Saturday, April 2, 2016

A legendary ski trail

If there's one famous trail at the French-Swiss border, north of Chamonix, it's the formidable steep run called “Le Pas de Chavanette”, that's also known as the "Mur Suisse" or "Swiss Wall”.

It's located on the Swiss slope of the border. It's a particularly steep and challenging trail, part of the Portes du Soleil interconnect, that can be reached from either Avoriaz or Les Crosets and Champéry.

The slope falls into the French-Swiss rating of Orange, which means that it's in a class by itself (over double diamond). It's only 0.6 mile long for a 1,086 feet vertical drop meters and a 40 degrees grade at its very top!

This said, just yesterday (yeah, April 1st!), the famed trail was said to have been acquired by the Qataris that are buying everything in sight around Europe. I read it on Facebook; those who posted it asked the readers to suggest a new name for the trail, and even though I smelled the April's fool joke, I responded with a Savoy's dialect name along the lines of “Don't trip yourself”.

This is not just a name, but a sound advice as many have fallen and tumbled to their death on this almost vertical slope, peppered with rock outcrops. I also added that if a Qatari skier wore a burka, it might get her poles entangled in her dress or she wouldn't be able see if are skis were about to cross, causing her to fall and tumble down.

I concluded my less than politically correct response by saying that whether the slope ownership were Qatari or Swiss, the pitch wouldn't forgive anyone under any circumstances...

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