February 6th, 2015 - Argentiere, France - Day 172

Peter's POV

Today is our last ski day in Chamonix, my and my parents woke up and headed out for our last couple runs at La Tour. We hopped on the bus and headed out. When we got to the top of La Tour we tried to ski a run that we saw on our way up that required a log traverse like thing.

When we finally got into our line we found a couple tight turns of nice snow but decided that it was not worth the long traverse.

Mountains around La Tour 

Mountains around La Tour 

Capped off the last run of the day with a big cliff

Capped off the last run of the day with a big cliff

We did our last couple runs and got into the house before lunch. In the afternoon we decided to go and see the Aiguillie du Midi which required a 20 minute bus ride to Chamonix, then a 30 minute cable car ride up to the top. When we got to the cable car station we found no line and asked the person at the ticket booth if our ski passes would get us up there. He said that they would but there was no visibility. 

The side of the car 

The side of the car 

The cramped car

The cramped car

The car heading back down 

The car heading back down 

After getting to the mid-station of the cable car we found that the sky was cloudless, except for a little cloud around the Midi. 

View from the mid-station 

View from the mid-station 

After a thrilling ride to the top we were coming up a nearly vertical cable into the station, when the cable car suddenly lurched then stopped. I looked at the door to see if it was opening but the platform was about half way up the door from the floor of the car. I tuned to see the driver taking out his phone. About half a minute later the cable car started slowly rising until the we were level with the platform then the doors opened. 

The steep ascent into the station

The steep ascent into the station

Coming into the Midi 

Coming into the Midi 

View from one of the platforms. 

View from one of the platforms. 

The exciting ride to the top 

The exciting ride to the top 

We walked through tunnels of rock and came to a bridge linking the two peaks of the Midi. We wandered around for a couple more minutes until we came upon an ice cave where someone was blowtorching the ice to create a wider opening. This was the exit to Valley Blanc. We walked around a little bit more and headed down the cable car. 

Glacier Ice

Glacier Ice

The exit to Valley Blanc 

The exit to Valley Blanc 

When we got to the bottom we were all freezing so we hopped into a cafe to grab a couple coffees and hot chocolates. We walked around shopping for another hour or so then grabbed a bus home. After getting back to the apartment we packed up a little bit and called it a night. 


Powder Hunting

Today was another typical day here in Chamonix.  Wake up, do a little work, go skiing, eat watch Newsroom and go to bed.  I am so tempted to leave that as the post, but I will provide a little more color.  

Being our last couple of days here we wanted to get out as much as possible, so Stacie, Peter and I headed up to La Tour early in the morning.  We were going to go for an actual ski tour, but decided the avalanche risk was too high.  The skiing in the morning was great.  We found pockets of really nice snow here and there and Stacie really turned up the dial on her skiing, which was so fun to see.  

We headed home for lunch and a little break.  Lea had been hard at work getting organized for the trip.  She had separated her clothes (keep vs send home vs give away), organized everything she needed for the plane and packed her bags.  It was so cool to see her being so proactive without us having to say a word!

 Stacie had some schoolwork to do so she decided to stay home for the afternoon session.  Peter and I walked over to Grand Montets and went powder hunting in the trees.  We found some good stashes and had a lot of fun like we usually do.  

We made it back to the apartment around 4:00 and the kids decided to play a two person game of Monopoly, which has been the game of choice for Stacie, Lea and Peter while here in Argentiere.  I worked a little and then made dinner.  We wrapped with a Newsroom and then went to bed.  However, instead of going right to sleep like I normally do, I stayed up late reading.  I am reading a book called Wayward Pines and it has me hooked.  I have not been into a book like this for years and it is really fun.  



The looming pressure of traveling halfway across the world is starting to become real.  We only have a few ore days before we go and it seems like there is a lot that needs to get done.  It has been almost 5 weeks since we have had a flight / trip, which seems like an eternity.  In addition we have our ski gear here and need to ship it home, which is no small task from France.  So we spent the morning doing some trip planning for Southeast Asia and trying to figure out some of the logistics of travel.  At the same as we are feeling the pressure to leave, we are feeling the pressure to get in as much skiing as possible.  So once the kids got up we made a plan to for the day.  Peter Stacie and I were going to go to Grand Montets for the morning and then Lea (who is thankfully feeling much better) would meet us in the afternoon.  

The three of us suited up for about the 30th time and headed over to GM to hunt for any leftover powder we could find.  Since Stacie had not yet been to the summit, and there was no line for the cable car that takes you there, we decided to head up top first.

When we arrived at the summit - which is almost 11,000 feet, we took a little time to look around before starting to ski down.  

Stacie and Peter checking out the cable we just rode up

Here is what they were looking at.  You can see the town way down at the bottom 7000 feet away

We then climbed the 100 or so stairs up to the viewing platform to get a better view.  

Taking in the view north

The view North was great, but the view to the west where Mount Blanc is was covered in clouds.  We did find this really cool marker up there on the view platform that Peter and I had missed the last time we were up there.

We skied down and then made a couple more runs, trying to find great snow.  The snow was OK, but mostly skied off, so we decided to take a break and have lunch.  After lunch we headed back down to town and picked up Lea.  We headed up to La Tour for some turns and had a GREAT time skiing as a family.  There is something very different about the four of us skiing together, we have so much FUN!  I guess having the kids egging each other on is the key, but I just love it.

After a few runs the resort was closing so we jumped on a bus an headed home.  Stacie and I both agreed, we will not miss the bus rides.  They are very convenient, but always tend to be full and we are constantly getting jostled around and bumped into.  On todays ride I had a 6'2" guy with a huge backpack on that apparently did not have any sensitivity to his surroundings because he kept trying to knock me over with his pack.  Thankfully our ride is only about 6 minutes to this apartment.  

We made it home quickly and then Stacie and I ran out for a couple of errands - including my favorite - the grocery store.  The kids had pizza for dinner and Stacie and I ran downstairs for a quick salad and some soup, which was delicious.  

A great day all around.  I think we are going to miss Argentiere, and Chamonix, it has been a wonderful 5 weeks. 


We woke up this morning to perfectly clear skies, so Stacie and I decided to go on our long 2400 foot climb up Grand Montets.  Neither of us were too excited about the two hour march, but we needed a good workout and that climb is about as good as it gets.  

We packed up and headed our around 8:30 to start the climb.  The recent snowfall made the climbing a little tricker in places, but for most of the climb it was easier because the ground was completely covered.  We moved at a good pace and made it to the top in 1:50 mins, but for some reason we were both frozen.  Usually when we climb we are working so hard that we are just plain hot.  For some reason our faces and fingers were frozen today.  We hustled down and god back to the apartment to warm up.  I started eating and did not stop for about 90 minutes, while Stacie huddled next to the space heater and played Monopoly with the kids.  

Peter was itching to go skiing, so he headed out the door on his own and Stacie and I promised to meet him later at GM.  We laid down for a quick nap and rested our weary bodies before heading back up for a couple runs with Peter.  

We met up with him at GM and had a couple of great runs in the powder before calling it a day.  These days are great because you come home completely exhausted and sleep really well.  

I had bought some shrimp for dinner, but did not realize they were complete little Northern Shrimp with their heads and tails still on, so we needed to completely shell them.  Because they were pretty small and I had bought two pounds the shelling took about an hour, most of which was done by Stacie.  We threw the shrimp in with some veggies and sautéed them and at the same time made some coconut rice.  We tossed the shrimp on top of the rice and the combo was incredible - probably the best meal we have had in a while.  

The kids cleaned up as always and we watched a Newsroom to cap off another great day in Argentiere.



The snow finally slowed down today and allowed for an epic ski day.  I have written plenty about skiing and this was more of the same so I will not bore anyone with the details of the skiing other than to say it was fantastic.  

Peter's favorite new place - up in the air

The only problem is our little Lea Bug has come down with a cold and has been laid up for a couple of days resting.  Since we have our biggest travel day of the entire trip coming up on Saturday we are all hoping the illness does not spread.  Being sick on a 36 hour journey with three flight, two of which are 12 hours would be just miserable.  Fingers are crossed.  


Today was a forced down day.  We had so much snow coming down and no visibility on the ski slopes so we decided to sit around the house all day and get some things done.  To be honest it was nice to rest my weary old legs, but it was hard to see so much new snow and not be able to ski in it.  Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day for skiing.  


January 31st, 2015 - Argentiere, France - 166

Peter's POV 

Today I woke up to my mom running into me and my sisters room yelling, who wants to go skiing? Immediately I was up, ready to get my gear on and head out. When I stepped out of my room, I knew right away it was going to be a good day. The skies were cloudless and we had gotten about a foot of new snow over the night. We had not seen the sky in two days because we have been getting about a foot or more of snow each day. All of the resorts except for one were closed for the past two days so that meant that La Tour, had gotten about 3 feet of untracked powder on the backside. Immediately I opened my computer to look at which resorts were open. I found that La Tour was planning on opening the backside up at around noon. The front side was going to be open at 9:30. We got ready as fast as we could, our plan was to head up and ski the front side until around 11:30 when we would head over to the backside to try to get first tracks over there.

We woke up to blue skies and about a foot of snow 

We woke up to blue skies and about a foot of snow 

Everyone was getting ready early 

Everyone was getting ready early 

Morning 4.JPG

When we got to the resort we grabbed a bubble lift up and were about to leave the station, when the lift stopped. After the lift stopped two guys decided that there was enough space in the bubble lift for six people. When we got to the summit we tightened our boots and headed down for our first run. The snow was amazing it was about knee deep and nice and soft. After getting down our first run my dad saw that a pull lift on the other side of the resort was running and we decided to head over there to ski in the sun. When we got to the top of the pull lift, something amazing happened.  We saw people skiing down the run on the backside, we immediately looked to the person that was running the lift that was on the backside and saw that that he was putting out a sign that said that the lift was open. 

We started skiing down the run, the powder was light and fluffy and we sunk to about our knees in the snow. After skiing down a ways, my mom told us that we should split up and meet back at lodge for lunch. We didn't argue and headed off. We were riding up the lift looking at the best places to ski, a pillow drop that I have been looking at the whole time that we have been here finally looked like it had enough snow to drop. We skied down to it and I dropped in on it.  

Above the line 

When we did the run a couple more times then my dad went down to film me again and he spotted a line that involved me dropping like five feet onto a pillow then skiing down. I dropped in, did a couple of turns and jumped over the pillow. When I landed slammed my knee into my face but I still stayed on my feet until I was past the camera. I didn't know where I hit my face first because the back of my head hurt just as much as the front. When the pain subsided I turned to look at my line. Me and my dad estimate that it was about 18-20 feet of air. 

Me under the cliff 

Me under the cliff 

We skied down to the lodge to meet up with Lea and my mom. When we got there we had lunch and headed out again. My mom and my sister went and skied the front side while me and my dad went to ski the backside. After a little bit the weather worsened and snow started to fly. After a couple more runs in the trees we decided to call it a day and head back. When we got back to the apartment we found my mom and my sister.  My parents went out to dinner while me and my sister stayed in and watched a movie. 


Still snowing.  We woke up today and found at least another foot of snow on the ground.  I am not sure I have ever seen so much snow in my life - it just keeps dumping.  

New snow by day.  That is 56 inches in 4 days - crazy!

We looked at the forecast and it was supposed to keep snowing all day.  Given the experience we had yesterday we figured we would head to the other end of the valley to Les Houches where the entire resort is below the tree line.  This resort is known for being the only thing open in the valley when the weather is really bad.  Peter and I were going to be the scouts and report back to the girls on the conditions.

We suited up and went to go wait for the bus to Chamonix where we would change for another bus to the resort.  When we got outside we could see just how much snow there was.  

Peter on what used to be a bus bench

That is one heck of a lot of snow

 It took us almost an hour and a half to make our way down to Les Houches, but once we got there we did not have to wait in any lift lines, which was surprising.  We made it to the top and got our bearings.  We decided to head down to a lift that looked like it might have good tree skiing.  The visibility was not great so we figured staying in the trees would be a good idea.  The snow was beautiful, but the trees were thick, so we had to stay on the runs for the most part.  We called the girls and told them it was not worth the trouble of getting down to Les Houches.  

We explored just about every aspect of the resort and could not find anything that was very exciting to ski.  It is a great intermediate resort, but for steep skiing, or trees it is not great.   We made the best of it and in the end found one run that was fun, but I had a board call at 5:00 and so we decided to head back around 3:30.  

It was a good day and we were happy to have experienced the last of the Chamonix valley resorts.  The snow is so deep now that if the sun ever comes out we are going to have one hell of a time.

January 29th, 2015 - Argentiere France - Day 164

The storm we have been watching for about a week began in earnest today.  When we woke up the cars in the parking lot across the street were already covered and we knew much more was on its way.  

While we were thrilled with the snow, the storm was also bringing high winds and bad visibility to the mountains and we were not sure what the skiing was going to be like.  

Peter and I decided to head up to La Tour and see if we could find some good skiing in the trees.  We dressed and went down to get on the bus.  As we were standing there I said "oh, we should have looked at the lift status to see what was open".  Peter said "I did - everything is open".  I was relieved and proud at the same time.  However, once we arrived at La Tour things started to unravel a little bit.  As we were walking to the gondola we noticed the board that lists the lift status were showing most of the lifts as closed.  Then one of the attendants told us - there is an updated lift status at mid mountain.  We did not think much of it and headed up.  Once we arrived at mid mountain though we knew we were in trouble, all lifts closed and a complete whiteout.

We decided to head back down.  We skied down and found some massively deep powder, but you could not see two feet in front of your face, so we decided to bail and go home.  We watched the lifts for the rest of the day online and they never opened, so we had a rest day and prepared for a big powder day tomorrow.  


January 28th, 2015 - Argentiere, France - Day 163

Today was just another day in paradise.  Stacie and I left the apartment around 8:00 to go do the tour we did the other day, the 2400 foot vertical climb one.  We were both kind of dreading it, but knew we wanted a great workout.  We were blessed with perfect weather and the hike was spectacular.  The fresh snow gave the trail a little more cover and all of the trees branches were heavy with snow making for a beautiful winter wonderland.  The sky was clear, the sun was shining and we were kicking it up the hill.  

Incredible views on the tour

We made it to the top 10 minutes faster than on our first try.  We hurried home and as soon as we walked in the door Peter asked "when are we going skiing?".  We needed a little break, so we had lunch and relaxed for a while before heading back to Grand Montets for a little tree skiing.  We figured the run we had nicknamed the Magic Forest would be perfect because when we skied it the other day it was about a week after the last major snow and it still had fresh powder.  However, this time when we got there it was already skied out.  Stacie looked at us like "Reall?  This is the great run?" Peter and I had to agree, it was nowhere near as fun this time around.  Stacie was cooked and wisely headed home.  Peter and I went up high to try and hunt out some better snow.  Unfortunately a cloud had moved in and the visibility was terrible.  We made it down once and decided we would try one more.  Our next run was much better, however, my legs were gone and I had to bail.  We are expecting a ton of snow so I did not want to waste my legs on these conditions.  Peter agreed and we headed home.  

We had a rare night out for dinner in the restaurant right below our apartment. It was another great meal and we all came home happy.  We watched a Newsroom and headed off to bed.   

January 27th, 2015 - Argentiere, France - Day 163

I woke up at 3:30 this morning to the sounds of a large tractor clearing the streets of Argentiere.  While I was not happy to be up that early in the morning, I was thrilled with what I saw outside; snow and lots of it.  

There is nothing quite like being in a ski town on the morning of a big dump.  It was hard to tell exactly how much fell, but it looked like 8 to 12 inches of the lightest snow you can imagine - it was like smoke.  

I settled in and got some work done while the rest of the family slept, then once everyone was up we decided to try to get out early and catch some fresh tracks - and the great news was Lea was coming too!

We made decent time in getting ready and were out the door just as the lifts were starting to turn.  Our bus came pretty quickly and we were up the mountain a few minutes later.  We had decided to go to La Tour to try to avoid some of the crowds at Grand Montets.  

Lea wanted to work on her turns on the front side until lunch and the rest of us wanted to head back to the back side for some steeper skiing and some trees.  The snow was almost too light as you would occasionally go all the way down to the bottom layer of crust and slide out.  In other places you would hit a drift and go waist deep before you knew it.  I have skied for a long time and consider myself pretty good.  At home I rarely fall, but within the first few runs I had taken three nice falls by hitting these deep patches while going fast.  Peter has some nice video of me tomahawking down a slope and losing both skis, which I am sure he will post here soon.

We had some great runs and then headed back to the front side for lunch.  We picked up Lea, who had been running laps on the front side and headed down to our favorite little lunch place La Passion.  We had a nice lunch and near the end Lea made my day by saying "I am coming with you guys - I am ready".  We had been missing our fourth musketeer for a while on the slopes and we were all thrilled to have her back.  

In the immortal words of Peaches and Herb "Reunited and it feels so good"

While it took her a while to get comfortable with skiing in the Alps, our little bug bounced around the back side of the mountain like a champ.  She had her wonderful form back s well as her confidence - it was awesome to see and so much fun to be skiing as a family again.  There were still patches of ice around (Lea's favorite) but instead of freaking Lea out she just named them Dijon (because nobody likes Dijon mustard) and every time she hit one she would yell "DIJON!".

Peter was still ripping down the mountain, but was not jumping because his knee was still a little tender.   So I decided that I needed to be the daredevil for the day.  In actuality I had been trying to keep up with Peter for weeks now and I am starting to get comfortable and enjoy jumping and dropping cliffs with him.  He has pushed me to be a better skier, which is so much fun.  So on our last run together I told everyone I was going to drop about a 10 foot cliff - but in the end I took a smaller route.  Stacie and Lea were below me to watch and Stacie said "aren't we in your way".  I said no and proceeded to drop the smaller route and then run right into her :-).  She was a good sport though and laughed it off.  

We headed to the lodge after a while and got some hot chocolate.  The girls decided to call it a day and Peter and I went back for some more runs.  It bugged me that I did not drop the cliff I said I was going to, so on the first run back I told Peter to head down and get a picture of me doing it.  This time I hit it in the right place and actually stuck the landing - it was a rush!

Old man river trying to keep it young

Sticking the landing - my knees would tell me later how much they did not enjoy my new hobby

Peter could not take it any longer and decided he needed to take part in the jumping.  With the soft powder to land in he did not think it would hurt too much.  So he started working on his "grabs" where he would reach down and grab his ski, during the jump.  It is not enough to just successfully huck yourself off a cliff, you need to do it with style.  

Working on his grabs in "little Japan"

We bombed through three runs and even hit our little powder stash on the last one.  

Knee deep in the Powder Stash

We took the last chair up the back side and hurried home.  Stacie made a wonderful pasta with sausage and we collapsed into the couches for our nightly ritual of Newsroom.  We were all exhausted from an epic Powder Day as a family.  

January 26th, 2015 - Argentiere, France - Day 162

Today was a highly productive day for the Gombert family on the road.  Stacie and I woke up early as usual and started talking about a plan for the day.  We both wanted to get in a good workout, but since it had not snowed in a while we were not looking forward to a big downhill day.  Instead we were hoping to get out on a ski tour.  We decided to get out early so if Peter wanted to go skiing in the afternoon we would still have time.  Since we are walking distance from Grand Montets we decided to hike up the main run there.  The climb would be about 2400 vertical feet and would take about two hours.  

We packed up and headed out.  We were only on the run for about 2 minutes when we noticed the sign for the Randonee Trail.  Randonee is means hike in French and it is used in the winter to describe the Ski Touring trail.  We knew this trail was supposed to be there, however, despite going past it probably 20 times in the past 3 weeks, we had never noticed this starting point.  

We decided to give it a try because it would mean the peace and quiet of a trail rather than the bustle of a ski run.  We were rewarded with a difficult, but peaceful and very quiet climb straight up the mountain face.  The trail was small, but well marked and switchbacked up the mountain in a dense pine forest.  Some of the turns on the switchback were particularly difficult in skis, but we would just pop our skis off and walk up them.  After a while we were in the groove and enjoying every minute of the strenuous climb.  

Stacie enjoying the strenuous climb

We reached an opening in the forrest and were looking down on the small town on Argentiere.  We could see where we started at the apartment and were pretty pleased with our progress.

We made it to the top almost exactly two hours after we had started.  It was a great workout, and we were pretty exhausted.  So we headed back down via a lift and made it back to the apartment just in time for lunch.  

The remainder of the day was dedicated to getting things done.  There were several nagging items we needed to take care of and since everything takes longer on the road we needed a solid afternoon.  Peter woke up with a sore knee from all the skiing and jumping he has been doing and decided to take the day off from skiing.  This was his first day off since we arrived in Chamonix.  21 straight days of skiing will take it's toll on anyone - even a 15 year old.  It turned out to be a great decision because as we were heading off to bed we looked outside and noticed it had been snowing for a while and was still coming down, he would likely need fresh legs in the morning for a powder day!

Dumping in Argentiere


Today we mixed things up a little bit.  Our morning was pretty standard with classwork and work filling up our time, but in the afternoon we split up a little bit.  Stacie went for a snowshoe and Peter and I went up to Grand Montets to ski while Lea stayed back at the apartment to do some schoolwork.  

When Peter and I got to the top of the Boachard chair at the resort we could not see 15 feet in front of our faces.  Even though it was a bright sunny day, there was a microclimate of fog clinging to the mountain that made skiing very difficult.  

We picked our way carefully down the slope and noticed the snow composition had changed completely from Friday.  The nice soft snow we had skied a couple of days ago had been blown away by high winds and we were left with hard, crusty, broken snow.  It was not all that much fun.  So when we reached mid mountain we had a little conference and decided to move to La Tour, the resort up the road to see if we could find better conditions.  We did not want to ski all the way down on Ice, so we jumped in the bubble lift that had brought us up and headed back down the mountain.  About halfway down I saw some people skiing in the trees and remembered a run our guide had taken us on last week down closer to the bottom of the mountain.  I said "we should have gone and skied the trees!"  Peter agreed, so we rode the lift all the way down and right through the station and back up the mountain again.  It was pretty funny to see the people watch us go all the way around.  See my wonderful graphic below for a full recap:

When we made it back to the top we jumped out and raced over to the trees in hopes of finding clear vision and good snow.  We were more than rewarded.  It had not snowed for a week, but this area of the mountain does not get much traffic because at the end of the run you have to hike out a short way and most people just want to ski right to the lift.  We found fresh foot deep powder, blue skies and fun lines in the trees.  We started doing laps and got 4 runs in before the lifts began to close.  It was a great way to end the skiing day.  

Peter hucking off a cliff in the magic forest

When we made it back to the apartment the girls were in their workout gear.  They had just finished doing some circuits of the Scientific 7 Minute Workout

Stacie and I were heading out on a date night, so I showered and then we walked up the street to The Office, which is a bar / restaurant owned by an Aussie named Dave.  We were having a great time drinking a beer and having some appetizers when two moms with two year olds came and sat next to us.  We love kids, but on a night when we are trying to get away, the last thing we want are forks banging on the table to the tune of Barney with two year olds wailing.  While we were waiting for our food a guy came over and started talking to one of the mothers.  While the mothers attention was on the conversation her 2 year old decided it would be fun to run around our table screaming at the top of his lungs.  Every 3 or 4 minutes the mother would stop talking and come over and try to reason with the two year old to stop making so much noise because the nice people (us, who were not feeling so nice at the moment) were trying to have a quiet dinner.  Well that two year old must have really understood her, because he tried his best to yell even louder, probably thanking us for getting his mothers attention away from the nice man.

We were patient and waited them out.  They ate fairly quickly and were gone, so we had our peaceful corner of the restaurant back.  Then our food came, and guess what, it was delivered by the nice man along with a smile saying "it's a lot quieter over here now huh?".  The man was Dave, the owner of the bar.  He really was nice and we spent a few minutes convincing him that the death stares we were shooting at the little kids were not genuine and we were nice people too.  

The food was great and we had a great time in the end, but a little mental note has been inscribed in my brain - on date night go to a nice restaurant, not a pub.     

January 24th, 2015 - Argentiere, France - Day 160

Peter's POV 

Today I woke up to the sound of Lea's alarm going off, at 6 0'clock in the morning. She decided that she would just let it play until it stops rather than risk waking me up with the light from the phone. After I got up around 6:45 we talked to Grandma Shirley, made breakfast and started putting our ski gear on. We were going to see the Swatch Freeride World Tour, where the best freeride skiers in the world go on a 5 stop tour around the world. The riders get to hike up this face to the summit and pick a line to ski down while the judges grade them. 

Coming out of the cable car station. 

Coming out of the cable car station. 

We grabbed a bus into Chamonix, and were walking to the stop that we needed when my dad saw a special bus. We asked the driver if it was going to Brevant, he said yes so we hopped inside. We waited there a little bit longer and two people got on the bus after us. All of the people on the bus were some of the freeride competitors, and one GoPro rep. When we got to the station we looked at the time and it was 8:00, the lifts open to the public at 8:30. We were stuck in the cold for 30 more minutes. After we got up to the mountains we broke the clouds and were rewarded with a beautiful morning in the alpine. We got over the the bottom of the run and found a spot to sit. 

View from the top. 

View from the top. 

Above the inversion 

Above the inversion 

Our spot to watch 

Our spot to watch 

  The riders were crazy dropping what I though had to be 20-30 foot cliffs, some even backflipping the cliffs. We watched most of the mens snowboarders and most of the mens skiers before the event stopped. The reason that the event stopped was bad weather even though the weather didn't really get bad, the fog ascended the judges booth and after five minutes the fog descended way below the judges booth. The event didn't start for another 2 hours. Then finally we watched a couple more skiers and left.   

When we got back to apartment we were all cold and tired, so we had lunch and laid down for a little bit. We woke up and did a little work, ate some fajitas, called Grandma Carrie and Ray, and watched a Newsroom to cap off the awesome day.    

January 23rd, 2015 - Argentiere, France - Day 159

Peter's POV 

Today I woke up late to a bustling house. I got up to find my parents telling me that we were going to be going skiing in about I half an hour. I crammed a breakfast and getting ready into that time period. When we looked outside we saw a thick layer of fog and decided to go to La Tour to ski the trees where we thought that the visibility would be better. We were wrong. The clouds broke at about 2000 meters, so the higher resorts were the place to be. We decided to give La Tour a try and see if the trees would make any difference. 

Above the soup 

Above the soup 

The trees were worse, you could not see more than 5 feet in front of your face. We were not about to give our selves a death sentence and go ski in the fog, but we were not done skiing yet. We grabbed a bubble lift down to the base and saw our sticker on lift 31. We thought that we could see the lift station of Grand Montets from La Tour and decided to brave the crowds and go there. When we got to our favourite lift in the Chamonix Valley, Plan Joran we all crossed our fingers hoping that the lift would break the fog. When we got to the top of the lift our wish came true and the lift broke the fog. We skied off the Bochard lift for a couple of runs, then skied down to mid mountain for some lunch. When we got back out we thought we would try to ski the summit, but we saw the line and anticipated that it would be a 1 hour wait to get on the cable car and had to settle for our trusty old Bochard lift. We ended up finding a great spot just a little bit off of the lift line and did a couple more runs on that.

One of the many rock jumps that I found 

One of the many rock jumps that I found 

When we were nearing the bottom of the last run, the fog had risen and my dad and I got separated from my mom. We ended up waiting for 15 minutes in the fog still without a glimpse of her. My dad finally made the call to ski down to the mid mountain lodge, where we found her waiting. We decided to call it a day and head down the mountain.   

The cable car swimming out of the fog and into the station. 

The cable car swimming out of the fog and into the station. 

We got home to another clean apartment, thanks to Lea, had an awesome left over meal and watched a Newsroom to cap off the night. 

January 22nd, 2015 - Argentiere, France - Day 158

Great day today, which included work in the morning and then a ski tour just outside of Flegree in the afternoon.  This was the first tour we took on our own outside of the resort, so we were all a little bit nervous, but we did our homework and it was a similar area to where our guide had taken us, so we felt fairly comfortable.  We left the apartment around 10:30 and were putting our skins on by around 11:30.  

We had to take a chairlift to the summit of Flegree and then ski down.  That ski down let us know the snow on the way down from any climb would be pretty sketchy.

Stacie enjoying a rare groomed section on our first decent

The weather was perfect for touring and we just soaked in the scenery while getting a great workout in.

Heading up

The tour took us about an hour and a half and we climbed roughly 2000 vertical feet.  The views were spectacular.  It was so nice to be out in the backcountry again.

Further on up

When we reached our destination Peter identified a good spot for lunch and we sat and enjoyed the view along with a sandwich (granola for Stacie).  There is not a better place to have lunch anywhere I can think of.

The rocks were our lunch spot.  You can see our skin track below across the frozen lake just to the left of center screen.

After we ate we started back down the hill.  As predicted the snow was not good.  There were a couple good turns as we started, but it was short lived.  We picked our way carefully down the mountain and made it home safely.  

When we got home we found a sparkling clean apartment - Lea had been busy again.  I then ran to the grocery store and boulangerie (my daily ritual) and Stacie made an amazing pork roast and mashed potato dinner.  

As I was catching up on email I looked out the window and saw Grand Montets shining in the dusk.  The light was just perfect and I was able to get a good long exposure picture.  

We finished the day with a double dose of the Newsroom to finish Season 1.  

January 21st, 2015 - Argentiere, France, Day 157

A beautiful day to be lazy

Today was a complete down day for most of us.  Ws have been going pretty hard, skiing every day and decided it was time to give our bodies a little bit of a rest.  Of course Peter did not feel the same way, so in the afternoon he went skiing.  

As a result there is not a ton to report.  We sat around the apartment all day and worked on our various projects.  Stacie and Lea on school and me on the app that I am building.  Then in the afternoon Stacie and I went for a little walk around Argentiere and went grocery shopping.

Stacie made a wonderful Pesto Pasta with Shrimp for dinner and we capped off the night with another Newsroom.  We have become pretty addicted to the show - too bad it was cancelled after Season 3.

January 20th, 2015 - Argentiere, France - Day 156

Lea’s POV

This morning I woke up to the strangest sounds, I heard a bunch of “I thinks” coming from my mom, then I fell back asleep just to hear things falling on the ground and the coffee maker going off. By then both my brother and I were awake, but decided not to acknowledge it. The third time I woke up to my brother ruffling around a paper and reading, then I was right back asleep. After Peter went out of our room I decided I had to get up, I rolled around so much in my bed that I looked like a crazy cat lady, I walked into the kitchen and started to make my famous hot chocolate.

My favorite time of the day

My favorite time of the day

Then I heard that we were going to have a conversation about what the next 18 or so days we had here were going to be like. So I grabbed my hot coco and sat down at the dinner table.  We started talking about how two things are essential #1 School #2 Workout. I didn't like the second one, I haven't been amazing at working out and frankly I hate it. I mean I am very good at my kind of workout, which requires me getting up and walking to the kitchen to get food, but the kind of workout they were talking about was different. Then we talked about how we had to go mostly everyday. After the longest debate ever, we moved on, talked more and more, then I asked If I had to workout that day, I didn't like the answer. I got upset and said that I was not going, then my parents said there would be a consequence, and I knew what it was going to be. I knew that If I said I would go then I would not be very happy because I would lose talking to my friends for awhile, so I chose to go with them.

After taking a break for awhile I apologized and everything was back to normal. Then after the tiniest bit of work I challenged my brother to a game of street fighter (our favorite game) he obviously accepted and after a grueling 30 mins I beat him, and I have to say he was a very good sport about it.

Beating Peter 

Beating Peter 

Then after a good lunch we decided it was time to get ready to go skiing, we had decided that I was going to go with dada for the first half and then I would ski with mama for the rest of the time.  Dada and me started with a few problems but in the end had a lot of fun. Then mama and I skied  and also had a lot of fun. On our last run mama and I got on a chairlift with two other guys and started talking, but when It came time to get off the chairlift I had realized my ski was missing. I hobbled down and waited for someone to come up with my ski.  A couple minutes later someone came up holding my ski, he said “there you go, oh and nice ski". That made me smile. Then we headed back down the mountain, It was the weirdest thing, the snow in places was icy then in others had a lot of powder. In the end it wasn't a lot of fun going down, but that day I did have a lot of fun skiing.

When we got on the bus we thought it was a little too good to be true because we had a bus waiting for us and we had seats together, which is rare. Then someone tells us that we are on the wrong bus if we wanted to go to Argentiere. So we ran out and saw or actual bus PACKED full with people.

It was a struggle getting into the bus and even when we were in it I had my poles upside down which was dangerous, so a nice guy flipped them around for me. I think overall the people in Argentiere are very nice. We fell down a few times on the bus and bumped into a few people, then I asked mama “hey do you have the key?”.  Her face just fell. “Haha your joking, right??” I said. Then she promised she didn't have the key. When we got to the apartment we just sat there and talked about books. We also called the boys and thank god they were on a bus heading our way. When they got there we said “what took you so long?” it took them like 5 mins :-). After we got all of our ski gear off we went to work, then we ordered some pizzas for the three of us because mama was going to have soup that she made. We ate a very good pizza and then watched a very educational Newsroom that wrapped up our great day.     

January 19th, 2015 - Argentiere, France - Day 155

Today everyone woke up and went straight to work. We worked until about 11 o'clock then decided to go skiing. Pete, Stacie and Peter had lunch and got dressed. We grabbed our skies and headed out the door and walked to the bus stop. Today was the only day that we didn't look at the bus schedule and it ended up hurting us in the end. We got to the bus stop and found out that the next bus would come in 15 minutes. Now 15 minutes would not seem like a long time regularly but we were standing out in the cold. When the bus finally arrived we hoped on and rode down the valley to La Tour, which is beginning to become our favourite place to ski out of the many places in the valley. When we got to La Tour we made our way to the Tete De Balme lift, which is the farthest lift from the base but we think it has some of the best tree skiing in the valley. On our first run we noticed the visibility was a little low but once you got in to the trees it was amazing. We found a couple good pow stashes along with some nice pillow lines.  

The Powder Line 

Powdery Pillow Line

One of the many airs. 

When we got to the bottom we knew that we had found the run that we would do all day. We went back up and did it again, and again. On the third time Stacie said that she wanted to miss a sketchy part of the run so we tried to miss it and ended up finding the cherry on top, a face with multiple powdery drops down it. When we got to the top to start our fourth run, the visibility was bad at the very beginning of the run and Stacie's legs were tired, so she decided to call it a day before she got hurt. When we got to the bottom of the powdery line we spotted something we hadn't seen before. A little break in the trees that we saw from the lift but had no idea how to get into. We immediately skied over to take a look. It had a sketchy entrance but we wiggled our way into it and were rewarded with a fresh pillow drop. Peter skied it first, and it was a perfect little 3 foot pillow into knee deep powder. After that the run got a little sketchy, with less snow at the bottom of the run we had to be careful where we put our skis. After we got to the top for our last run we decided to bag the end. We ended up finding yet another powder line, we wanted to go up to ski it again but the lifts were closing in 15 minutes when we got to the bottom so we decided to call it a day. When we got back to the apartment we walked into a perfectly clean apartment - Lea had been busy. We took a shower and ran to the store, had an awesome dinner and watched a Newsroom to wrap up an awesome day.     

January 18th, 2015 - Argentiere, France - Day 154

We woke up to beautiful sunny skies and almost 2 feet of fresh powder on the ground - we could not have asked for better conditions.  

The view from our front window

We were excited to get out on the mountain and see if the snow was as good as it looked.  

The quiver - ready to roll

We ate breakfast, made lunches and started getting our gear on.  Lea woke up a little late and wanted some additional time to get ready, so we decided to let her come by herself a little later.  In our new apartment we can walk to one resort and the bus stop to get to the others is literally 10 feet across the street.  This is compared to a 10 minute walk at our other place, which was not a huge deal, but if you have ever walked 10 minutes in ski boots, you will know it is not something to look forward to.  

We made it to the resort just after the lifts started turning and could see untracked powder everywhere.  I brought my camera today so we could get some good skiing pictures.  I saw a slope which was sunny and untracked, so we headed over there for a little photo shoot - it was not a good idea.  We had to wait for about 30 mins in a lift line in order to access the slope, which is not what you want on a powder day.  We made it to the top and had our little shoot and did get some good shots, but my hands were freezing so we had to move fast.  Here are the pictures:

Waiting to drop in on a bluebird day

The boy who loves air

Stacie carving a beautiful turn

Throwing snow

Happy as a clam

Once the camera was away Lea showed up and we went back down to mid mountain to meet up with her.  When we got there she turns to me and says "well that was interesting!"   I said "what was?"  she replies "I shared my gondola ride with DRUGGIES!".  She went on to tell us that they were rolling something that smelled like herbs.  It may have been tobacco as a lot of people roll their own cigarettes here, but it could have been something else, we will never know.  

Together again on the slopes

It was great to have everyone together again on the slopes on such a great day.  We did laps all afternoon and then when our legs were spent Lea and I headed home while Stacie and Peter stayed to enjoy more powder turns.  It was the perfect day, so we dropped a sticker on Le Tour.

The world tour stops at Le Tour

We stayed in for dinner and had a double feature of the Newsroom for our evening entertainment.  A perfect day all around.