SkiBike Tour 2012-13 - Praz Sur Arly

Posted: Friday, 8 February 2013 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: , , , , ,

Paul and I were so impressed with the ambiance at Notre Dame de Bellecombe that we decided to re-visit the area this morning to make a loop of the interlinked resorts of the Val d'Arly.
Our plan was to begin at Praz sur Arly, then make our way via; Cret du Midi, Ban Rouge, Mont Vores, Mont Rond to the 3 different Notre Dame de Bellecombe areas. Then we would return via Mont Reguet, Flumet and the roc des Evettes all the way back to our starting point at Praz sur Arly.
We only got going at 11am so it was a full on day to get round the loop, with no time for lunch, but we did manage a couple of Vin Chauds to keep us fired up.

Skibikers please note, according to the information the lift operators gave me, skibikes and SnowScoots can use the lift systems, but anything that looks like a skibike will require the use of footskis (if only for uplift). I opted once again to make my exploration by ski, as there were a lot of awkward drag lifts and chairlifts to negotiate and no free time to mess about.

The domain is much larger than the size of the villages would have you think; there are 120km of pistes in the Val d'Arly alone and 185km if you add the adjacent runs of the Espace Diamant. There are some reasonable vertical ranges of around 1000m or 300ft available, but some of the base stations are quite low, so the snow may not be the best at resort level.

The hills have a pleasantly rounded "TeleTubbies land" quality, ideal for cruising blue and red runs. Advanced riders might find the area unchallenging in comparison with other areas nearby. A large amount of the runs are through pleasantly wooded areas that open up from time to time onto stunning panoramic views. Anyone who wants to cover large amounts of intermediate terrain without any nasty surprises will not be disappointed. Tourist development has been very sympathetically carried out, with no concrete bunker developments, most accommodation is in small chalet hotels and individual chalets. I would go so far as to say that Praz sur Arly has all the attractions of Morzine, but without the overcrowding and disproportionate amount of loudmouthed Brits.

We arrived back at the car with aching leg muscles, with happy memories of our day going around the Val d'Arly. On the return journey to Cluses we stopped at an enormous hypermarket in Sallanches to stock up on provisions for the impending arrival of my sister in law Isolette and her daughter Sofia. Leaving the bright fluorescent lighting of the shops, we emerged to a stunning moonlit view of the mountains and the Mont Blanc in particular, you don't see that down Tescos in Purley!

A stunning moonlit view of the the Mont Blanc