Skiing at St Nicolas and Grands Montets with views of Mont Blanc

A couple of days skiing with great snow and sun deserve a mention. It has been several years since I visited the St Nicolas de Veroce ski area. It is joined to the area I think of as Megeve but is now branded Evasion. Most of the skiing in that area is quite gentle but there are areas that I think are comparable with Grands Montets, though many skiers might not agree. I think the general view is that Grands Montets is a skiers ski area. However, in my view, the skiing off Mont Joly is comparable in variety and challenge to that offered by Grands Montets. It is also comparable because in neither case would I advise skiers to use the pistes. In both cases, in my experience on scores of visits, these tend to be icy smooth, steep and often not much fun. The joy in both areas comes in the off-piste.

During my recent visits I took pictures of Mont Blanc and it is difficult to believe that these views are of the same mountain. (From Italy Mont Blanc is very different again)

Mont Blanc viewed from top of Grands Montets lift

Mont Blanc viewed from top of Grands Montets lift

Mont Blanc from top of Mont Joly lift

Mont Blanc from top of Mont Joly lift

The ski down from Mont Joly is quite long, as illustrated by one of the piste markers near the top of the red run down in this picture. (As a very rough guide the piste markers are 100m apart, making this red piste 4km long.)

Near the top of the Mont Joly lift

Near the top of the Mont Joly lift

We have not had any significant snow for nearly a week now so almost all resorts are fairly well skied but I was able to find enjoyably skiable, off-piste skiing in both resorts. The rest of the skiing in St Nicolas was gentler than GM but still very pleasant.

Looking back up to top of Epaule lift from Marmottes piste

Looking back up to top of Epaule lift from Marmottes piste

In contrast with Grands Montets, St Nicholas has several, old style, non-detachable, wooden-slatted chair lifts, quite nostalgic but sometimes painful as they slam into your calves at the start.

This year the glacier at GM has several large crevasses in new places, so skiers beware. But the runs from the top are still magnificent. The starting slope, with smooth, icy snow and big moguls would, however, be daunting for some. The views were as brilliant as ever.

Just before the drop off at Grands Montets with the view over the glacier

Just before the drop off at Grands Montets with the view over the Argentiere glacier

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