Easter Monday picnic ski

Skiing -

Easter Monday picnic ski

How many pastries do you ski tour with?

Grand Montets, Chamonix, France.

Mid Easter holidays, the forecast for Easter Monday looked perfect for an adventure. Our group's experience of skinning up (walking up hill on the snow on skis or split boards) varied from none at all to very experienced indeed.

The route planned was to get the Bochard gondola up at Grand Montets and walk up and over to what used to be Point de Vue (a ski run named for it's fantastic view of the glacier, but not open since the lift station burnt down a few years ago). From there we were going to ski across the glacier and come out lower down, just above Chalet Refuge Lognan.

Being on the glacier we all needed harnesses and some crevasse rescue equipment between us, and of course, avalanche safety equipment.

Some of us needed to hire split boards, touring skis and transceivers in the morning. This meant an early start, especially to track down a split board to hire with crampons. Finally we were all kitted out and coffee'd up. Our rucksacks were stuffed with as much baguette and pastry as our safety equipment would allow and excitedly we set off to head up.

 ski hire preparing to skin

From the top of the gondola it was an easy ski across, under the rope to the area to prepare for walking up (putting the skins on, splitting the boards, swapping helmets for peaked caps and sunglasses). It felt quite a steep spot to be sorting out unfamiliar gear and actually quite tricky to make it up to the track.

The kids found it easy. They were patient with me faffing and even came back down to help. After quite a few humiliating false starts, unable to get an edge, we decided it would be safer for the two of us on hired split boards to put our boards back together to go down and try walking up from an easier access point. The rest of the group slid slowly away and up.

walking up

split board to go down

Being one of the two splintering off, I was pleased to discover that we in fact had all of the pastries. We boarded down to our start point, made ourselves comfortable and decided it was a good place to fuel up ready for the walk up. After quaffing five pastries between two there was no going back. We had to commit to the hike.

preparing to skin on the flat

It was much easer to prepare ourselves and get sorted with gear in a flatter, and what felt like, safer place. We prepared and began to walk. To begin with the route was quite steep and we were both sliding around. But, experimenting with weight distribution and, one of us addling crampons, we were soon away. Slowly slogging our way up towards the glacier, where we hoped to meet the rest of the group on their way back down.

split board up  Split board up


After well over an hour we reached the shoulder from where we could see all the way down the glacier. We stopped here for more picnic snacks. Just as we finished and were preparing to head down before getting cold, we spotted two little green helmets gliding through down below, adding scale to the vast scenery. It was the rest of the group. We all hooked up.

Everyone had seen the glacier, most of us had tried something new, two of us had eaten a lot of croissant and pain raisin and we were all satisfied, a little rosy and nicely exhausted. Ready for a fun ski down the home run, back to civilisation.

George and Eliza on the glacier