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TR Montchavin Paradiski Christmas 2015 - WITH PHOTOS!

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
It was back to Paradiski for the umpteenth time and given the snow conditions I was very glad we did. Once again in terms of options at the bookends of the season it came up trumps. Not that I was expecting the unseasonal conditions prevalent in the alps. The idea was that last year was a one in a ~25 year event. Clearly not. I've seen it stated in some quarters than this Christmas was a little better than last. Any difference would be minor in my book. Anyhow, enough of that. This is meant to be a trip report...

On the trip was the usual crew.. me, wife, son 10yo and daughter 8yo. As usual it was DIY, driving and a self catered apartment. We were back with the Tunnel for this one. £82 out (late 18th Dec), £62 back (late 28th) mostly paid using Clubcard vouchers. £5 and £3 more expensive than similar crossings last Christmas and about £10/£7 more than 2013. Am I geek or what! We booked the apartment through the official website accommodation search. We've stayed in Les Coches many times but thought for this trip we'd stay in Montchavin.... interlude...


Montchavin has a really nice small alpine town feel. Little streets and alleyways make up it's bulk and there a lovely set of shops, agencies, restuarants, etc.. There are some normal looking lived in houses amongst this. The boulangerie - coffee/tea shop was friendly and had excellent pain and pastries. There is plenty of outdoor parking. It's suburbs extend up and around the mountain. There are good sledging areas and beginners slope. Had the conditions been better it would have been virtually ski/ski out. As it was a short gondola was required to get down from Les Coches. The only thing not to like is the fact that it's position on the mountain means it doesn't have a sunny disposition. Not necessarily a problem for a December ski holiday where the days are short anyhow but possibly a factor for some. Les Coches even though just up the road fairs much better in this respect but isn't quite such a neat or pretty town. End of interlude...


It was ~1200 Euros for the apartment plus a 6 day Paradiski family lift pass. As a family lift pass by itself is 908 Euros (890 last season), the apartment cost worked at ~300 Euros. The admin for the apartment was done using Agence Immobilière des Glaciers, who were a delight to deal with and very professional. We already had an annual travel insurance policy in place with MPI (Standard, France only) for a tad over £100 (no cancel or personal effects cover).

Equipment wise, my son had new ski boots - NORDICA Patron Team Vert (~£80 from glisshop) and daughter new skis - K2 Juvy AT with K2 Fastrack2 bindings (~£90 from glisshop). Other than that, it was as you are though my wife's boots are shot and her ski's are getting tired.

My son had broken a toe (don't ask) 3 weeks before the trip but was given the all clear and other than that everyone was in good health for the trip. And so we were off...

Given the spring-like weather it would be no surprise to report that the crossing (22.0Cool and overnight drive down was without incident and we arrived bang on time for the opening of the Geant at Albertville just after 8.30. We did our food shop and made the last leg on and up the mountain arriving ~11.30pm. We wandered through the village and picked up our keys from the agency. The apartment was free so we were able to move in immediately. There were a couple of 20 minute holding slots right next to the apartment entrance so we were able to unload easily. The apartment was pretty cushty. Entrance corridor leading to lounge with a good size dining table, two sofas and kitchen area. Leading off that was a double bedroom with large walk in wardrobe, a separate WC and shower/bath room. It was 50m to the gondola out of the village up to Les Coches and the main lift system.

We had a gander round Montchavin in the afternoon and the kids went sledging in a small man made snow area for an hour to burn of some energy before dinner was taken. Clearly an early night was called for as I nodded off on the sofa with a half a glass of wine still in my hand! Onto the skiing...

Sunday 19th was really warm. I took my neck warmer off pretty quickly and from Monday onwards I delayered by one. I used the pit zips on my jacket and the inside thigh zips on my trousers a lot during the week. Amazing for the time of year. We played above Les Coches initially. Crozats was open but nothing below that. We had lunch at the L'Arpette col. There is a new metal "Paradiski" skier image "old lift bits" statue here which is eye catching. There us also a automatic photo thingy there. You scan your lift pass and there is a camera that takes a group pic (assuming you are in a group). I meant to find out how you view/buy said photos but forgot all about it. Then went up Bellecote glacier. We didn't think conditions were a great deal better to be honest. And then the bloody gondola broke down meaning a 10 minute queue to get back out. We skied down Inversens which is also good value. Skied back via the officially closed Sources to avoid the masses going to the tunnel. Made it to Arpette 10 minutes to spare. Sources was closed because there was a pitch two thirds the way down where rocks and gravel were predominant all across the piste. A common theme, sometimes on closed runs, sometimes on open ones. More often than that you could pick you way through and/or sacrifice your ski's a little.

Monday 20th was the only day the weather was in any way inclement - with quite a lot of cloud and bit of rain/snow at times. We headed over to Les Arcs. Up Peissy, ski down to Derby, ski down to Transarc via Retches. And over to above 2000 were we skied around the lower reaches a little before slowly heading back doing a couple of laps in the tree lined runs of Vallandry and then over to finish the day above Les Coches. It was pretty dark and grim as we got to the top of Dos Rond, three chairs before the flag that stopped proceedings for the day , and started heading down. One of those days were the weather doesn't really do much for the snow conditions or your skiing comfort.

Tuesday 21st was a tad colder but sunny all day. Stayed over in La Plagne, seeing what was open, what was nice to ski. At the top of the Grand Rochette looking down towards Champagny you could see why virtually nothing was skiable in that part of the domain. On the steeper top parts of the runs back towards the La Plagne villages there was rock hazards to be aware of, though it became much more pleasant on shallower parts of the piste. There was still some of the gullies and chutes to enjoy. Over beneath Le Biolley above Aime things were particularly grim, so we didn't hang around there - Verdon Nord provided more pleasant snow.

Wednesday 22nd was once again sunny all day. Went over to Les Arcs again. The usual route - up Peissy, ski down to Derby, ski down to Transarc via Retches, up Transarc. We skied the bumps field next to Arcubelle. Then headed up Varet and Aiguille Rouge. Skied down Aiguille Rouge piste, had lunch sitting on rocks looking down into the valley in the sunshine, and then continued down to Arc 2000. Got Varet up and skied down to Arcabulle. Skied over to Grand Col. Up and skied off piste. There is quite a steep pitch and it was a nice wee challenge for the children and adults alike. Then back to Arcabulle where a fair old queue awaited. Conscious of the clock we skied all the way back to the Vanoise in one hit taking only 20 mins. Did one lift up with my son when we got back over to our side.

Thursday was largely a repeat of Wednesday, whilst Friday was largely a repeat of Tuesday. The scope to do too much differently just wasn't there and it was just a case of heading back to where the conditions were best. Even then options were being closed down and we saw pisteurs desparately trying to remove stones from a couple of pistes and shovelling snow from above on a couple of others. Desperate times all forgotten now of course.

Not surprisingly we bailed out on any Saturday skiing. We spend 3 days driving through France visiting Chartres, Versailles, Amiens and the dunes on the coast south of Boulougne. Again no issues at the tunnel to speak of.

We plan to go again at the end of March and hopefully like last year conditions will be much better than they were at Christmas. Photos to follow....


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Thu 12-04-18 16:14; edited 3 times in total
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Montchavin looking a bit bare

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Great report and photos, thanks for posting. We were in Vallandry at the same time and noticed how dark Montchavin seemed all day - it took us a long time to brave the Vanoise express!
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Yeah nice report and wonderful photos, thanks for sharing.
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@Layne, Great TR & beautiful photos! Thanks snowHead
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