La Clusaz, FR 02/02/16

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La Clusaz, FR 02/02/16

Postby jamesdeluxe » Thu Feb 04, 2016 1:45 pm

I've had La Clusaz on my gotta-go-there list for while -- partially because it's the home resort of superstar Candide Thovex, whose videos I'm a big fan of -- and was excited to finally check it out. Unfortunately, given the road-trip format of this trip (trying to visit a number of ski areas in the Savoie Mont Blanc region), I could only budget one day there, which barely allowed me to scratch the surface.

That said; I saw enough to confirm what I'd read from trip reports on Alpinforum -- it skis much bigger than the trail map indicates and has a ton of variety: everything from really long/consistently steep alpine sectors to piles of upper-intermediate terrain, lower runs through trees, and an extensive beginner's area. In fact, that's what people always mention as its biggest selling point; it's like five different linked ski resorts, each with its own distinct niche. I guess the Aspen group would be the best U.S. analogy if Aspen's separate mountains were all connected by lifts. With 75 miles of marked trails and 50 miles at neighboring Grand Bornand a few minutes away, you could easily spend a good four or five days discovering this region on the Massif des Aravis ski pass. Moreover, just like Grand Bornand, it's all based around a gorgeous traditional village with all sorts of restaurant and shopping options.

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Unfortunately, a high layer of light clouds flattened out the light and made photos look less impressive than they should be (for more representative pix on a good day, have a look at this trip report).

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Col des Aravis

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Looking Down Into La Clusaz

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The Upper Lift on the Massif de l'Aiguille

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Massif de l'Aiguille From the Base


Finally, around 2 pm, we traversed more than two miles (!) to the La Balme sector, which is the setting for Candide's infamous
"One Of Those Days" video). While the recent rain/refreeze made conditions pretty scratchy (the NCP appeared to have gone all the way to the top, at 2,400 meters), we at least got to see how incredible the terrain is there -- 5,000 vertical feet without a flat spot -- and had the opportunity to ride the Torchère drag lift and imagine Candide weaving in and out through us.

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Col de Balme

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