A Winter Adventure by Louisa Richardson
When I was a child, I can remember a series of winters where my sister and I had great fun building snowmen and having snowball fights following heavy falls of snow. Exodus’ Senior Marketing Executive Louisa Richardson reports.
Although my snowman building days might be far behind me (or perhaps not, given half a chance!) I do crave seeing the beauty of landscapes covered in a thick blanket of snow. I was therefore very excited to be off to Chamonix last winter, which not only has snow in ample supply but also trees and mountains to set it off to perfection!
Once settled in to the homely chalet run by Oliver and Elaine, thoughts quickly turned to the different ways we were going to make the most of the snowy playground on offer. First up was a spot of cross-country skiing. Our group were all novices so Oliver broke us in gently, allowing us plenty of time to get used to this strange way of getting about. I must admit that I didn’t really know what cross-country skiing was, assuming that it was just a matter of skiing but across the countryside rather than on the slopes! I now know that it is actually skiing on trails, which have two parallel, ski-width grooves cut into them. Your skis sit in these grooves, which makes it easier (but not impossible!) to end up spread-eagled in a snow-drift. It doesn’t take long to master forward motion but some of the more technical manoeuvres take some practice. Still, by day two, we were all having a go at black runs and some of us even stayed on our feet!
Next up was a spot of snow-shoeing. With this activity you really can go anywhere so we trekked up into the mountains, far away from all but the most adventurous off-piste skiers (who were few and far between). Snowshoes just strap to your normal walking boots and with the help of two poles to steady your balance, you can plough across deep snow without sinking and reach areas with the most stunning views imaginable.
After each day’s activity we returned to the chalet to find some well-earned culinary delights on offer. These were generally followed by a trip out to the hot tub where aching muscles are soothed while you lie back and continue to enjoy more of Mont Blanc’s splendid scenery. My appreciation of snow has certainly taken new directions since I was child!