Les Grands Montets in the sun

Made an early start because I anticipated lots of people at Argentiere. But it turned out to be pretty quiet. Even at 09.20 there was quite a queue for the cable car, so I walked up and took the Plan Joran chair; no queue there. I think I read somewhere that there are plans to replace this chair lift with a more modern variety – not before time, in my opinion. The sun was shining, but for the majority of this ride I was in the shade of the mountain and, with a temperature in the car park of -6C and a fair breeze blowing, it was “brass monkeys” on the chair. My wife had gone to Flegere to ski so I could not resist taking a snap of that resort basking in the sun.

When I arrived at Lognan I took the Bochard lift and, at the top, I headed right from the station under the cable and found a wind-blown powder gully. I then cut across to join the Triangle de la Herse near the top on the left hand side of the slope. It always surprises me how many exposed rocks appear on the track just there, even after masses of snow. The run was a little mogulled but the snow was soft and fabulous. Back up the Bochard, I headed of for Combe de la Pendant and skied down Les Rocher Rouges, excellent snow coverage here.

I had booked a Grands Montets cable car online and took this around 12 o’clock. The views at the top were breathtaking. Above is the view towards Mont Blanc (4810m,) with the start of the Pas de Chevre at the bottom of the picture. Below is the view up the Argetiere glacier with Mont Dolent (3823m) the highest peak on the horizon. At the top of this mountain the borders of Italy, Switzerland and France meet at a point, so guides tell all the visitors but actually the meeting point is at 3749m at a point north west of the summit! Rather spoils a nice story.

I will not go on about the snow quality…well, maybe I will one last time. It was superb. Only the Point de Vue run was open – maybe because the track across to Pylones looked to be very rocky – and I took the run down to the steep section alongside Le Grand Mur when I stayed off-piste to that side of the piste. Later, on the run down, I took a few other off-piste deviations, in all cases great skiing.

While at the top of Grands Montets I took another photo looking over Chamonix towards Les Houches. Whilst mentioning Chamonix, I was surprised to read that there is to be a census of Chamonix residents. The last count indicated there were 9358 Chamoniards and between 19th January and 25th February there will be a new count. Apparently, in France, there is a financial benefit to towns with populations above 10,000. No doubt there is the hope that this year the town will breach this limit. Although, how a census can be conducted  over a four week period baffles me…

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