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Snowboarding and telemarking at les Houches, Chamonix, France

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While Les Houches is not part of the regular "Cham Ski" pass, it is part of the "Ski pass Mont-Blanc" (more expensive, but covers over 12 ski areas and 700 km of trails). Home of the world famous "Kandahar" downhill race (usually just before christmas), this resort is located lower down the Chamonix valley and does not reach as high as any of the others. Since it starts lower though, it still give a very good vertical drop, 900m (almost 3000 feet) and has very nice views on a different side of the Mont Blanc and on the valley leading to Chamonix from Geneva. The main advantage of this resort is that it is mainly around and below the tree line, which means that, even in the worse weather conditions, it is still possible to ski hard and not get lost or risk too much.

Most runs are more north american style, cut through the forest, with quite a few glades and tree bashing areas (actually it is more skier and snowboarder bashing made by the trees than anything). There are 2 faces to ski, the one that faces the Chamonix valley and the one facing towards Geneva. the Chamonix side offers longer runs, but the Geneva side will more often be basked in the sun. On the Geneva side, it is possible to ski all the way down to St-Gervais, cutting through the forest and some pastures, but you will be hard pressed to get back to Chamonix, either taking a bus or the train from St-Gervais.

The front side allows you to ski back all the way to town, and i have more than once been lost in the bottom, going through people's yards trying to find my way back to the lift, sometimes the cars don't appreciate people going down the middle of the road......