Today was overcast all day. Continuing snow rapidly turned to rain in the Chamonix Valley. As per yesterday, all the ski areas in the Valley were closed except for Les Houches. I planned to go there by bus, but after waiting over 45 mins I took a train instead to Viaduc St Marie. The journey proved eventful because the train stopped and, after an announcement about “your security”, the driver and guard hopped out of the train with two shovels and started clearing the track. My photo does not do their valliant efforts justice, but still…
The walk up to the Prarion lift through the trees was “interesting” in knee deep snow; rain still falling. At the top, the snow was very wet but there was plenty of it around. Off-piste was difficult, I found, with heavy snow that had been mostly well skied. But I did have good runs on the Grands Bois on the Bellevue side (where I was surprised to see that the cafe/restaurant at the top of the gondola was shut and looking very empty), the black Schuss des Dames, and on the red Cha.
The rain was miserable and I tried to minimise my use of chair lifts. In the rain I find that on chairlifts I tend to get a puddle forming in my lap, which is a challenge to even the best waterproofed ski equipment. Although at the top of the area the rain was mixed with some snow, the drag lifts were showing large areas of brown beneath the stanchions where water was dripping down.
The ski bus let me down again at the end of my day and I was on the train once more. I find the train quite soporific after a day of skiing, particularly if I have a meal at lunch time as well. Clearly, this is a feeling shared with other passengers.