Monday, April 12, 2010

Cosmiques Pow, kinda...

Today I woke up to a loud banging on my door. Confused and startled by this, I had no idea who would be knocking at this hour since the plan had been to take today off from skiing. It was Dave, he said "40 cm's meet me at the Aiguille, quick." I wasn't ready at all, but made it over there in 10 minutes for the first Box. Seeing no other pairs of fat skis in the Tram we took a leisurely stroll over to the Cosmiques. This was my first foray into the Cosmiques couloir, one of the most classic and heavily skied lines in Chamonix. This is one of the go-to ski area style runs off the Aiguille and a super sweet couloir. In the photo below Dave inches his way down into the entrance of the Cosmiques, a spot where a lot of people rappel. The firm snow, or ice as I call it, was little dicey through this steep and rocky section.
Once we got through the rock cruxes we found some nice wind deposited pillows of snow for the lower two thirds of the run. The deposits were really deep and face shots were plentiful, with the occasional pure ice turn that would sneak up on you. But if you played your cards right you could avoid the ice and laugh your way to the bottom.
In the photo below Dave steps on the throttle and enjoys some of the best turns of the day.
We had decided to hike back to the Aiguille Mid-station to avoid the thin cover thrash out the bottom to the tunnel, and on the way over the clouds and the peaks made a perfect backdrop for a cool shot of the tram cars as they passed overhead.
Then we looked down the hill at the smooth dust on crust and we just couldn't pass it up. The snow was blower, but only about 8 inches deep on top of a smooth crust. The lower pitch of the Aiguille has some really great terrain, and I can only imagine how fun the runs down through this zone are when you can ski to the bottom. We managed to ski most of the way, and then we continued down on a trail to the tunnel where we got a ride back to town. In all, we got about 7,000 vertical feet of sweet dust on crust skiing, followed by about 1,000 feet of downhill walking.
It was a good day indeed!

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