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Evasion Mont Blanc - Megeve/St Gervais/Combloux/Les Contamines - 20/21

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
SJOSHA wrote:
jedster wrote:
SJOSHA wrote:
This week is looking good for snow. Anyone share their favourite in resort lines for powder days for Saint G and Les C??

At Les C - i have heard off the side of the Combe run, otherwise would anywhere off the piste between nant rouge and veleray be pretty good?

At Saint G - assume off Mont Joly chair there would be plenty of options albeit not good in bad weather. what about in the trees around croix du christ? any other tree options? any options around etudiants ?

thanks for any input.


Les C - loads of options all over the place. The best places will be influenced by wind direction and - after the fall - sun and shade (e.g., can find that the sunny upper veleray slopes get cooked by the sun by the time the avalanche risk has declined.)
The area you describe is all pretty good but you obviously need to take care with the gully/stream bed under the Nant Rouge chair and also the main river down towards Grevettaz - lots of skiing around them but scope your exit routes before committing.
I'd say that the easiest terrain to find your way around is actually around the Roselette area (Buche Croisse chair). I'd avoid going right under the steep slopes from Aig de Roselette but the rest of the terrain - between the pistes - is a good bet. You can also ski the bowl right under/above the bottom of the Buche Croisse chair. Also when heading from Signal to Buche Croisse chair traverse left of the piste and drop down through small trees to the Buche Croisse restaurant.
Another big area is anything between the pistes on the Hauteluce side - that stuff is less visible from the lifts but there aren't many hazards.
There are several other areas I could mention but that should be enough to keep you busy! Haven't even started on the more "side country" options but I'd suggest getting a guide or a friendly native to show you those.

St G - my favourite areas are actually around Mont d'Arbois. Keep your eyes open and there are a number of little tracks that nip off the pistes into the woods. Several of these lead to hidden clearings and meadows. There are some down to Bettex and to Princess. Generally very little competition for this stuff and it is not difficult (particularly the Princess side, some of the St G routes are a little steeper/tighter). quite a few of these clearings are visible on the piste map - an example: head off the piste skiers left where the Mont Rosset chair crosses over Finance. Ski through the trees and you'll come out in a big meadow which you can ski to join Marmire piste 3/4 of the way down. Alternatively carry on through trees below the meadow and come out at the bottom of Marmire (trickier skiing and route finding).
Croix de Christ? Yes obvious stuff around the pistes but also look at the lines dropping down from Gde Epaule piste to Croix de Christ - fairly steep so avy risk. Also plenty of scope down the other side of Gde Epaule towards Marmottes and St Nicholas.
There is a bit around Etudiants too - can ski through to Bruyere
Obviously there is a lot of stuff from Mont Joly but some of the slopes are VERY avalanche prone. There are safer lines but I'd be wary of this area unless you've scoped it well and have good visibility.

Anyway, having just given away a load of my go to powder stashes I think you owe me a beer!


Thanks Jedster, really appreciate the tips. definitely buy you a beer if i see you at La Grange or Miraflores. Had some good runs on Mount Arbois this morning, knee deep in some sections.

i am sure you are all over it but i had a great time yesterday morning skiing the section under Jonction Chair on the Signal side at LC. No one else skiing it and it has some widely spaced trees which was really helpful in the low vis.


Good call - that whole slope all the way from Jonction up to Olympique offers a stack of options - obviously the gullies L and R of Olympique need prudence from an avalanche POV
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
A few thoughts on restaurants based on what I've learned so far this week:
Mountain restaurants:
St.Gervais
Le Gouet (near the bottom of Grand Choucas run by Le Gouet drag): lovely wooden building, excellent atmosphere, good value and service, can highly recommend. (Don't think you can book)
Chez Ernestine (On Clementines run on way down from Croix de Christ). Pretty similar to Le Gouet. Great coffee stop with benches facing the piste
Megeve:
Les Mandarines: AVOID! The sort of place where you need to look like an oligarch to get decent service. Second mortgage territory. Won't serve tap water because it's supposedly not drinking water, then charges 7.50 euros for a 75cl bottle. (Funny how most other restaurants at this altitude seem to have drinking water from the tap)
Les Contamines:
La Roselette (600m to the left of top of Signal chair, close to Roselette drag): Really pretty wooden chalet that oozes character, and serves traditional Savoyard fare at a reasonable price.
Evening meal venues in St.Gervais:
Les Quatres Epices: Small restaurant with attractive wooden interior. Menu is largely different types of galette, but some other good options, and great desserts, especially on the specials board. Friendly service
Au Comptoir Alpin: Basically Savoy/Alpine based recipes, but with a modern twist (Quite refreshing when so many menus in this part of the world are very predictable). Very modern decor.
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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?
@Julian T, if you're still in town, go to L'etteral for pizza & Le Gilleta for steak. 2 fantastic restaurants
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jedster wrote:
SJOSHA wrote:
jedster wrote:
SJOSHA wrote:
This week is looking good for snow. Anyone share their favourite in resort lines for powder days for Saint G and Les C??

At Les C - i have heard off the side of the Combe run, otherwise would anywhere off the piste between nant rouge and veleray be pretty good?

At Saint G - assume off Mont Joly chair there would be plenty of options albeit not good in bad weather. what about in the trees around croix du christ? any other tree options? any options around etudiants ?

thanks for any input.


Les C - loads of options all over the place. The best places will be influenced by wind direction and - after the fall - sun and shade (e.g., can find that the sunny upper veleray slopes get cooked by the sun by the time the avalanche risk has declined.)
The area you describe is all pretty good but you obviously need to take care with the gully/stream bed under the Nant Rouge chair and also the main river down towards Grevettaz - lots of skiing around them but scope your exit routes before committing.
I'd say that the easiest terrain to find your way around is actually around the Roselette area (Buche Croisse chair). I'd avoid going right under the steep slopes from Aig de Roselette but the rest of the terrain - between the pistes - is a good bet. You can also ski the bowl right under/above the bottom of the Buche Croisse chair. Also when heading from Signal to Buche Croisse chair traverse left of the piste and drop down through small trees to the Buche Croisse restaurant.
Another big area is anything between the pistes on the Hauteluce side - that stuff is less visible from the lifts but there aren't many hazards.
There are several other areas I could mention but that should be enough to keep you busy! Haven't even started on the more "side country" options but I'd suggest getting a guide or a friendly native to show you those.

St G - my favourite areas are actually around Mont d'Arbois. Keep your eyes open and there are a number of little tracks that nip off the pistes into the woods. Several of these lead to hidden clearings and meadows. There are some down to Bettex and to Princess. Generally very little competition for this stuff and it is not difficult (particularly the Princess side, some of the St G routes are a little steeper/tighter). quite a few of these clearings are visible on the piste map - an example: head off the piste skiers left where the Mont Rosset chair crosses over Finance. Ski through the trees and you'll come out in a big meadow which you can ski to join Marmire piste 3/4 of the way down. Alternatively carry on through trees below the meadow and come out at the bottom of Marmire (trickier skiing and route finding).
Croix de Christ? Yes obvious stuff around the pistes but also look at the lines dropping down from Gde Epaule piste to Croix de Christ - fairly steep so avy risk. Also plenty of scope down the other side of Gde Epaule towards Marmottes and St Nicholas.
There is a bit around Etudiants too - can ski through to Bruyere
Obviously there is a lot of stuff from Mont Joly but some of the slopes are VERY avalanche prone. There are safer lines but I'd be wary of this area unless you've scoped it well and have good visibility.

Anyway, having just given away a load of my go to powder stashes I think you owe me a beer!


Thanks Jedster, really appreciate the tips. definitely buy you a beer if i see you at La Grange or Miraflores. Had some good runs on Mount Arbois this morning, knee deep in some sections.

i am sure you are all over it but i had a great time yesterday morning skiing the section under Jonction Chair on the Signal side at LC. No one else skiing it and it has some widely spaced trees which was really helpful in the low vis.


Good call - that whole slope all the way from Jonction up to Olympique offers a stack of options - obviously the gullies L and R of Olympique need prudence from an avalanche POV



Just wanted to point out that it sounds like there were two avalanches in Les C yesterday 200m apart near the Nant Rouge chair - I THINK in the steep sided gulley under the chair that I warn about in the above post. One skier was dug out alive under 80cm of snow. Another was kept on the surface by his ABS.
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@Jonny996, Thanks for the recommendations. Our ‘social secretary’ has already booked us into La Galetta tonight so I can tell her that I’m reliably informed that she’s made a good choice!
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@Julian T, @Jonny996, thank you for food recommendations!
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Booked flights Tuesday to Friday, Ouibus to Sallanches and staying there at a very cheap AirBnb.

Obviously not what most would recommend, but I'm a boarder so walking is less of an issue and I wanted to try something a bit different.

Only 2 days on the slopes but looks like it will be snowing in the area on the first of them, so probably going to aim for Saint-Gervais for one of them and the Megeve / Les Contamines for the other, using the ski bus / altibus / whatever the local option is.

If it works out ok, can see myself heading out there for a week and a half next year, using it as base and exploring those properly and maybe a little further afield (Praz-sur-Arly / Espace Diamant).

Wish me luck!
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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!
Go to StG the snow day and keep LC for better weather
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Thanks @Jonny996
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Thinking of skiing in St. Gervais area on Wednesday. Weather forecasts show there could be some snow and possibly strong wind (up to 40km/h). Never been there before, but it looks good for such a day with lots of trees to help if the visibility is poor. Are the lifts prone to closures with high winds or can I safely plan heading there on Wednesday? Please advise
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@Jonny996, @jedster, as the local experts, if we wanted to go for a ski in St G area from Les C, would parking and traffic be impossible at half term? Which lift has the better chance of space in the car park - those from St Nicolas or the Bettex?
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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.
Biggest car park is actually at the base gondola in StG but even that fills up by 8.45 , Bettex is always full but I’ve never parked in st nick.
If you’re going later park in the underground in town centre and walk over new bridge 500 meters or get free shuttle bus
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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
@Jonny996, thank you - our boys are in board/ ski school in the later afternoons (2pm) so it would have to be an early start anyway, which one is the main one if not Bettex?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
epon wrote:
Thinking of skiing in St. Gervais area on Wednesday. Weather forecasts show there could be some snow and possibly strong wind (up to 40km/h). Never been there before, but it looks good for such a day with lots of trees to help if the visibility is poor. Are the lifts prone to closures with high winds or can I safely plan heading there on Wednesday? Please advise


It should be fine on Wednesday, wind doesnt look bad and hardly anything shut last week when the wind was far worse.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@always29, Bettex is at 1440 meters and best to think of it as base station of skiing, from there you get bubble up to top, but there is a main gondola from actual Stg town at 840 meters that take you up to Bettex & this is how most people get onto the slopes, it’s just over the bridge from town centre & has about 500 spaces
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@devilabit, thank you - St G it is then snowHead
Local experts, I will drive from Geneva airport this Wednesday arriving to Evasion area around 10h30. I thought of heading straight to the parking lot by the Princesse lift since it seems to be just outside of the bubble and looks spacious. Does it make any sense to try the Bettex parking that late in the morning, or for that matter any other in the area which is close to the lifts or gondolas?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Jonny996 wrote:
Biggest car park is actually at the base gondola in StG but even that fills up by 8.45 , Bettex is always full but I’ve never parked in st nick.
If you’re going later park in the underground in town centre and walk over new bridge 500 meters or get free shuttle bus


Jonny will have better local knowledge than me but my experience is that on bad weather days it is easy enough to get spaces in the ST G Gondola car park. Bad weather keeps skier numbers down even in ST G which is good in bad weather. IYSWIM
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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?
@jedster, is correct, StG numbers do seem to swing hi & low with weather, I think it may be down to being more locals skiing the area than 100% tourists that have to ski every day as they are only there for a week
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Jonny996 wrote:
@jedster, is correct, StG numbers do seem to swing hi & low with weather, I think it may be down to being more locals skiing the area than 100% tourists that have to ski every day as they are only there for a week


That's what happens in Les Contamines which is probably even more of a "drive in" resort than St G. In good weather people drive up from the valley but if its cloudy they don't bother nearly as much.
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Any snowheads in Les Contamines on Wednesday and fancy hooking up for a few runs? (Level: 'confirme') Slopes have stayed pretty good considering we've had 2 days of pouring rain, even at 2000m. Good day today, temperature dropped and even had a bit of sunshine late afternoon!
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I made a slight boo-boo in my previous message, as I bunched Megeve together with Les Contamines when apparently that should have been Combloux!

Anyway, I was planning on boarding in St G on Wednesday (as is epon by the looks of things) and Megeve / Combloux on Thursday... but I guess you'd suggest Les Contamines ahead of one or both of those then, @Jude1 ?
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@jebroni3_16, though I am not sure that Sallanches itself will be that exciting you are well placed to choose your destination. 83 bus from the railway station will take you to Combloux, Megeve or Praz sur Arly (latter on different pass). While 84 bus takes you to St Gervais and Les Contamines.

I think I am right in saying that from where the bus drops you off in either Combloux or Megeve you will need to take the free ski bus to actually reach the slopes, wheras the other bus stops close to both the St G and Les C gondola stations. Departures 0810 number 83 and 0815 no. 84 will get you anywhere in good time.

With snow forecast for Tuesday I suspect everywhere will be pretty good Wednesday and Thursday. If there's still snow falling on Wednesday then skiing through the trees (Combloux or StG probably the best bet).

But so far I am a new boy there, @jedster and @Jonny996 are the experts.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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@j b, nope, you’re definitely the bus route/timetable expert.
I’m out on 10th for a week so let’s hope for snow
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Also, has anyone got the new train from Geneva airport to StG yet? What’s it like & what’s the cost?
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I thought you had to get from Geneva Airport to Cornavin first, @Jonny996, then connect to the train to StG: LINK . Seemed like a bit of a faff and one of the reasons I ended up booking AirBnB in Sallanches and OuiBus to get there instead.

And yes, @j b, I don't expect it to be particularly exciting, but I tend to barely venture out of where I'm staying in the evenings when I'm boarding, so should work for me and I'm hoping it will be cheap enough to justify an extended trip next year.

Have printed off my bus timetables and going to do a bit more research tomorrow evening, but appreciate the advice regarding ski buses, because was struggling to find a comprehensive answer to that online.

Really looking forward to my third quick trip of the season though Very Happy
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I admit we have mostly used public transport to StG so we know what works. But no experience of how the new train link works, our one train visit was from Morzine via Cluses last summer. Would love to know.

(Previously the only train was apparently from a Geneva suburban station most easily accessed by bus, but since December it has been linked through to central Geneva. It seems to still take an hour and three quarters, with the need to connect to a local bus to get from Le Fayet to St Gervais proper so not necessarily any benefit over the Ouibus. Fingers crossed that the future will bring faster trains - surely should be similar to the motorway - and better connections).

Will be out there in a couple of weeks, once family obligations sorted and the peak half term prices have dropped (afraid it doesn't seem we'll quite overlap with you @Jonny996). And again in March. One ambition will to be to try the Les Houches links, also Praz sur Arly.
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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.
@j b, as resident bus guru, would you recommend buying tickets for the 83 / 84 services online in advance, or is it safe to go old school and pay in cash on the bus?

I do speak French if that makes any difference
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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
@jebroni3_16, appreciate my gain in status.

You are going to be pretty safe buying tickets on the bus.

Travelling to or from the airport we do however pay extra through Ouibus/BlaBlaBus to get reservations on the same bus because certain services get crowded with schoolkids and we don't want to find ourselves without places on the bus when there is a connection to catch. (Those services detour to pass the relevant school, a bit disarming the first time it happened and we were worried we were heading somewhere else entirely, but I think the timetable timings take that into account).

Our French is rather patchy but we manage all right. The main thing is to be able to name the stop you want to get off at. For StG and LesC you can simply ask for the telecabine; Megeve it is the autogare, and Combloux and Praz sur Arly the village square ("chef lieu").
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@j b, you're a star. Thank you.

I should probably let this thread get back to the weather conditions now, shouldn't I?! snowHead
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Horizontal corn snow in Les C this morning, so a few cm fresh interspersed with boiler plates, keeps you on your toes! Was in St G on Sat jebroni, quite impressed. If you get the Evasion pass it covers Megeve as well. Will do a mini trip report after skiing to give you a flavour.
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Hi, I’m out with my daughter to chamonix staying in Les Praz. Would like to ski this area and understand the unlimited pass of chamonix can be used here as well . What is the best way to get there, quickest is normally the best I guess.
Is there a ski bus or train ? We will not have a car to use.
Thanks in advance
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@bigtoe,

think your best option is train to St G Le fayet then bus from train station to the St G base gondola
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@bigtoe, having been given the exalted title of bus guru I feel an obligation to reply!

The 82 bus goes from the Chamonix Sud bus stop to St Gervais and then on to Combloux, Megeve and Praz sur Arly. In St Gervais it certainly stops at the roundabout in town ("Le Pont" bus stop) but according to the timetable it also has a stop near the telecabine. Though it isn't that bad to walk from Le Pont across the bridge to the gondola, probably around 250 m on the flat.

But if you are staying in Les Praz you first need to get to Chamonix Sud.

The alternative, if you are near the Mont Blanc Express narrow gauge railway station is to take the train to Le Fayet. While that is badged as part of St Gervais it is about 3 miles down a windy mountain road from the main town and the ski lift. You will need to take a bus, and you now have a choice of the 82 as above, the 84 which gives you the option of Les Contamines, or if you arrive at the right time the free ski bus (0915, plus 1030 in high season). Or if you are a romantic take the Tramway de Mont Blanc cog railway (costs more than the bus but may be covered by the unlimited pass) to St Gervais and then connect to the gondola with the free ski bus. They all leave from the station forecourt.

To work out which is best you will have to study timetables. From Chamonix the bus is easier because it goes all the way, but from Les Praz you are going to have to change somewhere and plan for that.

Finally it has just occurred to me you have another more adventurous option. If the Chamonix shuttles allow you to get easily to Les Houches you can head up on the ski lift and connect with the Tramway de Mont Blanc at Bellevue or Col de Voza to access St Gervais. It would be the slowest of the options probably, and only worth considering one way.

Have fun!
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Jude1 wrote:
Horizontal corn snow in Les C this morning, so a few cm fresh interspersed with boiler plates, keeps you on your toes! Was in St G on Sat jebroni, quite impressed. If you get the Evasion pass it covers Megeve as well. Will do a mini trip report after skiing to give you a flavour.


Never heard of "horizontal corn snow" before, but now been advised to head for Les C tomorrow after the snow they got today / should be getting overnight. So maybe I'll find out!
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Hope you enjoyed the powder! Amazing day, esp over the Hauteluce side, just lapped a drag, powder after powder run. Thought I'd died and gone to heaven! HAPPY DAYS! Would post some pics if had decent connection/ wasnt so friggin' difficult!
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
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Sorry admin, not so difficult after all! So here's another!

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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!
Unfortunately I made the schoolboy error of reverting to my original plan and heading to St Gervais.

When I got to the télécabine and there were about 30 people waiting to get on to head to Les Contamines, I knew I'd made the wrong decision.

It's not that it wasn't good at StG, because it was, it just wasn't quite as good as you got.

Did consider heading over after a few hours but hadn't left myself quite enough time to get back down Betex

Still probably going to stick to original plan and head for Megève tomorrow too. Stubborn Taurean you see!
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Looking at the Megeve webcams it seems as though the Xmas tree is still up, anyone know when 'til?
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It is up I can confirm. Thanks for good advice, I had a great time at st. gervais today, snow varied a lot from icey, wind beaten to perfect. Off piste is not my thing but I've seen many doing it, some through the trees, impressive. Plenty of fun to be had there!
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