzerland was much farther away and logistics to get there were somewhat complicated. I like to think I’m a smart cookie, so I took the opportunity to ski Courmayeur, Italy.
Courmayeur is located at the foot of Mont Blanc. As I said, getting there from Chamonix was an easy connection through the Mont Blanc Tunnel. An 11.6 km ride was an absolutely short ride between the two countries.
I had taken an Italian language course in anticipation of using it in Courmayeur. That morning armed with practice the night before of asking for ski tickets, food and wine I looked forward to using my new language skill. I might have been a little cocky – I speak French and English, after all. We drove up to the base, booted up in the bus, took the avalanche packs from our guides (I will get into that later) and walked to the ticket window. As I approached the cashier I said in my best Italian – “Un billet de ski”….and the cashier responded “ a full day pass” in perfect English! My mouth dropped open and my hopes of being mistaken for a true Italian speaker were immediately dashed….there go my dreams of learning the language and retiring to Italy!
So, now it was time to learn about our “avalanche packs”. For any “off piste” skiing, these were required. It was a little disconcerting considering we had learned the snowfall this year had been below normal on the Italian side. Armed with guides and avalanche packs – off we went to hit the peaks of Courmayeur.
The weather was cool and the lack of sun was failing to soften the crunchy snow. Even the groomed runs showed our guides that we had skills skiing hard pack! When taken off-piste and into the woods it was our Vermont skiing skills that got us through the crustiness.
Looking on the bright side, lunch as always in Italy in the hills is flavorful and the wine flows. Lunch at Courmayeur was no exception. The guides had reserved seats for us at La Maison Vielle on the mountain. This slope-side eatery has a very small space but they have an abundance of great food and wonderful Italian hospitality. We ate family style pizzas and salads that were so tasty they shamed any designer pizzeria in the US! The table wine did not disappoint…or leave us drunk and unable to ski – thank goodness! The wind blew, the sun began to shine and the afternoon skiing took on a very spring like feel.
It was a great day again skiing in Italy! This country always provides a wonderful experience…the skiing is enjoyable, the eating is always a wonderful experience, and, the viewage never disappoints!
Until next time! Cammy