hmm, no pressing deadlines, new snow and the forecast looks good…
…so I joined local guide Ricardo Mora and a small group heading for the Rochers des Enclaves, a gentle tour in the Beaufortain, off the back of the Contamines ski area. Couldn’t have wished for more delightful company: Antoine and Annie are fit and experienced tourers who live near the sea in the north of France, sail, surf, swim and have grandkids of 8, 6 and 3! Luc also has grownup kids and was getting away from the pistes on the last day of his holiday.
There was a NE wind blowing high up but we were mostly sheltered from it and with a good freeze overnight, the 10cms or so of fresh snow that fell Wednesday night was dry and light on a firm base. We had the place almost to ourselves - just one other small group and some fox tracks.
About three hours of easy skinning with fabulous panoramic views, Mont Blanc over one shoulder and the Meije and Pierra Menta coming into view, and we were at the top of the Rochers des Enclaves at 2465m. The ski down was lovely - Ricardo found us snow untouched by the wind all the way down, past the Girotte lake and barrage, to the bottom of Hauteluce where we picnicked in the sun before rejoining the Contamines lift system. Then, as a bonus, to avoid the pistes on the last busy day of the French holidays, we slipped off the back of the Roselette and found a few more turns in lovely snow through the trees down to Nant Borrant and the Voie Romaine, ending up at the chapel of Notre Dame de la Gorge. A classic Contamines tour, great if you’re new to touring, or just for an enjoyable day out amid stunning scenery.