Heading North.

It’s been an interesting first three months here in Chamonix, France. There was a great visit by the entire Smart family over the holidays, where my middle brother got engaged! December in Chamonix provided lonely Aiguille du Midi bins, and some of the most crowded streets I have ever walked on. Once the holidays finished, I exhaled and smiled as I was able to walk a straight line down main street. However, it didn’t last for long, and as the days passed, the mountains became the holiday street. I find myself longing for the quiet Cascades, and the solitude that one is able to find there.

 Douglas, Devin, and Irene Smart at the top of the Aiguille du Midi.

Douglas, Devin, and Irene Smart at the top of the Aiguille du Midi.

 (From left to right) Erin, Miles, and Liz Smart skiing the pre-equipped arête off the Aiguille du Midi in December.

(From left to right) Erin, Miles, and Liz Smart skiing the pre-equipped arête off the Aiguille du Midi in December.

I wasn’t sure how I would handle not being able to work as a mountain guide in France yet. I tried finding odd jobs to start: babysitting, driving, assistant guiding, and even helped an event with 20 Scottish Delegates. It’s been good, but not great. And while the training for my next guide courses and exams has been good, I am ready to ski guide again.

This March, I will be heading up to Lofoten, Norway and will be guiding for Northern Alpine Guides. I am so excited to see this new place, get my skins wet, and be back in some quieter mountains.

Don’t get me wrong, Chamonix hasn’t been all bad!

 Erin Smart skiing powder on a quiet December day. Photo by Miles Smart

Erin Smart skiing powder on a quiet December day. Photo by Miles Smart

The beginning of this journey of "moving" to France has been rocky, but it has solidified what matters most to me about my life, and the mountains. The jury is still out on where I will call home for the next five years, but it's a quality problem.