A unique trip with one of the world’s great trail runners, Mimmi Kotka. We’ll take our time exploring the trails of Chamonix, France, and pick up tips from Mimmi and other special guests from Chamonix’s diverse world of trail running.
September 12-17, 2023
6 days, 5 nights
$300 single supplement
Five nights at the three-star Hotel Oustalet in Chamonix, France. All breakfasts and 4 dinners, guided runs daily with guest Mimmi Kotka, round-trip Geneva-Chamonix transfers, all transfers to and from trailheads, special guests during group dinners, license-free photography, Run the Alp Guide to Trail Running in the Alps and Guide to Trail Racing in the Alps sent prior to the trip.
This September, Run the Alps is offering a unique trip exploring the iconic trails of Chamonix, France with our friend, Mimmi Kotka. We’ll trail run under glaciers, along high mountain balconies and along famous sections of the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc races and Chamonix’s popular Vertical Kilometer. These are some of the world’s best-known trail running routes!
For those of you who don’t know Mimmi, she’s low-key, smart, empathetic, and a lot of fun. Mimmi, her husband Toni and canine sidekick Enzo have lived part-time in the Chamonix valley for a number of years now. Sponsored by La Sportiva, she also happens to be one of the world’s strongest ultrarunners. (Though she’ll never mention it, we will.) Mimmi has won or been on the podium at a long list of trail races around the world, including finishing third in last year’s Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc. You can read more about Mimmi, here.
Mimmi isn’t just a trail runner, either. She also has an advanced degree in Nutrition, and is a partner in Moonvalley. She has a fun sense of humor, and always has interesting insights to share on trail running.
Along the way, Mimmi will share her tips from years of trail running in the Alps. Each night at dinner in Chamonix, we’ll be joined by special guests. Last year’s trip included Black Diamond Skyrunner Hillary Gerardi, and The North Face athlete Meg MacKenzie, among others. This year’s guests will be announced in spring 2023.
And yes, a certain trail running sidekick of Mimmi’s, Enzo, will make an appearance. If you are coming on the trip primarily to see Enzo, don’t worry. We won’t tell anyone.
Although Mimmi and other athletes are joining us, this is an inclusive trip designed for all levels. This trip is about having fun and sharing some of our favorite trails with you. We will run at a gentle pace and there will be plenty of chances to shorten each day’s run depending on how you are feeling.
Guiding this trip will be Run the Alps guide Marion Giraud, a licensed International Mountain Leader. Read more about her guiding experience and skills here.
This will be a unique and memorable trip. Spaces are limited to 10 guests to assure an informal, fun experience. This trip will sell out.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. We look forward to hosting you here in Chamonix!
Please note: Day-to-day itinerary and guests are subject to change based on weather conditions and guest availability. All route distances and vertical are approximate, and options exist to shorten each day.
You’ll arrive in Chamonix via a shared Mountain Dropoffs shuttle. In the late afternoon, there’s the option of a casual group run of 6.8 km with 360 meters of vertical, to the colorful Chalet Floria, perched along the Petit Balcon Sud with a view of the Chamonix valley.
Tonight, we’ll be joined by a special trail running guest. Guests will be announced here in spring 2023.
We’ll take the local Mont Blanc Express trail to the village of Montroc. From there, we’ll climb out of the Col Montets, then run the classic route along the stunning Balcon Sud back to Chamonix.
Along the way, we’ll climb a few short ladders and stop at scenic Lac Blanc. Mimmi will share a short nutrition talk at Lac Blanc over lunch. Dinner tonight will be on your own, giving you a chance to explore Chamonix and have a quiet evening to yourself.
Chamonix resident and Black Diamond-sponsored trail runner Hillary Gerardi is one of the world’s best technical trail runners. She’s set course records around the world, and routinely runs airy ridges and over highly technical terrain. We’ll pick up tips from Hillary on how to run over technical terrain. Starting along the valley floor we’ll run towards the source of the Arve river where we then climb through the glacial moraines. A coffee break at Le Chapeau Refuge is a must, before we go higher, on some more technical uphills, to the high meadow of La Pendant.
Hillary is also Development Manager at CREA-Mont Blanc, an internationally known alpine research nonprofit based in Chamonix. So, along the way, we’ll get to learn about climate change in the Alps, and a bit about the flora and fauna of the Chamonix valley. Tonight, Hillary will also join us for dinner in town!
Today we have a run that we think will create some great memories– up to the Refuge Plan de l’Aiguille, perched above Chamonix on the “Balcon Nord.” (The refuge also has the best tart in the valley, so we’ll take a stop here!)
From there, we’ll run the alpine balcony to the famous Mer de Glace glacier and Montenvers cog railway train station. All that remains is the run down to town! Or the option exists to take the cog train if you need a break.
Tonight we’ll be joined by another special trail running guest at dinner. Guests will be announced here in spring 2023.
For our final day, we’ll climb out of Chamonix on the dramatic and inspiring Kilometre Vertical. We’ll learn how to move over steep terrain, using wire cables, as we switch back our way up the “VK” race course from the Mont Blanc Marathon series of races. There’s even the option to go higher, all the way to the top of Le Brévent, high above town.
Today we say Au Revoir to the other Run the Alps guests as we catch our shared shuttles to the Geneva Airport or continue our travels elsewhere.
Plan to arrive at the Geneva, Switzerland the day your tour starts, no later than 2 pm, or noon if you would like to make our optional run. This tour includes a shared shuttle airport pickup in Geneva. Run the Alps is available to assist with bookings if you would like to arrive early to enjoy Chamonix, France.
Plan your departure for the day the tour ends at the earliest. The Geneva airport is only ninety minutes away by shuttle, so it is possible to leave the day the tour ends as long as your flight departure time is not before 10am. If you do need to depart earlier, a private shuttle can typically be arranged at a cost of $220.
Want a helping hand to get ready? Run the Alps offers pre-trip coaching at our cost as a benefit to our guests. To read about our Personalized Prep Program, start here. Spaces are limited and this program routinely sells out. Contact us if you’re interested!