Our trip to Chamonix was amazing but did start off with some bumps. We chose to fly EasyJet from Stansted to Geneva because it was the cheapest option. Geneva is about 75 minutes from Chamonix. Our friend Maggie decided last minute to come along with us for a couple of nights and ended up in the row behind us. (It literally is THAT easy to make a last minute decision in Europe because of cheap airfare). Our plane was delayed due to maintainence issues...and when the captain got off the plane to check the issues, I became super nervous. Both Van and Maggie were chill of course; they know airplanes. I do not. Obviously our plane made it without crashing, but I still was a bundle of nerves on landing....
|View of the mountains while approching the runway|
The Geneva airport was pretty cool. The picture above shows a gorgeous floral shop in the airport. Once we arrived, we withdrew some Euros and found our meeting point for our transfer bus to Chamonix. I chose AlpyBus because it was only €54 per person, roundtrip. It was a great value and I would choose them again. They dropped us off right on our apartment doorstep...it was nice.
We arrived late Sunday night and we were unable to see any of the sights while driving into Chamonix. I was so anxious to wake up the next morning and see the scenery. This is what I saw....
I was so excited and ready to get up the mountain. The clear skies turned to clouds before we left for the slopes.
Chamonix is a LARGE ski resort and when purchasing your lift tickets, you have two options, Chamonix Le Pass or Mont Blanc Unlimited. Le Pass allows you access to 3 ski areas while the Unlimited allows access to 6 ski areas plus access to the Aiguille du Midi lift. We chose Le Pass and decided 3 areas would be perfect for our 4 days of skiing.
|Map of the ski areas. You better believe I kept this baby on me the WHOLE time.|
|Beers and yummy French sandwiches at Brevent-Flegere|
We skiied the Balme area on Tuesday but it was whiteout conditions and I took zero pictures. We all 3 loved Balme though. The runs were longer at Balme than Brevent-Flegere and when the clouds cleared just a bit, the scenery was amazing. I knew Wednesday was going to be crystal clear so Van and I planned on splitting Wednesday between the Grand Montets and Balme ski areas.
Below are a few pictures from Grand Montets. I thought this was the most difficult of the 3 areas. Van loved it of course! It was just a little too steep, icy and narrow for me. Plus my legs were so sore by this point. We left Grand Montets around noon to head to Balme. It's so easy to get around in Chamonix. They have an amazing bus system and it took us no time to get to Balme. But before we head to Balme, enjoy some Grand Montets scenery....
So Grand Montets was great, but I was ready to get back to Balme and snap some pictures. It was funny to ski Balme in the clear conditions and see the areas that I couldn't see in the whiteout. Funny because it was crazy how easy it would have been for us to ski right off a cliff if we weren't paying close attention to the boundary poles. Maybe it was a good thing we had cloudy conditions the first 2 days and I couldn't freak out!
|Notice the lifts in the background....Balme is so expansive and mostly treeless.|
|Notice all of the ski trails EVERYWHERE. "Off-piste" skiing is awesome at Balme. You can't get lost in the trees so you basically can just make your own path!|
|Behind the fence is where helicopters land...normal right?!|
Ok, the photo below is one of my favorites from the trip. Balme was amazing for off piste skiing (off of the marked slope). It was a clear day and a lot of snow had fallen during the night. It was a powder wonderland. It you look closely at the photo, you can see Van boarding...he is in the center line of the photo. I loved how this captures the expansiveness of the off-piste areas.
On our last day on the slopes we had heavy snowfall. But, with it being our last day we had to get out there and soak up the remaining hours in the Alps. We chose the Balme area since we were most comfortable there in the whiteout conditions. We were both sore and we took it easy and ended a little early. But it was a great last day.
And of course, Van had to bring Auburn to the French Alps!
I hope you enjoyed our photos from our French Alps experience! It was more incredible then I could have dreamed it to be and my photos and words could never do it justice. It literally left me speechless many a times during our stay. This is a must return trip for sure!
More Alps Ski Info: