Courmayeur – The Vallee Blanche
I have never been to Courmayeur in Italy until last week when I did the Make a Wish, Ski the World Challenge.
Forget your purpose built ski resorts, this is a charming established mountain town, nestled away in the region of Aosta Valley in Northern Italy.
Not only did I get to spend the weekend skiing over 43,000 vertical metres but I also had an extra day in Courmayeur and went to ski the legendary Vallee Blanche. Probably the most famous off piste ski run in the world – an 18km journey with 2800m of vertical decent through stunning glaciated alpine scenery. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years and never got round to.
We woke up in Italy, took the lift from La Palud to Helbronner, skied over into France and down the Vallee Blanche just in time for a late lunch in Chamonix. A short bus trip back through the tunnel meant we were back in Courmayeur late afternoon! A day I would highly recommend to any skier (and boarder in better conditions!).
The snow wasn’t in great condition but the views and adventure of it all certainly made up for it.
What amazed me the most was that the Vallee Blanche reminded of a smaller version of the Khumbu Ice Fall. A huge moving glacier; beautiful but deadly, full of crevasses and precarious great chucks of ice.
At the bottom of the Vallee they have drilled into the ice and made a really cool (literally) museum all about the history and geology of the Vallee Blanche.