4 - 5
FATMAP difficulty grade
Situated on the edge of the Beaufortain this circular ski tour is a fantastic journey through mellow terrain.
The views towards the Pierra Menta in one direction and the Dômes de Miage and Mont Blanc Massif in the other direction are fantastic on a clear day.
The ski tour is a good choice on a day when snow stability is in question.
Very good navigational skills are required in poor visibility, it would be tricky to reverse in flat light, due to the rolling terrain and multitude of re-entrants.
Check the closing times of the lift from Hauteluce as it is an expensive taxi ride back round to Les Contamines! If there is spare time and spare energy in the legs it is well worth skiing off the side of the ridge and skinning back up to ski some untracked snow. From the Bûche Croiset chairlift assess the slope before traversing in, this is a short section of avalanche terrain.
If the snow is good ski a pitch or two until a large pole is seen in the ground, put the skins on here.
If not, traverse in and keep some height, stopping to put skins on above the pole.
Pick a skinning line through the easy angled rolling terrain, trying not to drop down too much, you will start to travel more to the South West. Now the views to the Beaufortain open up with some very unique rock features, few if any tracks are seen in this direction as the terrain leads to some ‘textbook’ terrain traps. Skin along the broad ridge which will involve a short section of gentle downhill skinning before the ridge narrows briefly.
It can often be firm and wind scoured but mostly gentle.
Another short section of downhill needs to be negotiated either by shuffling down with skins kept on or walking down on foot.
From the Col de la Gittaz skin to the broad summit keeping clear of any cornices. Soak up the wonderful views towards further objectives in the Beaufortin and Aravis before retracing your steps and skiing back to the Col de la Gittaz.
There are options from here for different lines to ski but the easiest line is described. The skiing is fun and playful on the ridge heading north before it steepens, and the views over to the unique looking Dam at Lac de la Girotte open up.
Ski the slightly steeper terrain, and keep some speed over the flat terrain below, marked by some poles.
From here ski the open terrain to the edge of the forest, and briefly negotiate the gaps in the trees (lots of options), before it opens out again.
Follow the rolling terrain to a flattening and a bridge over a stream, side step up then traverse into the trees, and pop out on to the piste which leads to the telecabine at Hauteluce.
Finish off the day by working your way back through the ski area to Les Contamines.