Megève and Les Contamines to be linked
Plans for connecting relatively unspoilt Les Contamines with neighbours upmarket Megève and handsome spa town St Gervais (which already share an extensive area) date back to 1988, when a link was first mooted. This is seen as a useful addition to both areas; the famously good snow of Les Contamines would provide Megève/St Gervais skiers with a more snow-sure area and a few more challenges, while Les Contamines skiers would benefit from a large increase in extent and variety, especially Megève’s ample cruising terrain and wooded runs. The intervening years have seen schemes involving various mixes of drag lifts, chair lifts, gondola and cable cars. It has certainly been a long time coming, and the two seem to have finally agreed on a course of action, but you will have to be patient just a little longer; our sources suggest it may be built in 2013.
The current plan involves a new chairlift heading south from the top of the Mont-Joly chair, traversing below the summit of Mont Joly itself, popping over the Grand Col in the general direction of the Veleray drag lift on the Les Contamines side, and finishing below the peak of La Combaz on the edge of the Les Contamines ski area. With no direct pistes between the two resorts, this chairlift will need to be taken in both directions. A new blue piste from the lift will afford Megève skiers access to the steeper, more snowsure pitches of Les Contamines. However, to access Megève from Les Contamines, a red run will connect the top of the Veleray drag to the link lift, and then no way down from the Mont-Joly chair other than a red or one of Megève’s few genuine black runs. Perhaps less confident skiers will be able to download on the Mont-Joly chair. Other problems could include the exposed nature of the chair causing frequent closures of this link; the Mont-Joly chair is often shut in bad weather.
However, such expansion can only be positive for both resorts, giving a boost in both extent and variety; my recommendation is to buy property in Les Contamines before the rush!
More details, including some mocked-up ‘before and after’ photos, are available here: http://www.mairie-lescontamines.com/userfiles/Liaison%20Contamines.pdf