J’aime Chamonix

Posted in: off season, recovery

My husband and I just returned from our second trip to Chamonix, France (well, the first time was Argentiere, France which is about 5km from Chamonix).  I have to admit that Argentiere is much more “my style” than Chamonix.  Argentiere is a small little town, very quiet and beautiful.  Chamonix is much larger, and much more resort-like and touristy.  Both provide very beautiful mountain views and quick access to ski slopes and mountain trails – and good food too 🙂

France has really grown on me.  I find people there very friendly; quite the contrary from my preconceived expectation that French people didn’t like Americans and were therefore mean to Americans visiting their country.  I have experienced none of that in my five trips to the country during the last two years – although I have not been to Paris (just the airport and train station in Paris).  The mountains are awesome and the countryside beautiful; cycling in the mountains is never boring and has become one of my favorites (especially since my former coach Jimmy Riccitello taught me to descend a mountain properly on a bike).

This trip did not involve cycling though, just some downhill skiing and snow running on the trails.  And a few trips to the pool in Chamonix – fortunately on my past visits to France I had already learned how to properly navigate the “shared” locker rooms.  And most important on this trip – lots of eating and drinking!  Yes, I was fully engaged on my last week of true “off season” – although I didn’t gain a single pound which surprised me a bit.  I should probably clarify that I didn’t gain anymore weight than I already had the previously few weeks of my off season – oh, I put it on FAST after my last race.  Coach’s orders though, so it’s all good I guess 🙂

One of the most awesome things about the trip was that my husband and our college friend did the Vallee Blanche on snowboards.  If you don’t know what that is, you basically start at almost 12,000ft (pretty close to Mont Blanc), walk across this narrow ridge for about 200m, and then ski/snowboard down the mountain/glaciers (glaciers means crevasses too – yikes) for 22km.  Wow!  Amazing!  And the day they did it, there was waist deep fresh powder.  We have a video of them crossing the ridge, but my husband is a bit shy about having his personal video on my blog, so below is a link to a You Tube video of the same thing that someone else posted.  Makes my palms sweat watching it!  Make sure you get to 4 minutes in to see the really the steep part!







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