Five hours later I was on the road that runs up into the village. My mind was filled with urban bias, already imagining a deserted village, a kind of ghost town. On arrival, much to my surprise, the village was buzzing. The shops were all open and the bars and restaurants full of life, illustrating the existence of a true village and not one of a purpose built resort. The buzz made me hungry and a bite to eat at the restaurant Le Husky was called for. Here I enjoyed a warm welcome and some help in planning my afternoon activities.
I decided to climb the mountain which, for me, was a first in low season. Despite the mist I was keen to discover the area without snow. I walked upwards from the Lay and the comparison with winter was striking. The track that runs down towards the village, which always seemed so narrow, looked like a true boulevard. The lake at l’Etape , usually frozen, took on a more bucolic dimension with the reflection of the trees in the water. The haze that surrounded the silent chairlift created the feeling of being in another world. The mountain displayed a superb array of colours , the green of the pastures contrasting against the red and orange tones of autumn.
From here I continued upwards passing a number of hikers and several men out hunting. My climb ended towards the Col du Joly mountain pass. Here, the skies cleared and gave way to panoramic views of Hauteluce. The contrast with winter was, once again, incredibly impressive.
The temperature had dropped by now and it was time to make tracks. On the walk back I checked out the construction work on the new chair lift at Bûche Croisée. I can’t wait to try it out this winter!
As I walked towards Signal I realized that, no matter what the season, Les Contamines is a resourceful resort, worth a visit at all times of the year.
As I reached the village, the night was drawing in, the village was glowing and light snow started to fall. There’s no doubt….winter is on its way!