Christmas week in Courmayeur is always an interesting time of year. The 2012 version has given us a season’s worth of conditions in just a few days. From fabulous powder to pouring rain and then from soaring temperatures and sun terrace lunches to freezing fog and cement-like moguls. The powder was easily the most enjoyable of all the conditions we’ve had, almost a week’s worth of snow and hardly anyone in town led to conditions that many people travel half way around the word for.
Sadly the wave of warm, wet weather that has engulfed the Alps recently tore through Courmayeur and turned both the pistes and powder runs into knee-deep porridge. Driving rain at 3000m at this time of year is not unheard of but it has a ruinous effect that takes a few days to recover from. Luckily the rain has gone now, the sun has come out and we’re waiting for a big storm that should bring back the sort of conditions everyone was enjoying just a week ago.
Once Christmas Day is done and dusted the big-money crowds from Milan, Turin and Genova arrive in Courmayeur to shop, pose and just maybe ski a little – if there’s time. Walking down the Via Roma, Courmayeur’s main shopping street, is a shopaholic’s dream. Whether you’re a fan of the latest ski fashions from Superdry, Moncler, Gucci or D&G you’ll find some of Europe’s most expensive alpine clothing being modelled, fussed over and paraded for all to see. Emporio Armani now provide the ski instructors’ outfits and there are more fur coats in town than you could ever imagine seeing in one place. Worryingly, many of fur coat owner’s four-legged friends are themselves rigged out in diamante doggy jackets.
Despite the number of people in town Christmas and Boxing Days up on the slopes were surprisingly quiet. Given the set of brand new skin-tight ski strides the bloke in the picture below was sporting it’s probably a good thing that not many people were around to see him…