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Chamonix 15/16

 Poster: A snowHead
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jbob wrote:
As the glacier retreats the exit gets sketcher.

That's a very polite way of putting it! Very Happy
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Dabber wrote:
@Idris, cheers , looking forward to my first ever walk down the arete on monday / tuesday Very Happy


I'll keep my eye out for you. Race you down it wink
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Cheers , got the app now cheers , looking good Toofy Grin
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@Mosha Marc, only if you give me a bit of a head start Happy
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Whilst going up Bochard at GM today noticed a pretty big slide on the Flagere side which appeared to have crossed a piste, possibly Pylones? Anyone else notice it or know if it was triggered by a skier / snowboarder?

Also noticed avi risk back up to 3/5 after being 2/5 yesterday - presumably due to warmer weather??
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first time down valle blanc today , picked a great time to do it , amazing vistas all-round , snow ok for the descents and able to ski all the way down to town , top first day in cham snowHead
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@Dabber, good job snowHead was the exit as sketchy or good?
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Dabber, sounds amazing - this will hopefully be us in a fortnight for first visit to Cham!

Been following this thread for a while and building excitement - in fact previous year's threads helped drive choice to pick Cham this year, so thanks all! Quick bit of advice - MBU vs Le Pass? Will be in town for a week, one day booked with guide but rest will be exploring. As its first time in resort figured we wouldn't venture far enough for MBU to be worth it in a week...? (And will just get one day ticket up top for VB.)
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First day skiing in Cham this year; really nice - whizzed round Brevent. Highlight was not actually skiing but seeing someone in a flying wing suit fling himself off the rocks at the top of the Brevant cable car, where the black starts. Amazing - mad, brave - prob a bit of both!

Booked in for Vallee Blanche (Gros Rognon route) on Tues - prob do GM tomoz. Very Happy
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If you're going to be skiing GM a lot just remember that the Le Pass does not include (bizarrely) the top lift either as well as Aiguille du Midi.

FYI, I've been here for the last 8 days and the best snow is at GM rather than Brevent or Flagere. Le Tour very good also a few days ago, but it has warmed up and the off-piste is a bit crusty in places
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@abbosphere, since it's your first time, I would say Le Pass is more than sufficifient but a day with a guide usually means MBU access to get to the higher stuff or better snow outside the immediate Cham valley. Check with your guide to see what he/she plans. If you buy a Le Pass and the guide wants to take you off the the Midi, you can buy a separate ticket, same goes for skiing outside the valley, just buy a day lift pass for wherever the guide takes you.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Thanks @nickr, and @Sub_Zero_G

Our guide is sorting out AdM for Vallee Blanche if conditions permit, but thanks for advice re Le Pass. We're staying down by Brevent but hoping to get around the resort (and no doubt get addicted and return next year to explore more). I read a post from a few years back where someone asked a similar Q and everyone said the pay-as-you-go-esque pass was a good option for Cham... Is that still case or bit of a faff?
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I was out for dinner last night with a guide who skied the VB two days ago and he said it was in good shape and can ski down to down to town, though there are a lot of rocks towards the end of the glacier - he suggested not using your best skis!

He also mentioned one of his clients fell off the arête and he had to pull her back up!!! Crampons strongly recommended.
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You know it makes sense.
@abbosphere, the rapide card is the pay as you go pass. It can work out cheaper if you take a rest days during your stay. You pay an annual subscription (€25, I think) and then each day you use the pass money is debited from the credit/debit card you you used to buy the pass, soon no need to queue at the ticket office each time.
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The rapid card only really makes sense if you're going to do more than 6 days in the Cham valley in a season - after 6 days you get your 7th free and you get various discounts throughout the season - especially for mid-week low season days and early/late season days etc but you'd have to be out there to take advantage... The discounted rate of 25€ is only available if you order it before the end of Dec, otherwise it's 50€. It does seem auto-renew every year for free though (at least, I haven't paid for either of 2 renewals thus far - hope this post doesn't scupper me!)

Once you've paid for a day at any of the areas you basically have the same pass as a season MBU (except the Evasion Mont Blanc (St.G, Les C etc) areas) so the top bin at GM is included, as is the AdM (and the Montenvers and LH Tram) so if you're getting a guide and might be doing any/either of those multiple times, it could still be worth it even if you're not doing several trips. As with the Evasion MB, it doesn't work (or give you any discounts) in other near(ish) areas such as Verbier or Courmayeur etc either.

I've had one for a few years now and it's certainly very handy for by-passing queues at the pass counters. There was no hassle signing up with a UK address and credit card and it was delivered within 3-4 days of ordering it - all the info's here: http://www.compagniedumontblanc.co.uk/en/lift-passes/chamonix-rapidcard
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Thanks @Zero_G, and @jma, - Rapide card sounds like a great idea but maybe for a longer stay. Few things to consider notably how much we ski GM - we'll probs wait to see conditions when we get to Cham and decide on the Saturday (luckily get to resort at a decent time to get chores done - and beer run - on Saturday afternoon). Many thanks for your input!
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@Zero_G, sketchy/scratchy is the word !!!! but worth the scars Happy , followed today by great morning on the GM glacier lapping the top gondola, followed by a very pleasant walk to la praz and back along the river in the afternoon Happya very good day in all snowHead
looking forward to some fresh snow thursday night snowHead
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Quote:

He also mentioned one of his clients fell off the arête and he had to pull her back up!!!


well that would get the blood pumping after queuing for the cable car!
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Did Vallee Blanche today - Petit Envers route - it was really great and a fantastic experience. Very Happy brilliant guide from Evolution 2 (Fred) who took time and care to look after us and make it memorable
Main comment is - anyone who considers the hike down the Arrete without crampons is pretty irresponsible to be honest Skullie they were VERY much needed!!!!!!! And only cost 7 Euro per pair (hired from Snell Sports.)
Skiing was fantastic; temperature meant ice was at a minimum and the scenery was epic. Fresh snow - we had a great powder run down the Mere de Glas that went on and on.............
Celebrated survival in Poco Loco with friends this afto so all good.

Overall - amazing and never-to-forget experience!
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How's the snow in the frontside fm bowls? Chalky or getting more springlike(particularly pendant/lavancher or whatever you want to call it)??
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Should be GM sorry
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Yestaday went to GM - did Pointe De Vue from top and snow was great if hugely mogully Very Happy
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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@Bisonator, I was eyeing up Evolution 2 for a Vallee Blanche trip next month. Did they supply a harness or do you need to hire that separately as well ?
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Evo 2 supplied tranceiver, harness & rope; plus our guide also had crampons available tho we were told by Inghams to source our own and therefore had already taken the time and cost to do so. Best to check EXACTLY wot they provide so u don't miss out but we were very impressed with Evo 2.
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Thanks for the info.
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@hollando, been here for 2 weeks now and I reckon the best snow, other than off the top bin, is off Herse, out towards Italian Bowl
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
skied over on brevent yesterday , we were up a little early and struggled to find any softened snow , but enjoyed scrapping down the hotel face and belvedere , but i drew the line at the ENSA which was a bit too much for me , so left that for my son to do , he said it was doable but a more that a bit sketchy in places , but would be a wonderfull descent in good snow .

@Bisonator, we had fred from evo 2 for a day out on GM last year , great guy Happy

day off today , then planning a tour to italy and back on thurday , fingers crossed for some fresh snow soon snowHead
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Kiyoko's first day up the Midi this year - a bit windswept but otherwise good coverage all the way to Montonvers - any further will require more walking than normal.
Anyone considering the VB before the next major dump of snow I echo Bisonator's comment about crampons - except they WILL be necessary, there are a few big icy steps in there.

Just round from Col du Midi, still feeling a little windsweapt



Below Gross Rognon, snow a little crusty out of the track, chalky in the track



At the base of the turn below the Italian side (about as far as you get from Chamonix on the normal route) some untracked off to the side, but with a crust on top - ok at speed on appropriate skis, not so much on carving planks at low speed Wink



Mind the gap - winding our way through the Salle a Manger - really not recommended on a snowboard at the moment, lots of holes on the flatter bits.

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Anyone been on the toula recently.
Nice photo idris.
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Snow wasn't bad early on at Le Tour this AM, only skied till lunch - with moderate levels of queues. Park has been built up and is getting better, but the drag and entry and getting... muddy Puzzled
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great day out today , petite envers to salle a manger , then skin to aguilee du tacul and across to some amazing snow on the descent back to value blanche , now looking forward to some fresh tracks monday early doors Very Happy
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We are thinking of going to Les Houches this Sunday with a bunch of low intermediate skiiers - any scoop on conditions there? Thanks.
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@sullidav, skied Les Houches today. It's ideal for intermediate skiers. The pistes are holding up ok, however there are spots that are getting scraped off a bit. Weather forecast is poor for Sunday.
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@sullidav, Skied it this AM and it really wasn't great. As JBob said, there are spots which are getting worse. Would steer clear if you can.
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@Dunny#1, remember it's for "early intermediates" - I'd expect they'd be fine staying higher up?

Or, la Tour
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@sullidav, skied Le tour today, all pistes in good nick. Excellent for intermediates. Forecast for Sunday getting snowier by the day.
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few pics from yesterdays tour on aquille du tacul

















still some good snow out there
snowHead snowHead snowHead
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Thanks to all. Good advice for our friends visiting Geneva, we will avoid Les Houches. Le Tour is perfect for them except it lacks the great French food on piste - at Les Houches we were going to eat at the Vielles Luges. The place at the bottom of the Vallorcine side seems good for a drink but I think the on-piste food quality drags down the attractiveness of Le Tour. Now I am also thinking about La Clusaz or Les Contamines, as well as Le Tour. Thanks again.
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@jbob, my man, are you going to join us for a day or two? I need saving from Steve Superkeen. He has some highly charged batteries.
Shortish tour today at Les Contamines. Descended 2,000 feet of concrete from the Col de Fenetre (?). I don't want to hear about anyone who skied powder.
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@sullidav, the food is pretty good down in Vallorcine too - I have quite a few rather enjoyable lunches down there. Lovely break half way through the day. Also the food on the mountain is much better than Flegere etc, just avoid the big cafe/restaurant by the main bubble and go to either the place beside the bottom of the Aiguilette drag, or under the Autannes chair. Though both places can require early booking during busy-ish times...
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