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BSM/Les Arcs/La Plagne/La Rosiere/3 Valee/Valmorel/Val D/Tignes 26/12 to 8/1

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Just sent PG the deposit for my two-week stay in Boug St Maurice between 26 Dec to 9 Jan.

Think HG and Spyderjon will be there. Just to check out if any Snowheads around the above areas around the same time.

Think skibunny group is around Brincon area during the same time but it is a bit too far to do it in a day trip.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
We have visitors at our place over xmas ,New Year...so won't be out until 22nd Jan.Unless I can think of a good excuse to visit...oh yes SNOW.
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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?
saikee, you going to ski all that lot in 2 weeks! I mean, it's nearly a trillion kilometres.
Is this a holiday or some Guiness Book of Records attempt?
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You need to Login to know who's really who.
HG,

OK. I came very close to make a suggestion to pair my Shogun with your Trooper, taking possibly 10 to 12 Snowheads, to form a raiding party visiting everybody there.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Jonpim,

Can you guarantee snow this Christmas? I am just keeping the option open, that's all.

Having said that they are all inside a radius of 40 miles, with glacier in few of them and having altitude in excess of 3000m in many locations, so my chance of getting snow to ski should not be slim.

The matter has been made worse by the Newcastle/Amsterdam ferry not operating on the two days before I can book into PG's place. Thus I "had" to book my self 3 extra days into a hotel in Monthey to arrive earlier. Think this place is 15 minutes from from the Swiss side of Portes Du Soleil. Lacking snow there may force me to drive to Verbier, Cran Montana or Grand Montet too.

I am still undecided which one I should stop for lunch when I move camp from Monthley to Boug St Maurice because there are on the route the 6 to 7 resorts within Chamonix, then Les Houches, Les Contamines, St Gervais, Megeve and La Clusaz.

Think I will call it a day if I manage to ski Switzerland, France and Italy in this trip.
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You'll need to Register first of course.
Saikee it's very unlikely that you'll find snow in Monthey, it's in the Rhone Valley but you're only 20 or so minutes from Morgins, the Pas de Morgins connects with Chatel. There's some good skiing in Morgins but it's low,so you may find that Verbier is a better bet, it's only 1hr from Monthey via Martigny. Getting to France you'll need to check that the col to Argentiere is open before setting out. If it's closed you'll have to drive via Chatel to Thonon and Geneva.

I'd check your map becasuse you don't need to go to La Clusaz, the road through Megeve leads on Arly to Usine and then to Albertville.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
David@traxvax, no, if you turn at Flumet that'll take you to La Clusaz, the roads usually open I believe. In fact, there's a station on that road called La Giettaz which is good. For that matter's there's Praz sur Arly, Notre dame de Bellecombe, Crest Voland, les Saises and Beaufort as well.
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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!
David,

You are correct in that I don't need to pass La Clusaz. The closest for me is to pass its bottom junction point at Flumet. I include it as it is the one I haven't done yet and so is the obssession with it.

Thanks for the Porte Du Soleil tips. My plan is to try Champery or Morgins first, both are new to me. I am aware of their low altitude but it is a perfect stopping point when I have to set off at 9:30am from Amsterdam. The Swiss side of Porte Du Soleil has proved difficult to get to as I don't seem to have much luck of getting accommodation in Martigny.

I use the mountain pass between Martigny to Chamonix nearly every year and will check the warning sign before the ascending the pass.

Where can I find you in La Rosiere? Apart from Les Arcs it is the next nearest resort from PG's place and I could be there within 10 to 15 minutes to its bottom chairlift.

I get a kick out of on a pair of skis travelling from one country to another. Did they have a border check point between Las Rosiere and La Thulie before the European Union?
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
ise

You are not making my decision easier, are you?

I have passed Praz sur Arly a few times and aware les Saises too but are they any good?

Also, what is my chance of getting snow to ski between 23 to 25 December by staying at Monthey? Gstaad is just a stone throw away (may need a canon to throw it though) at the opoosite side, isn't it?


Last edited by You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net. on Thu 14-10-04 16:11; edited 1 time in total
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
saikee, guaranteed, Les Diab is up the road, it open ( I hope) this weekend. Gstaad is low lying itself, but Rougement gets good snow. As do Leysin and Ovronnaz for example.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Ise,

OK. I drove up there once in summer on a motorbike and found the access road quite difficult (twisty, sharp bend and hairpins etc). It still doesn't look appealing on the map for Winter driving.

Seriously is it difficult to get to those places from Monthley? I have 3 days there.
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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.
Ovronnaz, Leysin and Les Diab's are only a few km from the autoroute. All major roads and regularly cleared.
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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
Saikee, apologies if there was an element of teaching Granny to suck eggs in my previous comment but you never know how much experience people have of Alpine driving. I'm always amazed by the the drivers who pitch up in La Rosiere expecting the Col to be open, it's usually closed from Nov to May.
My own preference from Monthey would be to drive to Champery, very pretty little village and the Gondola takes you right up into the ski area. Alternatively in poor snow years we've had to drive from Chalet to Champussoin for any decent snow, but beware the Swiss part of the PdS is very fond of T-bars. Villars and Les Diabs are on the other side of Rhone valley from Monthey, you'll pass the turn-offs as drive down from Lake Geneva.
Your quickest way to get into the Espace San Bernardo is to take the chair-lift up from Seez, there's a navette that runs from BSM but the car park there, has plenty of room and they keep the chair running even if you can't ski down. It is a slow ride but wonderfully quiet as it passes through the forest, alternatively you can drive up to La Ros from BSM in about 25 - 30 minutes. There's no problem parking right at the lift station, we're located about 400 metres from the lifts in the Vieux Village, right opposite a well known restuarant, Le Chalet, which is highly recommended. Pm and I'll give you our number and my daughter's mobile number. We've got some Snowheads in over Xmas week and if you can hook up with us when we're ski-hosting we'll show you the slopes.
There's no check point between La Ros and La Thuile in either direction, if you drink or smoke, the entire Aosta Valley is a duty free zone & much cheaper than France.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
David,

I am an outsider. You guy are the real expert with local knowledge. Thus I always welcome information from the insider.

I know the Petit St Bernard is always closed in the Winter, otherwise I would have been able to visit Tarentaise much more when I stayed in Chamonix. My favourite biking (with a motor attached) route is to do the Grand and Petit St Bernard loop.

I was rather disappointed to find out the enormous deck chair was missing from the town centre when I skied in La Rosiere this February.

I know the Italian/French isn't manned nowaday. I just wonder what was the arrangement before European Union when border check points were mandatory.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Not sure before my time but the area has had a troubled history, during the 2nd world war there was a major battle on the col du Fort, you can still see the bullet holes. Mussolini took advantage of the French preoccupation elsewhere and invaded, they got as far Bourg st Maurice and held this part of Savoie until the Italians surrendered. Not surprisingly, you'll find lots of memorials dotted around. It must have been a bit of shock, as from what I can gather the locals on either side of the border weren't too concerned about arbitary lines on a map. This part of Savoie didn't become part of France until quite late in the 19th century and virtually everyone in La Thuile speaks and understands French.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
This is the record of the Bourg St Maurice trip. Couldn't get in touch with other Snowheads in the area as I was rushing after an Iranian trip.

Due to Ferry not operating on Christmas holidays we started the holiday earlier by first going to Swiss side of the Porte Du Soleil for 3 days. Staying in a hotel in Monthey we visited Morgins which is about 10 to 15 minutes drive. The snow in Morgins, Champoussin, Les Crosets and Champery was just satisfactory but it was worse in Chatel and Torgon.

On the third day the weather turned nasty, with rain at low ground and snow at high ground, so we spent the whole day driving to Bourg St Maurice. Our early arrival took PG by surprise.

Day 1 in Les Arcs. Condition was superb after recent snow which was still inadequate at high altitude as Aiguille Rouge wasn’t open. It was foggy when we hit Plan Peisey for lunch. Not having flying squirrel address means we failed to locate his den.

Day 2 in Tignes. Snow condition generally good but a few runs still lacked of snow and appeared brown. We passed the Sache black run and it was closed at the top. By 3pm we were searching our way back because of heavy snow and fog.

Day 3 in La Rosiere. Too much loose snow on the French side and inadequate snow on Italian side. As a result many runs near the Petit San Bernad pass not open. We parked the car at 1176m station but the run from 1850m down had a lot of gravel on the piste.

Day 4 in Valmorel. Valmorel is the first resort for any skier entering Tarentaise. It has above-average number of green runs and surface lifts. We found it a nice place to cruise because it is very long, all the way to St Francis, which can be reached from another valley other than Tarentaise . Generally it takes us a day to reach the other end and come back.

Day 5 in Val Thoren. 34 miles and definitely the further most resort from Bourg St Maurice. It is the deepest in the 3 Vallees. Like Valmorel this is another resort that can be reached from a valley outside Tarentaise via Orelle. Plenty of snow there but a few chairlift at high altitude still lacked snow and weren’t open. I fell by skiing over an icy patch which wasn’t a common sign. Temperature was coldest reaching -11 degree C.

Day 6 in Meribel. Bought a 3 Vallees ski pass so crossed over to Tougnete, cruised to Les Menuires, went back to Meribel via Mount de la Chambre and skied to Courchevel via Saulire for lunch. A good day to loop around the 3 Vallees. Snow condition in 3 Vallees was the best, possibly due to superb snowmaking equipment.

Day 7 rest day. It was a change over day and the road out of Tarentaise was jammed solid. We had breakfast in a MacDonald in Bourg to wait the traffic to subside but it still took us 2.5 hours to drive to Albertville to have a cup of coffee and a cake. Stuck in a jam was alright when we were not in a hurry and were just wanting the legs to rest.

Day 8 in Val D’Isere. Surprised to found Val D’Isere ski pass must be bought with Tignes. Went up to the highest point to enjoy the first hand experience seeing why the snow was thin on the ground – the gale blew it away leaving hard packed ice behind! The black Tunnel run was closed but the Leissieres Express chairlift was more scary, as it is one of the few chairlifts that does not stop at the summit. It was a sensation when it cross the summit and started to the descend. Good job someone has sized the cable properly!

Day 9 in La Plagne. The lack of snow was fell most prominently in this resort because many pistes were stony. The highest point at Glacier was windless and sunny for a change but the snow was hard packed. We tried to ski to Champagny but the run was closed off. The runs at low altitude, near Montchavin, were surprising better with adequate cover and softer snow.

Day 10 in Courchevel. Parked the car at 1300 Le Praz. Skied to La Tania as the Folyeres run through the forest was as magical as before. Snow was excellent there. Went to 1850 and then 1550 and the snow was equally good. We took the gondolas to the top of La Vizelle and skied to Bel Air and then 1650. Again the snow at low altitude was definitely better than that higher up.

Day 11 rest day. Insisted by Mrs Saikee. Again relaxing ourselves by driving around. Afternoon tea at Chambery which is too quiet to our liking. Didn’t find much to see even though it is the capital of Savoie. Annecy was more romantic and a walk along the lake side was memorable after a nice dinner and some late shopping to keep Mrs. Saikee happy. The distances from Bourg to Albertville, Abertville to Chambery, Chambery to Annecy, Annecy to Abertville are typically 30 to 35 miles each and we did 177 miles in a rest day.

Day 12 Back to La Rosiere. Snow was disappearing at some parts of the runs and turning wet and soft when the temperature hit 6 degree C. We did managed to ski part of the longest piste No.7 San Bernado but the lack of snow forced us to walk too in various locations. La Thuile the Italian side definitely had less snow but otherwise remained firm and didn’t melt or turn wet or soft.

Day 13 Back to Les Arcs. Pistes had gravel and stones at place otherwise condition was satisfactory. Cruised from 1600 to 1800, then Vallandry, Pan Peisey and then Arc2000. Aiguille Rouge was open and so did the long run down to Villaroger. Didn’t time but the 2km vertical drop seemed to take ages.

Generally we woke up at 08:30. Started the car at 09:00. Arrived a resort 09:30 or 10:00. Skiing at 10:30 would be an early start. The 4x4 has two lockable differentials, all season tyres biased to snow terrain and a set of snow chains that hasn’t been used for three successive seasons yet. Going one resort per day did get whacked on paying the full price of ski pass. Cheapest was La Rosiere/La Thuile at 31 Euro. Dearest was 3 Vallees at 41 Euro.

We stayed 2 weeks in PG’s studio flats for 445 Euro including local tax and a 10% discount for being a snowhead. It was ideal for us as we like to cook our own meals if we discover something nice from the hypermarkets or eating out when we fancy a candle-lit occasion. I wonder if there is a cheaper accommodation to ski this biggest collection of resorts (over 1600 km of pistes) in the world.


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Wed 26-10-05 12:13; edited 1 time in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
saikee, a great report. Wish I had been there. Unfortunately, I don't think I will ever (well, in forseeable future) do anything like this as I drive everyday to work and a holiday for me is not driving anywhere! Get up, eat, ski, eat, drink, ski, drink, eat, drink. Repeat next day. I could, quite happily, accompany husband if he wanted to drive to different places but he feels the same as me. Driving, (like shopping, cooking, washing up etc) is not part of a holiday, it's a chore.
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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?
maggi,

I believe driving enjoyment can be affected by the vehicle. Many car jounalists claim a certain car can bring a grin to your face and some car handling can be inspirational too. I never manage to afford such a car but I do go out on a bike with fellow bikers often driving 200 miles with no particular place to go. On a 4x4, with cruise control, DVD, Sat Nat system, leather seats and a 3.2 turbo diesel engine it can be relaxing to drive around when one isn't in a hurry.
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