Closed pistes in Flaine – and an open one that should be closed

21st January 2015, by Chris Gill

Two proper snowfalls have brought excellent conditions to parts of the Grand Massif

Two proper snowfalls have brought excellent conditions to parts of the Grand Massif

Two proper snowfalls in the last few days have brought excellent conditions to parts of the Grand Massif area, notably above Samoëns where I am staying in the excellent La Reine des Pres apartment complex run by CGH.

We’ve enjoyed excellent skiing on the slopes above and around Samoëns, Morillon and Les Carroz, including some good sessions in deep snow on the wooded red slopes served by the Gron chair. This is one of my favourites in the area – slow, but usually queue-free and serving good challenging terrain.

But over in Flaine we’ve been disappointed to find most of the red runs still closed. Faust and Lapiaz were open (and very enjoyable for the most part), but not much more – in particular, Lucifer, Mephisto and Almandine were all closed.

Perversely though, my main complaint is of a piste that was open. The famous long blue Cascades piste to Sixt (14km, they claim) was today declared open for the first time this week (and possibly the first time this year). Maybe it was skiable in the morning but by 2pm it was not – the last mile or so was a succession of miserable rock-strewn stretches, where the occasion sheet ice pitch came as a positive relief.

My pals and I had to walk down three stretches, and despite this my ski soles suffered a lot of damage, while one of the party trashed a ski edge on a sheet of ice that turned out to be a sheet of rock.

I hailed a pisteur on a skidoo at one point and told him the run should be closed. The reply was a Gallic shrug and a remark about a lot of traffic on the run. Well, they should have thought about the ability of the run to take the traffic before opening it. I’ve now talked to people who skied it yesterday, when it was closed, and they thought the conditions marginal then. Instead of just driving his skidoo down the slope and stopping to chat up the occasional monitrice, he should have phoned home to get the run closed.

This is indifference to the safety and happiness of visitors – la belle France at its worst. If you are skiing the GM tomorrow and this run is open, stay away from it. Anyone who has had an accident on it today and wants to sue can count on me as a witness.



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