A week or so later and we’ve decided to see if the snow is any better in the Hautes Alpes so have shot up the autoroute to Annecy and headed for the hills above that beautiful town.
And, oh yes, it’s pretty cool up here. Snow everywhere and fresh snow falling – couldn’t be better. The first day out we were skiing in a thick covering of snow and about 30 cms of fresh powder on all pistes, off-piste was waist high. It has been decided that a ‘Dick of the Day’ award would be given to the most spectacular faller and since there were face plants going on left right and centre it has been a difficult choice though the first award was given to Grant for losing his skis not once, but twice in deep powder… the second time took at least 30 minutes to locate the left hand one and was accompanied by much digging!
The award comes with the onerous task of having to wear a spectacularly stupid hat all the following day and to be the butt of all tricks….
But back to where we are skiing…
We’re in a small area called Chinaillon about half an hour above Annecy and a part of the Le Grand Bornand ski area: one resort, two centres, one mountain range with more than 220 kms of pisted slopes. Mont Blanc is visual in the background.
The towns of Chinaillon, Le Grand Bornand, La Clusaz, St. Jean de Sixt and Manigod are all linked, if not by pistes then by an extremely efficient bus service. Megeve is just down the road.
Chinaillon is a lovely not-too-big resort at the top end of this lot.
Le Grand Bornand is at the heart of Annecy’s bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
9 high-level skiers will wear the Grand Bornand colours for the World Cup and Winter Olympics in Vancouver this year.
The 2011 and 2013 Biathlon World Cup will be held here too.
It is not a resort to be sneezed at – and to add to the attractions the Maroly snowpark ranks amongst the best in France (giantjackisajedi).
and at Le Grand Bornand: (Realisateurfilm)
Along with the more traditional skiing and snowboarding, there are 60kms of marked-out and maintained trails for cross-country skiing with numerous further trails for snowshoeing and hiking. La Bornandine is an elite cross-country skiing freestyle semi-marathon or marathon that has been held here since 1986. It is a lively event with a limit of 400 participants and will be held this year on 7th February.
Nobody’s forgotten – the facilities for tiny tots is excellent with a creche, a snow garden where the tinies are introduced to skiing and a leisure club open to 4 – 12 year olds at the summit of the Le Rosay cable-car line.
The season ends this year with the 60th Challenge des Moniteurs from the 18th – 24th April. This is the second time that this event has been held in the Le Grand Bornand resort. 2,500 ski montors, the best of the French team, will meet at Le Grand Bornand for a week of fierce, but fun, competition with alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, boardercross, skier cross, telemark skiing, hiking trail and freestyle events. The challenge will also be the opportunity to celebrate the members of the French team and in particular the Grand Bornand eventers back from the Vancouver Olympics.
Enough now, time to join the others out on the slopes – and it’s snowing again…