Meribel Snow Report: 8th December 2013
A Picture Postcard-Perfect Start to the Season
Caroline Sayer | Meribel Reporter | published: 8th December 2013
Méribel’s opening weekend is always a joyous occasion. Whatever the weather, whatever the snow conditions, it’s always exhilarating to be back on snow and reminded of what fun it is to swoop down mountains. To my mind, the start of the season is one of the very best parts of the winter. I love the fact the slopes are deserted and you can step straight onto every lift and there’s a real sense of adventure as a whole new season begins.
The first day back on skis is especially lovely when, as yesterday, the sun is shining in a perfectly blue sky and the temperature is a (relatively balmy) +3C. All the skiers have big grins and even the stoniest-faced lifties looked quite cheerful this weekend.
The start of the season offers the added interest of spotting all the new features on the ski area. This weekend we noticed the following:
1) There is now a useful meeting point in the centre of La Chaudanne in Méribel. A new flag pole advertising the 3 Vallées links opening status will no doubt serve as the general meeting point. This replaces the Saulire lift first pylon which was the resort’s meeting point for twenty years until it was removed last winter, causing no end of confusion. While you wait for tardy friends, you can watch the new big screens on the side of the lift buildings.
2) The Big Air Bag has appeared in Mottaret by the Plattieres 1 lift, moved down from the Area 43 snow park. It invites you to “Do a new move and improve” though this should more accurately say “Do entertain the Plattieres lift queue with your hilariously overambitious jumps and disastrous landings”.
3) The area where pistes cross just above Rhodos 2 gondola now is much wider and better designed. There is now much more room for fast skiers coming back into the resort on the blue run to avoid nervous snowploughers on the green run.
Snow conditions are generally good, thought there are some hard areas and there are one or two stones on the pistes. As usual with early December, the slopes have not yet been groomed into their normal wedding cake smoothness. Lumps and bumps in the piste reflect the uneven contours of the ground below, so you can’t yet blast about at top speed. I quite enjoy the traffic calming nature of this slightly bumpy terrain. Heretical though: perhaps the lift company should deliberately leave the pistes like this all season so as to slow skiers down?
The best snow we found all weekend was in in Val Thorens and Les Menuires, where the pistes were smooth and soft. It’s always worth skiing over the Val Tho on the first weekend of the winter: not only is the snow generally very good here on the high slopes but you can also watch the exciting Andros Trophee. Famous drivers such as Alain Prost and Olivier Panis race on Val Tho’s ice circuit in specially adapted cars. To corner on ice, they have swing the back of the car round first, so arrive backwards in a cloud of snow. They also sometimes lose control entirely, ending up in a snow bank. The bikers are even more impressive, or barkingly mad, depending on your point of view. Even non-petrolheads enjoy the spectacle, which you can watch from the side of the main piste.
The forecast is for sunshine all this week. Though we won’t be skiing the fresh powder we enjoyed this time last year, we certainly aren’t complaining about the current blue skies and deserted pistes.
Meribel Snow Report: 5th December 2013
Two Days and Counting
Caroline Sayer | Meribel Reporter | published: 5th December 2013
Méribel’s season kicks off in just two days and it promises to be a wonderful opening weekend. The sun is shining, the resort is white and, most importantly, there is plenty of snow on the mountain. Energetic cross-country skiers are already zipping around the ski de fond tracks and ski tourers occasionally swoop into the Chaudanne, looking tired but happy, with tales of wonderful descents on perfectly groomed and empty pistes. Friends who drove to Val Thorens yesterday reported back that the pistes there were quiet and in fantastic condition.
Meribel Snow Report: 26th November 2013
Exceptional November snow for the start of the season
Caroline Sayer | Meribel Reporter | published: 26th November 2013
We are all wildly excited about the coming season because there is already a fantastic amount of snow, as you can see from this 360 degree view of the Rond Point des Pistes in Meribel.
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.
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.