There was little sign of the approaching Autumn, with clear blue skies and warm sunshine but a fresh dusting of snow the previous weekend provided glistening white peaks of the Domes de Miage and Mont Blanc mountains, a sign of winter to come.
The hotel, which re-opens for skiers on 4 December sits right alongside an old two-man chair in the centre of Saint Nicolas, almost a national treasure for the village showing no sign of being updated, as it sits on private land.
In contrast, a little lower down the village, the two-man chair, Chattrix is being replaced with a fast detachable 6- seater chairlift in time for the opening of the season. Local skier, Betony Garner, who often comes over to this area for skiing when the weather’s not so good in her home town, neighbouring Chamonix, said “This chairlift will offer much faster access back into the ski area which links with Megeve. It was always a very slow spot to get out of. This development will be great news for local skiers and for the holiday guests in Saint Gervais and Megeve.”
Director of L’Armancette, Anne-Cecile Quey adds, “with our new hotel and this chair lift, Saint Nicolas is waking up to the 21st Century but the village will remain a special place to come to as the village is mostly stand-alone chalets and locally owned houses so it will never be too busy. We welcome locals to our in-house bakery, which we have maintained on the site of the former village bakery. For skiers, we will run a shuttle from the hotel to the new fast access chair to enable our guests to easily connect via this new chairlift”.
The 6 man chair will become the fastest access point to the Mont-Joly ski area, which is the highest point of the ski resort at 2353 m, offering 1000m descent from Epaule to Chattrix.
Skiing down the Chattrix blue run, skiers will ski right past three new chalets at Plateau de la Croix, above Saint Nicolas where the ski school meeting point is for guests in the village.
These chalets, also part of the new Armancette group, offer ski-in/out access, with the largest chalets – Aster and Carline sleeping up to 14 guests and the smaller chalet, Silene just 8 guests. I hiked up to see the chalets, a 45 minute steep climb up from Saint Nicolas and loved the autumn garden planting with its fruit trees and bushes. Fingers crossed they survive the snowy winter.
From the hotel at 1150m, the views across the valley with Les Contamines in the distance are stunning and the Domes de Miage peak the highlight, but from these higher chalets there is a direct view to Mont Blanc.