Recently I have been skiing to Alagna in Italy. Alagna is known as « the Freeride Paradise ». With friends of Croatian Mountain Rescue (HGSS) we have been discovering the nice and great hors piste around. It’s true it’s a really nice aera, with lots of cable cars which leads you to long, classic and interesting skiing lines.
But if Alagna is the « freeride paradise » what about Chamonix ??
We could call it the « Steep skiing paradise ». The aiguille du midi cable car brings you in half an hour from center of the town to high altitude kingdom. 3800m, nice glaciers and amazing hors pistes.
Just speaking about the worldwide famous « Vallée blanche ». 20 km of hors piste skiing on an glacier aera. 7 differents skiing lines from quite steep to easy going, the nicest view ever… completly unique in the world.
But if you are interesting in steep couloirs, the North and North-West face of aiguille du midi is the place to be.
Ena Vrbek and Arnaud Bayol has never skied down the NW face before, so we decided together to pick « Glacier Rond ». It’s the attractive slope you see on the right side of Aiguille du midi while driving on autoroute blanche just before entering Chamonix.
It use to be a really difficult deemed route, but it’s true nowadays it’s skied down almost everydays… by freeriders with 100 mm skis under their feet.
It doesn’t remove the committment of the line. The huge serac at bottom of the descent doesn’t make you want to miss the first turns and fall like a puppet !!
This first part is the steepest with icy snow or just ice underneath your skis…Watch out…
After this nice first slope, you turn on the left to take a West couloir. Entrance is bit rocky and you really have to controll your speed.
After that, it’s just pleasure. Less than 40° on good spring snow or even better powder in winter.
You jump the little « rimaye » at the bottom of couloir and now you have two options.
First is to reach mid station of aiguille du midi gondola and why not have another run (Marco Siffredi use to do 4 runs in a days while training periods before expedition)
When snow conditions are great like this year, you can go down by right side of
« Glacier des bossons » until town of Chamonix.
In that case it’s a 2600 m hors piste! A bit like Disneyland but for alpinist and skiers.