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Les Contamines - Ski Resort and Snow Summary
Skiing in Les Contamines
Les Contamines - Ski Resort in Ski Pass Mont Blanc, French Alps - 120km of Piste (1164m to 2500m)
Pretty and compact Savoyard village with a long history, extensive skiing and a good range of shops and restaurants. The nearest lift is 1km from the village. Part of the huge Mont Blanc lift pass.
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Les Contamines Ski Facts
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The French ski resort of Les Contamines is part of the Ski Pass Mont Blanc area with access to 490 individual pistes. In addition to the skiing in Les Contamines itself (120km of pisted ski runs), the appropriate ski Lift Pass will allow you to ski or snowboard in the other Ski Pass Mont Blanc ski resorts of Argentière, Chamonix, Combloux, Cordon, Le Tour, Les Houches, Megève, Passy Plaine Joux and St Gervais Mont-Blanc.
With skiing above 2000 metres, snow cover is generally reliable.
Snowmaking :- Les Contamines is able to augment natural snow, on 10km of ski runs, with 200 Snow Cannons.
Ski Lift Capacity :- The 24 Ski Lifts of Les Contamines are able to uplift 33,000 skiers / snowboarders per hour.
There are six Airports within two hours drive, so ski weekends, snowboard breaks and short ski holidays to Les Contamines are perfectly feasible. Chambery Airport and Geneva Airport are just one hours drive away, in good driving conditions, so you can be on the piste quickly.
Skiing in Les Contamines
Les Contamines - Montjoie's large local ski area is divided in to two sectors, nominally at least, although they are fully interlinked. Above the resort itself is the majority of the skiing and 'boarding in a vast north easterly facing bowl in the Val Montjoie. Over the back is a much smaller and rather steeper area known as Hauteluce - Val Joly. In addition, there are two non-linked drag lifts close to the edge of the village which can be used by beginners.
The majority of skiers will, however, want to head up to the main area from day one, and to do that the ski bus is the best bet, unless you have transport. There are two gondolas accessing the slopes, the first, at Le Lay, is a kilometre from the village centre, but many stay on the bus another 500 metres or so to Le Pontet. Here a second gondola, generally less busy (a point especially worth bearing in mind when skiers are arriving from other areas due to lack of snow elsewhere), heads up to a point close to the top of the le Lay lift. There they both meet a third gondola, or a chair and drag in succession, which take you on up to the main mid mountain base at le Signal. There are also more beginners' slopes at the top of the first pair of gondolas.
Above Signal a network of chairs and drags fan out around the huge bowl providing 30+ largely red and black category runs with a few blues. Some lifts access the skiing over to the south facing Hauteluce area. Nearly all the terrain, including the blacks, can be mastered by intermediates. More demanding intermediate, as well as advanced skiers, will no doubt wish to make use of the Mont Blanc pass.
The local high mountain guides are highly regarded internationally. They can take you to off-piste powder on glaciers or on a spring ski touring excursion.
The local cross-country area at Notre Dame de la Gorge offers 23.5km (15 miles) of carefully maintained trails arranged in circuits, from easy to very difficult, and a 8km (five mile) circuit reserved for those wishing to use the skating technique. Facilities at the area include a cross country centre with changing rooms, waxing room and picnic room, as well as an Ecole du Ski Français office. There is also an international biathlon run (summer and winter).
Snowboarding in Les Contamines
Les Contamines -Montjoie has good 'boarding and four excellent snowparks. Located underneath the Les Tierces detachable quad, it incorporates a mogul stadium in a special steep area and an ISF-approved half pipe equipped with a rope tow and with a hard (earth) base for guaranteed use under all snow conditions. The pipe is 120 m (380 ft) long and 17m (56ft) wide. Height is 3.5m (11.5ft) and the slope has an 18º pitch. The park also incorporates a 400m (440yd) 'boarder cross with whoop-de-doo, three 50cm (20 inch) bumps in a line, each on a 2m (6.5 ft) plateau, as well as two banked turns, one table jump and a quarter pipe. A second pipe has also been added in the centre of the village on the Les Layers slope.
Some snowboarders may be put off by the usual predominance of drag lifts, but in fact all the key areas can be reached by chair or gondola. Nightlife may also be rather quiet for some.
Les Contamines Aprés Ski
Les Contamines - Montjoie's nightlife is generally relaxed and often quiet. The twenty or so restaurants will serve just drinks if you prefer, livelier venues include the Tetras, Ty Briez (which has a reputation for great concerts through to 3 am) , and the Saxo.
If you want something more than eating, drinking or dancing then there's an ice rink and a cinema, or you can take a sleigh ride. A trip up to the Chalet Auberge de Colombaz at 1,500 m (4,900 ft) for a traditional Savoyard evening is a popular treat. Arrive by ski lift or horse drawn sleigh, enjoy a traditional Savoie meal and then toboggan back down.
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Les Contamines in brief
Les Contamines Ski Resort is:
Ok for Expert Skiers.
Good for Intermediate Skiers.
Ok for Beginners.
Very good for Snowboarding.
Opened : December 21, 2012
Closed : April 19, 2013
Opening Subject To Snow Conditions.
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