The White Mountain

Samuel Griffin, Reporter

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It was a kind of a buzzkill seeing Mont Blanc for the first time. All these descriptions and stories build up this colossal, magnificent image.  Not to say Mont Blanc wasn’t any of these, I think I just overthought what it actually was going to be. The Alps are one of the most stunning mountain ranges in the world, with Mont Blanc being the tallest point in Europe rising at 4,807 m. I was skiing on the Italian side of Mont Blanc in the small mountain village of Courmayeur located in the Aosta valley. Courmayeur grabs the title of the highest commune in Italy, rising 1,224 meters above sea level.

The Courmayeur skiing hill is located on the eastern side of Mont Blanc, sitting right behind the Italian side. One experience that I will never forget is skiing down in the shadow of Mont Blanc on a small wooded trail. It had an edge of surreality to it that made the experience amazing. The sun was shining on the French side of Mont Blanc, creating a large shadow for the skiers on the opposite side, like myself. The hot chocolate is also very good up there: hot, thick and creamy, the perfect way to end a cold and hard day of skiing. One of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen in my life, is sitting on a chair lift, with a panoramic view of the Aosta Valley, with small wooden huts scattered around in a blanket of snow, and Mont Blanc towering above.

There has been a lack of snow in recent years which has certainly had an effect on the snow central towns. Tourism has gone up, but the quality of skiing and snow has gone down. Most mountain towns have now started to really integrate and rely on artificial snow, which isn’t as good as the natural snow that good skiers want. I put this thought from my mind when skiing and just enjoyed being up there next to Mont Blanc. The weather was beautiful, with blue skies stretching around Mont Blanc, and with the sun reflecting off the snow causing a mosaic of light.