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Grand Massif 2020/2021 snow report, Les Carroz, Flaine, Samoens, Morillon & Sixt

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Happy New Year Folks!
❄️
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
You too, and welcome back GM!
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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?
Posted yesterday by Polo on last years thread - thought that, now we have a '21 thread, I would move it here.... (Hope they don't mind...!)

polo wrote:
Will put this conditions update (29 Dec 20) in last seasons thread.....it's surprising no sH's out here, considering even some of the more obscure threads are well ahead of normal pages this season, you know England, Scotland, Wales, Verbier etc

So 6 of us headed into unknown territory, starting near Samoens on Route des Allamands, and looking for the path up to Tete de Bostan.
It didn't begin well with all of us parking at the wrong (300m lower) car park, but that extra walk did allow us to help out a group of locals whose van had slid off the road.

It's a long mellow uphill track through the forest, finally opening up a little around 1600m. The weather really deteriorated at this point though so we headed for the refuge around 1800m. We had read about the big open ski fields above this point, up to 2600m at the Tete, but there was no way we could carry on given the conditions. In any case, the french lads we had helped out earlier arrived at the refuge and told us the top section wasn't great for snowboarding as there is a long flat section.

So we started to head down, very cautiously as we had no idea what lines to pick, and could barely see each other. Made a quick video of the trip.....shame the conditions didn't allow for some better footage....poor viz above 1600, unknown terrain and a lot of shaky / splashed camera.

Not sure I'd go back though, as it's a very long hike in along a narrow path....and that's the only way down as well.....still we made the most of it and it's always a laugh in a group, despite the freezing cold, wind, getting soaked and falling over.


http://youtube.com/v/VrWSiaQ3jec
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@albob, no, me and my multiple thread persona's don't mind at all......the snowboader in the vid has just had an offer accepted on a small studio in Morillon so it's likely I'll be getting over there more often
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@polo, It does look wonderful in your vid.. Smile
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Here's a pic taken this morning from another mate based in Flaine......will remind him to point away from the sun Cool

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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Sadly it liiks like we have to pull the plug on out planned Feb visit thanks to bleedin' Covid. First time we'd be going back since 2009
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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!
Should be driving out on the 22nd ... Sad
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We had forgotten to cancel our phone reminders and have been tormented with reminders all day to return our hire car and catch our EZY jet flight home this evening... keep the photos coming so we can live vicariously!
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@polo, good news on the Morillon crash pad! Your friend won’t regret it!
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
I have deliberately avoid looking at the Webcams - up until today : Such a shame, all that snow and no skiers Sad
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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.
@patrick!, .....let's try and keep to the new thread....so I've moved it here

polo wrote:
About 3 hours, but it’s only 600m vertical so am sure it can be done a lot quicker, we were slowed down by not starting at the highest car park, then the poor viz and just not knowing where we were led to lots of discussions and stops. It only opens up above 1500-1600m so the vast majority of the trip to the refuge at 1780m was in the forest.


patrick! wrote:
It must be amazing in better weather! So you parked at 900m, but it's possible at 1200m (Plan des Arches, says the map), right? Everybody talks about Tete de Bostan but I don't fancy the forest part - now looking at trying to get to the refuge from Morzine (lac des Mines d'Or) via La Golèse, out of interest why did you try from the Samoëns side?


The 300m was by road, not vertical distance. Only went to Samoens because a few of the group were staying there over the holidays, it can be approached from Morzine too I've heard....am sure @zzz will know more.

I'd go back in better weather and with a better route. There was a lot of open terrain around 1600-1900m that we didn't get to explore that day, and yes the forest is long and boring.....not the best use of time.

It's definetly a favourite spot for the 'real' locals, so that's a fair indication of how good it could be.
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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
I need to learn to properly ski on powder! Keep the videos coming, it inspires us!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@polo, are you with a local or a guide? I know nothing about refuge de Boston so probably reluctant to do it without a guide. Interested to know more for future days when high winds close the GM. Which seemed to be happening with increasing frequency these last few years...
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@polo,
More questions:
You parked your car and hiked up how much higher?
You skied down to a separate car parked at the bottom where?
Then you drove back up to collect the original car?
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Freestyle, neither local nor guide, groups of us just head off based on stuff we read on the internet Very Happy ....trying to remain safe and sensible at all times (all with transceivers and a shovel)

I had to dig deep to have faith in @zzz recommendation to do Point de la Croix, as the way down wasn't visible from the ridge. Worst case we thought we would have to ski back along the narrow path, which isn't ideal after a 2hr climb hoping for a powder field. We are all fairly experienced at off piste in a resort, and thankfully one of the lads is a keen mountaineer, so he had a good app where he could zoom in on the contours and figure out which direction looked better. Of course you need a signal for that.

Back to the Bostan questions.....as you drive along Route des Allamands from Samoens (about 1km), there are several small car parks towards the end of it. Quite a narrow road, and we needed good winter tires that day. We assumed we were at the last car park, but we weren't, so we ended up walking (skins on) along the snowy track only to find the correct and final car park further along. There are several sign posts, and a few locals out snow shoeing to ask directions, but it's pretty easy to find the forest track that leads up to the refuge.

Here's a link I wish I had found earlier...has a good map you can zoom in on

http://rando-chablais.fr/index.php/randonnees-d-ete/?layout=modal&id=169
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@polo, good on you all! Thanks for the link. You’re going to love the valley in the summer too if you haven’t already visited at that time of year...
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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?
Just checked the snow forecasts as we were due to drive out to Samoens on Friday 22nd for our annual mates trip. I've skied in the GM a lot with my family, but never with my mates as deemed a bit "quiet" so this year was the perfect opportunity to introduce them to it. Looks like it would have been perfect Sad Sad Sad rolling eyes
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@dunc999, all that untouched powder!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Several people spotted on Grandes Platières webcam today. Conditions look perfect
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Here's a route that a mate has tried twice now and swears it's one of the best 2-car shuffles out there. Leave a car in Les Carroz and drive the other to the 2000m pass just before Flaine. 30min easy trek across the golf course and then



Goes without saying this is a dangerous area, so all necessary precautions should be taken including a guide...there are some steep cliiffs if you take a wrong turn
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
l'Arbaron is superb, but the snow can sometimes be sketchy, where it is good elsewhere as it faces west ish, and there is no way out if it is, you have to do it. Have done it in beautiful deep powder a few times, 1st tracks which was rather special, and also breakable crust which was horrid!

Until you know it you must go with a guide as there are very vertical cliffs as mentioned above, and it can also slip, so you have to pick your time well. the first pitch is the steepest and the place where you can get it very wrong by going the wrong way. Also at the bottom there are some very large boulders on the meadow part, plus take care at the bottom going through the trees as you can literally fall down the bank on to the blue run /road.

The long blue run that it connects to is basically flat, in fact uphill over a little bridge at the start (its a unmade up road) so skiers skate and boarders walk! 1st car you can park near the bridge that goes over the flaine road on the way up, or the bottom of timalets, as the run over the bridge links into timalets or les carroz gondola car park.

If lifts are running, ski from les carroz to flaine Grand Vans, then get the bus to top of pierre carree (golf course) than walk or skin.
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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!
@Zorrac, thanks for that, the guy who sent it to me is a very good boarder and knows the general area well, but he took his family down it last week for the first time and they took a wrong turn near the top leading to a very hairy descent thru a steep (cliff) section. I think I'll give it a pass for now, gotta know your limits
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Should be out there this week - not that I'd be trying that though!!! Feeling it this morning, what with being at work instead!!
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Well that's a new contender for best day of the season, and possibly my new favourite spot within a short drive. Didn't start well, arrived at Samoens 1600m to be greeted by police and avi control, turning everyone back as they blasted higher up. So we skied down to the village at 800m under the Vercland lift (longest single descent of the season). Some amazing shapes on the snow cannon hills with all the fresh snow on top, making them look like giant whales. By the time we hitched a lift back up to 1600m it was 1130am and the whole area was open, so we headed up to 2100m. Here are some photo's, will have a look thru the video footage and post one later if good.

Looking back down at Samoens 1600m


On the way up (this would normally be a piste)


Mont Blanc
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@polo, did they build the new Vercland gondola to replace the heritage eggs?
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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.
@stevew, ah yes forgot about the eggs.....long gone, not that any of it is useful at the moment, apart from being a hazard to some high fliers



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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
Nooo not the Mini-eggs! You'll be telling me the Flying urinals have gone too! Crying or Very sad
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Had never heard of them.....but quick google search led to this? No idea

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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@polo, good to know. They were literally shedding fibreglass when I ride in them last year
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Here's the conditions update....whales and all.....a few nice carving shots in the distance near the end before the battery died, so missed half of the top descent.


http://youtube.com/v/0q7HC4ZT-Fg
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@polo, that's them - le pissoire du ciel - although when I last saw them in 2009 they were in rougher shape than that picture. We were due to be back there at HT, but... Well, y'know.
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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?
@Richard_Sideways, a mate who has place there has confirmed the flying urinals are still there you'll be glad to know. Renovated in 2009, but not sure much of an improvemment over the previous rig



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Flying urinals?

We went there for years and years and everybody (even the French) called them The Yogurt Pots (and the French used the English words)
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@rungsp, my name is better and more accurate, because you can pee in them. Try that in a yoghurt pot.
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Samoens, I’ve never been to this area , but can anyone advise on snow surety at New Year please? I know a guess is a guess but a general idea would be great.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
If you talk about Samoens 1600 then you are safer snow-wise - but I wouldn't say snow-sure, I remember Avoriaz without decent snow one December not so long ago. And since the Grand Massif Express (or Vercland) takes you there direclty I'd say go for it.
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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!
Who remembers the pleasure of the evil, very long with dog leg double poma before the new Vernant chair went in, I think in the late 90’s
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@gsb, I don't remember that one, but the Bois drag out of Flaine Forum is pretty evil too!
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Balacha 1 & 2. Dismantled in 2011.
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