Grands Montets in Bad Weather
When it’s snowing heavily head to the Magic Forest at Les Grands Montets, and with some fresh snow this place really lives up to its name. Here the trees help to give some definition and reduce the whiteout that normally accompanies heavy snowfall. This means you can ride some fantastic snow while everyone else is either indoors or struggling with visibility.
Located in a triangle between the Tabé and Retour Pendant chairs this hidden spot can require a short hike out along the cat-track that joins the bottom stations of the lifts, but it’s without doubt worth the effort to get access to some superb powder and tree runs.
From the top of Retour Pendant head straight down into the open (skier’s left of the blue Coqs piste) then enter the wooded section. There are lots of rocks to drop here and with a fresh fall of snow they form the perfect pillow line, with each drop comes an explosion of powder. Lower down the trees become tighter requiring some commitment to turning accurately, although with a little searching it’s easy to find open sections where it’s possible to pull fast, sweeping turns.
The gradient here is fairly steep in places, which means even in deep snow it’s difficult to get bogged down. Be careful not to pass over the cat-track (marked by a dotted black line on the lift map). If you do you’ll be in the animal wintering zone and some very avalanche-prone, steep couloirs heading down to the bottom of the valley.
As this is off-piste, if you go, make sure you at least have a transceiver and shovel and know how to use them (see our Avalanche section).
Also see: Les Grands Montets Ski Area in Chamonix, France