It has been really crowded in the Chamonix valley over the New Year; the local paper has apparently declared it a new record for visitor numbers. I am not really surprised. I can’t recall it being busier.
Yesterday was a big contrast, therefore. I took a train to Les Houches to visit the Le Tourchet nursery slope ski lifts, to complete my list of lifts in Les Houches, and there was nobody there! I took a few rides on each lift and skied down perfectly pisted slopes, as though the resort was my own, before catching a bus to Bellevue to finish off those lifts.
I have found it quite difficult to find detailed information on the lift system, such as altitude of the top and bottom of the lifts, so I have collected what I have found into an open access spreadsheet file for anyone else to use. The web address of this file is https://dl.dropbox.com/u/92495704/Les%20Houches%20ski%20lifts%20csv.csv. Some of the information from this file is below
|Name of lift||Type of lift||End Height (m)||Time taken (min)|
|Col de Voza||Chair||1889||7.2|
|Coupe du Monde||Chair||1232||8.8|
|Schuss des dames||Chair||1759||3.6|
|Telecorde du Col de Voza||Drag rope||1650||1.4|
|Teleski Ecole (Tourchet)||Button||1030|
I think that some of this data is suspect because, for example, the top height of the Prarion lift is higher, in the list, than the top of the Col de Voza lift but one can schuss from the latter to the former! I will correct the spreadsheet and the summary above if I find more reliable information.
There was an inversion yesterday morning; cloudy and dull in the valley and bright sunshine on the mountain tops. Conditions at the top of Prarion were just about perfect. I could not resist taking another picture with the thick cloud down in the valley and the relatively empty ski slopes in the sun at the top.