13 December 2021, Chamonix & Aravis Early Season Ski & Climbing Conditions

This weekend started with a major storm event and finished with a major sun event – giving some quite brilliant early winter ski conditions around the Mont Blanc & Aravis Massifs.  Meteo France describe the season snow cover as ‘excellent’ and there was some lovely light fresh tracks to had both off the lifts and touring, especially on the lower altitude slopes and even in the woods.

Off Piste Ski Guide
Lovely velvet snow & good cover in the shady forests

Higher up in the hills there have been some strong winds and high avalanche risk with some notable recent avalanche events described on the Data Avalanche site here.  Snow cover & skiing has been good right down to valley floor level in Chamonix and whilst at least one team has indeed skied the Vallée Blanche, it’s very days for that kind of glacier run.

Cold temperatures are also building ice climbing conditions and there has already been some selected cascades climbed in Cogne in decent conditions.

Ice building in the Aravis – Mont Blanc Massifs & Cogne & let’s hope for another big freeze like last winter with brilliant icefall climbing.

Our Winter – Spring 2022 Ski Courses Now Taking Bookings….

The selected courses below are all running and ready for you to join & you can keep an eye on the full programme on our course page here.

We also have spaces on our intro and intermediate Chamonix ski touring days and weekends.

Megeve Ski Touring Guide
Beautiful velvet powder snow conditions ski touring in the Aravis above Megeve. Photo Isabella Burczak

7 December 2021, Chamonix & Aravis Early Season Ski & Climbing Conditions

It was an excellent autumn season this year with some fine climbing conditions in the mountains for both icy mixed routes in the middle and high mountains and some Chamonix north faces.  There was also plenty of stable sunny weather for rock climbing in the valley and lower middle mountains.  But that’s all changed with the impressively rapid switch to winter!

Good early season ski touring conditions at Combloux with plenty of snow and good weather – before another big storm rolls in…

Since the start of December, it’s mainly been snowing and Meteo France now describe the snow volume around the Mont Blanc Massif as good for the start of the winter.   The avalanche bulletin has been up and running for a while now and there is detailed daily reports with some recent past data on snow pack & weather conditions on the Meteo France Montagne site here.

Enjoyable new skinning route linking Combloux with Megeve Jaillet mid station.

In Chamonix many teams have been out ski touring above Le Tour & Les Houches as well as on the Aiguillette des Houches.  Further down the Arve Valley, lots of teams have been out enjoying the good snow conditions and fresh tracks above St. Gervais, Megeve and Combloux.   There is a good new marked skinning track taking a fine traverse across the sunny meadows of ‘La Ravine’ and linking the Combloux Beauregard meadows with the meadows above the Jaillet mid station area.  This can be linked with paths and tracks in the woods to give a longer approach to the Sommet des Salles as per our Strava Route here.

Aravis Ski Touring Guide
Lovely early season velvet powder fresh tracks at Combloux 7/12/21

Early season cover is impressive with a good base for the next 2 big storms forecast for later this week!  Snow quality was also excellent today with lovely light untracked powder in most of the side country.

Pistes also shaping up in good conditions prior to imminent opening tomorrow.

At Combloux many of the pistes were also in great shape – with Les Portes du Mont Blanc describing early season ‘dream conditions’ and opening early tomorrow and then again this weekend.  Other Evasion & Chamonix imminent openings as follows:

    Open every day from December 11, 2021
    Open every day from Friday December 10, 2021
    Open for the weekend of December 11th and 12th, 2021 (continuous opening from december 18th, 2021).
  • Full details on the Mont Blanc Natural Resort page here
Impressive snow cover – in the trees, meadows and pistes of Les Portes du Mont Blanc

Much of the early season touring has been using the nice grassy meadows and bases of the closed resorts, but a few teams have ventured out on to the grassy slopes of the Petit Croisse Baulet for example and there is pretty good early winter cover thanks to a very snowy week or so in early December and another couple of big snow storm events rolling in.   There has been a constantly considerable or high avalanche risk however and care is required, as always, with route selection.

Good early season snow cover in the northern Aravis

Other good early season ski options from Chamonix currently include the resorts of Verbier in Switzerland and Courmayeur in Italy which are both open.

Dry Tooling route at Le Fayet on the Left hand side with a mix of natural and drilled pick placements

For those also interested in climbing conditions – there are reports of some decent basic early season ice climbing in Cogne in the Italian Val d’Aosta and bits of ice also forming around the Aravis although more teams have been out dry tooling during the recent snowy weather.

Drilled D6 dry tooling route at Le Zoo, Sallanches, Arve Valley

It’s worth remembering that if you want a break from the snow – and to keep your rock climbing going over the winter, there are some fine sun bathed crags lower down the Italian Val d’Aosta for an away day from Chamonix!   This photo of sun baked winter rock climbing in a t-shirt was taken whilst the Mont Blanc Massif was getting battered by blizzards!

Italian sun rock down Val d’Aosta at Donnas. Superb steep and juggy 6a. Photo Kev Avery

Our winter 2022 ski courses are now taking bookings including our popular Chamonix Off Piste & Touring Skills with both classic and progression courses for every month from Jan to April (January classic now fully booked).

We also have spaces on our intro and intermediate Chamonix ski touring days and weekends as well as some more hard core spring ski mountaineering trips like our Spring Ski Summits and Ski Mont Blanc courses.

Ski Mont Blanc 4810m

High on the ski descent of the Dufourspitze, with the East face of the Matterhorn & Hornli Ridge beyond