Oakley Film Project Brings Seth Morrison, Kye Petersen to Chamonix-Mont Blanc

PONDELLA_CHAM_2010_2877

Chamonix is a place I have never skied in all my years as a skier so this was a real treat. Kye Petersen and I came here with an Oakley film crew to document our steps as we scouted our lines for an upcoming late spring trip. Gaining experience through different types of training for these huge lift accessed mountains. Chamonix is not a place to be taken lightly, danger lurks at every moment of the day and you’re not ever really safe until you at the valley floor drinking a beer with your bro’s reflecting on the days adventure. Its unlike anything I have ever done. One day at a time and working our way into it was the routine.

For the most part the snow was hard pack, this made the steeps that much steeper and the degrees of the runs are the real deal, not what others would say elsewhere, most of these areas have been climbed and thats where the steepness ratings come from. Seeing as I was skiing on powder skis the entire time, it was an added challenge to keep one focused on the hardpack conditions. No fall skiing was the course. Focus was the main concern as we practiced some ice climbing, familiarizing ourselves with crampons, ice tools, rappelling and other needed bits of exposure to the world of Chamonix. Skiing with a much heavier pack than usual filled with gear you normally wouldn’t carry at your local ski area keep you mindful of each turn. For the most part we were skiing on or around glaciers the entire time. Each day was filled with some sort of hike/skin or rappel to get to the line. 9000 vert runs loom off the Aiguille Du Midi and even 11,000 vert off the Mont Blanc. This place is big and real. Fear of rock fall, falling into a crevice, avalanche, serac fall, or falling sit in the back of your mind every run.

The bottom line is the lifts take you to places that would take many hours to climb from the bottom and even then you wouldn’t think of going to them without the lifts taking you there. There are regular ski runs in the valley, but thats not why went there. It was for the mind and life changing experience of being in these mountains. Skiing around with some seasoned seasonal American Mountain Freaks, gave us a look into their world which only compares to Chamonix itself. You see the reason why people go there year after year and wonder when you will get to be there again yourself. In this place it doesn’t matter how good you are or how rad you think you are. Looking around you see people doing things much crazier than you and what your doing doesn’t really matter other than getting down in one piece. That’s why a celebration is in order at the end of everyday. Not your typical ski vacation.