James’ Day-Off Adventure
On my day off this week, a group of friends and I took a guide and climbed Haute Fort. This is my second time climbing this mountain range and is something I could do every day.
We met at 11am; a perfect time as the morning ice crust has had time to melt away revealing the powder once more.
We took the Les Intrets lift all the way to the top, turned right and traversed around the top of the Les Crozats Snow Cross. When we got to the furthest point we started out ascent. Whilst not as technical as the Pointe d’Avoriaz climb, it is however longer and quite tiring, although totally worth it.
Once you reach the top, a stunning vista of the alps awaits you…..truly incredible. The view takes in Les Gets, Avoriaz, Switzerland, Morzine, Flaine, Mont Blanc and everything in between. Just the view alone is worth the climb.
We traversed a little more and then started out descent. The initial run takes you through 3 powder fields. After the 40 cm we had at the beginning of the week, there was a lot of fresh powder and plenty of fresh tracks to be had. The area is full of natural features from wind lips to rolling valleys; these make an already incredible area, mind blowing, especially if you are like me and like to try the odd jump and trick along the way.
After the initial powder fields you can either continue through the trees to the Prodain or take a short walk where you end up in a Village called Moisonette, this is abandoned for the winter. With most of the roofs barely visible through the snow, it shows you just how much there has been this season. These small chalet huts are used by hunters over the summer and rather coincidentally we bumped into one of the owners (Jean-Claude) who was getting things ready for the spring.
He is also a hunter and insisted we had a shot of Genepi with him, at first begrudgingly, we accepted the drink. He really wasn’t going to take no for an answer and he seemed very jovial and pleasant. Not normally one for accepting drinks off strangers, it turned out to be a lot of fun and after being regaled in a few stories of avalanches and times gone by (whilst speaking our best French) we continued our run.
Our final descent is a huge tree run that takes you all the way in to the Prodain Valley. There are many routes, but my favourite has to be joining the bmx downhill track that is normally used over summer. Full of tight turns and a fair few hair raising moments, it has a beautiful balance of feeling like you are out of control but always feeling safe and is a great way to end our journey.
It is a small walk back up the hill towards the Prodain lift, a perfect opportunity to regale in what we had just done and laugh about the tumbles and falls, jumps and tricks we all had shared. The prodain lift overlooks the area we had come down; again this gives us an opportunity to see what we had done, a glimpse at the lines we took, our tracks still fresh in the snow. The huge area of dampened snow where Adam decided to attempt a back flip and failed, losing his skis in the process.
At the top we all rested at the Changabang burger house which sits at the base of the mountain in resort. Here we could trace our route further and again joke and regale in what we had done whist enjoying a well-earned burger.
This one probably my greatest experience throughout my 3 seasons in the Porte Du Soleil area. Something I hope to repeat a 3rd time before the end of the season and definitely something everyone should try at least once!!!