Talloires-MontminA tiny ski area with a big heart
The ski area in Montmin, located above Lake Annecy, actually sees more traffic in the summer as people flock to the paragliding takeoff area right above Col de la Forclaz Pass. But Montmin is also a small village with a population of 300, including die-hard volunteers who do whatever it takes to ensure that the two drag lifts spin every winter once the snow arrives. The only reason anyone can still experience the joy of sliding on snow at this tiny ski area located at 1200 meters elevation is thanks to the hard work of the thirty-five volunteers who take turns overseeing operations. Ski instructor and Montmin native Marcel Maniglier, one of the ski area’s founders, continues to enthusiastically share his lifelong passion by teaching kids to ski.
Getting there means driving up a winding mountain road that overlooks the lake’s turquoise-blue waters. With just five runs (2 beginner, 2 intermediate, and 1 advanced), two drag lifts, one rope tow – free for little kids – and a designated sledding area, this pocket-sized ski area requires no trail map. And the friendly laid-back atmosphere, ideal for families, also allows grandparents to sit comfortably on the sun deck and admire the exploits of their budding champions. Assuming there is enough snow, the ski area opens on Wednesdays and weekends during the regular season, and every day during school holiday periods for a great learning experience. Enjoy night-skiing, including a torchlight descent, until 21:00 every Friday evening during school holidays.
© Monica Dalmasso
Not your typical ski area
When the ski area opened in the sixties, the lifts were put up at the beginning of winter and taken down every spring due to the specific terms of the operating permit. In 1986, after schools started organizing season-long lessons for students, the ski area grew enough to justify installing permanent lifts. However, toward the end of the nineties, the number of lessons started to wane, along with revenues. At this point, a group of friends, motivated by the desire to keep their village active during the winter, rolled up their sleeves and got to work putting together a group of volunteers, the only feasible way to continue operating the ski area. This model has garnered enough attention for television stations to take interest, with regular reports about the ski area all winter long.
© Monica Dalmasso
Everyone is welcome to contribute to the adventure and work at the ski area for a day or two during the winter. No specific skills or prior experience required, just a desire to help out.
- © Monica Dalmasso / Winter sports at the ski resort of Talloires-Montmin
Journalist: Aude Pollet-Thiollier
Translation: Darin Reisman