Cross-country skiing in sunshine
21st February 2012
In your opinion, which is the most beautiful part of the Méribel valley? Perhaps the top of Tougnete, with its view over Méribel and the Mont Blanc? The tranquil Alitport woods? Panoramic Col de la Loze? Or le Mont Vallon with its sublime views over Gebroulaz Glacier? All these are much-loved and much-visited parts of our valley, but I’d bet most people don’t even know about the equally-stunning area at the head of the valley: le lac Tueda.
Tueda Lake is situated just above Mottaret in the Tueda Nature Reserve. Most skiers never go there as it is not on any ski run, though you can look down over it as you go along the blue Ours piste. It is a shame the Tueda Reserve is so little-visited as it is a spectacular part of the valley. This quiet and relatively flat area is ideal for non-skiers, families, nature lovers and anybody who wants to get away from it all.
Although there are no ski runs, there are plenty of cross-country tracks and marked walking paths. Guided snowshoe groups frequently visit this area too. If all those options sound a bit too energetic for your liking, you can take a tour in a horse-drawn sled (see our Activity section for details) or simply sit in the sunshine at the Tueda restaurant and watch the world go slowly by.
I’m sorry that today’s pictures don’t do justice to this area: the mountains were just too big to fit in my camera viewfinder. I suggest you go and discover its beauties for yourself. It’s best to go around the middle of the day as the sun disappears early in the afternoon.
The Tueda Nature Reserve is home to mountain animals such as Black grouse, Bouquetin (Ibex) and Chamois. Today we saw fresh tracks of an Ermine and a Siberian hare. Both these animals are white in winter so they are very difficult to spot in the flesh but their tracks can often be seen. The Reserve also protects a rare Alpine tree, the Arolla Pine, and contains the largest forest of this species in France. You can find out more about the flora and fauna at the snappily-named “La Maison de la Réserve du Plan de Tueda” situated just by the lake. This little museum is free and is open 11am to 4pm every day except Saturday.
Today I skied on the cross-country trails around the Tueda Lake and the skiing conditions were excellent. Although there hasn’t been a big dump of snow for a while, there have been several mini-snowfalls which have kept the pistes in great shape. The slopes are bustling this week now the Parisian holidays have started, so it is a particularly good time to go and explore the tranquil Tueda area.
The Arctic weather of last week is over and the temperature has gone up by around 20C in the past few days. The icicle hanging from our roof, which grew for several weeks until it was over 6 foot long, suddenly melted away yesterday. I love the cold and crisp days of winter, but I’m also looking forward to the long, sunny and warm days of March. Suddenly, they don't seem so far away.
Conditions at time of reporting:
- Date of last snowfall
- Depth of last snowfall
Plus de 30 cm
- Highest temperature
- Depth of snow on lower slopes
- Depth of snow on upper slopes
- Number of pistes open
- Latest Conditions
THURSDAY 23rd of February: Cloudy weather (a lot of high clouds) with bright intervals especially in the morning. Stronger North wind. Nice temperatures. Maximal Temperatures: At 1000 meters: +10