It’s been dumping with snow in the Alps over the past few days, generating much excitement and anticipation for a great start to the ski season. And with still two months until most alpine resorts open for business, things are certainly looking good!
The first snowfall of the season came even earlier this year though, with snow falling in Canada, The Alps, and even Scotland, as early as the end of August! As it happened, I was travelling out to the French Alps when they received their first substantial snowfall, which settled as low as 1800m.
We were actually expecting to catch the end of the alpine summer, but the driving rain that hammered our car on the journey from Geneva to St Gervais seemed to suggest that summer had well and truly ended. The next morning snow was clearly visible on the Aravis mountains, which is almost unheard of at the end of August! Fortunately the weather had improved dramatically overnight and by the end of the day the sky had cleared and the sun reappeared. However, the snow remained on the mountains for the duration of the weekend, serving as a tantalising reminder that winter is just around the corner.
A trip to the top of the Aiguille du Midi in Chamonix increased our hunger for winter even more. At 3842m, its precipitous peaks and glaciated valleys are permanently shrouded in deep ice and snow, in the form of La Vallée Blanche glacier, and overlooked by the formidable Mont Blanc, which looms above.
The views from the top are absolutely stunning and you can’t help but be transfixed and humbled by your surroundings. In winter it’s possible to ride down La Vallée Blanche, with a guide, but although there’s still plenty of snow in summer, the crevasses are too exposed for it to be safe. Instead, our descent was made in the vertiginous cable car, and as we plunged back down to Chamonix, we were already planning our next ascent, which will be with our boards, and a guide, in tow!
To see more pictures of the stunning views, check out the album on the Riding Switch Facebook Page.