Fantastic powder generating conditions, means lots of cold snow and often poor visibility. You can’t have it all I suppose. I’m reliably informed that the powder in Chamonix last week were superb. I’m ‘informed’, despite being there myself, as I’m an off-piste wuss and I like things neatly groomed, staying on the piste.
One afternoon the girls and I left the elements to it and packed up the skis early. Daddy continued to play, but we fancied doing something different which didn’t involve sledging. So Mer de Glace, the biggest glacier in France, here we come…
Fortunately we’d bought the Mont Blanc Unlimited Pass which gave us access to the Montenvers Train to the Mer de Glace. The cog railway train has recently celebrated it’s 100th anniversary so is well known, running out of the centre of town.
The staff at the station were very sweet warning us that the visibility was poor at the top, saying we’d not be able to see the glacier when we got there. The view was incidental though, as the trip on the train was enough to keep the kids entertained. Besides, once you are in an ice grotto it doesn’t matter what the weathers like outside.
So in affect the kids had two exciting treats; a train trip and a grotto. And if that wasn’t enough there was a gondoladown to the ice followed by 360 or so steps – great for excercise as my eldest pointed out, “I’ve earnt my cakes now”. Yipee!
I know the whole ice carving, over sized ice animals, beatles with bad wigs thing is rather tacky to the average adult, but the kids thought it was great. Just touching the outside of the glacier to feel that it was cold without being damp was enough. The entrance walls were beautifully smooth. The changing colours of the lights gave added to the a magical feel… I think we might be going back next year.
If we’d done this trip as a family in the summer it would of cost 72Euros, so to have it as part of our valley lift pass seemed a bargain, and we didn’t even make use of the various exhibitions up there. I also believe it is quite a unique non skiing activity to do with the kids in a ski resort, which makes a nice change.