20 January, Les Contamines & Cordon Ski Touring Weekend – Good Conditions

Saturday was a perfect winter day around the Mont Blanc Massif.  With cobalt blue sunny skies, crisp cold temperatures, no wind and fresh snow still cool and velvet from last weeks storms…it was going to be a classic!  Expectations of good skiing were high, and in the Contamines Valley, they were surpassed!  There were lots of teams enjoying smooth velvet fresh tracks in all kinds of places as the snow was good, even on sunny aspects, above about 1700m and much lower than that in the shade.

Beautiful velvet smooth snow and fresh tracks on the Hauteluce side of Les Contamines. Late Jan 2019

The pistes were in good condition, with the exception of the lower section of the icy red home run on the Hauteluce side!   The off piste skiing from the lifts was excellent although getting well tracked by the end of Saturday.  Teams were touring to the Col de la Fenetre and skiing both sides including some steeper lines above the Col on the Hauteluce side.  Both the classic approach to the Col de la Ciclce and direct approach via the narrow col on the Hauteluce side were being done with good conditions reported on the descent and, last week at least, reasonable conditions on the Roman Road with just a few icy patches which were negotiated on skis.  There was also a track going to the Col de Chasseurs from the Col de Cicle.  Very good conditions on the descent of the Rochers des Enclaves, all the way to the icy pistes of Hauteluce!

Great snow conditions and very enjoyable skiing on the descent of the Rochers des Enclaves

Today we ski toured above Cordon on the Arve Valley up to the Refuge Petit Patre, 1919m.   Very enjoyable conditions in the upper meadows with some difficult sun crust in the lower meadows, which could be avoided by seeking shady snow!  The difficulties of the steep and narrow track in the lower section were avoided by just walking down!  Some teams continued right up to the steep crags on the North Face of the Croise Baulet and got some good steep fresh tracks.

Good skiing below the north face of the Croise Baulet
Marco skiing fine steep powder on the ‘Triangle’ beneath the Croise Baulet North Face

There were some tracks below the Col de Niard and also below the Col de la Portette which looked like great terrain to explore for another day…Over in Chamonix teams have been skiing the Vallee Blanche with some good snow up high and snow cover on the James Bond track all the way to Chamonix, albeit with plenty of rocks still on the track.  However, there were still plenty of crevasses reported as being open, it’s still very early season and the Midi snow ridge is not yet fully equipped.  There has been lots of touring activity in the Aiguilles Rouges including Mont Buet and the Col des Dards and some good snow also reported from the Col de Passon.

We still have a few places available on our Chamonix based Ski touring weekends on Feb 9-10 and 16-17 as well as our brilliant March weekend at the Swiss Grand St Bernard Monastery.

Sandwich break at the Petit Patre, with great views of the Aravis Chain beyond.
Velvet smooth fresh tracks on the tour above Cordon, Arve Valley