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Les Houches - why?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
A chum is trying to persuade me that we should go to Les Houches. Four of us; three confident skiers happy with anything a piste will throw at them, one who doesn't always enjoy reds.

From a look at the piste map it looks a bit limited to me. (Or an 8k journey into Chamonix.)

Am I missing something?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
not really - need to be happy getting in the car/on the bus to the other areas in the valley
perfectly nice ski area but just one of several to enjoy in the valley
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@James the Last, can do St Gervais-Megève via railway/lift as well (though in 25 years I've never bothered to make the reverse trip, so can't comment on Les Houches directly).
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We've just booked Les Houches as well for the end of Feb. The skiing sounds fairly gentle in Les Houches. From what I remember though all of the ski areas in Chamonix required you to get the bus. I seem to remember Brevent and Grand Montet were both a fair distance via bus away from the main town. The hotel we have booked in Les Houches provides its own shuttle bus to the ski resorts which sounds much better than the shared one. Hotel is called Rockypop and seems quite good value for money.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
James the Last, Les Houches is a great place to stay as a base for Chamonix.
(as long as you don't want the scrum and bustle of town - its pleasantly quiet)
Local slopes fine for a couple of days.
Then easy drive to the other areas of Chamonix, or through the tunnel to Courmayeur.
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I must confess, my thought has always been "Chamonix, why?" I know the off-piste is amazing, but for mere mortals it's an unconnected resort and there are many better alternatives.

"Just jump in the car and drive 8km." When the car might need digging out (twice) and certainly require defrosting, and be freezing cold, and uncomfortable, and somebody has to drive home etc. etc. etc. - or go to a resort where it's all made to work for you!

And Chamonix is the closest resort; others are well past 8km!
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
During my season in Chamonix I has the wider area Mont Blanc pass so skied Les Houches a few times usually when the main Chamonix areas were closed for avalanche risk (1999 was a huge snow year). As the snow was so deep (even on piste was off piste!) I had some great off piste there skiing the trees with a gang of Scandinavians in heavy snowfall, was mildly epic even, really fond memories. There is some good terrain and nice runs there. Think you'll enjoy. If snow conditions are good you dont need massive ski areas, never quite understood why people feel the need to go to European massive linked areas as a necessity, you just pay more for the lift pass and cant ski it all anyway in 6 days, I'll happily ski the same chair over and over if the snow is good and particularly if there is a good bit of fresh.
It's like finding a good pub, you sit down by the fire and get comfy then someone suggests you all move again to a differerent one, nonsense imo. Confused

edit: to add, the bus service in the Chamonix valley is very good, it's not an issue getting from Les Houches up the valley, buses are frequent and it's not so far.


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Mon 9-01-17 16:08; edited 2 times in total
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Quote:

"Just jump in the car and drive 8km." When the car might need digging out (twice) and certainly require defrosting, and be freezing cold, and uncomfortable, and somebody has to drive home etc. etc. etc. - or go to a resort where it's all made to work for you!


That is a perfectly reasonable point of view (although the bus is fine) and if you feel that way then I'd go somewhere else.
Personally I think the logistics are a price worth paying but you are not wrong if you disagree.
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jedster wrote:

Personally I think the logistics are a price worth paying .


What are you getting in exchange for this faff that you don't get in other ski resorts? I'm here to be convinced...
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marmotman wrote:
It's like finding a good pub, you sit down by the fire and get comfy then someone suggests you all move again to a differerent one, nonsense imo. Confused


I know what you mean. I feel that way about new ski resorts... Wink
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Quote:

What are you getting in exchange for this faff that you don't get in other ski resorts? I'm here to be convinced...


1. great atmosphere and some of the finest views in the Alps - means more if you have a bit of a climbing/mountaineering background
2. excellent piste skiing, particularly for better skiers
3. off piste
But if you dont place much value on 1 and 3, then the piste skiing won't justify the switch from somewhere more convenient
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I am with you here @James the Last. I don't see the attraction of Cham for a standard punters ski week.

That said if I had three mates going out on a trip and I had the time/money to join them and they insisted on going there, I would go.

After all, it's better than being in the office!
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@James the Last, I'm with you, had 2 trips there, all been pleasant enough but I reckon I can get just as good and less tracked off piste elsewhere, better piste skiing elsewhere and don't have to park/drive or bus to the various lift stations.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Personally I love Les Houches. It's probably the biggest ski area in Chamonix and due to being a bit more "tame" it's usually quieter than other Cham areas.

It does have some cracking pistes. Kandahar is World Cup course and is big enough to cane it most of the time. Some of the pistes over the back on the st gervais side are long, winding and a bit more interesting in my books than the open faced pistes in town.

Lots of trees also makes it a good area when it's foggy as the treelines mark the piste edges. The flatter terrain and lots of trees also make it rare for avalanches even after heavy snow.

I don't think you could spend 4 days just there but you could definitely do 2. As others have said, bus is easy into Cham, from Cham there are buses to Courmayeur and Evasion.

It's like a sort of sleepy village on the edge of Chamonix so whilst it's a pain to get home if you spend all night getting battered in bar dup it's a nice place to be if you fancy a slightly more laid back trip.

It also definitely has by far the best mountain restaurants in Cham.

Last season I did 2 trips to Les Houches and had a lot of fun both trips.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Heading out to Les Houches for the first time on the 20th Jan with my beginner GF, question for those in the know: From the top of the Bellevue bubble is there any way of getting a beginner across to the top of Prarion for ski school meeting point?

Or, will we have to walk to the Prarion bubble from Bellevue(ski hire location)?

Anyone able to provide an update following today's snowfall?. I was in L2A at xmas and snow wasn't great, I don't think I can stomach 2 botched holidays.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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@debtors#2, From the top of Bellevue it's a fairly gentle blue down to Voza Prarion chair which takes you up to the top of Prarion and from there it's a short easy cruise down to the top of the Prarion Bubble. Should be manageable by anyone but a total beginner - if it's her first ever go, head to the Prarion bubble on the first day though.

In terms of snow, am not out until until end of Jan so can't give you a 1st-hand account but if you're there from the 20th you look to have timed it perfectly! LH should be lovely by the time you arrive - it doesn't need as much snow cover as the other areas as is mostly meadow underneath rather than rocks/scree but it's forecast to get 40cm this weekend and more next week.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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Thanks @jma, I'll have to scope out the run down to the Prarion bubble when I arrive, GF's lesson not until after lunch, she's had 2.5 days on snow so should be able to negotiate an easy blue, I hope!

The outlook looks good for next week, however I'm reluctant to believe the forecasts this season, every glimmer of hope seems to fade as soon as excitement builds!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
It'lk all be pretty busy. French school hols.
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@debtors#2, don't go up the Bellevue Cable Car. There is a chair lift next to the bottom of the Bellevue cable car (up a death trap staircase, be careful and stand at the sides of it not in the middle), get off that and ski about 25 metres of flat, get on the next chairlift, top of that ski about 25 metres of flat, get on the next chairlift, that takes you to top of Kandahar, ski maybe 300 metres of fairly flat slope to ski school. That's going to be easier than using the Bellevue cable car.

Look on the map and follow my directions above, it'll make sense
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
debtors#2 wrote:
Thanks @jma, I'll have to scope out the run down to the Prarion bubble when I arrive, GF's lesson not until after lunch, she's had 2.5 days on snow so should be able to negotiate an easy blue, I hope!

The outlook looks good for next week, however I'm reluctant to believe the forecasts this season, every glimmer of hope seems to fade as soon as excitement builds!


As mentioned above, it's a moderate link and she should manage fine, only the last section is a little steep but not too long. The section from the top of the Col de Voza chair to the top of the Prarion gondola is a glide.
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Quote:


It'lk all be pretty busy. French school hols


Really? I thought they started on 4th Feb? Anyway, if it is school hols, definitely don't queue for the Bellevue - either do the 3 chairs as @dp says or go to Prarion - btw, you can ski down to Prarion from the top of the first chair if you don't want to walk.
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@debtors#2,2.5 days so far on snow? Don't frighten her with 3 chair lifts and that staircase. Get a bus timetable (tourist office in LH). Take the bus from Bellevue to Prarion. Easy!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Any reports from Les Houches since the much required snowfall?

The Prarion webcam has been offline since Thursday and no updated snow reports, so anxious for some good news :-0
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Webcam working for me: https://panocam.skiline.cc/chamonix/houches
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@debtors#2, sister in law had some nice off piste beside the Kandahar yesterday...
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