Our Ski Groups Specialist, Vikki, has just returned from Monster Ski 2016 where she and a group of avid skiers took on a fantastic 3 day challenge to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis research. So far nearly £25,000 has been raised, great work!
On Monday 14th March 2016 I met with the guys and girls who were taking part in this year’s Monster Ski 2016 – an awesome trip to raise funds for the MS Trust. The Monster Ski challenge is to ski 30,000 vertical feet for 3 consecutive days, which is the equivalent of Mount Everest 3 times over! This is no mean feat and this is the 2nd year I have joined these amazing people in taking part in this fantastic challenge covering Chamonix & Courmayeur.
Monster Ski 2016: Day 1
On the first day on Monster Ski 2016 we skied Les Houches – everyone was on top of their game and raring to go. We skied the whole day stopping briefly for lunch and everyone had hit their targets by 4pm. After a bus ride home everyone was in need of a few drinks to unwind.
Morale was high having hit their goal day one although as the evening progressed the reality of what lay ahead sunk in. Everyone was pretty exhausted and I for sure used muscles I didn’t know I had! Out of the 12 of us taking part there were 2 people who had MS and a few others who had loved ones affected by this illness – everyone had their own personal reason for taking part and after a fantastic dinner in Chamonix we all headed to bed for a relatively early night.
Monster Ski 2016: Day 2
After a hearty breakfast (and debrief on which muscles were aching) we all bussed to Les Grand Montets in Chamonix for day 2 of the challenge. Having nailed the vertical drop on day 1 we were pleased to know that day 2’s ski area offered an even better vertical drop and I think we got excited by the thought we may hit our target which may allow for a long lunch in the sun! We made the most of the first run as the wind was picking up so we got a gondola right to the top and skied from top to bottom in order to get some decent height in. Lucky we did that as high winds meant closure of the top gondola – lots of short runs and chair lifts followed. Unfortunately my day was slightly interrupted as one of the group (my sister) caught an edge on the 3rd run which meant a blood wagon off the mountain, ambulance to Argentière, x-rays, leg splints, anti-inflammatories and a HEFTY bill! She is fine I hasten to add, but having damaged her LCL ligament the challenge was over for Lottie. The GROUP however powered on and went for it only to be back at the hotel by 5pm having nailed the 2nd day. They were by now flagging; mentally and physically exhausted having put their bodies through this rigorous work out.
Again, that evening we gathered for drinks and talked about the day’s events, however everyone was naturally less animated by this point as there was a serious level of panic about day 3 and how some of them would cope. Both of the people with MS were incredible, both have been diagnosed in the last 18 months and both with their own stories about how their lives have been affected. They remained resolute and fixated on their goal and at no point did they ever show signs of throwing the towel in, even though it was obvious how exhausted they were. Some within the group had trained for months, put themselves on diets, been to the gym in order to get themselves in a good physical state and some (me for sure) had done nothing in order to train for this! Night 2 involved lots of pizza, some drinks and for a few a trip to the casino (where they all came back with more money than they left with!). Everyone was so supportive of each other and I witnessed some amazing moments of teamwork which reminded me why we were out there and why everyone had all worked so hard in the run up to the trip.
Monster Ski 2016: Day 3
Final day and one everyone had been looking forward to for a few reasons. Firstly the challenge was nearly complete, the sun was shining and we were Italy bound for a day in Courmayeur. Armed with our passports we headed for the tunnel. After a long cable car up the mountain we arrived at the top with the most amazing views over Italy and Mont Blanc. Everyone was in great spirits, despite nursing aching limbs, numb limbs and for one person no feeling at all in one limb.
For all that the skiing would be fantastic we were going to have to work hard to get our vertical drops in. The pistes were empty and for most of the day it felt like we were the only ones on the mountain. The morning was tough and a massive plate of carbonara was a welcome break at lunch time. The Guides weren’t hanging around and after a brief 25 minute stop we were back on our skis and off to continue with the challenge. Courtesy of our ski tracks app’s we were able to keep a close eye on our vertical descent although some of the group (who will remain nameless) were more concerned with the speed reading and one was delighted to hit 64mph!! By 4.30pm we had hit our target and were reunited with the others for an emotional high five at the bottom of the cable car.
Monster Ski 2016 was once again a totally awesome few days with totally awesome group of people who took part in a totally awesome challenge! Amazing amounts of money has been raised for a fantastic cause and I feel very lucky and privileged to have met these people. I’m looking forward to Monster ski 2017 already!
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