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Chamonix Valley 2019-2020

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Gustavobs, here you are https://www.montblancnaturalresort.com/en/preventes-forfaits

(G-Search terms, "mont blanc natural resort unlimited season")
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Meltus wrote:
Yeah I'm gutted about the spa day, given that the spa is awesome

When I saw the email from CdMB I was quite excited by all the glitz and "super special discount" claptrap, until I saw the price...

I actually had to go and check to make sure it was any cheaper than last year.


I'ld thought I'ld read we still get the spa day as well as our €15 'Exclusive', 'Super Promo' discount).

Everybody over 3 days got it last year, supposed to be non transferable but I managed several fizz saturated floats in a 'warm bath with strangers'.
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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?
@Meltus,

- Spa day is included

- (for a couple) €15 cheaper than last year, €45 cheaper than what they claim they were planning.
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Yeah seems it got added back in - tres bon! Also managed 3 free days last year when visiting friends gave me their spa ticket, they never checked the name or pass number. Pass the prosecco *hic*

Bought my pass today, 762.85 euro each for a couples pass. I paid 819 euros on my own last year so a reasonable saving. They didn't ask for proof you lived at the same address or anything so you don't even need to acquire a girlfriend, just a pass buddy. The purchase process was remarkably easy for CdMB actually, I'm waiting for something to cock up...

When you go to pay they ask you to input your existing pass number and my existing photo popped up automatically. I think for 1st time buyers you'll have to wait until, presumably, 20 October?


Last edited by You need to Login to know who's really who. on Wed 2-10-19 16:43; edited 1 time in total
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Bought Smile £714.43 for an annual pass (just me) at current exchange rates - very good deal. Though it hurts to pay it all at once Skullie

Unfortunately all my visiting friends last year were very keen to use their spa passes - and probably will do again this year. Ah well!
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I'm considering a short budget ski trip on 3rd week of November and I notice Chamonix may open Les Houches and Le Grant Montet at weekends, snow permitting. It would not be something I would look for except I will have the season pass.

Historically, what's the chance of it happening and if so, what're the conditions like?
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Even the epic 2017 season didn't see opening till 2nd December. Conditions were fantastic at that point, but that was an unusually good year.

Before that I can't think of a November opening...
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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!
Gustavobs wrote:
I'm considering a short budget ski trip on 3rd week of November and I notice Chamonix may open Les Houches and Le Grant Montet at weekends, snow permitting. It would not be something I would look for except I will have the season pass.

Historically, what's the chance of it happening and if so, what're the conditions like?


Verbier usually opens earlier and is better for November weekends - of course snow permitting. I assume your Verbier day passes will be valid?

Kiss of death here but opened 3rd Nov last year and from memory at least Lac de Vaux and down to Ruinettes has always opened on weekends at some point during November as far back as I can remember. We’ve had some proper powder weekends in recent seasons - don’t want to be too precious about your bases though!

This was 2nd Dec: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bq4WAZtlM8S/?igshid=i67v5n0eccyc
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@BobinCH, Sweet.

@Gustavobs, Season pass only gives you 50% reductions on Verbier, 6 days and not more than one a week...
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With global boiling taking hold, Zermatt and perhaps Hintertux are the only two remaining stations in the European Alps that can now guarantee snow and riding in Nov.

All other resorts are a gamble.
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@under a new name, tho' the week resets on a Sunday, so you can do a Sun/Mon trip!

@BobinCH, good call, Verbier is invariably better early season. Much more snow gunnage.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@snowdave, good to know. Fancy a beer somepoint?
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Yes, definitely. I'm not out in Cham (or, to be precise, Argentiere) till Xmas & New Years weeks, I'll give you a shout nearer the time.

I never made it to any of the snowheads cham meets last year, but if there's anything going I'll make an effort this year. Particularly if its at my end of the valley (hint hint!)
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Doesn't look like the GMs lift will reopen any time soon...

https://www.snow-forecast.com/whiteroom/top-of-grands-montets-ski-area-only-accessible-to-ski-tourers-for-next-3-years/

Do they realise how much this is costing the area I wonder!?!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@horgand, That's a March 2019 article... I think we've known this outcome for a while; CdMB told everyone last season that it would be at least 3 yrs.

As the article says, it's led to some amazing conditions for those prepared to skin up for 30-45 minutes. Personally, I prefer it sans telepherique.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@horgand, not news. And yes, the CdMB and Mairie are very aware of what it's costing...
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Snowdave,

Yes it's a March 2019 article, but it's talking about the lack of lift access to the top of GMs for the next 3 years!?!
At least.

You may prefer skinning up, but you're in a minority there. Also it rules out doing GMs 6 times in a day as I've done on a few occasions in the past. Similarly it rules out getting up there with my brothers , neither of whom skin.

So sorry if you feel this ain't news, tbh I'm surprised that the delay isn't much bigger news!!!
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
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@horgand, consider the size of the problem ...
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@horgand, just to amplify, as I'm on a proper keyboard. As a contrast, replacing the Flégère cable car will have taken two years of actual work and that was a planned project.

The GMs was not due for replacement.
The top station is on permafrost I understand (?) and that brings its own challenges.
Given that they now need to replace, it's probably worth considering options rather than a straight replacement.
Insurance (and other) investigation probably still underway...
And once you get to them ... Planning/ecological/etc. permissions... these can take a frightfully long time in FR

SO 3 years probably a conservative guess.
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@Uann, Fair enough, meanwhile the Austrians, just in the Arlberg alone, are opening several massive new lifts, connecting existing resorts (as Chamonix needs to do) & superb new areas (e.g. Warth), and are leaving Chamonix to their endless procrastination over rebuilding one lift station, and re cabling a cable car with all the route clearing, planning and baseline infrastructure (masts, etc), etc already in place for years....

I appreciate there's some work involved in this repair job also, but the Austrians & others are leaving them way behind, cos they just get on with it, without undue delays!!!

Good luck to Chamonix, I love the place (25+ times visitor) but I'd say that I won't be back there again until they (e.g. CdMB, etc) start getting their act together, & stop taking their customers for granted.... so maybe never! Sad


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Mon 21-10-19 17:04; edited 3 times in total
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@horgand, i agree. Frankly it’s a disaster for a ski resort trying to attract good skiers to lose its marquee lift and I can’t believe they can’t fix it quicker...
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@horgand, The practical problem that the CdMB have is that the only area that they can actually realistically get permission to build (and build with snow making) is the Grands Montets (Because all the other areas are in the Aiguilles Rouges Nature Reserve.

Otherwise to my mind a Flegere-GMs link would be a mighty fine plan.

So while the top GM lift is important, it's actually probably more generally important to crack on with the plans to make the GMs appealing to a broader spectrum of piste skiers.
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@BobinCH, one might argue that its marquee lift is the Aiguille du Midi...
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@UANN, again fair enough, but issues that man makes for himself he can unmake, if 'he' is really so inclined.

The impression I get from Chamonix is that they think that they have the best mountain in the world for snow sports (& alpinism) , which they probably have tbf, and because of this they assume that customer's will just put up with creaky infrastructure, inconveniently unconnected ski areas, marquee lifts not being repaired for 4 years plus, crappy customer service on the mountain (CMdMB), etc, etc.....

Chamonix strikes me as a former beauty, back in the day, who is vastly over estimating her former considerable charms.... meanwhile her biological clock is aging while her competitors are renewing themselves constantly to stay vibrant & attractive e g. St Anton & Val D'isere are now vastly superior overall holiday experiences imho. It's a pity but c'est ca!! Puzzled
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I think we’ve talked about this before but the bottom of the lavancher lift could be linked to the bottom of the trap at flegere via la joux. On the map the nature reserve boundary seems to have been drawn to allow this. I did hear it mentioned a few years back bit the issue was real estate in the valley bottom.
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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.


Map
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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
@horgand, You are not alone in those concerns. I share them and my understanding is that the Mairie does as well. However, the deal signed with the CdMB gives them rather the upper hand rolling eyes yes, yes, I know, it's not a deal anyone would sign without significant brown envelope passing rolling eyes

Mairie are belatedly trying to get some actions but I understand it's an uphill struggle.

All that said, Chamonix as a town is definitely looking better than when we acquired 13 years ago... and our summer 2020 bookings are really strong.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
under a new name wrote:
@BobinCH, one might argue that its marquee lift is the Aiguille du Midi...


For mountaineers but not the week skiers. I used to love skiing in Chamonix but now avoid it, purely because of the lift system. Crap customer experience will kill any business despite the product. It seems Chamonix is trying to prove this....
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@BobinCH, to be fair, you live in Verbier...
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Poster: A snowHead
under a new name wrote:
@BobinCH, to be fair, you live in Verbier...


... well I have a Verbier annual pass and so have free day passes to Cham which I haven’t used once for the last 2 seasons which is genuinely a shame as Chamonix is a special place

Ps I actually live nr Vevey so it’s more or less equidistant to Verbier or GM for a days skiing and why I used to ski there quite often. And in fact had a Chamonix season pass in my first year in CH before getting the Verbier apt.
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Every skier should visit Chamonix once. But thereafter its probably not a very efficient choice. Quite apart from the "take them for granted" infrastructure, there is so much competition for tracks on a powder day that you're just better off elsewhere. Probably still makes sense for extreme skiers with mountain self sufficiency. But for the rest of us, who merely look on at that stuff in admiration, it doesn't make a whole amount of sense.

Still love the place though...
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@8611, hmmmm, for a week, perhaps, but I had many days out with chums who know it so much better than me that I disagree
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The unlimited pass in cham is fantastic but you benefit hugely from having a car. You can ski in eight different resorts. Its not mega superhighway skiing bit it has lots for everyone, plus a real town. If tou avoid new year week and the last three weeks in feb its reasonably mellow too.
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@8611, continuing on disagreeing, and absolutely not sure what I meant at 20.39, probably still in post Johnson defeat euphoria,

@jbob, +1. Also, the terrain is just so huge. And long. You can spend the whole week lapping e.g. the Lavancher bowl without repeating yourself once (other than the lifts).

Or off Index.

Or off Bochard.

A whole week with just one lift.

(Bit like Kicking Horse or Revelstoke (althought Revvie has been kind enough to mark some runs)).
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Quote:

St Anton & Val D'isere are now vastly superior overall holiday experiences imho. It's a pity but c'est ca!!


I'd argue that they have always been better SKI RESORTS. Chamonix is something different and actually is busier in summer than winter.
The top lift on the GM is nowhere near the most important lift in the valley. I've had great days skiing on the GM without using it. I mean you have 1500m vertical from Bochard!

None of that is to say that the track record of the lift company is anything but rubbish in recent years.
I can't summon the enthusiasm to drive around to Chamonix from the relative peace of Les C in school holidays. I'd do it regularly if I was out more in January or March.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Quote:

Also, the terrain is just so huge. And long. You can spend the whole week lapping e.g. the Lavancher bowl without repeating yourself once (other than the lifts).


Yeah this - a week is a bit of a stretch but the general point is right - it's a huge space.
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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!
under a new name wrote:
@8611, continuing on disagreeing, and absolutely not sure what I meant at 20.39, probably still in post Johnson defeat euphoria,

@jbob, +1. Also, the terrain is just so huge. And long. You can spend the whole week lapping e.g. the Lavancher bowl without repeating yourself once (other than the lifts).

Or off Index.

Or off Bochard.

A whole week with just one lift.

(Bit like Kicking Horse or Revelstoke (althought Revvie has been kind enough to mark some runs)).


Several of you know the area better than me, and I agree with jbob that it is better with a car but, with the exception of AdM which is admittedly the best lift in the alps, and opens up myriad possibilities for highly experienced skiers (or those with a guide), IMO the key lift for off piste enthusiasts is clearly The GM cable car. Bochard and Herse are great but they don’t open the long, steep, glaciated runs off both sides of GM, let alone the many serious off piste options available above it. Next key lift is the Hellbronner, can be bloody fantastic, but you have to get to it and after a days sunshine it is transformed. Same problem on Brevent/Flegere side unless you are willing to tour over the top into the Le Buet options. Youla and Arp can also be great, as can Le Tour couloirs, with care, so yes, great for an experienced expert but not ideal for someone wanting to build up to that level...
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Dumb question, but from Bouchard to the top of GM cable car, is it necessary to skin or can one hike or boot pack, in the absence of the cable car.
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@Ptspeak, if a path has already been well trodden in, I guess it would be possible. It'd be absolutely knackering though - I wouldn't personally want to do it without skins. It's a fair distance/increase in height.
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