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Go off-piste in the Vallée Blanche

The French town of Chamonix is a famed mountaineering and skiing destination. It is also the last stop for skiers descending one of France's best ski runs. The Vallée Blanche is a 12-mile off-piste course that's as memorable for its breathtaking views as it is for the day-long descent.

Vallée Blanche is French for white valley, and its an apt name for a region that offers stunning panoramas of the French, Swiss and Italian Alps. The pinnacle of the region and the starting point of the ski route is the Aiguille du Midi, a needle of rock thrusting defiantly over the other peaks. To reach it, travelers must take a cable car from Chamonix. The height, thousands of miles above sea level, can be dizzying, but once skiers get a handle on their surroundings, they're probably not wont to leave anytime soon.

To get to the ski route itself, skiers must make a brief hike along a ridge to the starting point. From there, it's an hours-long ride down the mountain that can be done alone or with a guide. According to, there is a mountain hut where weary skiers can stop for food and drink before finishing the trip. Once in Chamonix, skiers can kick back and relax or else start planning a mountaineering trek for the next day.

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