SkiBike Tour 2012-13 - Hirmentaz

Posted: Wednesday, 6 February 2013 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: , ,

Plus ca change with the weather today, there were a good couple of fresh inches of snow on the car overnight and the sky looked tempestuous. It looked like it was time for another local trip and nowhere too high or exposed. It was also to be another ski only day, as I am still waiting for my body to heal from my trip down the SnowCross Crozats run at Avoriaz. Skibikers please note that I should be making up for it tomorrow, when I head off to a Brenter SnowBike race night..

My choice was to visit Hirmentaz and les Haberes, almost adjacent to the Massif des Brasses visited yesterday. On the drive up the landscape looked like Narnia, with trees frosted with snow in a world of whiteness everywhere. I just made it to the Telesiege des Souffles chairlift without fitting snow chains, but Paul made a prudent decision to make me fit them in anticipation of the journey home.
Hirmentaz were running a school holidays special price for two of just €12.50 each, but don't get the impression that this is a two drag lifts and three runs type place. It has 43 pistes and 50km of runs, stretched across neighbouring les Haberes and even above la Glappaz.
By lucky chance whilst I was buying the lift passes, 3 lift operators were shooting the breeze and I was able to confirm that there are no issues with skibikes or SnowScoots, the later can even use the drag lifts should they so choose.

Once again very stormy, with extremely low visibility and driving snow

Hirmentaz is very well laid out in its valley location. A large chairlift acts as the core of the infrastructure, whilst beneath it and served by drag lifts are the nursery slopes. Further up the valley are areas better suited to more advanced skiers and riders. Off to one side are the expert runs, snow park and boardercross areas, whilst to the other side is the liaison with the wooded slopes of neighbouring les Haberes.

The conditions were once again very stormy, with extremely low visibility and driving snow. We just made it over the ridge towards Les Haberes, but the weather was fearsome. The snow in places had been stripped away to reveal bare ice patches, whilst elsewhere it had formed knee high drifts. This would have made challenging skiing, but in driving winds and almost zero visibility it took me beyond the limits of my ability. I got ample opportunity to perfect my ski a bit, do a head over heels, ski a bit more, do another head over heels, ski method.

The runs down to les Haberes were much more pleasant once you had found some shelter amongst the trees. We did a whistle stop tour of the runs on this pleasant wooded side of the station before braving the high winds to return to our starting point and a snowy drive home.

The runs down to les Haberes - much more pleasant once you had found some shelter amongst the trees