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Evasion Mont Blanc - Megeve/St Gervais/Combloux/Les Contamines - 21/22

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@capability, lots of questions, and while we bought an apartment there over 2 years ago Covid have meant we haven't skiied that much really. No doubt regulars will be along soon.

OK, so our apartment is in the centre so if you are really there (near the market square) then we find it doesn't take longer than 10 minutes in ski boots to the lift. Given the buses are every 15 minutes, we have walked more than used the bus.

EMB is mostly a blue/red sort of place, great for covering the territory but not over-served by challenging pistes. However I would say the Princesse black is definitely pretty satisfying, as is the one around Cote 2000. I hope I have managed successfully to link to the pretty comprehensive trip report by @denfinella: https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=3349517&highlight=gervais#3349517

Les Houches is (sadly) a different ski area with its own pass - it is just that much of the ski domain is on alpine pastures within the St Gervais parish. However access is easy, the Tramway du Mont Blanc serves it from St Gervais and you can buy a day ski pass from the Tramway station. (There seems to be some age-old bitter politics about the two resorts making a version of their ski pass which includes the other, there were apparently been demarcation disputes about those pastures for centuries).

Les Contamines is on the EMB pass, but not connected on piste. If you have a car it is a 15 minute drive, otherwise the local buses provide a link (the fare-paying service buses, unfortunately not the free buses). It is a little higher and snowsure than StG, and definitely worth a visit. (In the 2020 ski season there was a bus at 0835 from the roundabout near the bridge which got you to the Les Contamines gondola by 0900).

New Year's Eve - we don't know, but all being well we will be competing for the same restaurants! If all else fails, there is some extremely good takeaway local food.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
You don't walk or bus up to Bettex - you get the gondola from the centre of town.
If you are used to Chamonix then you won't find the piste skiing in EMB challenging - probably the most demanding bits are on around Mont Jolie and bits of MOnt D'Arbois.
The more challenging stuff is off piste tree skiing above ST G and ST Nicholas and a wider range of off piste skiing up at Les Contamines. Easily accessible off piste is really the key feature of Les C.
Les C is on the EMB pass and you can get buses up from St G centre to Les C. You are probably committing to a day rather than thinking about going to and fro. I'd recommend you do it though but I'm biased (have a flat in Les C).
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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?
When we skied St. G we stayed in the center but admit we were kind of lazy so stored our skis/boots at the depot where the Bettex gondola downloads...why not? It's an easy 5-15 minute walk in snowboots from most places in St. G center.

The piste skiing is just fine; there are a couple of shortish hard red/black runs in addition to red/blue cruisers. You can also cross over to Megeve via a gondola quite easily and that opens up a lot more very scenic if not necessarily white-knuckle terrain. In short, more than enough to occupy yourself for a week. The "sidecountry" was excellent...didn't sample true back country as we don't have transceivers/skills etc...
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Agree with @jedster, LC definitely worth a day, don’t bother trying to fit it in half day, you need a full day to get anywhere near seeing it.
Also my go to place if the snow is not great in StG.
The Cotes2000 area is also worth a try, it’s a good 90 minutes skiing from top of bettix gondola to get there but we always try and get a few runs in there, my youngest loves the black “decent” off the top of it
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
This avalanche looks like it came close to civilisation.

https://www.ledauphine.com/societe/2021/12/12/haute-savoie-les-contamines-montjoie-la-video-de-l-avalanche-du-nant-d-armancette
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You'll need to Register first of course.
@ster, wow. Looks like it came to rest on the nursery slope - could have been carnage if there had been young kids at the time.

And chalets either side.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I did a bit of touring, more of a hike tbh, above Cordon on Monday before the new snow and conditions were not ideal - crusty/hard snow, ok going up but atrocious later on downhill. That and the portage time (muddy walk in the woods), definitely not worth it... except that it all meant I ended up alone on the crest facing the Aravis, the Mt Blanc chain and the Fiz.

Now it has snowed again and that opens other routes in the vicinity... but I know I'll just stick using lifts and enjoy nice groomed pistes.
snow conditions
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Skied St Gervais to Cote 2000 n back yesterday. Pistes mostly good coverage but scratchy n hard. Off piste was mostly deep dust on crashy refrozen. Cote 2000 was better than elsewhere , the off piste being almost deep enough not to punch trough. Bloody freezing though.
Ski out to St Gervais was just navigable. Quite a lot of white dust on frozen turf/dirt rather than snow.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Idris wrote:
Quite a lot of white dust on frozen turf

Sounds similar to what we have met in the Lake District this week! Walking not skiing, hoping France will let us in again by mid-Jan.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Just went to Les C on Jan 9 2022. It's snowing very heavily and there's great powder. The avalanche level was 4 and I didn't see much people doing very crazy off-piste. But on the piste, the condition is about 10-20 cm of snow, varying through the day.

It is pretty chilling as the temperature is -10 C, but there's not much wind so it's acceptable once you start skiing, just the face is a bit frost-bite. The highest mountain peak we could go is Nant-Rogue, but I expect the weather to clear out by now and more to be opened.(I just found that there's no way to find piste open condition on their website.)
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
rkwang wrote:
I just found that there's no way to find piste open condition on their website.

Try here.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Les Contamines today, very good piste, some courdoury still visible at 4pm - Skied untracked powder most of the day!. Quite a few lifts closed due to staffing (covid) issues and very low client numbers.
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