Snow awaits tourists in Chamonix Valley


The winter is coming! By the beginning of the December, we expect to have a good base. The Compagnie du Mont-Blanc (CMB), which operates the ski areas and ski lifts in Chamonix Valley, is preparing for the season 2018-19.

While waiting for good snow cover down to 2000m, there is another option for the pistes. Artificial snow is the alternative solution. Mathieu Dechavanne, President and CEO of Compagnie du Mont-Blanc, estimates that they will start producing snow around mid-November, when a cold snap is expected to come. “There is no point in starting earlier because production melts if temperatures rise”, he explained.

For the 2018-19, the Compagnie du Mont Blanc did not buy any new snow machines. They focused on modernising the ones they already have so that they are more performant. The goal is to make use of the snow canon in freezing temperatures, where previously snow production was not possible.

Skiing on Grands Montets, photo @
Snow machine, photo @
Skiing on Grands Montets, Chamonix Valley, photo @

In order to make snow, they have to store water. For this, two types of reservoirs are used. The CEO details: “There are subglacial water catchments, like the one at Bossons glacier, and, to a lesser extent, hill reservoirs”. The hill reservoirs are filled with run-off and surface water. The CMB has three artificial lakes of this type: two in Megève and one in Chamonix.

Due to the high-altitude , Chamonix is less dependent on artificial snow than other resorts. “We have an artificial snowfield coverage of 16%, which is low, compared to a national average of 40%”, said Mathieu Dechavanne.

New Marmottons lift

The biggest investment for the 2018-19 season is the improved beginners' slope at Lognan, 2000m on the Grands Montets. Work began on the new beginner slope in August 2018. There is a new, six pax detachable chairlift replacing the two pax Marmottons chairlift. The slope has been regraded, so that it is more consistent from beginning to end and the snow canons have been upgraded.

The cost of this project is 8,5 million euros.

Despite the fact that the two cable cars on Les Grands Montets will be closed this winter (Argentière – Lognan; Lognan – Top of Grands Montets), the Compagnie du Mont-Blanc has promised that 90% of the Grands Montets will be open, because the ski area is accessible through Plan Joran, and then from the Bochard and Herse lifts. (see here).

The word in Chamonix is that 2018-19 will be the best season ever, with the hardcore accessing high snow fields with skins on their skis.

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