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Courmayeur TR

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
I am finding myself in Courmayeur quite a bit due to work these days. While it does have a much bigger interlinked system of interlinked pistes than I’m used to in Chamonix, it does start to feel small after a while. Time to explore beyond the resort boundaries.

At the very top of the resort there are two small Cable Cars, the first, the Crête de Youla brings you to the top of a steep but non descript piste. Above this is one of the smallest and oldest ski lifts I’ve been in. The Crête d’Arp. On entering the lift you are warned that this is a sightseeing lift and there are no pistes. To be allowed out the door you have to sign in and leave a valid telephone number…this is a new one on me!

Once outside we understood why. Back down under the cable there is an almost impossibly steep cliff face. Behind there are deserted valleys heading off into the white beyond. If you head due south you would be heading down the
Vallone di Youla which ends up between Pré St Didier. This would put us a long way from the lifts so we left it for another day. Over the first rise to Skiers left, the Col d’Arp gave us Vallone d’Arp, which heads west, much more towards Courmayeur. Our first route of the day.

A wide gently sloping valley for a few miles, containing some powder, some windpack and some nasty sun crust. Towards the end, as it began to get steeper, we could look over the left-hand ridge and see the ski area of Courmayeur. As it got steeper we ended up in the trees. At this point the track in front of us separated, some heading left into tight trees and others heading right and staying more in the open. We opted to stay right…Mistake the leftward path would have taken us back to Courmayeur. Or route took us down a snow covered road, down endless hairpins ending up at the side of the river halfway between Courmayeur and Pré St Didier.

To get back to the lifts we hiked upstream towards Courmayeur. Eventually fording the river to get back to the lifts. Back on mechanised transport and feeling a little tired to say the least we opted to try and avoid any more walking. Back up the top of the Crête de Youla lift we spied a route heading over into Val Veni, with a chairlift at the end to bring us home.

Our second run took us northeastward into a streambed leading down to the valley floor. Once there it was a simple case of flowing yet another snow covered road down the valley to Zerotta to get a Chairlift home. The route had quite a few tracks down it and was quite torn up in narrow places, but much more fun that piste bashing. All the time on this route we were under the imposing south or Brenva face of Mont Blanc. Or Monte Bianco as it’s locally known.

Rather than a sting in the tail, this run just became a little tedious. Almost 3km of barely downhill and very straight road. Quite a long day out on the hill for just 2 runs!
post #2 of 2
Lucky you, all that snow. Glad you made it home OK. One more adventure to add to your collection.
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