Ken Roberts - - Cross Country Skiing

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La Feclaz / Savoie Grand Revard ski trails + info

10feb

see also: photos

Sharon and I have enjoyed skiing La Feclaz a number of days over several years, and it's our favorite for fun trails with interesting curves and dips and rolls. It also has some nice views of impressive mountains (like Margeriaz close by to east, La Tournette farther to north -- and if you know where on the trail to stop, a sighting of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe. Close beside some of the trails are old herder cabins.

But not all the trails are equally fun, so here's some thoughts on which ones are good for what purpose:

Overall . .  .

  • Usually Sharon and I start from La Feclaz, but it's just as much fun to start from le Revard / Crolles - (also St Francois de Sales works fine too -- some sections of trails closest to St F are less interesting than some others, but they soon lead to more fun sections).

  • Although some reports say there's 140 km of trails, I doubt that there's anything like that much distance of unique trail segments.

Many of the loops share trail segments, so if in adding up the distances of all the loops, many trail segments are counted multiple times. But when I tried adding up all the loops shown on the paper 2009 trail map, even with double-counting, I still couldn't get the total up to 140 km. My estimate from analyzing the paper trail map is that the total of unique trail segments normally groomed for both skating and classic is around 60-70 km. Plus 8 km of narrow classic whose grooming strategy I don't know, plus a "randonnee nordique" trail which is not often groomed. Plus some snowshoe trails. 

  • All the main trails are wide for skating, and groomed for both classic and skating. There is a narrow classic-only trail that crosses some of the main trails, but Sharon and I don't know anything about it (might not be groomed)

  • There are no flat trails. The green trail loops are shorter, but they do have hills.

my favorite loop

Given starting from La Feclaz, though it could just as easily done starting from Revard/Crolles or St Francois.

summary: Troix Cols to Bois Brule Raccourci to Grande Teppe (with side trips to St F + Refuge) to l'Olette to Plan Goy.

hill challenge added: When main loop reaches Revard/Crolles, ski the entire Bois Brul loop, then finish the main loop.

Details and variations:

  1. Blue trail to the ticket checkpoint (jct "Teppe de Lachat").
    *** optional: If I'm feeling strong and want to take on every hill challenge, I take the Red/Black trail to the ticket checkpoint, but that includes a substantial climb -- kinda tough for just starting the day -- usually better to save strength for the rest of the tour.

  2. turn Right (at jct "Goule au Sire") on Black trail ("Trois Croix"): Though it's on a Black loop, this particular section does not have any of the steeper hills, and does have lots of fun curves + rolls.

  3. Soon after another Black trail joins, turn Right onto a Black trail ("Bois Brul raccourci", toward St Francois), then Right to join the Grande Teppe trail.

  4. Left (at jct "la Grande Teppe") to continue on Grande Teppe trail.
    *** optional hillier variation: continue straight on Black ("Bois Brul") which then rejoins Grande Teppe.

  5. Left (at jct "La Croisee") to continue on Grande Teppe -- includes views of peaks La Tournette + Mont Blanc.
    *** optional visit to St-Francois-de-Sales entry point: Continue Straight to St-Francois. Turn around, then soon bear half right to take the Blue trail (St F start version of Grande Teppe) - (not the full right turn onto "Gros Plane" Red). At its end turn Right to rejoin main loop.

  6. Left on Grande Teppe -- interesting herder cabins and wide open field.
    *** optional side trip on Red trail to Refuge de la Platte, I often take -- includes some more fun skiing and possible hot chocolate (then come back the same way).

  7. Continue on Grande Teppe to Revard/Crolles (a couple of intersections along the way, and some ups + downs) - (food option at Crolles)

  8. from Revard/Crolles, take l'Olette trail to Larcoutier.
    *** longer variation: Hansen (Red) to Larcoutier.
    *** much longer much hillier variation: Bois Brul (Black) to St Francois (various interesections + turns along the way), then continue on Bois Brul thru more intersections, and finally leave Bois Brul and turn Left onto "Trois Croix" to Larcoutier.
    *** not so long extra loop if you like steep ups + downs: After about a km along l'Olette, turn Right onto Black, and go real slow up the first very steep non-fun hill (save your strength for the funner ones). Then Right to stay on Bois Brul. Right (at jct "Creux de l'Olette") onto l'Olette (now in the direction back toward Revard / Crolles), soon Left onto Bois Brul (for the interesting steep ups + fun downs and curves) which brings you back to Revard / Crolles. Then take (again) l'Olette this time all the way to Larcoutier.

  9. Red/Black trail to finish in La Feclaz (with an exciting downhill, and view of dramatic La Margeriaz mountain with the Belledonne mountains in the distance).
    *** food option next to trailhead at La Grolla, or more options in La Feclaz village.
    *** too much energy left: now ski the Plateau Sud loop.

more . . .

Sharon's early favorite from La Feclaz

  • Blue loop ("La Cavale").

(Green loop "Creux Froid"  from La Feclaz is pleasant enough, and much shorter)

sunshine + mountain view:

  • Plateau Sud - (trail design not as interesting as some of the others and requires taking off skis to cross a couple of public roads to get there) -- the open field is good contrast to the many forest trails, with a good view of dramatic mountain La Margeriaz.

climbing challenges

  • funnest for me: Black (Bois Brul) / Red (Hansen) from Larcoutier + Creux de l'Olette to le Revard / Crolles. Lots of variations in steepness, interesting curves, and some short sections are pretty steep.

  • long + steady: Gros Plane (Red) early right turn from St Francois - (sbut without evident reward)

  • long + steeper: Black (Bois Brule) early section starting from Saint Francois - (leads to more interesting stuff)

  • steep ups + downs: Black (Les Trois Croix / Bois Brul) - section between the "long + steeper" and the "steepest".

  • steepest: Black (Les Trois Croix / Bois Brul) later just after crossing l'Olette trail.

The trail I do the least: Gros Plane (Red) early right turn from St Francois: starts with a steep-ish downhill, then a long climb - (but at least the long climb has some curves) -- good if you're looking for a long steady climb challenge with no real steep sections. (I guess I don't find the initial downhill sufficiently interseting to be a sufficient reward for the long climb).

see also: photos

getting there

La Fclaz ("fort") parking

closest to Chambery + Grenoble + Albertville

GPS lat/long = 45.64725, 5.98533 = N45.64725 E5.98533

Crolles / Revard parking

closest to Aix-les-Bains, and some Annecy skiers drive there

GPS lat/long = 45.67985, 5.99866 = N45.67985 E5.99866

St Francois parking:

GPS lat/long = 45.67985, 5.99866 = N45.67985 E5.99866

more . . .

see also

 

concept words: ski skiing cross country cross-country xc snow skier skiers skis nordic roberts report