Once again, with the forecast full of snow, the Northern French Alps were calling loudly.

For this trip we’d arranged to head to Les Carroz, a friendly and traditional French ski village just one hour out of Geneva. It is linked into the Grand Massif but, as with many lesser-known French resorts, has a superb ski area all of its own.

An early flight out got us to Les Carroz for lunchtime and onto the pistes shortly after. Surface conditions were “packed powder” as it had been a few days since the last snow; the off-piste was firm and unforgiving so we hacked around the un-crowded pistes and dropped briefly into Morillon and Samoens. The first flakes of the promised snow were in the air as we finished the afternoon…

Overnight brought about 30cm of fresh and it kept snowing. The top links were all closed so we were confined to Les Carroz for the day, but what a gem of a ski area it turned out to be.

Thanks to the local knowledge of Ian (from Les Carroz Chalets) and Rich (Altitude Holidays), we skied pretty much non-stop on un-pisted runs and un-tracked pitches in and around the trees. Visibility was variable and conditions pretty hostile all day but that just kept the crowds off the hill and us in the snow. It snowed most of the day, and the snow got better and better – probably adding another 30cm by the end of the afternoon.

Friday night, after pausing briefly, it snowed again and the freeze level came down…

…so we started early on the Saturday… the cloud had lifted and visibility was good all morning, with a little mist and the odd glimpse of blue sky. And the wind had stopped.

On the ridge above the town, it was clear the snow was substantial as lifts and even restaurants were being dug out…

After a quick transceiver check, we started to head toward Flaine. The links were initially closed for avalanche control, but soon opened and gave us access onto the Gentianes chair and the superb pitches beside the Corbalanche Black below. Toward the bottom the powder was pretty thick – almost to the extent of being able to straight-line the steeps – so we headed up and left the piste to drop into perfect powder down into the Vernant valley for a few runs.

We saw plenty of evidence of sliding snow and the fresh layer was clearly not well bonded; with numerous part-depth slides on steeper slopes. We stayed clear of steep and exposed pitches but Les Carroz seems to have plenty of safer options and I don’t think we had a run without powder all day.

Back toward Samoens and a couple of runs dropping off the Tete de Saix through what’s (apparently) known as “Samoens corner”, and we broke for a quick coffee in place of lunch.

Here are some more pics of the day, all by Rich Evans; a great days skiing in good company (cheers guys!).

James S

Ian G

Admin is Out-Of-The-Office!

James B gets eaten by the Powder Monster!

The powder was deep, although varying in consistency from light to porridge; by the end of the day temperatures had risen and the lowest powder was turning mushy. But barring a tropical heatwave (of which there’s no sign in the forecast!), there’s now more than enough snow to keep the base good to the end of the season.

We were perfecty looked after by Snowbeds in Les Carroz, at Chalet Bry, with Salomon BBRs from SkiSet provided by the very nice people at Alain Sport.

Now, about those BBRs…
Certainly a much-discussed ski that I’d thoroughly enjoyed in powder on a previous trip. I’m not yet convinced it’s the best thing to be riding on hard-pack though. There’s definitely a “sweet spot” – at high-speed, and properly pressured, it’s a terrifically stable and fast carving ski. There’s an interesting and definite sensation of the curve radius changing as you vary the pressure, but back off too much and you do feel it maybe needs more spring in the tail… bloody brilliant in the powder though!

Disclosure :- J2Ski have a commercial relationship with both Snowbeds and SkiSet… but we highly recommend them both because they rock! Thanks guys!

Snowbeds operate two catered chalets in Les Carroz, and offer completely flexible booking to suit you – they’ll also arrange good value transfers if needed and they have availability..