Snowstorm hits Chamonix

18th January 2018, by Dave Watts

It was snowing hard all Tuesday and Wednesday on the Chamonix slopes

It was snowing hard all Tuesday and Wednesday on the Chamonix slopes

On Tuesday and Wednesday it snowed non-stop on Chamonix’s ski areas. So much so that all but the lowest lifts were closed in all the main areas other than Les Houches.

So it was off to Les Houches that I went both days with guides from Evolution 2, which offers a huge variety of on- and off-piste courses and adventures.

Les Houches is lower than the other areas and has trees right to the top so visibility is good even in a snowstorm; it also suffers less from high winds than the higher areas.

On Wednesday there was knee deep powder in the trees and a lovely coating of fresh light powder on the pistes and I had a great time with Evolution 2 guide Stafan (in the pic above) and Claire Burnet (the English, married to a Frenchman, PR lady for Chamonix Tourist Office – also in the pic and and seen skiing in the pic below).

Claire skiing in Les Houches on Wednesday morning

We managed 10 fabulous runs before it was time for me to return to the hotel to catch the transfer bus for my flight home.

The previous day’s guide had been Frederic, also of Evolution 2. He did a great job of searching out the best powder on the top half of the mountain, as it was wet snow or rain on the lower part. It certainly showed the benefit of local knowledge and the of having a guide in bad or snowy conditions.

Lunch on Tuesday was a real highlight, at the rustic and friendly Les Vieilles Luges, tucked away on a track in the woods. It is run by Claude Battandier who was French junior giant slalom champion in the 1970s and his Australian wife Julie. I had a delicious duck leg confit. But the speciality is a local dish, Farçon, made of finely grated potatoes, smoked bacon, prunes and raisins. It is steamed for four hours in a mould, allowed to cool and then pieces are cut and pan fried to order.

My visit was organized by Crystal Ski and I stayed at the very atmospheric Hotel Gustavia, right opposite Chamonix train station.

More on the Gustavia in another blog on my first two days skiing in Chamonix in a few days time.

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