Wednesday, April 8, 2015


Tagging up with my girlfriend, we left Grenoble chasing the snow sun in Villars, Switzerland. Located in the Vaud canton, about 65km from Lausanne lay the Villars-Gryon-Les Diablerets-Glacier 3000 resort.
With a high pressure system in place for a few days and some bright sun on the forecast, we took off thinking more about the sunscreen than the down jackets. Even if I do prefer the cold powdery snow, I actually really don’t mind skiing slushy snow in the resorts when the spring shows up!
We started our discovery of the domain in Villars and headed out towards Glacier 3000.
I don’t think the trail map accurately represents the ground that really separates those 2 places! I also don't think that was my greatest idea ever! Linking those two fairly distant resort together in a day forces you to sit and use a lot of lifts. One would be better serve into making its idea in the resort he really would like to ski than to try to check them all out in a single day!
Good thing that there wasn’t much people there since crossing from one resort all the way at the top of the other resort can take quite some time! There is also quite a big difference in the resort style when you compare the terrain available on the Villars and Diablerets side to the Glacier 3000.
For Villars and Les Diablerets, it is more traditionnal slopes cut through trees or open field as there is some really good alpine freeriding opportunities to be found on the Glacier 3000 side.
Certainly that the most spectacular view is at Glacier 3000, we even had the chance to score some nice cold-snow turns there!
After riding there and back we went to Gryon to check out the afterski of the first day of the Telefest organized by the Worst Crew. There was a pretty cool ambiance there and a lot of people showed up for the live one-man band!
We met a lot of the same people the following day at the tent festival where free-demo gathered around 150 persons trying different ski boots and binding.
Part of the festival was also the Televasion. It was a discovery tour of both the resort and the slackcountry. We took off with on the tour and even if the skiing was good, the best part was the lunch.
In a traditionnal alpine chalet that was originally used for the summer pasture, we were serve wine, cheese and soup. We both had way to much food and with the warm sun shinning strong, it was kinda hard to leave! After almost 3 months of almost non-stop skiing, I start to almost enjoy as much to relax and drink wine than to ski!
We left Villars to go back to Grenoble after 2 days that were way too short!

With the high pressure still in place, I rallied with Nicolas Attal my friend who lives in Valloire to check out the nearby Valfréjus. Located near the border of Italy, Valfréjus was one of the first resort in France to open for the season and got spanked with snow from the storm coming in the pasta-land side all season long.
 Valfréjus is not really what one could call a ‘’resort’’.  There is certainly some other activity than skiing, but don’t expect Rolex shopping here! With only 3 majors lifts, it is nothing but a major ski-hub. But for what it lacked in impressive number, Valfréjus got something that cannot be put down in number: nice terrain, real alpine feeling and awesome view.

For 28 euros, you get to a 600m vertical of nice alpine terrain. I don’t think there is that much to do when you don’t have any visibility since all of the interesting turns are made above treeline.
I was also fairly impress about the speedriding skills that some fellow were showing up. Speedriding is like paragliding but with a wing a bit to small to fly. People were flying down and putting loops in the air.... Something just got put on my bucket list!

An other great discovery in the Maurienne valley!

I certainly like resort skiing but with the Chamonix-Zermatt traverse already plan at the end of our season, a bit of touring wouldn’t hurt to get my legs in shape!

With Amelie, we left towards the Rocher Rond in the Matheysine massif just southeast of Grenoble. It is really hard to separate what I call a great outing from what people in Europe call a great outing.

I like to ski down steady 30-45degrees gradient slope with my skins on, they don’t mind bushwacking or hiking with their skis on their pack for hours without any chance of skiing.

I like to climb straight up and ski down, they don’t mind long, long, looonnnnnng approach just to get to a summit with a view.

I climb to ski, for some skiing is a mandatory pain required after the quick skin up.

But for once, I was able to find a great tour that looked like providing a steady gradient up and a good spring-skiing destination.
After hiking for 5 minutes, we started to climb on some hard refrozen snow. We were quickly joined by a local stinky farmer’s dog that would eventually climb all the way to the top with us.

Our progression was slow with the packs loaded to test how it will be on the coming Cham-Zermatt traverse. As we gained elevation, we could more easily see the smog coming from the valleys around and especially from Grenoble.
I really like this city, but I can’t convince myself that it is good for you to live there on the long run with so much pollution.

We timed our climb and ski down perfectly since the snow was nice and soft all the way down! It is one of the best tour I’ve done around Grenoble and I was really surprise not to see any other tracks on the mountain...
Looks like spring is here now...
Hope winter will make a comeback!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

awesome trip. Looks lie soo much fun. Oh one day!

Thanks for sharing Evans.