An epic end to an epic Meribel season
The already-legendary 2018 season is gradually nearing its end in the same way it started: with masses of snow and great conditions.
Vast quantities of snow still lie in our valley. The snow depth at the top of Saulire is a whopping 325cm (10½ foot) with 60cm at the foot of the runs. Le Mont Vallon is as white and smooth as a giant Mr Whippy ice cream, with boulders the size of cars still completely buried under snow. The giant piles of snow in the resort are only now melting, revealing shrubs and small trees that have been crushed under the great weight.
We are currently enjoying wonderful end-of-season skiing conditions: the slopes are quiet and thanks to relatively cool weather, the spring snow hasn’t been deteriorating into a soggy mess in the afternoons. Today, we had great fun swooping over the slightly slushy fun fields, revelling in the grippy and soft snow everywhere.
Virtually all the runs in the valley remain open. Just the two runs below the resort are closed through lack of snow and Boulevard de la loze is shut for local avalanche danger. Even the cross-country trails and sled runs are still open, which is most unusual for mid-April.
Off-piste, there are wonderful spring snow conditions to be found. However, it’s important to remember the avalanche risk is high (4/5 today) with a real danger of big avalanches de fond – avalanches involving the entire snowpack down to the ground. From the lifts you can see evidence of some monster avalanches and more are sure to come down as soon as the temperature rises.
The resort is growing quieter day by day and there is a particular end-of-season chilled-out vibe both in town and on the slopes. Méribel has been celebrating the start of spring with a two-week long “Zen Altitude” festival of wellbeing events such as yoga on the slopes, Raiki sessions and free massages. If you need to recharge your batteries at the end of a long winter, it’s a nice way to combine skiing and pampering. With such good snow around, though, I’d rather be blatting around the empty pistes than chilling at a spa…
How will the 2018 season be remembered? We’ll look back fondly at this winter as the best in many, many years. We have enjoyed fantastic snow depths throughout, with generally excellent snow quality. After three relatively poor winters, it’s been something of a relief to see so much snow fall. This outstanding winter has boosted confidence in the ski industry. Bookings, I’m told, are already good for next year.
On the downside, the weather has been mostly vile. I can never grow tired of watching snow fall, but we did weary of the rain, gales, fog, clouds, sleet and hail. Sunshine has been in short supply this winter, but, more importantly, the bad weather conditions seriously limited the number of days we could get out to enjoy all the fresh powder off-piste.
Overall though, 2018 has been a brilliant winter, and I hope you have enjoyed sharing it with us in Méribel and through these snow report. We look forward to seeing you next winter, hopefully for another bumper season!
Location: Meribel Region