Meribel Snow Report: 17th April 2013
The last snow report (sob)
Caroline Sayer | Meribel Reporter | published: 17th April 2013
Alas, the end is drawing near. Méribel closes on the 26th so we are making the most of our last days of these exceptional end-of-season conditions. Normally at this time of year, the Chaudanne is turning brown and most of the lower runs are patchy or starting to close. This year, however, there is masses of snow throughout the 3 Valleys and all the lower runs are all still open. The slopes are wonderfully quiet so you feel part of a privileged club given near-private use of the whole ski area.
Spring snow conditions now predominate both off and on piste, so we tend to ski in the mornings on lovely softening snow, take a long picnic lunch in the sun and then ski home or bubble back down to avoid the afternoon slushpuppy conditions.
The temperature has shot up so avalanches are a major risk off-piste. Hugh quantities of snow fell this winter and the snow pack remained remarkably stable. Now all this snow is starting to slide in big, wet avalanches. The lift company is being hyper careful, blasting heavily loaded areas at the end of the afternoon and closing pistes which cross potentially dangerous areas. One look at the photos above will remind you why you should never go down a piste closed for local avalanche danger….
2013 will be fondly remembered as a brilliant season when the snow just kept on coming. Surprisingly, it is not the snowiest season on record. The owner of Rhododendrons Restaurant has kept a tally of the accumulated snowfalls on his terrace for the past 29 seasons. (You can see the chart on the wall in the bar.) According to his figures, this winter has seen 544cm fall so far. Last winter, another bumper season, saw 482cm. Surprisingly, four winters saw even more snow – over six metres fell in 1987, 1988, 1994 and 1995. What matters, of course, is the quality not quantity and the snow conditions been excellent throughout this winter.
Usually we are quite ready for the end of the season to arrive – five months is a long time to live in permafrost – but this year I’m sad it’s coming to an end. With so much snow still lying on the slopes, it will be hard to leave Méribel. I leave you with a poem, written by my friend Suse (with apologies to John Masefield) which sums up perfectly a skier’s yearning for snow and skiing and winter.
I must go down to the Alps again, to the smooth pistes and blue sky,
And all I ask are some Stocklis and some strength to steer them by,
And the moguls and the wind's song and the white lifts shaking,
And a grey mist on the mountain face, and a bright day breaking.
I must go down to the Alps again, for the call of the one-mile slide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a sunny day with the white clouds flying,
And a raclette with some friends and wine, with someone else buying!
I must go down to the Alps again, to the happy carefree life,
To a warm smile and a tight turn from my speedy ski wife
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.
What you say - tell us what you're thinking
Meribel Snow report: 11th April 2013
Escapade; a 3 Valley jaunt
Caroline Sayer | Meribel Reporter | published: 11th April 2013
Where shall we ski today? This is the question we ask ourselves every morning, whether we are holidaymakers or seasonnaires. Unless you happen to know the ski area perfectly or are lucky enough to be with an instructor or guide, it can be hard to know where to go – especially in the vast 3 Valleys. This must be why the 3 Valleys invented the Escapade challenge – a mission to visit 19 point around the ski area during your holiday or season.
Meribel Snow Report: 9th April 2013
The Mega Meribel 40 Lift Challenge
Jack Franks | Meribel Reporter | published: 9th April 2013
This last week I had the sudden realisation that the 2012/13 ski season is drawing to a close. Like many of my peers I had a stab of guilt as I thought of all the days I had looked out of the window at a cloudy morning sky and thought to myself, 'No skiing for me today, I'll watch three more episodes of Game of Thrones and do a bit of sleeping, then go out when it is sunny again!' So on Monday night, equipped with a bottle of red wine and a piste map, I set myself a challenge that would make up for all the days of skiing I have missed. And thus, THE MEGA MERIBEL 40 LIFT CHALLENGE was born.
Meribel Snow Report: 8th April 2013
Please could it stop snowing now?
Caroline Sayer | Meribel Reporter | published: 8th April 2013
It’s snowing again in Méribel. Not the big fat flakes that result in wonderful powder skiing, but little skinny ones that whirl around and don’t ever seem to settle. It has been a very unusual spring so far with almost no sunshine and lots of grey, cold and slightly snowy days like today. It feels as if this sort of weather has lasted for months, but it really only has been two and a half weeks.
Meribel Snow Report: 4th April 2013
Heaps of snow, empty slopes and a great new place to eat
Caroline Sayer | Meribel Reporter | published: 4th April 2013
Which is your favourite part of the Méribel valley? Mine is Lake Tueda above Mottaret, known for its stunning views over Mont Vallon, rare Arolla pine forests and tranquil atmosphere. Because this is a nature reserve, you can only ski through it on one piste, the blue Ours. However, you are able explore this area on foot, thanks to the winter walking paths or on cross-country skis on the blue and green trails.
Meribel Snow Report: 1st April 2013
Is it still January?
Caroline Sayer | Meribel Reporter | published: 1st April 2013
This may be the best April snow ever. And, no, it's not an April fool’s joke. The snow really is exceptionally good in Méribel – so good, in fact, that it’s hard to believe it’s not still January.
Meribel Snow Report: 28th March 2013
Fun for little ones
Caroline Sayer | Meribel Reporter | published: 28th March 2013
Would you believe it, snow is still falling in Méribel? Often the Alps experience a last snowy spell in late March or early April, but rarely a whole week of snowfalls like this year. With the exception of yesterday, when these photos were taken in glorious sunshine, the entirely week has been snowy or grey and foggy and the snow is set to continue until early next week.
Meribel Snow Report: 25th March 2013
What To Do on Bad Weather Days
Caroline Sayer | Meribel Reporter | published: 25th March 2013
The weather here is utterly horrible. After all the excitement of last week’s fresh snow and wonderful conditions, this week has started on a bit of a downer with mild, wet, grey and generally grotty weather over the past few days. The snow is still good on the upper parts of the ski area but soggy and wet on the lower slopes. The visibility is dreadful with the entire valley immersed in thick, wet cloud which shows no sign of lifting.
Meribel Snow Report: 22nd March 2013
Is This The Best March Ever?
Caroline Sayer | Meribel Reporter | published: 22nd March 2013
Oh my God, the snow is fabulous! If you are about to set out to Méribel for the Easter holidays expecting usual late season conditions of spring snow on piste, patches of earth emerging by the lower slopes and a greening resort, then you are in for a very agreeable shock. Skiing conditions are more like a good January than the end of March and the resort itself is white once again thanks to a mega-dump last weekend.
Meribel Snow Report: 19th March 2013
Major Snowfalls and a Mystery Solved
Caroline Sayer | Meribel Reporter | published: 19th March 2013
I’ve been away from Méribel over the weekend and have returned to find the resort transformed by a whopping great dump in my absence. Around half a metre of snow has fallen in total, turning the resort back into the sort of winter wonderland we often see in January but rarely experience in March.
Meribel Snow Report: 11th March 2013
Caroline Sayer | Meribel Reporter | published: 11th March 2013
What is going on with the weather? It has been random and changeable of late, with wind, snow, rain, sun, clouds and huge temperature variations, sometimes all on the same day. The forecast has been even more random and bears scant resemblance to actual conditions. I understand that mountain weather forecasting is difficult, but the predictions have been so inaccurate this week that I suspect the local weathermen have gone away on holiday and set their computers to generate random data. Can we really we expecting minus 20C in mid-March?
Meribel Snow Report: 7th March 2013
Caroline Sayer | Meribel Reporter | published: 7th March 2013
The naughty Foehn wind has been up to its tricks again. The capricious south-easterly wind waited until the busiest half term week and then decided to blow a gale, closing the top lifts and causing temporary chaos. The morning queues for the few open lifts at the Chaudanne on Tuesday were huge and there were a lot of disgruntled Parisians hanging around, waiting for the 3 Valley links to open.
Meribel Snow Report: 4th March 2013
Warmth at last!
Caroline Sayer | Meribel Reporter | published: 4th March 2013
Spring has finally sprung. After the coldest and snowiest winter for years, the weather suddenly changed at the end of last week. Melt water is trickling from my roof; birds are chirruping in the garden; little fluffy fair-weather cumulus clouds are forming in the sky and the thought of spending the afternoons sunbathing in a deckchair is becoming more and more appealing.
Meribel Snow Report: 28th February 2012
Caroline Sayer | Meribel Reporter | published: 28th February 2013
I’m starting this report with a big “merci”. I want to say thank you to the unsung heroes of our ski area, the piste groomers. While we are warmly snoozing in bed (or falling off tables in Dick’s Tea-Bar), these noble shift workers are trailing up and down all night long, transforming the lumpy, scraped pistes back into perfect groomed snow for our enjoyment next day. We take them utterly for granted, yet without their nightly work, our slopes would be icy mogul fields.
Meribel Snow Report: 25th February 2013
Caroline Sayer | Meribel Reporter | published: 25th February 2013
Méribel is a pretty special place to be at the moment. Not only have we been enjoying the best snow conditions for many years but the sun has come out after weeks of snowy weather and we’re all still on a high after this weekend’s highly successful World Cup.
Meribel Snow Report: 22nd February 2013
Sunshine and Glorious Snow
Caroline Sayer | Meribel Reporter | published: 22nd February 2013
Conditions in the 3 Valleys are glorious– they really don’t get much better than this. The snow is abundant and in great shape; all the pistes and lifts are open; the sun is shining and the days are getting longer and milder. In addition, we have brilliant weekend to look forward to, when Méribel hosts the Women’s World Cup. Although it is high season, there are very few queues to worry about and the slopes don’t feel at all crowded – as you can imagine, there are lots of happy, smiling faces in Méribel.
Meribel Snow Report: 19th February 2013
The Best and Longest Descents in Meribel
Caroline Sayer | Meribel Reporter | published: 19th February 2013
We’re not sure what we’ve done to deserve our good fortune this season - we are blessed with still-gorgeous snow conditions. Since December I’ve been sashaying around the slopes, happily enjoying the novel sensation of being totally at one with my skis. Sadly, I know this feeling is entirely due to the beautiful snow conditions and that as soon as the snow deteriorates, so will my apparent mastery of my planks. For now, however, it’s a joy to be skiing on such flattering, soft snow.
Meribel Snow Report : 15th February 2013
World Cup Fever
Caroline Sayer | Meribel Reporter | published: 15th February 2013
Méribel has gone World Cup mad. In less than one week, the world’s top women skiers will be training on our new Roc de Fer downhill course in preparation for two days of World Cup Racing on the 23rd and 24th. It’s many years since the resort hosted such a major event, and everybody seems pretty excited that we will briefly be at the centre of international skiing’s ‘white circus’.