Snow is falling…. Winter’s calling…

First off….   We have some opening dates for the season….

Yes… Grands Montets will be opening from the 3rd December, this year…
We are getting really excited about the possibility of some early skiing – only FIVE weeks to go!!

Brévent, La Flégère and La Tour are all set to open on the Saturday 17th December….

….and we are still waiting to hear about Les Houches.  Traditionally, it likes to give Grands Montets a run for its money in the early opening stakes… All we need is the snow!!

The other aspect which may affect the opening date for Les Houches is that the Compagnie du Mont Blanc will become the majority share holider (73%)  in the ownership of the Les Houches ski area at a cost of 4 million euros, on the 25th October.  After many years of petty (and not so petty) arguments between the two families that controlled the ski area, it is finally sorted and we can relax knowing the future of the best kept secret of the Chamonix valley is safe.  I am hoping they continue the tradition of opening Les Houches as early as possible though.

Grands Montets earlier today

After yesterdays heavy rainfall in the lower altitudes, it is already looking great for an early start to the season for higher up the mountain…

This was the view from Grands Montets mid-station earlier today…

As you can see there is already a nice covering of snow on the tracks… with five weeks to go!!

What else is NEW this year?

There will be a new boarder cross park being created in La Tour which will be open to everyone.

At Grands Montet, in the freestyle park, they are installing HD cameras to record all the action…

At Brevent, they are installing a giant airbag so wanna-be hot-doggers can practise their aerial moves and land safely on an air mattress – under the supervision of park instructors.

For the gastronophiles, there are new restaurants at the La Tour area and La Flégère area…

The pisteurs have already erected the safety fence on the lower section of the Kandahar world championship run, and they’ve been around and inspected the snow cannons down the piste des Aillouds outside the chalet….

All very exciting….  we CAN’T WAIT!!!

One thing I DO love about right now though… is the colours of Autumn as we go into Winter….

 

The Amazing Colours of Autumn

 

NEW! Our webcam is launched!

Ready for the opening of Les Houches from the 11th December, we have just launched our new webcam, or “piste-cam” as I prefer…

Our Chamonix chalet webcam

Overlooking the Aillouds pistes here in Les Houches, you can see the piste from the chalet, the snow cannons currently hard at work, as well as the Chavants lake in the background…

Apparently, Les Houches is due to open the Maison Neuve chairlift this Saturday, and open early from the 11th December.   Grands Montets opens fully from this weekend!!  Lets go skiing!!

November… and we’re skiing!

Back in September, in my long-range weather forecast for the Alps winter 2010, I predicted an early cold start to the Winter…   and abundant snow…

It is with a lot of relief, it looks as though my forecast is coming true:

The UK has had its earliest snow since 1983…
Temperatures dropped to -18 degrees c in Llysdinam in Wales on Sunday…

… and here in Chamonix, Grands Montets opened its doors on Saturday….  and we were there to celebrate.

Ok.   The visibility was poor.  Flat light.  It was still snowing slightly.
My boots hurt like the worst time since the first time last year!

But it was simply fantastic to be out skiing again!

Snow on the hot tub deck

Snow on the hot tub deck

So the big question here is:  When is Les Houches going to open?

Well…  Les Houches has a history of trying to rival Grands Montets for opening dates –  and GM opens fully from the 6th December.  Next weekend!

Given that just five minutes ago, the first piste-basher was creating a base on the piste outside chalet Maison Jaune, I think there will be a partial opening here next weekend!   The Compagnie du Mont Blanc is unlikely to open the Prarion lift until the 19th, unfortunately!  Spoil sports!   However, SEPP, the company that controls most of the other lifts here in Les Houches, is likely to open the rest of the mountain as soon as it is able…

There is more snow forecast in the next few days and the temperatures are quite cold and stable… so we’ll just have to wait and see….