A cool rocker British friend of mine just told me about his INSANELY awesome New Year’s Eve in the Italian Alps. He basically celebrated his last hours of 2011 climbing a snow-covered piste with his snowboard strapped on his back and his Italian girlfriend in tow. As he climbed, he said he could see curious sets of eyes peering through the trees, possibly those last-minute animals avoiding a winter’s hibernation. Once the clock struck midnight though, he said he’d never seen anything so beautiful as the moonlight and fireworks illuminated snowy mountaintops in every direction. They then proceeded to spend their first hours of 2012 strapped to their snowboards carving down the mountain’s edge only to ever-so-casually stroll into a mountain-top New Year’s Eve party at one of the lodges below. As he finished his story, I realized my mouth was gaping open in amazement.
A seriously-awesome-ski-trip is never forgotten...I know I’ll never forget my trip to the French Alps. While I was still a student in Amsterdam, two of my sisters and some family friends (Matt & Jim, they’re SERIOUS snowboarders), came out for a visit (woo hoo! I love visitors!). In 10 days, we cruised the Amsterdam canals by boat, spent St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Dublin and spoiled ourselves skiing, snowboarding and soaking up all that ‘après-ski’ had to offer in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc. We caught a budget flight bound for Geneva, Switzerland, and within 1 hour we arrived at our apartment with a view of Mont Blanc right outside our balcony. Although too late to hit the slopes, we walked around the small town of Chamonix-Mt-Blanc eating paninis (Italy is right over the peak of Mont Blanc afterall!) and prepared for some serious snowfall expected that evening. Chamonix is one of many villages located in the Haute-Savoie region of France, but the village itself sits right at the base of the famous Mont Blanc peak and is completely surrounded by snowy mountains.
The first night and day it snowed and snowed and snowed! Although it was a bit difficult to board that day, once the clouds cleared, this meant that we had a fresh blanket of snow waiting for us the next day. Matt & Jim were out of bed and on the slopes before we woke up and stayed until the last run closed, returning back to the apartment oozing with words like ‘UNREAL’, ‘EPIC’ and ‘KILLER’—clearly satisfied. Me and my sis grabbed our gear and hopped on the gondola only to be rewarded with an out-of-this-world view from the top...the sun revealed a playground of fluffy fresh snow with white clouds swirling around the peaks then disappearing into thin air. That day and the next meant we took as many snowy trails as we could fit in and ended every few runs with a beer at the lodge. And, back in town, a nightly dose of after-ski bars and bubbly bowls of cheese fondue served as the perfect nightcap. Our French is nonexistent but we did manage to learn one phrase: Alpes, je t’aime.