Tag Archives: mountains

Discovering Evasion Mont Blanc and evasive buses

One of the added bonuses of a Chamonix Season Lift Pass, is the chance to discover three other winter resorts in Haute-Savoie. The next big winter station down the valley is  Evasion Mont Blanc, a series of linked resorts including St Gervais, Megeve, Combloux and La Giettaz. In all 445 km of pistes. This is a photo essay of Evasion Mont Blanc. The photos are all from the ski area, not the story of the journey there and back. If you are not interested in bus journeys that don’t turn out as planned, just skip the text and enjoy the photos. I will be submitting this post for #MonPics on Twitter as they were all taken this weekend.

At the booking office in Chamonix, I booked a return bus ticket to Megeve, leaving Chamonix station at 7am the following day. Unfortunately the girl who issued my ticket got a lot of things wrong, as I would find out as the discovery day progressed.

Panorama from Mont Joux
Panorama from Mont Joux

Amazingly, I managed to get up at 6am and drag myself to the station for 6h45. Boarding the bus for Chamonix, I was told that I’d have to change at Le Fayet which sounded reasonable, as the destination matrix on the bus indicated that it was bound for Geneva Airport.  The bus departed on time and 5 minutes later, stopped at the Bus Stop outside my apartment. I could have saved a 15 minute walk if only I’d asked!

Piste with Mont Blanc backdrop
Piste with Mont Blanc backdrop

Arriving at Le Fayet, the lady in the ticket office pointed out that there was no service to Megeve on Saturdays. I asked if the bus passed the Télécabine at St Gervais and was told no. She explained that I could get there though. So unconcerned, I boarded the 8h30 bus to Les Contamines. At St Gervais I caught the free ski bus to the lift. I presented my documentation at the cash desk and my  pass was activated for Evasion Mont Blanc, or so I thought.

Mont Blanc from Mont Joux
Mont Blanc from Mont Joux

I boarded the lift and started exploring the area. It was bitterly cold with tiny ice crystals floating in the air and glistening in the sun like diamonds. Certainly no hidden gems that day. Up on the top of the mountains the view over the cloud filled valleys was magnificent.

Mont Blanc from Mont Arbois
Mont Blanc from Mont Arbois

Throughout the day, I stopped more than is usual for me, to get some photos of the views. Many had Mont Blanc and the rest of the peak of the Mont Blanc Massif as a backdrop, but the Aravis and other mountain chains also figured. From here the lofty heights of the summit of Mont Blanc can be appreciated more than in Chamonix, where the closer, lower peaks look much taller  from the bottom of the Chamonix Valley.

Moguls at Megeve
Moguls at Megeve

Managing to time my lunch with my arrival at Megeve, so that I could eat it on the resort ski bus, I made my way to Jaillet.  At Jaillet Télécabine, the electronic pass reader rejected my pass and so I enquired at the cash desk about what the problem was. The cashier informed me that my pass had only been activated for the St Gervais ski area. She could do nothing about it as a different lift company operated this sector of Evasion Mont Blanc. I chose to return to Megeve and keep exploring the St Gervais area.

Mont Blanc from Mont Arbois
Mont Blanc from Mont Arbois

After a day of riding, I caught the 17h30 bus back to Le Fayet. This was exactly the time the bus to Chamonix called at Le Fayet. I managed by catching the train to Chamonix,  but had to pay 5.10 euros for a train ticket. Sometimes though, travel plans going wrong don’t spoil your day, or am I just speaking for myself?

There are more photos of Evasion Mont Blanc (minus Combloux and La Giettaz obviously) in the gallery. Some are 3D anaglyphs requiring Red / Cyan glasses to appreciate the 3D. Click on the thumbnails to see a larger photo size.

 

About John Williams

John Williams looks at travel from a responsible consumer's perspective. He is doesn't accept hosted trips, so don't expect gushing reports of experiences that neither he, you, nor our planet can afford. He, is the first to acknowledge that when it comes to sustainable travel, he has a lot to learn. TravelCrunch is a platform for sharing his learning, but if you have any tips or disagreements feel free to air them in the comments.

Daily Photo: My favourite office, Chamonix Médiathèque

Office with a view
Chamonix Médiathèque is open in the afternoons, from Tuesday to Saturday. I joined when I lived there for a season in 2010. There was a deposit to pay and a 6 monthly membership fee, that was not exorbitant considering it included loan of books, CD’s and DVD’s. Another draw was the free WiFi. Yes, free, as you don’t have to be a member of the library to use it.
But working on my laptop there was great, as I didn’t have to take screen breaks. The mountains would draw my eyes away from my work naturally without having to think “Thirty minutes, time for screen break”.

About John Williams

John Williams looks at travel from a responsible consumer's perspective. He is doesn't accept hosted trips, so don't expect gushing reports of experiences that neither he, you, nor our planet can afford. He, is the first to acknowledge that when it comes to sustainable travel, he has a lot to learn. TravelCrunch is a platform for sharing his learning, but if you have any tips or disagreements feel free to air them in the comments.

Daily Photo: Chamonix Railway station

One of the plus points for Chamonix is that it has links to the French Autoroute system, is served by the Inter City European bus network, as well as the national rail network. Unfortunately TGV’s and sleeper trains terminate at St Gevais / La Fayet. You must then take the Mont Blanc Express to get to Chamonix. You can go all the way to Martigny in Switzerland if you like (another change of trains at Vallorcine may be required).
Chamonix Station

The station is one of my favourites both in terms of its architecture and that backdrop!

This is an HDR rendition, putting it in the ‘Around Europe with ghosts‘ series of posts.

About John Williams

John Williams looks at travel from a responsible consumer's perspective. He is doesn't accept hosted trips, so don't expect gushing reports of experiences that neither he, you, nor our planet can afford. He, is the first to acknowledge that when it comes to sustainable travel, he has a lot to learn. TravelCrunch is a platform for sharing his learning, but if you have any tips or disagreements feel free to air them in the comments.

#FriFotos: Mountains

I love mountains! I marvel at the thought of all that rock pushed skywards by the movement of tectonic plates. They cast a spell over me, in any season I am drawn towards them. The theme of this Friday’s #FriFotos on Twitter is “Mountains” of course @EpsteinTravels is fairly flexible with what constitutes a mountain. Butter mountains, mountains of cakes and the like will all be allowed. For me though, when someone mentions mountains, images come into my head, like those displayed on this page. If I’m there I look up to take in their awesome beauty or if I’m not, I start to long to be back among them hiking or snowboarding down them.

Here are some of my favourite mountains:
Nearing the summit, Ben Nevis
Nearing the summit of Ben Nevis, Scotland on a May weekend.
Mont Blanc Massif
Mont Blanc Massif from Verbier, Switzerland
The piste path to le Brevent
Mont Blanc from Brevent, a mountain that I have climbed and also snowboarded from the summit down to Chamonix.
Snowdon mountain, North Wales
Snowdon range, Wales from the Cob in Porthmadog
Le Praz church
The Dru and Aiguille Verte, from Les Praz, Chamonix
North Face of the Eiger, Bernese Oberland, Switzerland
North Face of the Eiger, Switzerland, the most challenging climb in Europe. I’ve no intention of attempting that climb though.

About John Williams

John Williams looks at travel from a responsible consumer's perspective. He is doesn't accept hosted trips, so don't expect gushing reports of experiences that neither he, you, nor our planet can afford. He, is the first to acknowledge that when it comes to sustainable travel, he has a lot to learn. TravelCrunch is a platform for sharing his learning, but if you have any tips or disagreements feel free to air them in the comments.