What happens if someone asks: what sensations do you feel when you ski?
Our instant reflex is to recall a memory that transports us back into the past where we experience this sensation all over again. Perhaps a sensation of freedom? Of feeling alive? Of becoming one with the natural slope beneath our feet? A feeling of surrender? Surrendering to the slope, to the force of gravity on our body that makes us slide.
We asked Lara Paul, a young skier from the village of Verbier in Switzerland, about her passion for skiing and the associated sensations. That pure, essential feeling of the wind caressing your cheeks, the sun gently warming your skin, the energy surging through your body as you enjoy every facet of the mountain terrain, the feeling inspired by the sight of a smile or the sound of your friends’ happy laughter as you share the beauty of this moment.
We spent a weekend following Lara and her friends in the resort of Champex-Lac, exploring and discovering a region full of soul and charm. Making our way uphill on touring skis, far from groomed terrain, for the thrill of skiing down a virgin slope, or exploring the resort’s diverse spectrum of prepared pistes. In the evening, resting by the fire in the Relais de l’Arpette, warmly welcomed by Berndt and Nour, and sampling their amazing Swiss fondue! This inn can be accessed by hikers, skiers, walkers and nature lovers. A shelter, rest and a moment suspended in time await you here.
Champex-Lac, Switzerland's Little Canada
Champex-Lac is a small mountain area at the foot of Mont Blanc. Often described as Switzerland's Little Canada, the region boasts a mountain lake and numerous forests. Champex comes from the word Campellum, which means "small field". From the moment you arrive in this village, you naturally feel a sense of freedom and calm, inspired by the peaceful sensation of a vast, distant field.
This is a place where people welcome you and are eager to offer you a pleasant experience, a memorable moment of joy and happiness. If you're a fan of magical places, you'll find it hard to leave!
Lara, or the epitome of a pure and authentic skier
Lara loves skiing. Lara loves sharing the experience of skiing to enjoy it to the full. When Lara skis, all her sensory faculties are activated: the feeling of the snow under her skis and the associated gentle glide, the smell of the fir trees, the sensation of the sun on her skin, the cold that crystallises her smile, the sound of her skis chasing the snow away as she turns or of her friends’ laughter in the distance. Over these two days, she is taking us along to discover the slopes of Champex-Lac with her friends Tina, Quentin and Paul. A special energy radiates from this group of skiers, an exuberant energy, filled with sunshine, joy, friendship and sharing. Is it the sensation of skiing that drives them, brings them together and energises them?
Hybrid, versatile equipment
Lara, Tina, Paul and Quentin were looking for a varied experience. Finding it impossible to choose between downhill skiing and ski touring, we opted for both! We followed the group on piste skis in the morning, exploring all the slopes in the resort, enjoying the terrain, the fir trees, the natural moguls, the variations, the gradients of the descents.. then, switching our equipment to walking mode, we set off to look for a little unspoilt area, out of reach for most people, where the mountain can exist entirely from its natural resources and where humans have yet to make their mark. Here, at the top of this mountain, time stood still. We savoured the pleasure of slowing down, observing, surrendering to this vast expanse, experiencing the effects of the changing light at the end of the day, all reminding us of the beauty of nature and the importance of respecting and preserving it.
We chose Dynastar M-CROSS skis, playful, versatile skis capable of adapting to all kinds of terrain, and fitted them with LOOK PIVOT bindings and the CAST system to allow us to switch between alpine skiing and ski touring mode. For our boots, we opted for Lange’s XT3 TOUR HYBRID, offering a perfect fusion of high-performance for descents and lightweight comfort for ascents, as well as Gripwalk soles for good grip on the ground.