The ski slopes are opening

There has been a lot of biting of finger nails across Europe in the last few weeks as the first snowfalls of winter refused to arrive; and in some areas, the temperatures were at times too high for snowmaking equipment to even remedy the situation. But finally the snow has arrived – just in time – and anxieties have started to subside.

Les Grands Montets, the highest of Chamonix’s four principal ski domains partially opened for skiing last weekend. The remainder of the domains should open next weekend (a week before Christmas). More snow is forecast for later this week. Chamonix offers skiing at all levels but it is Les Grands Montets that offers the greatest challenges, and also up-close views of the high mountains.

Accessed from Argentière, the first up-lift takes you to the mid-station at Lognan.

Les Grands Montets Cable Car - click to enlarge

From there a huge Cable Car (above) takes you up to Les Grands Montets top station at 3,300M (10,725ft).

Don't say you haven't been warned!

…with plenty of reminders before you board the cabin that you are headed for a serious high mountain environment of Black runs, that are ungroomed, essentially off piste, and not patrolled.

It’s worth the trip just for the spectacular views.

Les Drus (Lt), Mont Blanc (center) - click to enlarge

On one side (above) the views stretch across to Mont Blanc, with the back side of Les Drus on the left of the view;

Argentiere Glacier, Aig d'Argentiere (Lt), Mont Dolent (head of glacier) - click to enlarge

and on the other side of the col the Argentière glacier stretches into the distance with the Aiguille d’Argentière on the left, and Mont Dolent at the head of the glacier.

Les Grands Montets is the starting point for the famous multi-day ski tour ‘The Haute Route’ that ends in Zermatt, or even Saas Fee if you fancy an extra high pass crossing from the Zermatt valley to Saas Fee. For those with a Chamonix ski-pass the black runs back down to Lognan are challenging and exciting, and often involve extensive mogul fields.

heading towards the Argentiere Glacier - click to enlarge

For those with the necessary abilities you are treated to some great views across the glacier on the way down.

Argentiere - close up - click to enlarge

Skiing can be hard work but the scenery never fails to reward the effort.

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About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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9 Responses to The ski slopes are opening

  1. Adam Allegro says:

    I cannot wait to ski! I still need to get back to you, on my to do list!! This is a fantastic post with wonderful shots! I’m envious!

  2. Len Saltiel says:

    I am not a skier but maybe I should be after seeing these shots Andy. They really give a sense of what skiing is. I particularly like the first image. Very cool.

  3. Jimi Jones says:

    Great series, Andy!
    These shots are awesome. This really puts you out there in the wilderness. Lovely write-up, bud.

  4. Really awesome shots Andy. We’re going skiing after New Years in Quebec City and I’m very excited to get out there with my camera.

  5. Marc says:

    Great series of images Andy. Makes me think back to my time on the slopes. I spent more time on the floor than on the ski’s.

  6. Adam Olson says:

    These are fantastic Andy! It looks like a blast! I can’t wait to get back out to Colorado for some skiing! These pictures aren’t helping the itch, haha!

  7. ChrisdMRF says:

    I love Mountains, I love snow. Mountains and snow – outstanding. As for skiing that scares the hell out of me, or rather I do as I do not have a speed limiter in built.

  8. munchow says:

    Thanks for creating some excitement for the imminent winter season. The run from Les Grands Montets top station looks fantastic. I want to do it!

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