I'll be spending a few days in Chamonix between Christmas and New Years this year and was hoping to get some input from some forum members on what I should be looking to do. I won't be bringing my split so I don't think I'll be looking to do any touring, but I did want to find a guide group to do a little guided of piste though. I'll probably have three days to ride while I'm there, one day resort riding with the lady friend, one solo day, and one guided day. Any input on a guide group and where to ride would definitely be appreciated!
I have not been out with them but the guy has a good reputation and offers some cool stuff that you dont see many others offer.
Chamonix has it all, so if you can afford it I would go for two or three guided days (maybe one with and one without the gf) and drop the solo.
Be a little careful, my impression is that the local guides can be a little on the cynical side...so although Valle Blanche is a fun ride, i know that alot of people have felt ripped off after a "day" riding with a local "snowboard" guide...
(sorry to double post but I thought of some other stuff.)
1. Dont bring an Ice axe if you were planning on it, instead I would buy one there. (Cham is full of shops and you will certainly find one to suit your needs) I actually brought my axe over there to do some climbing and I ended up buying another one to bring home with me so... Haha
2. If you get the chance, eat at L'Imposible. Pricey, but it was definitely the best,eal I've had in my life. (Also great if you could invite that lady friend of yours)
3.Spend some time in the Argentiere reigon of town. Really full of culture and good vibes
4. Check out Zero G, there are so e good guys there
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Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:59 am Posts: 250 Location: Amsterdam
It can be very busy. It's one of those must see resorts, so a lot of wannabe freeriders go there. I suggest you hire a guide the first day conditions are good, they can get you away for from the masses and some fresh pow hopefully. Without a guide this will be very hard, as a lot of good eager skiers are on the mountain at any time.
Get a UIAGM certified guide, not some glorified ski instructor. No experience with local guides, I'll be staying here in December for a crevasse rescue course: http://www.edwardbekker.com/index.php/en/bekker-chalet It's about half an hour for Cham, the owner is a very experienced guide (skier) too. He's Dutch, so his english is perfect.
+1 fot zero-G shop. In fact don't bring your own board, buy a nice Gentemstick there. They rent axes and harness/rope too.
Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2010 8:55 am Posts: 30 Location: Adirondack Mountains, NY
Unless you plan on riding strictly at one of the resorts, I would consider bringing your split. Your options for touring to the goods will be far greater with a split, and you can always ride it at the resort.
Many guides will treat you like a tourist, especially as a snowboarder, so do some homework and hire one that is going to give you want you want. Here's a good place to start: http://chamonixinsider.com/chamonix-guides/
Contact the guide now with your dates and a describe the type of riding that you want to do. This site is great for getting some background on most of the classic descents in the Valley. They categorize by difficulty and often have video so you can make an informed decision. http://www.chamonixtopo.com/category/skiingsnowboarding
Chalet Ski Station is the best hostel in town, in my opinion. Clean, cheap, and about 15 steps from the Brevent gondola. Only drawback is the long walk up the hill at the end of a big day...but you're in Cham, so deal with it.
Valley Blanche is a cool experience but not that much fun on board (lots of flat glacier). If you're going to do it with a guide, insist that they do one of the variations and maybe include a side tour. Don't waste a full day of guiding on the Valley Blanche otherwise.
If you only have one or two days to ride your options will be determined largely by conditions and weather. Most guides want to put you through the paces to examine your skills before they bring you to more committing lines. For this reason you'll probably have to start with something relatively easy, which doesn't mean it won't be fun. Col du Passon is a fun tour and a good introduction to off-piste riding in the Alps. Also there's a few intermediate tours accessed via the top lifts at Flegere in the Aiguilles Rouges, a large wilderness area that forms the northeastern boundary of the Chamonix Valley.
Again, a splitboard will make any off-piste riding far more enjoyable. Snowshoeing will be absolutely hateful.
Hit up Le Caveau for great pizza and English speaking servers. St. Hubert bakery in the square at the bottom of the hill below Brevent is the best for baguette and pastries...Bar de Chamonix across the way is great for coffees in the morning.
He's an ex Freeride World Tour competitor (4th at Verbier a couple of years ago) and he's lived and ridden in Chamonix since time began. He's running splitboard courses throughout January and February.