TR: Days 10-11 – Road Trip – Abries

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Nicole Hiking
Nicole Hiking

After our fantastic experience touring in the powder above Dormillouse Jerome spoke to some locals who suggested that the conditions were best in the south east, close to the Italian border. The resort of Abries was said to have received 1 metre of powder a few days earlier.

So we headed southeast through some amazing territory and reached the small town of Abries. It is a small local resort that is essentially a high speed 6 seater and 2 pomas plus a couple of beginner lifts at the bottom. Certainly not something world famous, but plenty of terrain to have fun in fresh snow, plus much, much more if you hike.

We checked into our gîte which was a couple of kilometres up the road and settled in.

Gîte La Monta
Gîte La Monta

Gîte La Monta
Gîte La Monta

Gîte La Monta
Gîte La Monta

So we rose early the next morning and headed up the lifts. We did a few laps off one of the pomas finding lovely pow in the trees, and while we were having lunch Jerome spoke to some of the locals and heard of an area that was accessible by about a 250 vertical metre skin & bootpack:

Jerome consulting the map
Jerome consulting the map
Nicole Hiking
Nicole Hiking
Richard hiking
Richard hiking

We soon reached the top and spied what we would be skiing:

The Zone
The Zone

At this point our camera batteries started to wane from being away from home so long, but we still managed to take a few shots and shoot some great video, so here’s a compilation from our 2 days:

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sC5Tih7nkBs

The zone we skied was essentially a wide open main face, and then a section of forest, which was some of the nicest tree skiing I have ever done – perfect snow and well spaced trees made for fantastic skiing.

Our tracks on the main face:

Bottom of the Main Face
Bottom of the Main Face

Into the trees:

Into the trees
Into the trees

For our second day at Abries we started by hiking straight up the ridgeline, and a little further than last time for some amazing fresh snow – our tracks were the only three in that gully for the next few hours:

Our tracks
Our tracks

Our next destination was the peak opposite the valley we had been skiing. Crossing the creek at the bottom of the valley proved tricky due to avalanche danger – as we were looking for a safe place to cross we set off a pretty large avalanche down into the creek bed – these are particularly dangerous as the debris pile can become very deep at the bottom of the valley, so we put on our skins and skinned up the creek until we found a place that had already slid:

Creek crossing
Creek crossing

We then skinned about 500 vert metres up to the peak opposite, and were surprised to find many more tracks than the area that was accessibly by a short hike from the lifts! That said they all tended to follow the same path and we still found some superb skiing in the trees.

I was anticipating a pretty rude bush bash out of this area, which proved to be totally false, we just skied a distance along a summer hiking trail and met up with the same cat track that returned us to a bus stop that would bring us to Abries.

It was an amazing 2 days of powder skiing, well worth driving the extra distance. We were a long way from Chamonix so we decided to drive for a couple of hours to La Grave to stay the night and plan the next day.

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