Book overview All Part of the Alpine Experience is a personal perspective of the world’s most famous ski resort Chamonix Mont Blanc, the birthplace of alpinism and of extreme winter-sports. John McGrath is a qualified New Zealand ski instructor who worked as an executive chef in Chamonix Mont Blanc for a winter season. The book looks at all the facets which combine to create the ultimate alpine experience. It poses the question does Chamonix Mont Blanc deserve its prestigious title. John provides an invaluable insider’s look into Chamonix's history, hospitality, the chalet business, mountaineering, the environment, cuisine, its heart-beat and of course snow skiing. A must read for anyone who loves winter-sports, mountaineering or is contemplating spending sometime in the European Alps. The book is a brilliant blend of anecdotes and information, wry reflections and humour. It is also an exploration of what prompts human beings to push themselves to the limits and beyond. So why do five million visitors a year pay homage at the foot of Mont Blanc?
“Life is not about the number of breaths you take but by the number of moments that take your breath away.” Anon I am standing at the entrance to the Vallée Blanche in the Chamonix Valley which is 3,842 meters above sea level. It’s sometime in February 2010 which marks the middle of my ski season in Chamonix Mont Blanc. This is the highest altitude I have ever been to and even superior in height to the tallest peak in my native New Zealand, Mount Cook/Aoraki. It has snowed ponderously for the last four days but has finally stopped and there are perfect crystal clear blue skies. As I struggle a little to acclimatise I am mesmerised by Europe’s tallest peak, Mont Blanc, whose crown I think I could easily reach by teeing off with my One Wood - it seems that close up here on top of the European Alps.
John McGrath John McGrath was brought up in the Southern Alps of New Zealand and has been a passionate skier since first taking up the sport in 1976. He was in the provincial race team, is a qualified ski instructor and regularly races the masters. Professionally John first worked in the corporate world of insurance, finance and merchant banking before opening the first of his many businesses, a ski and surf shop in Wellington. John then owned a horse riding school, an event management company and a swag of restaurants, cafés and bars. He has been a film critic for 16 years and has written a book titled “Watch this Movie” which reviews over 1,100 of his favourite films. John has also been New Zealand's accredited press representative at seven Cannes Film Festivals. John is an experienced freelance writer for high profile magazines, newspapers and online media and spent six years as a wine writer and two years presenting his own lifestyle television show. His passion for writing continues with film scripts and a number of other books he is about to complete. John is now working towards becoming a full time writer. He currently lives in Europe. He is employed as an executive chef in the Alps in the winter and on luxury super yachts in the Mediterranean during the summer. John's other interests include golf, horse-riding, fitness and health and anything outdoors.