French Alps Mont-Blanc firm releases Chamonix ski open dates
The 2020-2021 ski season opening dates for the popular Alps station area of the Vallée de Chamonix have been released by ski lift group, Compagnie du Mont-Blanc.
In the northern area, the domaine de Grands Montets station will open first, if snow permits. It is set to open from November 14, on weekends only, until December 4. It will then be open everyday until the end of the season.
The domaine de Houches will open on weekends from November 21, snow permitting. It will then open everyday until the end of the season, from December 5.
In the south, the domaines of Flégère and Brévent will open partially from December 12. They will open completely from December 19. The domaine de Balme Vallorcine will also open on December 19.
The Mont Blanc tramline will also open on December 19, at the beginning of the Christmas holidays. The Aiguille du Midi téléphérique (cable car) is set to open on December 12.
The Montenvers train service will be open everyday from October 17.
The full list of ski lift, cabin, tramway and train opening dates and hours can be seen on the Chamonix website here.
‘Good winter’ predicted
The dates have come soon after French mountain weather expert, Yan Giezendanner - who himself is based in the town of Chamonix - predicted that it would be “a good winter for ski stations”.
Early snowfall in the Alps and Pyrenees this year has already been termed “remarkable” by Guillaume Woznica, a forecast expert at news channel LCI. In fact, the snow was so heavy and unexpected that more than 6,000 animals became trapped in the mountains, requiring local assistance to help them descend.
The news that Eurostar had cancelled its usual twice-weekly “Ski Train” winter service from the UK to the French Alps due to Covid-19 despite the positive weather predictions was met with dismay by winter sport lovers.
Daniel Elkan, a ski journalist and founder of Snowcarbon, a website that helps skiers find train routes to ski resorts, said cancelling the route did not make sense.
He told The Connexion: “The loss of the Ski Train is the loss of the simplest, most direct option.”
A petition to ask Eurostar to reinstate the service gathered support but so far the company has suggested that coronavirus conditions mean it is unlikely to change its decision this year.