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The snowy mountains of Montgènevre Its location on the pass means huge dumps of snow scooped up as precipitation in the south and north give the area an enviable snow record. What about the mountains? The village is at 1,850m, the top lift 2,630m. The skiing divides into three sectors. First off the south-facing Le Chalvet, two lifts whizzing you up from the centre of the village. Pack a camera as the views over the Ecrins National Park and Briançon are stunners. Open reds, easily ridden by competent intermediates swoop joyfully down to midpoint. Where better for my invariable 11.00 hot chocolate stop than Les Terraces? The clue is in the name, a wide sunny affair with comfy sofas dotted around…easy to sink into, not so easy to get out of. TopTip: have a Café Gourmand. A perfect Italian espresso with not one, not two, but five! yummy, tasty sides. Lie back in the sun and reflect on your excellent choice. Later in the morning the sun will have warmed the opposing side of the valley. Head for Les Gondrans with its very different vibe. Up past the nursery slopes through trees to wide higher runs peaking at L’Observatoire, one of a ring of old tactical military forts. There are choices from here, each guaranteed to raise a smile. Blues, reds, and endless off-piste delights. If you feel fit, try a top-to-bottom nonstopper and earn yourself boasting rights in Le Graal, Montgènevre’s après ski epicentre.
Endless off piste delights await the skier who is lucky enough to discover Mongenevre Chilled out L'Aigle Moving on. The third sector, L’Aigle, is dramatically different to the others. A long and slow chair transports you over terrain untouched by humans but imprinted hither and thither with the tracks of foxes and alpine hares. It’s a great ride in sunny weather, but not recommended if there’s a wind blowing. Consequently, you might find yourself the only occupant of the meandering red Souréou linking with the black Les Rhodos further down. Both are achievable by confident intermediates…in the right conditions. Most accommodation is on the sunny south-facing side of the valley, centred around ancient streets and alleys, with an obligatory old church and spire. It’s definitely not party-central. think tranquil, relaxed and chilled out. Bars and restaurants sit shoulder-to-shoulder along what could easily be the sea-front, except its snow. The last few years have seen the development of some swish familyorientated upmarket apartments, each with shops, swimming pool, sauna, and ski hire, close to the slopes. I stayed in the Le Hameau des Airelles, only 16 steps from my front door to the ski lift. A few more steps down was Le Chalet des Gourmandises, the morning essential stop for fresh, warm croissants. Across the road, Intersport provided top-of-the-range skis and boots. Love thy Neighbour Here’s where I reveal Montgènevre’s next door neighbour… Claviere in Italy!
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