Le Pas de Chavanette, also known as the "Mur Suisse" or "Swiss Wall", is a particularly steep and difficult piste in the Portes du Soleil ski area, on the border between France and Switzerland. It can be reached from the French resort of Avoriaz and from the Swiss towns of Les Crosets and Champéry. Effectively, one starts the run standing on the Swiss-French border, plunging down the Swiss side of the mountain towards Les Crosets.
Les Portes du Soleil is a major skisports destination in the Alps, encompassing thirteen resorts between Mont Blanc in France and Lake Geneva in Switzerland. With more than 650 km of marked pistes and about 200 lifts in total, spread over 14 valleys and about 1,036 square kilometres (400 sq mi), Portes du Soleil ranks among the two largest ski areas in the world. Almost all of the pistes are connected by lifts – a few marginal towns can be reached only by the free bus services in the area. The highest point of skiing is 2400 m and the lowest is 900 m. As with many other Alpine ski resorts, the lower slopes of the Portes du Soleil have snow-making facilities to extend the skiable season by keeping the lower slopes open during the warmer months.
France, officially the French Republic, is a sovereign state whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.02 million. France is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.
Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a sovereign state situated in the confluence of western, central, and southern Europe. It is a federal republic composed of 26 cantons, with federal authorities seated in Bern. Switzerland is a landlocked country bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. It is geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi), and land area of 39,997 km2 (15,443 sq mi). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8.5 million is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities are located, among them the two global cities and economic centres of Zürich and Geneva.
The slope is classified in the Swiss/French difficulty rating as orange, which means that it is rated as too difficult to fit in the standard classification of green (very easy), blue (easy), red (intermediate) and black (difficult). It has a length of 1 kilometre and a vertical drop of 331 metres, starting at 2,151 metres above sea level.
The slope has moguls throughout. It starts in a narrow pass on the mountain top with an inclication of 40 degrees.In winters with heavy snowfall, the moguls at the top can grow to enormous dimensions — the size of a small car — because of the heavy turns people take to compensate for the inclination and narrow slope.
The grade of a physical feature, landform or constructed line refers to the tangent of the angle of that surface to the horizontal. It is a special case of the slope, where zero indicates horizontality. A larger number indicates higher or steeper degree of "tilt". Often slope is calculated as a ratio of "rise" to "run", or as a fraction in which run is the horizontal distance and rise is the vertical distance.
After the initial 50 metres, the slope widens to the left, allowing skiers and boarders to traverse to a less steep area and make their descent by curving around the more steep and dangerous path directly down the slope.
The direct path goes into a pass between two rocky areas on the right hand side of the slope, about halfway down, which at its narrowest is about ten metres wide. This gives the skier or boarder an impression of being in a very steep half pipe with moguls.
After this passage, the slope eases out with fewer moguls, and narrows as the easier left-hand path merges with the direct path. The last two hundred metres are a flat run directly towards the chair lift back up the mountain, or the easier runs towards Les Crosets and Champéry.
The initial 50 metres have to be skied or boarded by everyone taking Le Pas de Chavanette. Especially without fresh snow, the slope gets icy quickly, turning the area between moguls into ice sheets. Not making a turn in these situations means that you miss the next mogul, and pick up too much speed to make the next one after that, starting off a tumble that ends a couple of hundred metres down the slope, while hitting a few dozen icy bumps in the course.
After this initial stretch, the choice can be made, up until the rocky passage in the direct path, to escape to the less steep left hand side of the slope, where a stumble is less dangerous. The direct path down Le Pas de Chavanette, to the right hand side and down the rocky passage, should only be taken by very experienced skiers and riders who know how to handle moguls, as it is effectively a continuation of the first 50 metres.
As the slope eases out, it is easier to negotiate the moguls and make a single run down to the end, although the inclination and bumps still call for significant dexterity and physical strength.
Wearing protective gear like a helmet and a back protector is highly recommended.
The Alpine region of Switzerland, conventionally referred to as the Swiss Alps, represents a major natural feature of the country and is, along with the Swiss Plateau and the Swiss portion of the Jura Mountains, one of its three main physiographic regions. The Swiss Alps extend over both the Western Alps and the Eastern Alps, encompassing an area sometimes called Central Alps. While the northern ranges from the Bernese Alps to the Appenzell Alps are entirely in Switzerland, the southern ranges from the Mont Blanc massif to the Bernina massif are shared with other countries such as France, Italy, Austria and Liechtenstein.
Morzine is a commune in the Haute-Savoie department and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of south-eastern France.
Sledding, sledging or sleighing is a winter sport typically carried out in a prone or seated position on a vehicle generically known as a sled, a sledge (British), or a sleigh. It is the basis of three Olympic sports: luge, skeleton and bobsledding. When practised on sand, it is known as a form of sandboarding.
The Aonach Eagach is a rocky ridge lying to the north of Glen Coe in the Scottish Highlands, boasting two Munro summits. In length the full ridge continues for 10 km from the Pap of Glencoe at the west to the eastern end at the Devil's Staircase. The central section, some 2 km in length, is very rocky and the route along it requires scrambling ability. The slopes to each side are extremely dangerous, with steep grass and scree slopes hiding even steeper slopes which end in cliffs on both north and south sides of the ridge.
The French Alps are the portions of the Alps mountain range that stand within France, located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur regions. While some of the ranges of the French Alps are entirely in France, others, such as the Mont Blanc massif, are shared with Switzerland and Italy.
Ski touring is skiing in the backcountry on unmarked or unpatrolled areas. Touring is typically done off-piste and outside of ski resorts, and may extend over a period of more than one day. It is similar to backcountry skiing.
Toubkal or Tubkal is a mountain peak in southwestern Morocco, located in the Toubkal National Park. At 4,167 metres (13,671 ft), it is the highest peak in the Atlas Mountains, Morocco, North Africa and the Arab World. Located 63 km (39 mi) south of the city of Marrakesh, and visible from it, Toubkal is an ultra prominent peak, the highest for over 2,000 km (1,200 mi). For climbers it is "the most popular mountain objective in the Atlas mountains".
A piste is a marked ski run or path down a mountain for snow skiing, snowboarding, or other mountain sports.
A carved turn is a skiing term, used to refer to a turning technique in which the ski shifts to one side or the other on its edges. When edged, the sidecut geometry causes the ski to bend into an arc, and the ski naturally follows this arc shape to produce a turning motion. The carve is very efficient and allows the skier to maintain their speed, unlike older techniques like the stem Christie and parallel turns based on stemming which can create significant drag.
Châtel is a commune in the Upper Savoy department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France.
Mogul skiing is a freestyle skiing competition consisting of one timed run of free skiing on a steep, heavily moguled course, stressing technical turns, aerial maneuvers and speed. Internationally, the sport is contested at the FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships, and at the Winter Olympic Games.
Champéry is a municipality in the district of Monthey in the canton of Valais in Switzerland.
Avoriaz is a French mountain resort in the heart of the Portes du Soleil. It is located in the territory of the commune of Morzine. It is easily accessible from either Thonon at Lake Geneva or Cluses-junction on the A40 motorway between Geneva and Chamonix. Either way one follows the D902, Route des Grandes Alpes, to Morzine and then the D338 running from Morzine to Avoriaz. Snow chains are often necessary. Avoriaz is built on a shelf high above the town of Morzine, which is among the pioneering towns of skiing with its first lifts dating back to the early 1930s. Today Avoriaz is one of the major French ski destinations catering for all standards of skiing and ranks among the top snowboarding destinations of the world. Apart from snow-based pursuits, Avoriaz is also a centre for trekking, golf, VTT and other outdoor activities during the summer. Cars are forbidden in Avoriaz. The station is designed to be fully skiable. Other transport around the resort includes horse-drawn sleighs and snowcats during winter.
Hole in the Rock is a narrow and steep crevice in the western rim of Glen Canyon, in southern Utah in the western United States. Together with another canyon on the eastern side of the Colorado River, it provided a route through what would otherwise be a large area of impassable terrain.
La Chapelle-d'Abondance is a commune in the Haute-Savoie department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France.
Piz Fora is a mountain in the Bernina Range (Alps), on the border of Italy and Switzerland. The mountain has an elevation of 3,363 metres (11,033 ft) and is the tripoint between the valleys of Val Fedoz, Val Fex and Val Malenco.
At 1,670 metres (5,480 ft), Les Crosets is the resort of highest altitude among those on the Swiss side of the Portes du Soleil. It is, however, one of the smallest as well. It is easily reached by skis from Châtel and Avoriaz. It has a microclimate and allows splendid views of the Dents Du Midi. The famous Swiss wall and Off Piste are accessible from Les Crosets.
The Pointe des Mossettes is a mountain of the Chablais Alps, overlooking Les Crosets in the Swiss canton of Valais. The French border runs west of the summit on a straight line, although the mountain lies on the main watershed between the Dranse river basin and the Val d'Illiez.
The Croix de Culet is a mountain of the Chablais Alps, overlooking Champéry in the canton of Valais. It lies between the valleys of Les Crosets and Planachaux.
A geographic coordinate system is a coordinate system that enables every location on Earth to be specified by a set of numbers, letters or symbols. The coordinates are often chosen such that one of the numbers represents a vertical position and two or three of the numbers represent a horizontal position; alternatively, a geographic position may be expressed in a combined three-dimensional Cartesian vector. A common choice of coordinates is latitude, longitude and elevation. To specify a location on a plane requires a map projection.