FROM AOSTA TO CHAMONIX
7th March 2020
Last modified on March 10th, 2020
PlanetSKI heads from its base in Italy to the powder fields of the capital of off piste skiing. 30cm of fresh snow awaits in Argentiere.
Now don’t get me wrong there is plenty of powder here in the Aosta Valley, but some friends asked me over and it seemed rude not to go.
Chamonix is around an hour away through the Mt Blanc tunnel.
One of the reasons PlanetSKI chose Aosta as its winter base this season is there are some other mighty fine resorts an hour or so away.
I have already skied Zermatt and Verbier in Switzerland.
Now it was the turn of Chamonix.
I did wonder if I had made the right decision as I left home.
And on the way up to the Mt Blanc tunnel it was breathtakingly stunning.
And in Courmayeur, if the snow on the cars was anything to go by, the slopes would be packed with powder.
“Why on earth am I going to Chamonix?” I asked myself.
Argentiere did not disappoint on arrival though it didn’t get quite so many marks as Courmayeur on the ‘snow on the car test’.
We headed first, rather appropriately, to a little bowl called Italian.
Then it was Canadian.
And then into the Magic Forest.
My guide for the day was David Robertson who runs Action Outdoors and has lived in the valley for 15 years or so.
More of David and his work later.
The Magic Forest lived up to its name.
Now Argentiere on powder day is something very special.
But it gets tracked out very quickly, and within hours becomes chopped up and/or a mogul field.
So, who better to show me how to master the moguls than my good friend, Rob Stewart, who was also in our group.
He now runs the snowsports PR Agency, Ski Press, but back in the day he was a sponsored Pro bump skier.
He trained with the New Zealand mogul team.
But it seemed his skills in the bumps have got a little bit, er, rusty.
This is what it looks like to get ‘spat out'”
Sorry Rob – couldn’t help posting it 😉
Now I mentioned David earlier from Action Outdoors.
Well, he had managed to find a room for me at the last minute in the UCPA as I decided to stay over.
He is the official UK agent for the French no-frills accommodation provider.
And what a view from my shared room.
And the bar was heaving for a spot of apres ski.
See here for further details of the UCPA in Argentiere and beyond.
As well as Action Outdoors he has a new venture – Le Vert Hotel.
It is on the outskirts of Chamonix by the lake and is new this winter.
22- rooms aimed at people who used to stay in hostels in their youth, but now want something a bit more spacious with more creature comforts.
Now I had planned to head back to Aosta first thing the following morning, but the final views from Argentiere to Flegere the previous day were in my mind.
It had been closed since the snow fell as avalanche prevention work took place.
It opened up shortly before I drove past on my way back to Aosta.
Rob and I hopped onto the new lift that had replaced the old cable car – long overdue in my opinion.
And at the top, time for a quick PlanetSKI snow report.
And then it was into the powder where, if anything, we had better snow than the previous day.
In my opinion Flegere is rather under-rated by many of the skiers in the Chamonix Valley.
It is a great spot, with views to match.
Here’s the one back to Argentiere.
And as I headed back to my beloved Aosta Valley at the end of skiing I am pleased to say the snow in Italy remains.
So, where next?
I am heading to Courmayeur and soonest.
Sunday in fact.
The sight of all that snow on the cars had remained firmly in my mind.
Plus, Courmayeur does not turn into a massive mogul field within hours.
Powder skiing remains for days…