Hard to believe I spent 3 amazing days on snow last weekend in Cervina, Italy, when as I write this today here in Chamonix, we are in short sleeves and riding bikes and roller skiing, and just one week before I was on the beach in a bikini! This was the 2nd time of our Chamonix Club pre-season camp in Cervina, where we had a chance to dust off the cob-webs from summer and get the ski legs under us a bit, remembering how to take skins off and on and do a kick turn. It takes a bit of remembering, but just like riding a bike, it comes right back rather quickly.
What a great way to kick off the season with a group of people who are passionate about ski alpinisme and sport! It was not long ago, maybe 5 years ago, I fell in love with the sport of ski mountaineering. It combines all that I love in a sport: endurance, strength, speed of downhill, technical climbing and of course being in the mountains! I found it strange that in Chamonix, the heart of alpinisme in Europe, the local sports club of Chamonix which hosts most other sports including ping-pong and boule, did not have a ski mountaineering team.
With the encouragement from my husband, I went ahead to try and start one. Just three years ago, joined by a team of others equally passionate about the sport, we founded the club. Now on our 3rd season, we have grown to nearly 50 members which include 8 nationalities and have an age range of 14-70 years old, all of whom take part in competition of one form or another, as this is a competition club, not one for purely ski touring. Here is our link: Chamonix Ski Alpinisme
During the weekend we were blessed amazing snow conditions and great weather. We were able to walk from the base of town up the dreadfully steep Mezzalama trail, to about 2300 meters where we could put our skis on. It was a perfect warm up and a great way to avoid the crowds of alpine skiers. The weekend included technique drills, avalanche beacon training (always important to do pre-season!), a small race-course combining all the skills and of course some great cappucino’s and pasta!
It looks like I’ll be making some more trips to Italy as the ground is still quite bare here in Chamonix, even though the first race on the calendar is just a couple weeks away.