Les Grands Montets Ski Area
The Grands Montets is the largest and most popular ski station in the Chamonix Valley. An altitude of 3300m (10825ft) and north, northwest aspect guarantees quality snow, even late into the season. Some of the best skiing can be in May!
An expansive area on the north facing slopes above the village of Argentière. The lift system can be confusing. There are two lifts from Argentière (1260m). A quad to Plan Joran and a téléphérique to Lognan. At Lognan (1960m) there is easy access to the Bochard télécabine (2800m) and Herse chair (2600m).
Upon arrival at the station, you have the choice of a large gondola or quad chair. During busy times it is often faster to take the chair lift and link with another lift to get to the mid-station as lines for the gondola can get really long!
The mid station on Les Grands Montets has seen some huge improvements in the past few years. The Bochard telecabine system replaced those 'old eggs' and a new Herse high speed 6-pack chair lift replaced the old two man chair.
The new lift starts lower down and closer to the téléphérique making access very easy. There are two restaurants, with snack bars and covered areas for picnics (Hors Sac) plus two test centres.
Bochard and Herse
At the top of the Bochard and Herse lifts the ski terrain is steep and glaciated. It is advisable to stay on the marked and controlled pistes.
The vast area served by these two lifts offers some fantastic skiing although the top sectors are just on glacier. Avalanche risk will be a moderate to high after fresh snow. The whole area is "skied out" quickly after a snow fall but due to its size there is plenty of exhilarating and challenging skiing.
The Bochard lift gives access to the Lavancher Bowl on the left side of the ski area; an extensive bowl; escape the crowds and ski 1000m of descent. Use the Pendant lift at the bottom to return to Lognon (or continue descending the track through the forest to Lavancher village and 1600m of descent).
The Summit of the Grands Montets
Skiing from the top of the Grands Montets (3300m) is a skiers dream. With a 2000m vertical drop to Argentière, on a good powder day, who needs heli-skiing
Two black pistes, Les Pylônes and Point de Vue, run out of the 3300m top station. The off piste possibilities are huge. There is a small snack bar and terrace. Take a short climb up metal steps to the observation platform.
The sheer size of the mountains can be deceptive. Over to the south west is the Aiguille du Midi which is in fact over half a kilometre higher! Beyond that is Mont Blanc, another kilometre higher than the Midi.
Les Grands Montets téléphérique (3300m) is run by a separate company. Tickets can be purchased at Lognan or a ticket which includes the top station can be bought at the base station in Argentière.