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Worried about Chamonix! (First Post)

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi all. Virgin poster 'ere. Been scouring Snowheads for days now and been having a good read.

One or two of you maybe able to sort my head out and put my mind at rest. Me and a mate are lucky enough to be fitting in an 'extra' holiday and have got 4 days in Val D'Isere booked on 16th December. We've also thrown in an extra nights stay in Chamonix on the way back to Geneva with a view to getting a day's skiing in before we catch the flight home.

Thing is, my mate can handle anything but I'm still a bit humbled by genuine blacks and see myself as a decent 'high intermediate'. I've skied Espace Killy and Three Valleys numerous times and had a go at runs like La Face, Piste M, Suisses in VD for example.

I'm more than a bit concerned after researching the skiing in Chamonix that I may become a bit unstuck with most of the ski areas - I've looked into the Flegere area (which is pretty close to our hotel) and even that now is sounding a bit OTT with even the red Lachenal apparently having a "genuinely consistently steep" high section.

I'm usually pretty confident at pushing myself but it got knocked a bit when I dislocated my shoulder in Courchevel two years ago!!!!!!!

Anyway, anybody care to suggest any decent areas or do I just pack me Pampers and go for it?

Cheers and hello again

Dom
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Dom74, You'd have a lot more fun in Megeve, down the road, if that's convenient.
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Dom74, Chamonix is not nearly as extreme as it's made out. Our managers have around 10 days ski experience and are expecting to spend most of their free time on Brevent-Flegere. You'll be fine.

And welcome to Chamonix, errr, sorry, Snowheads
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Dom74, welcome to snowHeads snowHead
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Get the bus (or drive) up to Le Tour for the mellowest skiing. Flegere and Brevent should be OK, actually. Nothing harder there than the Face. I don't think Combe Lachenal is a red, by the way - it's a black and my recollection is that it's a fairly easy one
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Hi, get the bus to Les Houches, only down the road, you'll be fine there and plenty to do for a day.
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You'll be fine, I went in my third week of skiing and got by OK. Chamonix's reputation is based on its off-piste terrain, there are some difficult runs but plenty of intermediate stuff. You'll probably find most of the runs in Le Tour pretty boring
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Dom74, divvent knaa nowt aboot Chamonis but welcome to snowheads ! snowHead
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Dom74, welcome to snowheads!!

You'll be fine......Combe Lachenal is very different to a run like FAce in thta it is unpisted- so you u get what you get....have you done Epaule de Carvet? not as steep as that mind- so if you have then no problems.....


lots of great pisted skiing in Chamonix and if you feel up to it go to the Grand Montets. Pont de Vue is great- every bit and a few years back the father of a family we shared a chalet with took his 5yr old down it in about 50cm of fresh snow........





is what it is like- fun.....have a go
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Most of Cham is pretty mellow, Le Tour especially. There is some mad stuff over at Argentiere. Why not ditch the Pyscho mate for a couple of mornings for a lesson or two. Explain what your concerns are and he/she should be able to give you the 'tools' to master the steep stuff. It's not easy to improve in such areas without being taught.
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Mollerski wrote:
Most of Cham is pretty mellow, Le Tour especially. There is some mad stuff over at Argentiere. Why not ditch the Pyscho mate for a couple of mornings for a lesson or two. Explain what your concerns are and he/she should be able to give you the 'tools' to master the steep stuff. It's not easy to improve in such areas without being taught.



wise words...but RUBBISH....embrace your psycho mate- let him be your guru and lead you to another dimension......of wonderful white unpisted fluffynesss....fall over- get covered in snow...get really really tired....lose a ski or two and wander around like a dazed fool trying to find it ...this is your destiny...(been watcing too much Star Wars and playing the Star Wars Lego video game with th ekids...think it might be time to reel that in)

or stick to the psites of the 3Vs and Val ..........your choice really
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
edsilva wrote:
Mollerski wrote:
Most of Cham is pretty mellow, Le Tour especially. There is some mad stuff over at Argentiere. Why not ditch the Pyscho mate for a couple of mornings for a lesson or two. Explain what your concerns are and he/she should be able to give you the 'tools' to master the steep stuff. It's not easy to improve in such areas without being taught.



wise words...but RUBBISH....embrace your psycho mate- let him be your guru and lead you to another dimension......of wonderful white unpisted fluffynesss....fall over- get covered in snow...get really really tired....lose a ski or two and wander around like a dazed fool trying to find it ...this is your destiny...(been watcing too much Star Wars and playing the Star Wars Lego video game with th ekids...think it might be time to reel that in)

or stick to the psites of the 3Vs and Val ..........your choice really


Obviously you are the 'psycho mate' and you're in need of a cuddle. wink
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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
Mollerski wrote:
edsilva wrote:
Mollerski wrote:
Most of Cham is pretty mellow, Le Tour especially. There is some mad stuff over at Argentiere. Why not ditch the Pyscho mate for a couple of mornings for a lesson or two. Explain what your concerns are and he/she should be able to give you the 'tools' to master the steep stuff. It's not easy to improve in such areas without being taught.



wise words...but RUBBISH....embrace your psycho mate- let him be your guru and lead you to another dimension......of wonderful white unpisted fluffynesss....fall over- get covered in snow...get really really tired....lose a ski or two and wander around like a dazed fool trying to find it ...this is your destiny...(been watcing too much Star Wars and playing the Star Wars Lego video game with th ekids...think it might be time to reel that in)

or stick to the psites of the 3Vs and Val ..........your choice really


Obviously you are the 'psycho mate' and you're in need of a cuddle. wink


hey!!







is that an offer?
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 You know it makes sense.
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Dom74, welcome to Snowheads. I don't know Chamonix that well, and would be scared to go up the Grand Montets, but having skied myself in Flegere/Le Brevent, I'd say you'll be absolutely fine (I chicken out of La Face unless the snow is perfect, and come down in the lift). And the views across to Mont Blanc are great. If you're just there one night you won't want to be going off to Megeve or even to Le Tour, which is a long way up the Chamonix valley.

Why not have a private lesson in Val D'Isere - there are some excellent instructors based there. Might be a good way to regain confidence after your injury.
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Thanks for all the replies chaps and chapasses... seems like Snowheads has been a cool find.

Think a private lesson might up the confidence - which I think is the main thing that I'm strugglin' with.

Edsilva, I've just had a look and deffo haven't done Epaule de Carvet yet... might be one for December if the Missions are up to it!!!!

Thanks everyone
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Dom74, stop worrying, it's really not all that bad. If you're moderately happy on La Face there's very little pisted that should give you much of a problem. Just upgrade most runs by about a colour grade Wink to compare with a typical resort (e.g. 3V). I essentially learned to ski at Argentiere - from 2nd week on - so it can't be that bad. There are sections on some of the reds that require a bit of care, such as the first 100m or so from the Bochard (narrow and busy) and Herse (steep, similar to bottom of VdI's Face) lifts - and in that 2nd week I was probably taking them as much on my ar$e as on skis, but you should be much better than I was then. There are some really nice blues in all the areas, particularly on Brevent (you can connect to that from Flegere) and skier's left of Argentiere (althought they're only 250m vertical), and a red off Col Cornu (Brevent) that's really good fun for a bit of a blast. If you're up to the Suisse bumps then there's really nothing much on piste that should faze you. It's probably worth steering clear of Pylons (huge bumps for about 1000m vertical), and Arolles if icy (both at Argentiere), but that's about it. You're probably best off starting in the Brevent area, then can get over to Flegere if you want to step it up a little. Once you've got some confidence, there are some lovely off-piste cut-throughs around the blues in Argentiere - or Lachenal really is great fun - so go for it!

Early season is normally a bit iffy, particularly off-piste as they need pretty much a metre of snow base before it becomes skiable, but it sounds like they've just about got that now, so with a bit of luck it should be absolutely fine in a couple of weeks time.

(Arno, every time I've skied Lachenal it's been marked red - but it used to be genuine off-piste, as in e.g. the Vamos book)
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Quote:

and would be scared to go up the Grand Montets


EHHH??!!! You can ski all the way back to Chamonix on a marked, patrolled and secured (unpisted at the top) ski run!! It is NOT a compulsory exercise in avalanche or crevasse rescue - it is steep-ish in parts (maybe some big moguls) but to say things like:
Quote:

or stick to the pistes of the 3Vs and Val ..........your choice really


...is just a bit OTT!! If you've skied and enjoyed the 3Vs and Val you will love Chamonix!!
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mountainaddict, I said that I would be scared to go up the Grand Montets (which is the truth, even if it's mistaken) because I wanted to demonstrate to the OP that I am not a gung-ho skier. So if even I am happy in Brevent/Flegere, it must be OK for someone who will tackle La Face. I didn't mention the 3Vs or Val D'Isere.
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So, for those who've been before, if your were an above average intermediate, a little bit nervous on blacks and had just a single full day in Cham, where would you go???
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Dom74, if your hotel is nearby, Brevent/Flegere.
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When are you planning to be in Cham? Only the Grands Montets and Les Houches are open until the 20th when the other areas open up. I'm out there between the 11th and 15th, hoping there's some decent skiing and not too many rocks up the Grands Montets.
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We get there on sat 20th and are skiing on the 21st.
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Dom74, if you're in Chamonix (and not telling us porkies - i.e. staying in Argentiere, Les Houches or Vallorcine for example) you will be nearest to either Brevent (Plan Praz bubble) or Flegere Cable car. The "areas" are linked by cable car and are the largest sector in the valley.

Go either of those. (They open on the 20th)
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Quote:

So, for those who've been before, if your were an above average intermediate, a little bit nervous on blacks and had just a single full day in Cham, where would you go???


hi Dom - I would rate myself exactly as you described and went to chamonix last year after getting two full week's skiing under my belt.

we went in mid april for a short break in which we skied a day in courmayeur, flegere/brevent, le tour, le grands montets and the vallee blanche Cool

the snow was good but i didnt honestly find any of the skiing that difficult - that said I like you stick to pistes and am probably more comfortable skiing reds. if i had a day i would go the LGM as that was the area we had most fun on!
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Dom74 wrote:
So, for those who've been before, if your were an above average intermediate, a little bit nervous on blacks and had just a single full day in Cham, where would you go???


Grand Montets, every time... Very Happy the other areas are good and you'll have fun, but GM will blow your socks off, there's some amazing runs there - and I consider myself a very average skier BTW.

Hope you have fun wherever you end up ! snowHead
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Thanks again folks, sounds like i might be swayed from trying Flegere and Brevent and hitting the slopes of Le Grand Montets.

(on a completely different topic - I've just walked 5 miles to work having just had my Renault catch fire in the middle of complete gridlock in Bradford!!!! ...and I thought I'd always love snow. Bah Humbug.)
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Dom74, If you are a "high intermediate" as you say then you will absolutely love it! Enjoy!
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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
Dom74, success.....embrace snow.....and enter new realm
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GrahamN wrote:
(Arno, every time I've skied Lachenal it's been marked red - but it used to be genuine off-piste, as in e.g. the Vamos book)

haven't done it since it's been marked but the chamonix website marks it as a black
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Dom74, gonna be a little controversial (as usual). If B-F is local to where you're staying, and you're just skiing on piste and not seeking great big wonderful fields of bumps, the GMs isn't that much of an advantage and potentially a bit more hassle. Also, if it's sunny - B-F will be sunnier (It's south-east facing, GMs are north-west facing). Though that in itself might be an argument as to where to go...

If you hit the GMs, I'd lunch at Plan Joran. I find the menu of the Refuge du Lognan a little limited (you can have croute, croute and ham, croute and cheese, croute cheese and ham, croute with mushrooms, croute with croute and no spam in sight).
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Dom74 wrote:
... having just had my Renault catch fire in the middle of complete gridlock in Bradford!!!!


Eeek Shocked Shocked That's never a good start to the day Sad

(By the way, welcome to the nuthouse.... sorry..... snowHeads) Toofy Grin
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Arno, looks like they're uprating its grading. I have three maps probably from 2000-2006 where it was marked red (although I see Pic Janvier was marked black on one of them), and I remember it also always being red in the later 90s. I always felt it was a fairly tough red - not much if any easier than Floria which has always been a black - but that's normal for Chamonix Wink .

under a new name, controversial or not, I agree with all that. Dom74, it looks like you've chosen the right day to ski there, as the area only opens fully on the 20th - only Grands Montets will be open prior to that. Provided there's decent snow between now and then, I'd also say Brevent-Flegere may be a better choice, as the early runs at the Grand Montets (Bochard, Marmottons) have a lot of artificial snow, which ends up being quite nasty and icy. The only strong counter-advice would be if the lift to the top is open, and you can get down Pointe de Vue, as it would be a shame to miss that - it's one of the best pistes I've ever skied.

Whichever area you choose, you'll have some great skiing.
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I too went to Chamonix for a short break in about my 3rd week of skiing. Would recommend the Brevent-Flegere area if you're only there for one day. Don't think Grands Montets has as much appeal for an intermediate. Combe Lachenal that you mentioned is a great run (was marked red when we did it in 2006) but yeah, it is consistently steep. The other reds are "proper" reds too. There's not much cruisy stuff but Mr Neigehead & I became much better skiers after our short trip to Cham - it tests you a bit. If you're a pretty confident intermediate like you say you'll love it. Don't bother with La Tour - no challenge there. We found it a bit boring frankly apart from the red off the back down to Les Esserts.
Have a great time, whatever!
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GrahamN,
Quote:

Provided there's decent snow between now and then, I'd also say Brevent-Flegere may be a better choice, as the early runs at the Grand Montets (Bochard, Marmottons) have a lot of artificial snow, which ends up being quite nasty and icy. The only strong counter-advice would be if the lift to the top is open, and you can get down Pointe de Vue, as it would be a shame to miss that - it's one of the best pistes I've ever skied.

Absolutely agree. Pointe de Vue is the most amazing ski I've ever had (several times) and I'm only an intermediate skier. I also love the blacks from the top of Brevent, which have always been virtually empty when I've skied them (late in the season.)
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Combe Lachenal is still graded Red.There is both a harder and softer entrance. Both are maintained and, due to the aspect don't get especially icy. You don't have to do it in any event, but it is a sustained scenic run. You will be capable of skiing it even if you feel the burn by the end. If the snow is good you will likely have more fun in Les Houches just down the valley. It is more of a resort, whereas Chamonix is a series of mountains with just enough runs carved into them to keep people happy without taking up too much of the off-piste. Chamonix is quite good for pairs where one wants a piste and the other does not, but want to ski together. Brevent/Flegere is a good day out, however, as you get to cover the area and feel like you've done some exploring. Don't bank on good food though. In poor weather go to Les Houches or drop down to Megeve/St Gervais.
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If you are worried, Les Houches and Le Tour are really nice, chilled areas with great intermediate runs. I love Cham for its off-piste terraain, but the area has plenty of nice runs that are a pleasure in the sunshine and make for an easy day of calm skiing. Have fun!
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I will be spending the season in the Portes Du Soleil, up the road - and my first trip to Cham will be to Les Houches, as after a knee operation I too will be taking it easy this season. If you can ski Le Face, no pisted run in Chamonix will phase you.
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This thread is nearly ten years old! I wonder how they got on. Toofy Grin
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Should we tell him about the Lognan cable car??? Shocked
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Hah! Didn't notice the age of this thread!!
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