Day off today, but with spectacular conditions currently this was not a day to be wasted.
On a hunch, Ginny & I headed up into the La Plagne area for a look into the north face of Bellecote. Several extremely chilly chairlifts later we found ourselves at the top of the Couloir du Cairn, and it looked like we had hit the jackpot...loads of fluffy powder, with only a few tracks already in the couloir.
Ginny high in the Couloir du Cairn:
Looking down, still a long way to go:
The north face of Bellecote is a deceptive place: when you drop in it doesn't look that big, but each pitch lasts longer than normal, and its only when you have skied a few pitches and realise you still aren't that far down that the size of the face becomes apparent.
1500 vertical metres later, looking back up at a slightly wind-blown north face:
And heading down the 'Allee des Melezes' back to Les Lanches:
Back into the ski area, and a quick lunch later, we decided to make the most of the cold conditions with a descent from the Roche de Mio down to Champagny-le-Haut via the Chiserette valley. This South-facing descent is not often in good conditions, but gave 800m of perfect powder, and relatively easy passage through the narrow gap above Les Bois.
And some more:
Following the summer path through the only gap in the cliffs:
On the way down to Les Bois there were a few bouqetins and chamois grazing:
A quick coffee at the Refuge du Bois, and a taxi ride from M. Dunand Senior got us back to Champagny, with a bit of mouflon (mountain sheep) spotting along the way.