A few of us joined Austin as Collineige's Jean-Marie Olianti put him through his paces in preparation for the big day. With only five days skiing already under his belt, and despite another three planned under the expert tutelage of Jean-Marie, the Vallée Blanche presented quite a challenge. Starting at 3842 metres in the shadow of Mont Blanc, and at 22km in length it is one of the world's great off-piste runs.
As dawn broke on day four it was apparent that the weather was good enough to go ahead. Austin with Jean-Marie, Mark and a couple of journalists took the Aiguille du Midi cablecar to the top and then roped together to edge 100 metres down the potentially lethal ridge leading to the beginning of the run. Once past that hurdle there was no stopping Austin (apart from one minor collision with Mark....) and he arrived several hours later, exhausted but exhilarated, in time for lunch and a well deserved drink at The Montenvers Hotel, beside the foot of the glacier. Challenge completed.
You can see the inside story from Austin and co on You Tube
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