3 - 4
FATMAP difficulty grade
The second most popular Les Contamines tour (after the Col de la Fenêtre) this is a gem.
The scenery you pass through is fantastic, the skiing is great and the approach is short and scenic. Start at the top of the Bûche Croisée chairlift and make a slightly tricky traverse south into the wild, open terrain that lies behind the Les Contamines ski area.
Put skins on and head north-northeast up a low angled slope which has a fabulous view to the east.
Keep going to the foot of a rocky ridge and then swing around to the west and continue climbing gently up to the Col de la Cicle.
The final ascent to the col can be icy and is slightly exposed so consider taking ski crampons and, even if you don't end up needing them, keep concentrating all the way to the col. Drop north off the col into the gully/bowl below.
The gully/bowl is nice and uniform so you can really get into the flow of the skiing without worrying too much about micro route finding.
The gully gradually begins to fan open and gives way to a shallower and gentler gully below, which is easier but equally fun as what preceded it. Once down in the valley, head down a snow covered jeep track and follow it down through the hamlets of La Rollaz, La Giettaz and Nant Borant down to the charming church at Notre Dame de la Gorge.
Hike along the road to the north for a kilometre or so to get back into the Contamines lift system.