All Part of the Alpine Experience
Book overview: All Part of the Alpine Experience is a personal perspective of the world’s most famous ski resort Chamonix Mont Blanc, the birthplace of alpinism & of extreme winter-sports. John B. McGrath is a qualified New Zealand ski instructor who worked as a luxury chalet chef in Chamonix Mont Blanc for a winter season. The book looks at all the facets which combine to create the ultimate alpine experience. It poses the question does Chamonix Mont Blanc deserve its prestigious title. John provides an invaluable insider’s look into Chamonix's history, hospitality, the chalet business, mountaineering, the environment, cuisine, (its heart-beat) & of course snow skiing. A must read for anyone who loves winter-sports, mountaineering or is contemplating spending sometime in the European Alps. The book is a brilliant blend of anecdotes & information, wry reflections & humour. It is also an exploration of what prompts human beings to push themselves to the limits & beyond. So why do five million visitors every year pay homage at the foot of Mont Blanc?
Preview: “Life is not about the number of breaths you take but by the number of moments that take your breath away.” Anon
“I am standing at the entrance to the Vallée Blanche in the Chamonix Valley which is 3,842 meters above sea level. It’s sometime in February 2010 which marks the middle of my ski season in Chamonix Mont Blanc. This is the highest altitude I have ever been to and even superior in height to the tallest peak in my native New Zealand, Mount Cook/Aoraki. It has snowed ponderously for the last four days but has finally stopped & there are perfect crystal clear blue skies. As I struggle a little to acclimatise I am mesmerised by Europe’s tallest peak, Mont Blanc, whose crown I think I could easily reach by teeing off with my One Wood - it seems that close up here on top of the European Alps.