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

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http://youtube.com/v/uqqOkwshu_Q
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@Idris, stunning. We have walked not far from there in the summer, but there is a grandeur to the landscape in the snow. It looks perfect for skiing ... but obviously as a nature reserve there are never going to be lifts built.
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j b wrote:
@Idris, stunning. We have walked not far from there in the summer, but there is a grandeur to the landscape in the snow. It looks perfect for skiing ... but obviously as a nature reserve there are never going to be lifts built.


It's a fair way from anywhere - When lifts are runing you can get into the lower valley with a bout 30min of skiiining from Contamines, on a route that isn't obvious.

Contamines is a fair distance, but it is way closer than Bourg St Maurice or Beafourtain, the road up to les Chapieux and Cormet de Rosland are both closed in winter.
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http://youtube.com/v/N4ul0BPAWN8
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https://www.instagram.com/p/CMxjexJB7ea/
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Cote 2000 (Megeve) to Praz sur Arly


http://youtube.com/v/BhGYDMIJlFw
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That must have been quite an interesting trek @Idris. However even getting out my IGN map of the area I couldn't work out the route you took.

It has been something I have occasionally pondered - whether it would be feasible to link Megeve and Praz-sur-Arly. I assume it must be something the powers that be have thought about, even if local politics has got in the way of any actual planning. On the map there are a couple of footpaths running down from the Rochebrune-Cote 2000 ridge into the intervening valley, and on the Praz side a small road; I don't know whether they could be the basis for pistes if there were a chairlift each side. The terrain on the Megeve side looks a bit steep in many places though, perhaps that is something to explore on a summer walk one day.
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That looks amazing!

I suppose switch to Pre Rosset from the bottom of Cote 2000, then on to the refuge de la Croix Pierre (col de Véry), and finally via Mont de Vorès to reach les 3 coins?

Was it Friday? The snow cover has really suffered this week under 1500m even on North faces (not that it matters with lockdown now in place - no Spring skiing possible within the 6 miles range for me)
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Here is our route




j b wrote:
That must have been quite an interesting trek @Idris. However even getting out my IGN map of the area I couldn't work out the route you took.

It has been something I have occasionally pondered - whether it would be feasible to link Megeve and Praz-sur-Arly. I assume it must be something the powers that be have thought about, even if local politics has got in the way of any actual planning. On the map there are a couple of footpaths running down from the Rochebrune-Cote 2000 ridge into the intervening valley, and on the Praz side a small road; I don't know whether they could be the basis for pistes if there were a chairlift each side. The terrain on the Megeve side looks a bit steep in many places though, perhaps that is something to explore on a summer walk one day.


Many different ideas over the years - there is an old piste that conects Megeve to Praz. A direct back up the same way has always been stoped by land owners or envirmentalists - the nasty sort who don't live in the are and don't walk the mountains. The upper reagins where I skined across is a nature resrerve and there are loads of terrain traps, so you don't want no ski tourers back there getting stuck.

patrick! wrote:
Was it Friday? The snow cover has really suffered this week under 1500m even on North faces (not that it matters with lockdown now in place - no Spring skiing possible within the 6 miles range for me)


Thursday - yup the snow is almost gone now - I live at 1000m at the base of the Prarion and had to take my skis off 4 times to walk across the grass this morning.
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Thanks @Idris, seems you followed the ridge which explains some of your impressive views - but will have been hard work, more touring than skiing perhaps.

(And on looking at my map I had ignored a blue dashed line, assuming it was some sort of parish boundary, but checking the key it turns out to have been a ski touring itinery!)

I guess if the local landowner isn't interested, that rules out putting in ski lifts and piste connections. I imagine most of the ski areas in France are based on the established alpine grazing associated with the commune, which are unutilised in winter, and which readily get approval for the economic benefit. After which it might not be too hard to persuade the odd neighbouring landowner to join in the bonanza.

Anyway, your route got me thinking again about fantasy connection routes. That area north of Mont de Vores has a lot of potential - north facing with possible routes all above 1600m - but would require a minimum of three lifts.
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The possibility of a link between Megeve and the Espace Diamant has been discussed for many years and is feasible. But there didn't seem to be much enthusiasm for it over our side - we felt it would bring more Megeve skiers our way than vice versa, and the Espace Diamant was already quite big enough for most of us. More linked skiing, I think, than Megeve. The southern end of Idris's route is very close to pistes in Praz sur Arly, Notre Dame de Bellecombe and Les Saisies. I often walked up to the "Croix de Pierre" and the eponymous refuge from the Saisies side - but on foot in summer and autumn, not on skis. I do feel it's good that not every alpine valley features ski ironmongery. Megeve and Les Contamines are very close too - from the top of the lifts on that side of Les Contamines you look down into Megeve.
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pam w wrote:
we felt it would bring more Megeve skiers our way than vice versa, and the Espace Diamant was already quite big enough for most of us.

Difficult to say. I was surprised that a lot of the Megeve skiers didn't seem to make it as far as Cote 2000 - though that may change if a few of the drag lifts get replaced by chairs. I do admit to having a clicheed image of a "Megeve skier" as someone awkwardly snowploughing their way down a green slope, but wearing an outfit that made them look as if they had just come from the World Cup circuit.

Megeve to Les Contamines would be logical since they are on the same lift pass, however there is no way of skiing between them so it would have to be a two-way gondola/cable car. And would need those Rochebrune-Cote 2000 drag lifts replaced first.
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A little ski tour above Les Contamines


http://youtube.com/v/Q_PrD0kOOIU&feature=youtu.be
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http://youtube.com/v/PovmAOyKlfs
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pam w wrote:
the Espace Diamant was already quite big enough for most of us.


Having spent a full week both in St Gervais and in the Espace Diamant in consecutive years, I would tend to agree.

We are definitely skiers who prefer to try new pistes than repeat runs, but the Espace Diamant was absolutely large enough for the full week. And ditto for the Megeve ski pass (by which I mean including La Giettaz and Les Contamines).

The slow lifts in both areas - and especially in the Espace Diamant - do probably make the areas seem bigger though, because you spend less time skiing and more on lifts. That's not really a criticism, just a fact.

If the two areas linked up but without any lift upgrades, it wouldn't be feasible to ski from (say) St Nicolas to Hauteluce and back in a single day.
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I am returning to this thread to see if anyone local knows whether any lift upgrades are going on in Evasion Mont Blanc. (And - let's be honest - to have another look at some of @Idris's amazing touring videos, particularly since we walked in the Bonhomme area in August though targeting the Lacs de Jovet as destination this time).

Apparently in St Gervais there had been plans to upgrade the old Arbois chair this year but there were no signs of any action while we were there. Over in Megeve there have been published plans to replace the drag lifts in the Rochebrune-Cote 2000 section with fast chairs this year which would be a useful improvement - is that happening?

Obviously it would be understandable if previous plans were set back given all that has happened with Covid but I can't find any actual information.
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Hi JB, don’t know for sure but I think I remember reading something about the drag on the way back from cotes2000 being replaced. Can’t remember the name of it but it was at the bottom of a steep wide piste & went on for a bit with a right turn half way up.
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@Jonny996, that's exactly one of the ones that has been earmarked for replacing by a fast 6-man chair. Somewhere it said it was planned for this year, but I do understand if things have been put back.

Did you manage to get over to France this summer? I remember last year you being caught out by a sudden change in quarantine requirements.
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@j b, unfortunately we never made it, the Scottish school holidays are earlier than England and by the time they took France off amber plus I had used my leave on a staycation.
Going to try for October week, luckily our neighbour has a set of keys and they popped in when they were there in July to check.
7 trips booked up for this winter, so here’s hoping Eh oh!
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@Jonny996, seven, that's optimistic! Fingers crossed.

We may be over in October too, but won't decide until closer to the time. We can't predict how border requirements might change. Will let you know.

And back to the question - does anyone know whether the originally planned lift upgrades are happening, or have they been deferred?
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No new lifts this year in Megeve, still having battles with historical landowners, the compulsary purchase of land is dragging on a bit.
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@Idris, thanks. I would have thought the necessary permissions were in place to put up the pylons for the existing drag lifts. But maybe the lift companies have to own each few square metres of land the pylon footings occupy.

However the lift companies were probably not in a hurry either, given their shortage of cash flow over the last couple of years.


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Sat 11-09-21 17:00; edited 1 time in total
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Idris wrote:
No new lifts this year in Megeve, still having battles with historical landowners, the compulsary purchase of land is dragging on a bit.

Probably the same land owners that are delaying the big clubmed development pencilled in for StG
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Perhaps it’s an opportunity to rethink the actual demand for new lifts? Refurbishment would be much cheaper if the demand is not there.
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Encouraging to see a covering of early season snow on the top of Mont Arbois on the webcams this morning. Not likely to stay, but at least things are moving in the right direction.
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I seen on the Facebook page they are going to open 11th Dec if there is snow, that's early for them. Anyone going to gamble on a pre Christmas trip?
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We're going over on 18th which is a little earlier than usual. Might be lucky, might not! Just looking forwards to getting over there again.
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I'm checking the web cams daily. We go in March................
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i see kids out sledging on the bettex webcam, good to see the white stuff
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Ok I've got so much leave to use before the end of the year I've booked flights 13-20 December, if there's snow great, if there's not still happy to be there reading a book on my own. After 21 months of everyone working from home it will be nice to have some alone time, but if anyone is there, shout out & happy to meet.

Also as it's just me traveling with no luggage & I like to try new things , I'm thinking of trying the Lemans express train to La Fayete & his up to StG. Has anyone done this & any tips?
Cheers
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@Jonny996, probably not there then since we have a crossing booked for 27 Dec. But if the snow is good, who knows.

Look forwards to hearing about the train ride. I think the term "express" is less than accurate though people seemed to think they might adjust timetabling to allow faster trains if ski resort use takes off. We did meet a British lady who had done it and said it worked OK though leisurely, the big issue being how to align it with transport up the hill. We haven't yet got to grips with the local taxi companies, as far as I can work out they are one-man bands who need booking well in advance - though there is a slot on the market square labelled "taxi rank" or its French equivalent so perhaps sometimes they do wait for fares arriving by train.

In the longer term we do want to explore travelling by train. From where we live we couldn't make it in a day, but might consider an overnight in Paris. Before Covid I think the TGV went all the way to Le Fayet on Saturdays, and to Cluses the rest of the week.
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Wet, with a side order of heavy damp. Opening day at les Contamines, first thing in the morning, one chair one run. Fun but got soaked through quick was almost raining at signal!..Supposed to snow later.
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@Idris, uuugh!

When I looked at the St Gervais webcams this morning, it was pouring in town, raining enough to be melting snow in Bettex, but appeared to be snowing (maybe sleet) top of Mont d'Arbois. Signal can't be much lower than Mont d'A, I think the Col is just about 2000m.
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Went back today, nght and day difference. Up top knee to thigh deep off piste, anke deep at the telecabine junction. All the way to the armpits if you take your skis off and try and walk out. Everything above tree line is light and fluffy if it isn't it's snow cannon snow. Run to the base officially closed but perfectly skiable, quite good conpared to normal end of season fair.
Sorry no pics.
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Looking good for midweek. Bergfex predicting 7 cm in town in Cham, but much more up high. Should also be cold. I'll be there Wed/Thurs on business, not skiing, sadly...
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the website is showing 1m at Signal. That generally constitutes pretty good cover across the the ski area. Not bad for 5 Dec!
Of course it's always possible to get a horrible warm front ripping through and raining on everything before Xmas but so far so good
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