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Snowborders


Guest
Anyone been to Chamonix
Date Posted: 20.15hrs on Thu 8 Jan 09
I'm going there late Jan and was looking for tips as to where to go for the best blue and red runs, don't want too many flat bits though.

what...snow


Guest
Re: Anyone been to Chamonix
Date Posted: 21.22hrs on Thu 8 Jan 09
Was there in Jan 2006.
There are 3 bits to 'Chamonix':

Brevents-Flegere. Brevents is above the town (walkable) & there is a cable car between the 2 areas. Amazing view from Panorama restaurant right at top of Brevent but I think it's a Black back (not too bad for a Cham balck tho'), goes round the back of the mt. Some quite tough stuff elsewhere in this area, mix of blues/reds & blacks (mostly reds).

Grand Montets. Above Argentiere. Steep. A few blues, mostly Blacks & (tough) reds. Much off piste potential but needs guide or local knowledge to find the best of it.

Le Tour. Quite a long way from town. Generally easier runs. Might even be more blues than reds. I recommend the run through trees down the Swiss border from Tete de Balme to the chairlift at the bottom (Les Esserts on the piste map) and the old school cafe that needs a walk to it on the Col de Balme (like the Plateau Cafe at Glencoe, but nicer food).

There are v few 'flat bits', actually I can't remember any (exc the walk to the cafe which is a little off the piste). There seems to be some criticism on pistehors that these are often created runs which link resorts, to create larger areas (plenty of that in France but not in Chamonix).

Other close areas:

Les Houches. Didn't ski here but it is close & I think is mainly in trees & not as steep. Remember some row over lift passes so not sure if it is on the same one or not.

Les Contamines. A large, quiet, pretty ski area that we went to for an 'easy' day. Was supposed to be Megeve when I got in the car, but dozed off & woke up here, the driver changed his mind; so I think there are quite a few choices if you have wheels (including Courmayeur in Italy).

Finally, across town from Brevents there are the lifts up to the Aiguille du Midi to access the Vallee Blanche.

Because each area is separate it is best to plan ahead & think about passes carefully before you go.

Bigles70


Guest
Re: Anyone been to Chamonix
Date Posted: 21.35hrs on Thu 8 Jan 09
And, if you can, pop over to Italy through the tunnel and go to Courmayeur. Went last year and it was great.

nippiestSweetie


Guest
Re: Anyone been to Chamonix
Date Posted: 00.53hrs on Fri 9 Jan 09
I am heading back to Chamonix on Saturday.

Lost my boarding virginity there in January '08, returned in March '08 and am heading back again this weekend for a week!

Le Tour is excellent for beginners/easy runs. My pals went over the back to the trees and cafe as what...snow mentioned. The boarders got a tow from the skiers. Apparently would have been walking otherwise. We also found Le Tour to be empty when there was low cloud in the valley. Apparently people couldn't be bothered with the bus trip on a cloudy morning, but we had amazing weather come the afternoon, with no-one on the slopes!

Brevent has a good mix of sport and gives access to Flegere if you feel adventurous. I spent a fair bit of time overcoming my "Everest" at Brevent: It was a blue run, but one bit scared me witless! Actually 2 bits. No maybe it was 3 ... Anyway, it was easily do-able for an experienced/non-fairt rider.

Les Houches is good. It has LONG runs with loads of trees and in January should be in better shape than we saw it in March last year (was getting slushy, as it is lower altitude hence warmer). I think we had to upgrade our ticket for this. Looking at my '08 piste map the basic ticket is the Chamonix Le Pass, while the all inclusive (including Courmayer, Italy) is the Mont Blanc Unlimited. Guarantee that has all changed now I've typed everything in!

Most (maybe all) resorts have a cable car back down to the town, so you needn't worry about having to do a black to return home. The snow doesn't always make an appearance at the lower levels anyway. We saw a fair difference in the couple of weeks we spent there. That said, the higher slopes were always completely covered. Not that it helps you much, but March was definitely the better time to go. There was powder galore all over the shop!

Buses are fantastic all up and down the valley. You can just jump on (make sure you are on the right bus and know where you NEED to get off!) and it doesn't cost a thing. There are signs up saying the bus is not for free, but we were never asked to pay for anything!

Enjoy. I know I will winking smiley

Steve.

what...snow


Guest
Re: Anyone been to Chamonix
Date Posted: 13.29hrs on Fri 9 Jan 09
Forgot to say. Go up the cable car to the Panorama Restaurant & check out the view. But if you fancy staying for drinks - prepare to wince at the price & you'd need to be loaded to eat there.
As Nippiestsweetiest says Brevents isn't too steep, Flegere is steeper, but still not as steep as Grands Montets. It is ace but you need to get about and plan at least a day ahead to get the most out of it. You could ski down to the carpark all but the last day while I was there but our experienced friend (lived there 15yrs) said this was always hit & miss.

Here's the pistehors article:
[pistehors.com]
debate about joining all these ski areas up.
with a car, all these areas are well under 1hr away.

While you are on pistehors you could look at the maps (the Brevent one highlights the location of the restaurant at Brevent Gcool smiley & scare yourself sh1tless checking out the off-piste if you fancy.

davefisher


Guest
Re: Anyone been to Chamonix
Date Posted: 13.07hrs on Sat 10 Jan 09
Been to Chamonix loads, a fantastic aplpine ski resort. Sounds like Le tour is the best area for you guys, great reds and blues, with some off piste over the back towards switzerland, and great twisting greens down there too. But most areas have runs for everyone, for instance Grand motetes, yes its the more advanced area, but i learnt to ski there, just stick to the chairlifts to the right of the area, lower down, great treeline blues(runs are quite short for chamonix though) above a fantastic restaurant. With a forrest's when in powder are amazing. So i wouldn't write it off.

what...snow


Guest
Re: Anyone been to Chamonix
Date Posted: 15.13hrs on Sat 10 Jan 09
That restaurant that davefisher mentions did great tarts. You should def spend a day in each area - just make sure when you get on a lift that you are prepared for the ride back!

Snowborders


Guest
Re: Anyone been to Chamonix
Date Posted: 17.14hrs on Sat 10 Jan 09
Thanks for all that info guys, sounds good so far. The only downside about the place seems to be that you have to use the bus for getting around.
It sounds as though on the first day we should head to Le Tour to get some practice in.

kill_reign


Guest
Re: Anyone been to Chamonix
Date Posted: 09.32hrs on Sun 11 Jan 09
Snowborders Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> > The only downside about the place seems to be that
> you have to use the bus for getting around.
>

Yeah but buses are free and plentiful.



paisleyboarder


Guest
Re: Anyone been to Chamonix
Date Posted: 11.28hrs on Sun 11 Jan 09
Just read this on the news, 2 British climbers killed in an avalanche in Chamonix. 1 of them was the youngest Briton to climb Everest.

here is the link

[news.sky.com]


nippiestSweetie


Guest
Re: Anyone been to Chamonix
Date Posted: 17.15hrs on Wed 14 Jan 09
Been in Chamonix since last Saturday. The slopes are really empty. I doubt I've queued behind more than 6-8 people!

There has been no snow since November (I think that's right), but the slopes are in good nick. The more shaded areas are a bit icy, but there's plenty of sun to soften the sun-graced slopes later in the day. Perfect excuse to stay in bed late!

Until today there hadn't been a cloud in the sky. Looks like it may be changing though, so fingers crossed there'll be more fresh before the end of the weeksmiling smiley

Steve.

Attachments: IMG_1167.jpg (444kB)  
grahamp


Guest
Re: Anyone been to Chamonix
Date Posted: 21.51hrs on Wed 14 Jan 09
I've been here since Novemeber (seasons in Glencoe are great, but it's nice to broaden ones horizons occasionally) and it snowed A LOT in december, it's not really snowed since the 1st, but it looks like more is coming early next week.

Slopes are in good condition (it's been cold, and for anyone interested, yes, the ice is in amazing nick) although more snow wouldn't hurt to freshen them up a bit. I got fresh tracks yesterday not far from the lifts and spotted 2 (admittedly quite interesting)lines today that needed no hiking to get fresh tracks, so there's still a lot to be done.

The 2 tragically killed were not anywhere near the pistes, however if you are venturing off piste, be aware of what the last few weeks cold weather has done to the snow pack, esp if it snows soon.

Busses are free and plentiful, and it is very quiet at the moment, and late Jan you should miss the French holidays, Le Tour should be good for your 1st day and the off to Brevant/Flegere before making the step to Grand Montets. When you are buying your lift pass, look at the conditions in Courmayeur, it is included in the more expensive pass, as is the free bus, and conditions on the other side of the tunnel can be far better than in Chamonix. The coffee and pasta is always better too.

Oh, and the Vallee Blanche is very piste like at the mo, but if you are not a mountaineer, please please get a guide.

Big up the Glencoe Crew, hope you get some good snow soon



Lionel


Guest
Re: Anyone been to Chamonix
Date Posted: 11.45hrs on Thu 15 Jan 09
Quote:
There has been no snow since November (I think that's right)


Hi nippiestSweetie

I need to bring a correction as that's not right ! It snowed quite a lot during the two weeks before Christmas. After Christmas, no new snow but a cold and dry period. And it snowed again last night on the Portes du Soleil area (I don't know about chamonix) !

Have a great time in Chamonix !

Lionel





tim1mw


Guest
Re: Anyone been to Chamonix
Date Posted: 16.25hrs on Thu 15 Jan 09
Skiing in Chamonix is definitely on the hard side, you should probably avoid Argentiere if you don't like the steep stuff.

The advice above to go for Le Tour or Les Houches is good advice if you want nice blues and reds in the Chamonix valley. If you have transport, then Megeve is part of the Mont Blanc area lift pass and is the biggest linked circuit in the area, with plenty of choice. The quickest access is via St Gervais. In theory you could go up the lifts in Les Houches, then down the mountain railway into St Gervais and then get a bus across to the lift that goes up to the Megeve area, however, you could waste a lot of skiing/boarding time doing this.

Les Houches is (or at least was) allied to the Megeve/St Gervais ski area, rather than the rest of the Chamonix valley. If you buy the Mont Blanc area pass, then it should be covered along with several other nearby resorts, but I don't think it's on the Chamonix valley pass. However, I went in 1999 so things might have changed since then.

I just got back from Skiing in the Portes du Soleil, I stopped of at Flaine for a day on the way back and had an excellent view of Mont Blanc. I could also see the runs from the top of the Brevant cable car, which looked to be in good shape. The snow is good, but it was starting to get a bit packed and icy by last weekend.

If you're driving, Petrol is about 1.09E a litre at the supermarkets near Geneva and well over 1.20E up the mountain.

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