Chamonix

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Chamonix

Postby LobsterTeleGrrrl » Sun Sep 26, 2004 7:54 pm

Ok, I'll be brave and go first :)

I'm looking at a trip to Chamonix this March. I skied The Grand Montets last year and am hungry for more!

I'm planning on doing the Vallee Blanche, guided. I'm looking for some advice on what else I should consider. My pass will include the whole area, 17 ski resorts in all !!! Including 3 in Italy--Courmayeur is one.

Anyone got ideas for the Mont Blanc region. No time for the Haute Route over to Zermatt. Maybe save that for next year.

ltg
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Re: Chamonix

Postby Patrick » Mon Sep 27, 2004 2:04 pm

LobsterTeleGrrrl wrote:I'm looking at a trip to Chamonix this March. I skied The Grand Montets last year and am hungry for more!

I'm planning on doing the Vallee Blanche, guided. I'm looking for some advice on what else I should consider. My pass will include the whole area, 17 ski resorts in all !!! Including 3 in Italy--Courmayeur is one.

Anyone got ideas for the Mont Blanc region. No time for the Haute Route over to Zermatt. Maybe save that for next year.

ltg


In the immediate area there is:

Grand Montets: you already know this one.

Le Brévent/Flégère, the closest area from Chamonix. The scenery is the most spectacular. Skiing is great.

Courmayeur. Great skiing with an amazing view (again) from the other side of Mont Blanc.

Les Houches is apparently also good. I have never been. (never been)

La Tour, I have never been, more intermediate terrain.

The potential backcountry skiing is mind-blowing. The Vallée Blanche is a classic (easy run down - I did it in 2003), there are also some steeper runs variance on the Vallée Blanche. A GUIDE IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.

Here are two guides compagnies, I did my Vallée Blanche trip with the first one. It's was a great experience. Each of these Guides companies offer week trip to some of the great places to explore around Chamonix.

Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix
http://www.chamonix-guides.com/

There is also Chamonix Mountain Guides

http://www.chamonixmountainguide.com/
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Chamonix

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Sep 29, 2004 10:57 am

I posted extensive reports and pics from my trip last February at http://216.250.243.13/discus2/discus.pl ... 08&page=23.

In terms of pure skiing, Grands Montets is the standout. Brevant/Flegere and Courmayeur have sun-exposure issues, so keep a close eye on weather reports when deciding where to go. Sometimes the French side of Mont Blanc is cloudy and the Italian side sunny or vice-versa (we saw one day of each).

My impression is that guides are required on Vallee Blanche. Organize your group, as the route you take will be determined by the ability of the slowest skier. Again watch the weather reports, as your guide will want to reserve a good Aiguille-de-Midi tram time in advance, and it will definitely be cancelled if the weather is bad.

I second Patrick's comments about guides. If you're an advanced skier, you need to have one to take advantage of the amazing off-piste possibilities.
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Re: Chamonix

Postby Patrick » Wed Sep 29, 2004 12:02 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:I posted extensive reports and pics from my trip last February at http://216.250.243.13/discus2/discus.pl ... 08&page=23.

In terms of pure skiing, Grands Montets is the standout. Brevant/Flegere and Courmayeur have sun-exposure issues, so keep a close eye on weather reports when deciding where to go. Sometimes the French side of Mont Blanc is cloudy and the Italian side sunny or vice-versa (we saw one day of each).

My impression is that guides are required on Vallee Blanche. Organize your group, as the route you take will be determined by the ability of the slowest skier. Again watch the weather reports, as your guide will want to reserve a good Aiguille-de-Midi tram time in advance, and it will definitely be cancelled if the weather is bad.

I second Patrick's comments about guides. If you're an advanced skier, you need to have one to take advantage of the amazing off-piste possibilities.


A few comments to add to Tony's. Tony has some great pictures posted in that report.

I skiied in Chamonix on March 27-28-29, 2003. Skiied one day in Courmayeur, Italy in 1991.

First Day: Brévent/Flégère: beautiful sunny day. Skiing back to bottom of valley floor was finish for the season (two access trails). Nevertheless, the rest had wonderful snow conditions (soft, but no bare spots). Avalanches closures in the afternoon closed a few places down (the temps were up to something like 15-20c/60-70f). Many couloirs all over the place.

Second Day: Planned guided run on la Vallée Blanche was canceled that morning. First cancelation in 2 months which was probably a record year for good weather. Clouds and rainning. I decided to head for Grands Montets. From 9 to 1, it was pouring rain and snowing heavily above 2300m. White out and fog. Unfortunately, 80% of the lenght of my runs were under that 2300m line. Things started to clear up after lunch, so I could actually see were I was skiing. I kept my last run and waited to see more for the top tram (5 euros per trip). Wonderful run top to bottom (3200m to 2000m). Ah yes, there was some powder you there. The ski out run (artificiel snow) to Argentière was still open. Conditions would be similar to late spring in the East (example: Sunday River on May 1st).

Third Day: Beautiful day for la Vallée Blanche. We were about 6 in our group. We took the classic trip which is the long way around le Gros Rognon - about 20km from 3800m to 1700m. The skiing all the way down to Chamonix (1000m) rarely happens now a days. It happened a few times in 2003, which was a good snow year, for the first time in a few years.

My only guided day was on the third day. I showed up alone in Chamonix, you don't necessarly need to be a group of skiers, they will group you up. The guide said that next time (even if alone) to inform them that you are looking for a steeper run and they can fit you in with a more advanced group for a more advanced trip. However, regardless how easy the classic tour is (you need a guide unless you know the places) there are crevasses hidding everywhere and the trip easy or not (for an advanced skier of course), it is well worth it. :D

About Courmayeur:

Skiied one day in Courmayeur, Italy in January 1991. Great mountain a bit of everything. I don't recall the sun-exposure being a issue, if I recall correctly the orientation of the runs were more north and east side of the mountain.

If you want a dirt/cheap place to stay: Le Chamoniard Volant (or some thing like that). A hostel full of great skier at only 12euros a night (9 for the dorm).
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re: Chamonix

Postby LobsterTeleGrrrl » Sat Oct 02, 2004 11:00 am

Thanks guys!!

I was only in the Grand Montets for one day last year --on my way to Zermatt. Well, ok, I took the long way to Zermatt :D :D

I skied the lifts and eventually bought a top ticket for 5 bucks. I skied an off piste run next to, and partially through, the glacier. I stayed on the beaten path for fear of crevasses.

Anyhow, I'm conviced I want to spend a week there!!!
Thanks for all your input Patrick and Tony. Great TR and pix Tony :D :D

I'll do the Vallee Blanche guided. I actually met Chamonix Mountian Guides last winter, as my hotel was two doors down from their office.

Le Bre'vent and Courmayer sound promising!
Since my pass is good at 17 different places, I'll do some exploring.

I was planning on going with a group, but I don't know anyof them, and I'd be the only tele skier...so I may just try and book a week myself and see where that leads me. It's spring break at school and I have to do something fun :wink:

lg
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re: Chamonix

Postby ChrisC » Mon Dec 13, 2004 1:38 am

Hi all

I am scheduled to ski Chamonix during the first week of January. I'll let you know how conditions are when I am there.

However, Europe has TERRIBLE conditions now so I am still contemplating canceling for another time.

My goals are to ski the core Chamonix areas, Verbier, Courmayeaur and possibly Flaine.

Chris
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Re: re: Chamonix

Postby Patrick » Mon Dec 13, 2004 4:14 pm

ChrisC wrote:Hi all

I am scheduled to ski Chamonix during the first week of January. I'll let you know how conditions are when I am there.

However, Europe has TERRIBLE conditions now so I am still contemplating canceling for another time.

My goals are to ski the core Chamonix areas, Verbier, Courmayeaur and possibly Flaine.

Chris


From what I know and a bit from expereince, early January can be hit or miss. On bad snow year, you want to hit Val d'Isère/Tignes area. Skied there week before Christmas in 2000 on a very bad December for snow. Most World Cup races were being postponned or moved.

I am not sure how the Chamonix area hold up snow wise? Flaine viilage is at 1600m and has a very good early season coverage (reason the skiteam made a 10 day trip first week of January 1991), however I wouldn't call it a "must" destination. I have skied must better places elsewhere in Europe. During that trip, we made a one day detour to Courmayeur - definately much better.
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re: Chamonix

Postby ChrisC » Thu Dec 23, 2004 2:10 am

Hi all,

My trip to Chamonix is definitely on. Cham resorts recieved 1.5 meters (60") during Dec 17-20 and more is expected this weekend (about 50-60cm (2ft)).

The bases at Chamonix are as follows:
90 cm (36") at 2000m at Brevent, Flegere and Grands Monets
See the following for details:
http://www.compagniedumontblanc.fr/en/index.html

I will try to be skiing the following:

Brevent/Flegere
Grands Monets
Valle Blanche

Courmayeur
Verbier (bad snow now, maybe not!)
Val d'Isere/Tignes
Saas Fee

Talk soon

Chris
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Re: re: Chamonix

Postby Patrick » Thu Dec 23, 2004 9:03 am

ChrisC wrote:I will try to be skiing the following:

Brevent/Flegere
Grands Monets
Valle Blanche

Courmayeur
Verbier (bad snow now, maybe not!)
Val d'Isere/Tignes
Saas Fee

Talk soon

Chris


How many days will you be spending in the Alps?

Reasons: 1) the connection from Chamonix-Val d'Isère is not simple one. No easy way across.

2) If you hit Val d'Isère-Tignes, anything less than 3 days could be terribly frustrating (this place is HUGE). Same thing could be said about Verbier, I have never been. Need to study the maps and read on these places, there are so big that you need to have a idea of where to ski, if you don't want to miss the good stuff.

A book that I read was Ski Europe by Charles L. (the Ottawa Public Library had it).

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/de ... 8?v=glance
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re: Chamonix

Postby Patrick » Thu Dec 23, 2004 9:06 am

I forgot the most important stuff.

HAVE FUN !!!

Skiing Europe is great, there is downsides (ie. crowds in liftlines), but that shouldn't be a problem for January.
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Re: re: Chamonix

Postby Guest » Mon Jan 03, 2005 3:20 pm

Patrick wrote:I forgot the most important stuff.

HAVE FUN !!!

Skiing Europe is great, there is downsides (ie. crowds in liftlines), but that shouldn't be a problem for January.


Definitely the most important part. I hope that Chris is having a good time if he has arrived yet.

Regarding the lift lines. One definitely won't have much of a problem in January. Whatever you do, avoid the school holidays in The last three weeks of February/first week of march, especially the week when all the Parisians are off.

We had great snow here over Christmas and early last week, even the lower resorts now have reasonable over most of the terrain. Skied some of the local places this last week plus Val Thorens with good conditions, but am headed to Val d'Isere for a week to get my real fun in.
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Re: Chamonix

Postby Eskil » Mon Jul 07, 2008 7:29 am

Chamonix is quick to reach from GVA airport and you have got great opportunities for off-pist skiing on glaciers and non glacier terrain, tree skiing or couloirs, there is everything.You will also find pistes for all levels.
Just 15km through the Mt.Blanc tunnel and you are Courmayeur another resort with good off piste skiing. Sun in Chamonix and snow in Courmayeur or the other way around are not seldom, so as the area on the Chamonix ski pass is large you are likely to find good snow.
It is also possible to do heliskiing either from Courmayeur or Finhout, each about 20-30min drive in Chamonix.
Mountain guides: You can either choose a guide compagnie that offers public groups which many of the larger compagnies do. Public groups mean you share the guide with other people who book seperately from you and are hopefully the same level as you. Or you can choose to book a private mountain guide for your group.
If you choose to book a mountain guide rather than a spot in an open group I highly recomend you to have a look at http://www.mountain-spirit-guides.com . In winter they specialice in guiding and instructing off piste skiing and all their mountain guides are great skiers! They offer guided off-piste courses and heli skiing too http://www.mountain-spirit-guides.com/o ... skiing.asp
Have also a look at their gallery.
There is heli skiing in la thuile. 3 different places you can fligh to. The drop on Rutor is the best run. In general the skiing in la thuile is fairly flat, but also in the resort you can get good off-piste skiing if you hike a bit. Courmayeur has got some great off piste and you must not miss skiing on the Hellbronner, which is a small resort close to courmayeur. Off piste only. Look at trip reports on http://www.mountain-spirit-guides.com/g ... lleryID=20 and http://www.mountain-spirit-guides.com/g ... lleryID=17 both picture galleries will give you an idea about off piste on the hellbronner. There are also less demanding off piste runs.
The heli skiing in val grisenche is good. have a nice holiday! there is lots of snow and whatever conditions you will get at least there is a good base!
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