January 13th, 2015 - Chamonix, France - Day 149

Today Peter and I had another lesson with Chris Fetcher of Tinder Box Ski School.  Chris has an easy going manner works with you to create an agenda tailor made for what you want to learn.  He is a great ski instructor and generally a great guy to be around.  I would highly recommend Tinderbox if you are looking for some instruction or guiding in Chamonix.  We told Chris Peter was really looking to take his skiing to another level so he wants to work on technique along with some lessons on the steep stuff.  

Today we were going to head up to Brevant-Flegree, which is where Red Bull holds the Freeride World Tour event.  It's only about 5 minutes from our apartment, so it was not a long commute.  We started the day with a couple of warm up laps where Chris was really working with Peter on technique and I was trying to pick some things up as well, but old dogs new tricks and all that.  

Then we headed back to mid mountain and had a coffee and jumped on the cable car to the summit.  The cable car connects two peaks with no towers in between - it's amazing engineering, but a little freaky as well.  

Picture courtesy of Dave Miller

Once we were up there, Chris brought us over to the edge of the platform where you could see all the way straight down into town 5000 feet below.

A happy boy

 We traversed across the peaks to a place where we would drop into a steep col for our steeps lesson.  The traverse over was a lesson in and of itself.  At one point we had to drop off a little 3 foot rock onto a small cat track.  Peter popped off it without hesitation.  Although I have been skiing for 30 years and this was not a big drop it gave me a little pause and I delayed for a minute or two before dropping in - sometimes getting older and more cautious sucks.  

We made it to our drop in point and it was indeed steep.  I have skied lines like this in the past but it was a first for Peter.  That did not prove to be a problem as he followed Chris without hesitation making solid turns and having a blast.  

Dropping in - Peter in green, Chris in Blue

We made it down without any problems and had a great time doing it.  There were some great pockets of soft snow mixed in with some ice, so you had to be careful where you turned, but getting a nice turn in was like heaven.  

Peter and Chris giving me their "rad" look

The line was steep by our standards, although not steep by Chamonix standards.  I took out my slope meter just after I took this picture and measured the slope at 43 degrees and this was significantly less steep than the top.  My guess is the top would come in between 45 and 50 degrees.  

Loving the steeps

The green line represents the line we skied down this face, it does not look nearly as steep as it was

A little GoPro clip from the Hotel Face

We did one more run a little further over on the face and then went in for lunch.  Afterwards we did one run and it was apparent that my legs were toast, so I bailed and went home while Chris and Peter carried on.  It was another great day skiing and seeing Peter get the instruction he wants and needs is just awesome.  

Later that night we decided to go out for dinner.  Peter was hungry for a burger so we went back to Poco Loco, which has become a family favorite.  

Upstairs at Poco Loco

We had a nice dinner and made it back to the apartment by 7:00, which is even a little early for us to go to bed, so we watched a Newsroom before heading to bed to read.  Another great day in Chamonix.

Our Tuesday morning started the usual way with science lessons for Lea and landscape design lessons for me. I knew I'd be waking up with an itch to get out and enjoy the mountains, and I also knew Lea would not, so I decided to head out for a solo touring experience.  Lea worked hard and held down the fort.

I headed to Flegere for a nice easy tour on a groomed run. It was a little dicey climbing up while very inexperienced boarders and skiers barreled  down the mountain. One dude decided it would be fun to head full speed toward me and turn at the last possible second. After that I decided it would be safer to wear my helmet on my climb. It went pretty well overall; I only had one guy yell at me in french. I spent the remainder of my climb wondering what he said..."Hey, dumb lady you can't do that", or "That looks like fun!", or "You must really be in great shape to do that!", or "Happy Tuesday to you!".  I don't have a clue, but I kept thinking he'd come back and yell at me again.

It was a fairly short climb up, but there were some great views of the Chamonix valley.  The wind kicked up so I couldn't get a good photo at the top.

In the afternoon Lea and I did our daily grocery run. It's always a long process of walking to the store, translating french, and hauling all the grocery bags back up the 3 flights of stairs to the apartment.