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Chamonix & graduate students

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

For any skiing or snowboarding graduate or law students out there, I am running a wintersession trip to Chamonix, France from Dec. 27, 2010 - Jan. 7, 2011.  You can ski almost every day while getting 2 credits for an International Human Rights law class that will be taught in the late afternoons (so you can ski all day).  There will be a couple of day trips to Geneva to visit international organizations.  I don't mean to use this site to advertise - I'm just looking for someone to ski with!  I'm worried it will be mostly intermediate skiers and that I won't have anyone to share a backcountry guide with....if anyone can make a recommendation for a guide in Chamonix, please let me know.  Thanks!


Helen - Seton Hall Law School 

post #2 of 7

Hello and welcome! I hope you'll enjoy the "ride" here.

Don't know if Tom@cham is still there...

Just one question, have you been to Cham before?

I wouldn't worry too much about not meeting people matching your level to ski with and sharing guides.

Of course if you could start already "set up" (so to speak)  companions-wise, it would be an advantage, but really.

Cham is full of people there only to ski for the entire season.

Of course you're going there during the winter holidasys so, you'll find it really crowded but, meh!, that can't be avoided. Half of Europe (and the other half too) will be on holiday then.

Anyhow, again, welcome and enjoy!

post #3 of 7

I can recommend Fred Cambe as a guide. He's with the Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix. (fred.cambe@cegetel.net.) He speaks English and is a beautiful skier to boot.

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the recommendation!  Yes, I have been to Chamonix before but it was quite a few years ago and we got dumped on so much the Aguille du Midi and the top of Grand Montets were closed the whole week until the last day.  We had arranged guides in advance (there were a lot of us and we broke into small groups based on ability) so we ended up paying guides for off piste skiing when on piste was waist-deep fresh powder everywhere we went (the storm lasted for days).  We didn't have a guide for the last day which was a bluebird powder day and we spent hours (at least it seemed like hours) in line for the Grand Montets tram while guided groups all got put in the front of the line.  I won't make that mistake again!


I realize the holidays will be crazy-crowded but I don't care as long as I can get some off piste adventuring in.  I wasn't sure how it works if you don't have a group of friends to hire a guide.  I've hired quite a few guides in various European resorts but I've always been with a small group of friends.  We've never had anyone "join" our group (I don't think we would have been too happy if that had happened) but is it possible to get put in a group of "single" off-piste skiers? I'd hate to barge in on a private group - especially if they are better or faster than me - but I can't afford to get my own guide without splitting the cost between a few people. 


I might just play it by ear until I get there and see what the conditions are like but because it's the busiest time of year, I'm feel like I should try to set up something in advance. 


Thanks for the welcomes and any advice you can offer.  I don't mind hiking and I will ski anything that doesn't involve being airborne to get into but I prefer a relaxed pace when I'm in the backcountry. I've had guides before who killed me with the pace - not with the difficulty of the terrain.


Thanks again!

post #5 of 7

I'm aware of two guiding companies in Chamonix that are willing to put together groups of 'orphans' for off-piste day trips. One lets you advertise anonymously on the main page of their web site. (http://www.mountain-guide-adventure.co.uk/). The other is the grand-daddy of the lot: Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix. With the Compagnie you simply put your name in and see what they can throw together. It could be that most of the guiding outfits do this. I don't know. Most of these guiding firms have overnight trips as well as one day affairs. You could escape the madness in the valley by spending a night or two in the refuges, even if it's only in a winter room.


I've been pleasantly surprised by the groups I've been a part of. Everyone has been very welcoming and great fun to be with. I think just being there is such a great experience most people are so relaxed and happy they are easier to get on with than at other times.


Sounds like a great trip you have planned.

post #6 of 7

Dear Helen,


I'm a lawyer and have to pick up my points each year, I've not seen this advertised anywhere. Could you either post a link or email some more info about who organises this. Sadly the dates don't fit well with my schedule, but I wonder if they do any other trips?



post #7 of 7



I woud stay away from the "pick up game" groups...first time I was a Chamonix years ago I had a completely wasted day because the more than half of the 'expert' group I signed on with were barely intermediate skiers, easily one of the most frustrating days on skis I have ever had.  At one point the other good skier and I were standing with the guide waiting for the rest of the group and he pointed at some guys skiing an awesome chute above us and said "if it were only you two, that's where we would be skiing".


I went back years later with a small group of freinds, and we skied that line he pointed out...and a bunch of others as well.


That said, if you want the name and contact info for a guide I have skied/climbed with 6-7 times, then PM me and I will pass you his email/phone number.  He did an awesome job of challenging my abilities, pushing my limits and teaching me mountaineering, but he always kept it safe and fun.




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