January 7th, 2015 - Chamonix, France - Day 143

HALF WAY!  Our trip is officially 286 days long, so today is our half way point.  It's hard to imagine we have been on the road this long, but at the same time it is hard to believe we are half way through the trip.  We decided to try to have a normal day and then head out for a celebration dinner tonight.  

We had a nice slow morning and then Peter and I headed up to Grand Montets to ski while the girls decided to have a down day.  

In the first two days we have skied at Grand Montets we have not gone to the summit, which is at 10,606 feet.  Just for reference the base of the resort is at 4051 feet, so from the summit it is a 6550 foot vertical drop.  For someone who grew up in North America skiing where a vertical drop of 3000 feet is very big, this is simply massive.  There is a special cable car that goes to the summit and it warns you that all runs are black and conditions are tricky.  We wanted to get our ski legs tuned up a bit before tackling the terrain.  

Peter and I dressed and headed out.  It takes about 30 minutes by bus to get to the resort and then another hour to get to the summit after having to wait for a cable car.  The ride in the cable car is incredible, the engineering is mind blowing as is the view.  We finally stepped out of the car and we are the top.

Welcome to the summit of Grand Montets

From there we decided to make the hike up to the viewing platform for a better view of the surrounding area including a perfect shot of Mount Blanc which towers over everything in Chamonix at 15,781 feet, the highest mountain in Western Europe.   

You can see the cables for the cable car in the lower left of the screen - what you can't see is how steep this is.

The view in the other direction from the viewing platform.  Most of the white is the glacier that makes the skiing here a little more dangerous because of crevices 

View down the Chamonix valley.  The little house in the lower left is the cable car house and is actually huge, but everything looks small against these mountains.

Peter at the summit with Mount Blanc over his right shoulder (left as you are looking at him).

We had an amazing day skiing. The resort is so huge we were still able to find powder stashes a week after the last snow.  We have not even touched half of the terrain available here in three days skiing.  Peter is advancing quickly and is skiing icy chutes with no problem and dropping off any rock that is covered in snow.  

We made it back to the house around 3:45 and met the girls on the street because they were out for a walk.  We showered and relaxed a bit before heading out for our celebration dinner at Poco Loco, a GREAT burger joint in downtown Chamonix.  Dinner for four plus drinks was only $54, which is insanely cheap for Chamonix.  

Stacie and I had a great beer called Grimbergen and the kids actually had Coke, which is a treat for them.  It was a nice night out to celebrate our halfaversiary!