France 100% Earn Your Turns: Lifts Closed by COVID

France is 100% earn your turns as lifts closed by COVID look set to stay shut while the country deals with the pandemic.

As we reported for Japan, locals who can get there are enjoying the most uncrowded powder for years, off the lifts – with no need to hike even in Niseko, unless you want to.

In Chamonix, the mecca of French off-piste and big mountain riding, the snow had been excellent so far in 2021 but no lifts are open to get to it.

It has been an ongoing saga of bad news for French skiing since October when restrictions stopped the ski season before it started.

Powder snow under closed quad chairlift at Chamonix in January 2021
Untracked every day if you skin up at Chamonix this January (24/01/21) © Felix Aradsson

Felix Aradsson and a group of fellow Swedish enthusiasts who have been there for nearly a month filed this report.

” Our favorite place at the moment is Chamonix to tour in.

With corona there aren’t really many people skiing, so it leaves alot of powder to us.

Most of the people touring up are just going down on the piste after they are done.

Powder line to the valley floot at Chamonix January 2021
The snow has been great lower down the past couple of weeks – which helps with over 9,000 vertical feet to hike up.. (24/01/21) © Felix Aradsson

The last couple of weeks Chamonix has gotten a lot of powder, so it has been some amazing runs we have got, but after touring every day in what will soon be a month we miss the lifts a lot!

It seems like Chamonix isn’t going to open their lifts at all this season, and no other place either in the French Alps.

So the one good thing with corona is that it leaves a lot of space for us to explore and also leaves a lot of powder left for us the whole day on the mountain.”

Spectacular terrain is the norm at Cham (24/01/21) © Felix Aradsson

Chamonix is so big, with the World’s biggest lift accessed vertical in normal times, that there is usually space to explore. But powder, especially the easily accessible powder, gets tracked soon enough normally too.

So if you don’t mind earning your turns you can certainly cash in. You can check the latest COVID information and operations on the Chamonix Mont Blanc tourist office site.

Felix and the crew are hoping they can continue into Switzerland to finally find some lift-accessed terrain at Engelberg-Titlis. The Government Council of Obwalden has decided that the ski areas there are open again in the latest update valid from Monday 18th January.

This is the lift status map for 24/01/2021 — plenty of amazing terrain open.