Resort and backcountry skiing and snowboarding in Europe and Asia, including our famous reader-submitted No-Bull Snow Reports.
Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:32 pm
We arrived at the Champs Fleuris hotel, which was recommended by Fraser. It’s maybe 100 feet from the gondola to Pleney and we skied to the hotel front door at the end of the day. It was snowing most of the morning so we were in no hurry to get out. We could buy lift tickets at the hotel of many varieties, something still not possible at Iron Blosam at Snowbird. In addition to single or multiday tickets, you can have a choice among the full Portes du Soleil complex or just a single sector.
So it’s fairly easy to define ski areas on the basis of those tickets: Morzine/Les Gets, Avoriaz and Chatel in France. I presume there also a sector ticket for most of the Swiss side which we never saw. Due to the weather and nearly a noon start Wednesday we bought a 5-hour ticket for Morzine/Les Gets, which is mostly below tree line.
By the time we got on the hill the snow had stopped and the clouds were lifting above the slopes.
There were 8 inches of new snow, very fluffy despite the low elevation as temps remained cool in the 15F range. In some places that was on top of the 18 inches that fell Sunday/Monday.
We first skied to the Pre Favre chair and then to Cherniaz, where there are 3 chairs. Overall terrain is fairly mellow, and since the trees are dense, a good place to look for powder is along chair liftlines. Liz under the Troncs chair:
The Cherniaz lift has a long runout.
The snow under that lift was easily 2 feet deep and it was easy to get stuck. I took a header in there to some applause and laughter from the chair riders.
The best powder run of the day was the midsection of Tetes chairlift, looking back up here.
Looking down from the same spot is a blind rollover.
There are exposed rocks in there but I had scouted that riding up.
From the top of the Cherniaz lift is an overview of Les Gets.
At far right of the above pic and zoomed below is Mont Chery.
James recommended skiing over there, but we failed to navigate that correctly in the late afternoon.
We skied into the Chevannes sector and rode to La Rosta, where Liz needed a thaw break.
View down the ungroomed Yeti run, with Ranfoilly in background:
I joined Liz and helped her finish the soup of the day, pea/lentil with potatoes and a cheese slab mixed in. We skied some powder between the Yeti and Eglantine runs and then a run on Ranfoilly before departing Chevannes. From top of Ranfoilly we got a view of Chamossiere, the highest part of Morzine/Les Gets but closed for weather and snow stability today.
On our second try we made it to the Melezes run to the Les Gets valley floor at the Perrieres lift just before 4PM. We had determined that a free bus runs every 10 minutes between Les Gets and Morzine, so we were willing to finish our ski day at Mont Chery, where the lifts probably ran to at least 4:30. We caught a local Les Gets bus, which went to the central part of Les Gets but instead of looping around to the Chery base it climbed switchbacks on the opposite side. The bus stopped to turn around at the base of the Folliets chair. As it was now 4:20PM we decided to get on that lift and ski back to Morzine. I skied 14,500 vertical, about 5K of powder, including a few shots on the way from Pleney back to our hotel on our last run.
It appears that to ski Mont Chery you must first ski into the central part of Les Gets, then take that shuttle which looks like a train (James had pics in his 2014 report) to the Chery base. The terrain above central Les Gets looks flat and less interesting than the La Turches/Perrieres runs, and the latter were also easier to reach from Chavannes where we were skiing and having the soup 2:30-3:30.
Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:12 pm
A shame that you missed Chamoissiere, Mont Chery, and the entire Swiss side. Still, it looks like you saw a fair amount of the circuit.
Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:48 pm
Portes du Soleil is near Geneva and can be seen piecemeal over time near the beginning or end of trips.
The weather was going to cause problems wherever we went for the end of this trip. It was inevitable we would miss some of the best terrain at Portes du Soleil, but at places like Andermatt there's almost no pleasant skiing at all if the weather is bad.