Le Mont Dore Couloirs

Ski-Areas > Massif Central > Puy de Dôme (63) > Monts d'Auvergne > Le Mont-Dore > Off Piste > Mont Dore Couloirs

From the base of the pistes the possibilities are immediately obvious. From left to right we first see the Cascades de la Dore, these are reached by crossing over the security fence on the coulée 1 itinerary. Late in the season it can be problematic to exit this valley if the snow bridges over the stream have melted. There is an avalanche risk and route finding can be complex.

overview of the le mont-dore-couloirs key

Next are the two lost black pistes of the resort, the 'A' which is the large flat slope just to the right of the valley and the A Prime which is the easiest of the Sancy couloirs. On the piste map these are labelled as itineraries coulées 1 and 2. The two couloirs at the the centre of the photograph are the Mucken or Muckenbrun and the Coulée des Câbles. The Mucken is named after an Austrian instructor who taught in the station during the 1930s1. The Câbles crosses under the first cable car cable. The descents are well over 30° in places and steeper than most black pistes. Both are entered from the red piste that leads from cable car station by turning left after descending the Sancy for about 100 meters, be careful not to turn too soon as there are cliffs. The Coulée Desdames, named after a skier from Clermont Ferrand is a short couloir reached from the câbles, it narrows with a dog leg towards the end.

Much more serious is the Coulée des Cabines. This leads into the valley to the right of the photo between the pinnacles at the summit. There are two entrances, either the extreme descent directly from the cable car station or you can follow the ridge down a few meters to a steep funnel. My companion, Jean Pierre, who has skied in the resort for over 30 years, skied this in a series of little hops. I took a more cautious side slip approach in the narrow neck of the funnel. On the other side watch out for hidden rocks and avalanche risk from snow built up by the wind on the left bank of the valley (down the mountain). While we were on this descent a local lad kitted out with helmet launched himself down from the top station in a series of high speed carving turns. Chacun son ski, as they say.

Couloir du Câble

Funnel at the top of the Coulée des Cabines

1 Heinrich (henri) Mückenbrünn would die in the Spring of 1956 in the company of guide Paul Demarchi during a terrible storm on the Vallee Blanche. Demarchi's body was found at the foot of the Aiguille Midi. Mückenbrünn and another client, Ebel, were found frozen to death in a crevasse. Demarchi had undoubtedly left them here while he went for help. Mückenbrünn and Dr. F. Hallberg authored one of the early ski instruction books "Le ski par la technique moderne", éditions Arthaud, 1929.

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