Chamonix, here we come
Tomorrow, 24 families in Chamonix, France will return a favor for 24 Aspen-area students.
The local youngsters are headed overseas as part of the Sister Cities student exchange program. The decidedly excited bunch gathered in the library at Aspen Middle School Monday night for parting instructions and a “pack check.”
The seventh- and eighth-graders from the middle school and Aspen Country Day School will be accompanied on their 12-day adventure by four chaperones, all of whom are teachers at the two schools.
“The Chamonix kids who were here in October stayed in these kids’ homes,” explained Jill Sheeley, secretary of Aspen’s Sister Cities program. “And the Aspen kids will stay in their homes this time.”
The Aspen youngsters have a busy itinerary for their stay. It includes skiing (some will enjoy a daylong ski tour down the famous Valley Blanche), hiking, sightseeing, sampling French cuisine, and relaxing in Chamonix. And at the end of their stay, the students will enjoy a one-day, whirlwind tour of Paris.
“We’re going to France – they don’t even shower there – we’re set,” said AMS eighth-grader Dusty Spence, showing off his decidedly petite bag during the pack check.
Eighth-grader Russell Wontor, going abroad for the first time, is looking forward to the skiing, of all things.
“I think it’s gonna be great,” he said, “and hopefully, no one will get lost.”
Seventh-grader Lindsay Patterson said, “My French isn’t very good, but I’ll get by.”
“My host and I got along [in October], but she does more music and I’m more into sports,” Patterson said. “She plays like every single instrument.”
“I’ve never been out of the U.S.,” said eighth-grader Traci Young. “I’m very excited, and little scared. I’m most excited about being in Paris and seeing the glacier in Chamonix.”
“The only thing I’m scared about is everything that’s happening in Chamonix, with the avalanches and the fires in the tunnel of Mount Blanc,” said eighth-grader Fallon Feast.
Feast also admitted to being a little worried about falling in a crevasse, but beyond that, she’s cool. On the bright side, Feast said, “I got along really well with my host student, which was surprising. She and I just just talked.”
Feast also pointed out that her bag has a good deal of “extra space,” for hauling loot back home, she explained.
Sporting a duffel bag no bigger than a bread box, seventh-grader Larkin Flynn’s luggage was far and away the smallest of the bunch.
“I just stuffed it in,” said Flynn of his handiwork.
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Bluebird skies, spring-like temperatures and a few inches of snow from Monday night’s storm helped Snowmass skiers and snowboarders cruise into the season Wednesday for opening day.