Sunday is usually a busy day on the slopes in the Chamonix valley, particularly on sunny afternoons, when families seem to appear in droves.
So on Sunday, we took an early train to Vallorcine and the ski area of Domaine de Balme. It was cold, -8C when we left Servoz, and probably stayed sub-zero all day, but there was also uninterrupted sun. The snow is holding up in great condition despite the sunny weather and our prediction of crowds was wide of the mark; it was very quiet. We had some great runs on the pistes, but the off piste was not great, although the moguls through the trees down to Esserts were still very skiable. Mrs D saw a handsome stag, from the train, in the woods near to Argentiere. I missed it!
Monday had a similar forecast to previous days, but colder. It was minus 12C when we started the car. The main road down to Le Fayet was closed. There was an accident involving a lorry. So we had to take the old back road going down to Le Fayet and then up to St Gervais to ski in the Megeve ski area, known as Evasion Mont-Blanc, with a total of 445km of pistes and 107 ski lifts. JE was keen to visit Cote 2000 in the Rochebrune part of the area for the first time, and I wanted to go there again after a break of 2 or 3 years. We had wall-to-wall sun again but it was exceptionally cold, especially in the shade. The snow was faultless especially on the runs at Cote 2000. Megeve, the main town of the ski area, has a reputation for being expensive and a hot chocolate at the Auberge de Cote 2000 maintains this reputation by costing 5 euros!
The photo shows skiers disappearing, off piste, into the distance at Cote 2000, under the odd shaped peak of Aiguille Croche (2487m); the high point of the Les Contamines ski area, on the backside of the ridge. Cote 2000 is north facing and gets no sun at this time of the year, another reason for the excellent snow.
The views were superb, including the uncanny sight of planes taking off and landing at the air strip down in the valley; all in all a fabulous and memorable day rounded off with a visit to CP in St Gervais, who treated us to a hot drink and a tart. For the first time this season, we returned to our flat in the dark to unpack the skiing gear.
Today was sunny again – minus 12C in the car at 10am and still -4C at 3pm despite the sun! I went to Grands Montets for a ski – what else? – Mrs D went to Buet village and ended up snow shoeing over the Col de Posettes and down to Montroc, courtesy of some ski lifts but with a good deal of walking also. It was quiet at GM and I had several very good runs: Lavancher, twice, the Combe des Amethystes and the Triangle de la Herse. At the top of the Bochard, lift I climbed up a bit further and took a picture of Mont Blanc
I finished the day fairly early, knees knackered. As per usual, I took the Plan Joran chair lift back to the valley. I always enjoy this lift down in the afternoon; the views are fantastic but my picture does not really do it justice. This always seems to me to be a better way to end a ski day than skiing down Pierre a Ric, although I recognise this is not a very “hardcore” admission.