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Watch these night skiers use headlamps to light their way down the mountain

NOCTA Project #1
Night skiing is not a new thing. Mountain resorts across the globe have been using large lights to illuminate their slopes after dark for years, allowing skiers and snowboarders to extend their time on the hill. But when pro skiers Bruno Compagnet and Layla Kerley took to the legendary Vallée Blanche line in Chamonix, France, to film the stunning video above, they had no such luxuries. Instead, the duo had to navigate down this epic run using only their headlamps to light the way.

The Vallée Blanche is an off-piste (backcountry) route that stretches for more than 12 miles and provides a vertical descent of nearly 8,860 feet across a massive glacier that is part of the Mont Blanc massif (mountain range). This makes it one of the top ski lines in all of Europe, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape for skiers and snowboarders to soak in along the way. The route is open to anyone with an intermediate skill level, but does require a guide at all times.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Considering their impressive résumés, it is unlikely that Compagnet or Kerley needed a guide to help them down the mountain. Both have been skiing big lines all over the planet for years now and have extensive experience in the backcountry. On this descent, however, they weren’t able to enjoy the spectacular views of the Chamonix Valley since their headlamps could only illuminate just a few feet in front of them. That makes for some crazy skiing, but one very enjoyable video.

The clip comes our way courtesy of Yucca Films, which is based in the Chamonix area and focuses on outdoor and adventure videos. It took just three hours to film the entire clip, which was shot at an altitude of 12,604 feet on the Vallée Blanche route. Since it was after midnight, it was also quite cold on the mountain, with the skiers enduring temperatures that dipped well below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

To get started, Compagnet and Kerley first had to take the famed Aiguille du Midi cable car up the mountain. Twenty minutes later, they were dropped off in a snowy tunnel. At that point, they turned on their headlamps, stepped into their skis, and set off into the night. Their descent is captured beautifully in the short film, which could change our perception of night skiing forever.

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Kraig Becker
Kraig Becker is a freelance outdoor writer who loves to hike, camp, mountain bike, trail run, paddle, or just about any other…
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