Today’s image is of Skiers descending the Aiguille du Midi’s Arête – high above Chamonix – before starting the most famous off-piste ski run in the Alps – the 18km Vallee Blanche. Many skiers find the descent of the relatively steep Arête in stiff downhill ski boots with little grip, while shouldering skis and poles; trying not to look too closely at the 2700M drop to the Chamonix valley floor on their left, an unnerving experience! Thankfully there is a handrail to hang on to! The ordeal is worth it because the skiing that follows is superb on glaciated terrain through stunning mountain scenery. Do not try this on your own – a guide is essential.
The summit of the Aiguille du Midi (3800M) is reached in 20mins via a two-stage cable car ride from Chamonix. An amazing journey in itself.
From the viewing galleries at 3842M, the top station offers unparalleled panoramas over the Mont Blanc Massif. In summer the Midi is the starting point for Alpinists heading off for climbs, including one of the popular routes to the summit of Mont Blanc.
For a gallery of images of The Vallee Blanche descent, see my set on Flickr, taken during my descent last April. For diehard ski fans, you’ll find many videos on YouTube about the Vallee Blanche.