Monthly Archives: December 2011

The Helbronner – New and Improved!

HelbronnerWondering what’s up with the new Helbronner station? Yeah me neither but Felix made me feel all slack for not posting the info already so I was forced to spend an unusually cruel length of time on the  Funivie Monte Bianco website so you don’t have to. Thanks Felix.

new lift

blue = new lift line, yellow house = current lift station

The new Funivie Monte Bianco looks like it will be, as we’d all hope, an architectural and engineering phenomenon that will sweep us from the Courmayeur valley to the top of Punta Helbronner in two segments. The new bottom tram will follow a totally new line from the base of the valley, Pontal d’Entréves, to a pimp new mid-station located looker’s left of the old one.

Spherical glass and steel cablecars will rotate as they ascend. According to the website, “The sphere is the shape with the lowest external surface compared to its volume. It has no edges or corners, and therefore can support its load equally on all sides. It has no structural defects and is the shape that requires less energy.” That and it looks like an old school NASA helmet, which should keep all the astronauts in the crowd happy.

Helbronner

Pontal d'Entréves

The 2-level, 3900 sqm base station at Pontal d’Entréves will be stainless steel, wood and glass with filtered natural light. The roof is designed to not only look all tech and futuristic but also to withstand high winds due to its sinusoidal construction, which, as we all know, is a curve described by the equation y  = a  sin x,  the ordinate being proportional to the sine of the abscissa. Did I mention the 336-space, 2-level underground parking?

HelbronnerPavillion du Mont Fréty will be three structures on two floors covering 2200 sqm that is designed to “fit elegantly amongst the alpine landscape” while fulfilling “the strict requirements of the cableway line.” To me it looks like a peaceful bed of snow clams. With giant killer teeth. But that’s just me. Time to cut back on the Adderall maybe.

Anyway, the upper station is 15 meters tall with large windowed surfaces featuring open scenic views. Shopping areas? Check. 97-seat Cinema? Duh. Restaurants and cafes? Naturalmente. The old restored station will serve as a museum that will remind everyone how we used to get to the top back in the olden days.

The new Pointe Helbronner will be 2250 sqm on four levels. Following is a condensed version of the website babble:

“Because of the extremely limited space available, the station will be constructed in a mostly vertical manner with cantilevered terraces, which emulate the natural elements of its environment. Structures are developed using high performance materials suited for their resistance to the elements and able to prevent the formation of snow and ice on their surface. Higher structures and external facings are in zinc titanium coated steel and thick glass windows designed to provide a specific scenic exposure. A circular scenic terrace of 14 meters in diameter will provide a 360˚ view of Mont Blanc, Dent du Géant, Grandes Jorasses and Vallée Blanche. A restaurant with a panoramic view and outdoor terrace will be located on the west side and a café with a panoramic terrace will be on the east.”

Punta Helbronner

Pointe Helbronner. Yellow = current station, green = new station.

And last but not least, Pointe Helbronner will be connected to the Torino Hut by a 70-meter elevator and 154-meter tunnel so that we can go from Courmayeur to the Torino Hut without taking off our flip flops. Now that’s what I call progress!

Torino Hut

The €75,000,000 project is planned to be finished in 2015, which in English means don’t hold your breath. Architects for the project are Carlo Cillara Rossi and Guido Incarbone. For more info and pictures of hard-working men with big tools, check out the website.

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TVMountain’s Chamonix Snow Report – 28 December 2011 – Glacier du Mort

Chamonix Snow Report

Hey guys, I’m back from dark, snowless Sweden. I know, I know, I missed some epic days but from the looks of the forecast there’s more to come.

Glacier du Mort, ChamonixAnd as for what was up there as of yesterday, check out the latest snow report from TVMountain which shows the crew taking advantage of the beau temps to do a lap on the ultra-classic Glacier of Death. ‘Spose the reason it’s called that is because it’s so killer?

And as for that forecast, all we can say for sure is that snow is coming. Chamonix Meteo is calling for 5cm at 1500m today, 25-50cm at 1500m tomorrow while blowin’ a hoolie, and moderate to heavy precip with rising temps on Saturday.

Then there’s Snow-Forecast predicting 67cm at 2440m through Saturday morning. And the Chamonix Tourist Office calling 71cm through Saturday night.

Glacier du Mort, Chamonix

Andreas Fransson Skis Mercedario or How Andreas and Bjarne Walked Across South America With Skis on Their Packs

south face Mercredario Argentina

You walked how many days for this?

Andreas: It’s not possible to ski here?

Local: No

Andreas: No?

Local: It’s finished. The season is finished.

Andreas Fransson and Bjarne Sahlén’s ‘ski’ trip through South America just keeps getting better and better. And no, I don’t mean the skiing…

How does a 40k,  2000 vertical meter walk-in sound to you? Yeah, I think I’ll give that one a miss as well.

In this episode, Andreas is gunning for the south face of 6720m Mercedario, the eighth highest mountain in the Andes. In the vid, Andreas calls it ‘The Dream Face’ but this ice sheet with a bit of sugar on top looks anything but dreamy to me.

Andreas Fransson

Mercredario, south face, 2000m, 40-45˚

But the greatest thing about this entire ordeal is how the attitudes of our two intrepid adventurers never falter and each new roadblock just seems to make them laugh and become that much more determined to make it happen.

Gotta love these guys, especially because they’re not afraid to nude up to liven up an episode.

Mercreadrio, South America

TVMountain/TeCrew Video Snow Report

Looks like the fine crew over at TVMountain.com will be picking up where Seb Montaz left off by filing regular video snow reports throughout the season thanks to support from Chamonix.net. This episode we get the pleasure of viewing the fine talents of the Te Crew, some of whom are back from their successful expedition to the Garhwal Himalaya. Welcome home, indeed.

Keep in mind that it’s pretty much been puking snow non-stop since this video was shot. When the lifts finally re-open there’s going to be some big days but keep in mind that along with the snow we’ve had gale force winds up high, which means foolhardy riders will die in avalanches. Make sure it’s not you or your bros.

Fresh Tracks Fandango!

K2 store ChamonixAfter the crew over at K2 figured out a way for us Chamonerds to find Fresh Tracks every single day of the winter, their next mission, being K2 and all, was to throw a bit of a soirée.

Yep, the OG rockers over at Chamonix’s new Fresh Tracks shop are inviting everyone to swing by for the unveiling of their shiny new store this Friday, 16 December. And yes, that would be tomorrow.

They’ll start off be squeezing as many people as possible into the new shop between 6:00 and 9:00 p.m. before kicking us all out and herding us over to Chambre 9 for Chamonix’s official premiere of Seth Morrison’s season edit, The Ordinary Skier. As you probably know, Seth and the crew filmed a big part of the movie in Chamonix last spring and if you can get past the trailer’s overly dramatic soundtrack and completely ridiculous commentary (that makes playing in the snow sound as serious as hostage negotiations) you’ll be delighted to find the vid also features cameo appearances by extraordinary skiers like Chamonix locs Nate Wallace and ‘American Dave’ Rosenbarger.

It will also be interesting to see how long it takes Black to make it from K2 Europa HQ in Germany to Chamonix in his new 555-horsepower K2 mobile. Any guesses?

Black's got a new whip.

Milner’s Waffle House – Year of the Bike

After months spent pedaling our legs off in the most amazing autumn anyone can remember it’s finally dumping outside, the crew have micro-cleaned the bikes and stashed them for the winter, everyone is stoked out of their minds to be making powder turns, and what does illustrious lensman Dan Milner do? Why he goes and cues up a slide show on … you guessed it … mountain biking!

Which is exactly why everyone should go. Because if this man and his incessant waffling are not brutally humbled by a relentless barrage of unbridled heckling then we will continue to be assaulted by his stunning images and clever insight into exotic places we’ll never go, interesting people we’ll never meet and outstanding rides we’ll never enjoy. Why? Because we all know that humanoid life as we know it simply cannot exist outside our dreamy little valley.

So can we really be expected to sit through another one of Milner’s rambling diatribes on his whimsical theory – along with his so-called ‘photographic evidence’ – of life beyond the bubble? Yes! Why? Because we must heckle! We must heckle and we must never pass up even the slightest opportunity to experience the riding skills of some of Chamonix’s most almost-famous celebutantes including ‘Slingshot’ Jez Wilson, Seban ‘Lid Spin’ Liljeberg, Mike ‘They Don’t Call Me The Bike For Nuthin’ Foster, and perchance, the delightful Angie Wardle.

So go and heckle and laugh at the expense of people who fall off their bikes and hurt themselves. Trust me, you’ll all be better men for it.

Learn more about Dan Milner on his website and check out what he gets up to in his leisure time on his Facebook page.

Roch Malnuit Gets Some Air Time

As you know, Roch Malnuit is a homeboy Chamonix slayer who’s been climbing, sliding and flying around these mountains since he was born. But what you might not be aware of is that his buddy Timothee Nalet thought it was about time Roch got a bit more air time – and we’re not talking about the kind that comes from hurling yourself off sheer rock faces – so he posted this sweet mini-documentary.

Oh yeah, and did I mention he’s an OG shredder as well? How about some first snowboard descent action on Mt Buet?

Want more? Swing by his website and see how Roch’s rollin’.