3 - 4
FATMAP difficulty grade
Something of a hidden gem, this line should see more traffic given just how good the skiing is in it.
The line can also be combined with one of the other wonderful tours here, such as the Col de la Fenêtre or Col de la Ciecle.
It can also be accessed from Les Contamines village via the first half of the Col du Bonhomme tour.
As such, the line here begins at the Chalets Refuge du Balme, where all these potential approaches converge. Go south from the Chalet Refuge du Balme and then stay right of the base of the valley as it climbs up and left to pass beneath the dramatic north face of the Aiguilles de la Pennaz.
Once past the north face of the Aiguilles de la Pennaz and into more flat, open ground, turn left and pick the line of least resistance up the wide valley beneath the Col des Tufs.
Follow the valley as it climbs to the Lacs Jovet.
Go around this (or straight across it if you're SURE it's frozen and snow covered) and carry on up to the summit of Monts Jovet.
There are 2 summits and you want to get to the northern one.
The climb up to the summit from the Lacs Jovet is a bit of a slog and can feel a bit endless despite its relatively short length but just keep going and the summit will arrive eventually! Ski south for a couple of metres and then drop rightwards into the bowl between the 2 summits.
Ski down this and then carefully traverse into the entrance of the West Couloir.
In lean conditions it might be necessary to downclimb into the line but if there is plenty of snow you can ski right in.
The steepest section is right at the top and while it isn't especially exposed, a fall here would not be advised so make each turn count. After the initial couloir the line swings round to face directly west, at which point you will be able to see all the way down it to the valley floor.
From here on out there isn't much danger of getting lost so focus on enjoying the skiing and finding the best snow! The line ends with some amazing and increasingly mellow tree skiing, after which you join the jeep track which leads down to Les Contamines via the hamlet of Nant Borrant.