Run Fast, Eat Slow Women’s Retreat with Elyse Kopecky 

Summary

Join Elyse Kopecky, trail runner and 3 x New York Times best-selling cookbook author of Run Fast. Eat Slow. for a women’s trail running retreat in Chamonix, France and Courmayeur, Italy.

Date

August 19-25, 2023

Length

7 days, 6 nights

Tour Category

Village based with one night at a high mountain hut

Tour Challenge

Learn more

Fees

$4,495/person Double Occupancy (14 available)
$5,395/person Single Occupancy (6 available)

Whats included

5 nights at a deluxe chalet (either shared ensuite room with twin beds, or a single occupancy ensuite room). One night at a high mountain hut, all dinners, lunches, breakfasts, trail snacks, roundtrip shared shuttle from Geneva Airport to Chamonix, wine tasting, in-tour lifts, trains, and taxis, Pré Saint Didier Spa, license-free photography, Run the Alps certified trail running guides, unique welcome package, special evening talk with champion Skyrunner Hillary Gerardi, Run the Alps' Guide to Trail Running in the Alps and additional supporting materials.

Description

Run the Alps is excited to offer an Alps trail running retreat with three-time New York Times Bestselling author Elyse Kopecky. Her books “Run Fast. Eat Slow,” “Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow,” and “Rise & Run” have transformed how we think about the intersection of food and sports. 

Join Elyse and other like-minded women for a trail running adventure in the heart of the Alps. You’ll make wonderful friends and memories on this retreat, taking in the trails of Chamonix, France and Courmayeur, Italy – including a night at an alpine mountain hut on the side of a glacier! 

Elyse Kopecky and Shalane Flanagan cooking

Elyse with Olympic medalist and New York City Marathon winner Shalane Flanagan. (Courtesy photo.)

Elyse is well-known and much adored for her bestselling cookbooks on improving running performance and long-term health and happiness. On this tour, which is open to all levels of trail runner, we’ll explore the best trails of the region while eating well and taking in classic alps culture. Elyse will give a talk on nutrition and take us through run warm-up and stretching sessions. She will be joined by Run the Alps trail running guides who are some of the best and most knowledgeable in the region. We’ll even have a special evening visit with Chamonix local and Black Diamond professional athlete Hillary Gerardi, one of the world’s top runners on highly technical, Skyrunning terrain.  

Trail Running Balcon Nord, Chamonix

Running along the Grand Balcon Nord, with the Mont Blanc range as our backdrop. (Courtesy photo.)

Chamonix is the world capital of trail running with a wide range of beautiful trails. Dramatic mountain gondolas provide options for when we want to take it easier on a climb or descent. We’ll stay in tranquil deluxe chalets in Chamonix, where nourishing vegetarian meals will be cooked by a guest chef. We’ll also head out to sample the local cuisine and atmosphere, as well as enjoy a wine-tasting session. 

As part of the adventure, we’ll climb deep into the mountains to spend the night alongside the Le Tour glacier at the French Alpine Club’s modern Refuge Albert Premier at 2702m. 

One day of this tour will include a trip through the 11 km-long Mont Blanc tunnel to the rustic town of Courmayeur, Italy, where we’ll experience a different culture and cuisine, and relax at the thousand-year-old Prè-st-Didier Roman thermal spa. 


Please note: Day-to-day itinerary is subject to change based on weather conditions. All route distances and vertical are approximate.

Day-by-day
Day 1

You’ll arrive at the Geneva, Switzerland airport and take a 90-minute shared shuttle to Chamonix, France where you can settle into our chalet accommodations and get to know each other.

The centrally located luxury chalets each have a hot-tub, sauna, and terrace for outdoor dining – and wonderful views!

In the evening we’ll meet up to go through an overview of the tour, before enjoying a delicious catered dinner.

Chalet Sanaz, run by Mountain Base, in Chamonix valley.

Chalet Sanaz – one or our luxury chalets in the heart of Chamonix valley. (Photo: Mountain Base).

  • Chalet Planards 1 or 2 or Chalet Sanaz
  • Dinner
Day 2

It’s time to explore some mountain trails! We’ll head up to Lac Blanc and run the Grand Balcon Sud – an iconic, winding single track traverse facing the enormity of the Mont-Blanc massif. We’ll stop at the quaint and colorful Chalet Floria, with plenty of time en route to take photos. We’ll have many options to extend our runs, or use gondolas to skip an ascent or descent.

We’ll return to our chalets with time to relax before enjoying another nutritious and tasty dinner. Tonight, our group will be joined by top mountain athlete Hillary Gerardi, who will share her experiences and training tips. Hillary will stay for dinner, allowing plenty of time to get to know this remarkable person. 

Female runner posing outside café Floria, Chamonix

Outside Café Floria, on the way up to Lac Blanc and the Grand Balcon Sud. (Courtesy photo.)

  • Chalet Planards 1 or 2 or Chalet Sanaz
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • 10 - 15km, 600-1450m ascent, 400-1450m descent
Day 3

Today, we’ll explore the other side of the Chamonix valley, taking in another high alpine path beneath the granite spires, called aiguilles, of the Mont Blanc range. We’ll pass the century-old Montenvers hotel high above the Mer de Glace glacier, before climbing to Signal Forbes, a dramatic viewpoint, then we’ll continue running above treeline to join Claude and his team at the Refuge Plan de L’Aiguille for their locally-famous fresh tarts. The descent to Chamonix winds down through forest, or you can ride the legendary Aiguille du Midi cable car down to town! 

Trail runners enjoying hot chocolate at the Refuge Plan de L'Aiguille, Chamonix

Enjoying hot chocolate at the Refuge Plan de l’Aiguille, above Chamonix. (Courtesy photo.)

This evening we’ll head into Chamonix for another top-notch culinary experience, this time sampling some traditional Savoyard cuisine.

  • Chalet Planards 1 or 2 or Chalet Sanaz
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • 12-18km, 1450m ascent, 400-1450m descent
Day 4

Today we’ll explore the other side of Mont Blanc in Courmayeur, Italy. We’ll traverse smooth single track above treeline, with stunning views of the Mont-Blanc range. At Rifugio Bonatti, we’ll stop for a delicious authentic Italian lunch, then head down into the wild Val Ferret. We’ll travel by taxi to the Roman Pre St Didier spa and finally back through the Mont Blanc tunnel to Chamonix, for a shared catered dinner.

Elyse Kopecky trail running beside Lac Blanc in the Chamonix valley.

Elyse running alongside Lac Blanc. (Courtesy photo.)

  • Chalet Planards 1 or 2 or Chalet Sanaz
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • 11km, 820m ascent, 710m descent
Day 5

We’ll head off on an little-known, unmarked dramatic route up, up, up to the French Alpine Club’s Albert Premier hut, a dramatic alpine lodge just a stone’s throw away from the Le Tour glacier. Here, we’ll spend a night in the middle of the Mont Blanc massif, where we can take in the tranquility and watch the alps turn pink as the sun sets. We’ll need to carry a bit extra in our packs for our stay up here – you’ll get a packing list to ensure you bring the essentials.

Courtney Dauwalter watching the sun set at the Refuge Albert Premier in the Chamonix valley

Watching the sun go down at the Refuge Albert Premier. (Kim Strom).

  • Albert Premier mountain hut
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • 4km, 1200m ascent, 20m descent (option for shorter ascent using gondola)
Day 6

After a classic climber’s breakfast at Albert Premier, we’ll take a high traverse to the Col de Balme, a mountain café on the Swiss border, where we can pause for a cafe au lait. Then it’s time to run back down to the valley! From the quiet village of Le Tour, we’ll run through pastures towards Chamonix. An optional two-stage gondola descent offers the chance to rest your legs.

We’ll visit a small farm to learn about alpine cheese-making before heading back to Chamonix.

Tonight we’ll have a memorable catered dinner in our chalets, celebrating our shared adventure in the Alps.

  • Chalet Planards 1 or 2 or Chalet Sanaz
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • 10-20km, 400m ascent, 1600m descent (option for shorter descent using gondola and bus)
Day 7

We’ve made new friends, learned new tips for trail running through mountain terrain, enjoyed some wonderful regional meals, and benefited from Elyse’s culinary expertise. Now it’s time to head our separate ways after a breakfast of french baguettes and croissants at our chalets.

  • Chalet Planards 1 or 2 or Chalet Sanaz
  • Breakfast
Arrival

Plan to arrive the day your tour starts, at the latest. Note that flights from the US usually arrive on the following day, so schedule accordingly. The closest airport is Geneva, Switzerland. This tour includes a shared shuttle airport pickup at Geneva airport.

For those wanting to spend a few extra days in Chamonix, the “Vallée du Trail” with over 500 kilometers of trail running, we can assist in extending your time and providing self-guided trail running materials, either before or after your tour.



Departure

Plan your departure for the day the tour ends at the earliest. 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’s departure is not before 10 am. If you do need to depart earlier, a private shuttle can typically be arranged at a cost of $220.



Additional Information

Contact us any time if you have any questions.

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!

Terms and Conditions: Read up on Run the Alps’ Terms and Conditions, Covid-19 policy, and travel insurance.

Not Included 

Flights to and from Geneva; Drinks with dinner;  Tip for guides.

For unique trail running clothing, visit Run the Alps partners, Insane Inside.