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Disabled access to 'mid mountain' or higher (specific question about La Clusaz within).

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
My old dear is here this weekend, and the poor old love ain't so good on her feet these days. We'd love to somehow drive or cable-car her somewhere with a nice cafe and some views, but most of the places I've ever been just seem unsuitable for this - despite racking my feeble brains.

1) Does anyone know anywhere that you can get someone up an Alp, without them walking more than about 10 paces (on paved ground... walking on snow is pretty much out of the question), or where pushing a wheelchair to a scenic cafe would be a feasible activity? "Near" Annecy would be ideal obviously.

2) I've noticed on the La Clusaz piste map that there is a car park, with a disabled icon next to it, up at 'Les Joux' near the Etale sector. But having never driven this way, I can't figure out where it is on a normal map, or how to get there, or if it would be at all suitable if and when we got there. Anyone know?

Lots of love, paulio and his old mum.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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I knew you were a nice guy at heart Smile

Either that or a Cockney ("ee luvs 'is old muuummm")
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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?
We took my mum up the Mont Chery gondola in Les Gets - she wasn't in a wheelchair at that point, but with a "rollator". A strong arm each side, and sympathetic help from the lift operators, and we made it.

Also in Les Gets, we drove up the road to the top of the main gondola (can't remember names it was a while ago) and she loved sitting at one of the cafés where she could watch the skiers. Needs a warm day, thogh.

I don't know the lift - so I'm guessing - but what about the Princessa at Megeve? If you could drop her and a helper right at the door, then someone else to park the car?
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When we were at the café at the top of Mont Chery we saw an ESF instructor carrying a load of slalom poles have a big crash and scatter them all around - even my mum saw the funny side, watching his mates take the mickey.

I went ahead and had a word with the lift operators - they were really helpful.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
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The only parking I can think of near the bottom of Les Joux is by the top of the Transval gondola. It's maybe 200m up the road from the youth hostel on the Route de Croix Fry (I think) and there is a steep, but paved, ramp from the road to a snackbar. It's not a restaurant but you can get a beer and a sandwich. And the view of l'Etale is great. Views down the valley to the village aren't bad and over the valley on the other side of the Transval is l'Aiguille. Not sure I'd visit if i weren't staying in the hostel and grabbing a beer though.
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Both the funiculars in the Espace Killy have carparks nearby, bit of a drive from Annecy though.
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Tignes,tunnel thing underground takes you up to great views, you could go up the glacier, ski down, and she could enjoy a great view and a over priced drink.

Long way from Annecey.

Les gets, you can drive up to the ski school, nice ish restaurant , watching paulio junior on magic carpet ?
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Funnicular, that's the word. But a bit f()cked on jamaican remedies currently.
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It's quite a drive but the Champery cable car gets you straight to Planachaux At around 1900m. Spectacular views and a restaurant right there. You can even get to the departure by train. It is literally across the platform. IIRC the cable car access is on the level rather than up stairs.
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In La Clusaz you could try La Ferme which is car accessible - it's not high up but it does have some nice views from the terrace. It's on the route du col des aravis. You do need to sit outside for the views though really.

It's lovely, it's not cheap but you could try the Auberge du Christomet (on the Jaillet side of Megeve) which is a lovely restaurant with car access - not tried to drive it myself as only accessed it by skis but I seem to remember discovering it had car access because Laundryman was recommending it to Lou's non-skiing sister last year.
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Megeve is our favourite due to pretty town+scenic views. And also we've taken the tot there before and we thought it was great (up at Rochebrune). I don't think dear mother will enjoy that drive up the Arly Gorge though Skullie

Les Joux doesn't sound that great then - thanks for the info ViscountFishpond.

We've only got one shot at this. I can't really afford the time to drive somewhere, conclude it's not suitable, and get back in the car and go somewhere else Toofy Grin

She really can't walk, on snow, at all - otherwise there would be countless options.

Thanks everyone so far. Still pondering...
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
paulio, might be worth specifically asking the resort about somewhere with wheelchair access - most of them are becoming more aware of the need. You need somewhere where she could sit in a wheelchair throughout the operation really, don't you - which rules out most gondolas unless you can get special access in a lift or similar.

Would she be up for a "taxi-ski" of the kind the instructors use for disabled people? That would open up a big range of possibilities but might be a bit too exciting. Again, I think most, or all, the ski schools are now able to rustle up the equipment and somebody with the strength and skill to operate it.
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I reckon she could get on a modern gondola if they stopped it. No chance of getting on a moving one unless we physically lifted her in, which might be a bit undignified!

Cable car or funicular is best. She went on the Chamonix funicular up to the Mer de Glace in summer, and liked that.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
paulio, One thing you will find is that people are extremely helpful when there's a wheelchair involved. I asked for advice on here some time ago re: taking my Dad to Levi (Parkinsons) and he sounds in a similar position to your Mum i.e. can walk a bit assisted, or be pushed in a chair. pam w advised me at the time to take the chair and she was spot on. Manoeuvring it in snow was surprisingly easy - and if necessary, several people could help lift/pull it. The lifties were great, really helpful and stopped gondolas etc to allow time for loading chairs etc. If you come up with a choice of resort, it might be worth a call to the Tourist Information, they should be able to give info on lifts/available help etc.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Not sure the the tignes funicular has a way up without steps
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 Poster: A snowHead
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although according to this site it does, http://www.tignesnet.com/lifts/system.html
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My mother did several "wheelchair" trips out to Geneva, where we met her. She was lumped in one time with a disabled tennis team, who were all twirling round expertly in their kevlar wheelchairs. A nice man in Geneva marched up to her asking "Are you part of the tennis team?" . She found that hilarious - it quite made her trip. She was full of praise for the assistance she got at both ends of her journey.

Pushing a wheelchair up hills is good exercise. wink
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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?
tiffin, I think there's a ramp alongside the steps... it's a bit steep though (and it would probably be a good idea not to lose your grip...) Confused
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We're still dithering. Sad
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
paulio, have you spoken to the Megeve tourist board? There are a couple of restaurants at the top of cable cars but having not been to them this year myself and having not thought about wheelchair access when I was there last year, I couldn't say for sure if they'd be suitable.
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Not had the opportunity to get in touch with any tourist offices, no.
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paulio, not the quickest route, but you could go to Sallanches and approach from that way to avoid the gorge I think.
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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:

not the quickest route, but you could go to Sallanches and approach from that way to avoid the gorge I think.

just looked at that - a good suggestion, doesn't take too much longer. Much less than I thought. Google maps also suggests via La Clusaz, which would be a nicer drive.
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This is one of my fears of taking my daughter in that even with a gondola/cable car its rare you then have lift access down to ground level or suitable loos. There are some resorts such as la plagne and serre che where I've seen alot of adaptive skiing. I wonder about chantlemerle in serre chevalier. Cable car, query is it steps up. Cafe at bottom of slopes?
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Tourist office at Megeve pointed me at this (link to PDF):

http://www.megeve.com/hiver/mont-blanc/alpes/haute-savoie/france/page/tourisme-adapte

So the correct answer is, apparently: the Mont d'Arbois and Rochebrune lifts.
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paulio, hope your mum makes it up there and has a fab day.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
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paulio, great. Hope it works. it would be wonderful to get her up into the mountains. snowHead
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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
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
We took my mother up to the Col de Joly (les Contamines) in summer, where you can drive right up to the top, from the Belleville (Hauteluce) side. We got to the restaurant, but she was upset to be told (after I'd done a recce) that the loo was a "squat" type.

I explained to the waitress that my mother had a "probleme d'equilibre" and could not use one of those. She was very helpful, went away and asked, and came back and led us through the kitchen, round the back of the guys frying up the lunch, and into the staff loo, which was fine.

The other problem we had was that French restaurant loos are invariably down a flight of steep stone steps, which presented real problems for my mother. We managed, but on the whole most European countries are not as "disability aware" as the UK.

The thought of having to get anyone in a wheel chair round Genoa, with stupendous hills everywhere and very narrow, or non-existent, pavements, is intimidating. Even pushchairs would be difficult.

My mum never made it out in the winter but did a series of summer trip, which she loved. The pastures full of flowers made an indelible impression.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
pam w wrote:
on the whole most European countries are not as "disability aware" as the UK.

The thought of having to get anyone in a wheel chair round Genoa, with stupendous hills everywhere and very narrow, or non-existent, pavements, is intimidating.


I've taken mater round Paris a few years ago. Trundling her up to Montmartre was - er - a laugh.

Rochebrune tomorrow we think, due to proximity to the Magnestick-enabled chairlifts for junior...
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
paulio, great, hope it goes well. I bet your Mum would enjoy watching junior more than anything. We parked my mum in a café in les Gets and she watched the kids circuiting the draglift. Whilst eating lots of cakes and drinking coffee. That was before wheelchair days, but she wasn't very mobile. A friend and I took one elbow each and kind of frog-marched her into the Mont Chery gondola, whilst someone else carried her rollator up.
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Preeeeeeeeety successful Smile

Access from the Rochebrune car park to the Rochebrune station/cafe complex - 8/10. Short wheelchair drag required across snow which at that time of the morning was pretty firm, so no drama. I reckon there's a better way out of that car park, but we didn't manage to find it. We exited at the 3rd floor, right in front of the Petit Rochebrune chairlift.

Bottom of cable car cafe - 8/10. Handful of steps required, but lav access etc pretty good. Decent view of the final bit of piste where we were taking Junior skiing. Lots of waving and going 'coo-ee'.

Rochebrune cable car itself - 10/10. Step free loading, lots of helpful lifties, and they let us jump the queue.

Top of cable car getting to the cafe - 6/10. Pretty grim uphill slog across soft snow, two men required dragging the chair on two wheels. Being in ski boots not recommended for this manoeuvre.

Cafe at the top - 7/10: All on the flat, including the lavs. Nice views from the terrace, but views to Mont Blanc spoiled by gondola station. Slow service, stupid expensive, and a bit crap in the 'sandwich kiosk' bit where we were. Maybe the proper restaurant is better, but it was fully booked. Fiver for a machine made hot chocolate in a paper cup. I imagine it's an ideal place for someone with unsophisticated tastes and deep pockets.

She liked it Smile

Traffic back to Annecy was fine until about St Jorioz and then OMFG I have never seen so many people in one place before. Massive queues getting in and through Annecy, nowhere to park on arrival. GET OUT OF MY CITY!
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paulio, well done, sounds like a lot of effort - but well worth it. As for the traffic - well...... it's a Saturday in early March. 5 euros for a hot choc is well over the top. That's Megeve for you, I suppose.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
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paulio, I'm glad she liked it and well done you for making the effort snowHead
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^ ^ ^ +1
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
paulio, really glad it went well! You're always going to be critical of the views, food etc. because you know how much better it can be (& because you want everything to be perfect, as would I in that situation) but I bet your Mum is going to have fabulous memories of the day Smile
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Wot Jo225 said. snowHead Sounds pretty similar to our experience actually. I was amazed (and very grateful) that people were just so darn helpful, lifties in particular.
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