All posts by Dionne Heasman

Everyone is excited about the snow in Meribel

The excitement is growing amongst the 3 Valley locals as the ski area is due to open on Saturday the 5th of December.

First Tracks

But some of us can’t wait so we strap on our touring skis and start the ascent. Its all familiar faces who make the climb up the Saulire , either from Courchevel 1850 or Meribel Altiport. Ski Touring has become much more popular as the equipment is far more user friendly, light and very trendy. Its most likely the athletic fat free look of most ski tourers that has brought in the most recent converts. The rewards for the 2 hours of effort are first tracks, either on the pockets of powder or manicured piste already prepared for Saturday.

The Current Conditions

The good snowfalls on the 26th November along with ideal snow making conditions have created a fabulous base on the main pistes of all the 3 Valleys. Its a consolidated 50cm at the top with a lovely base all the way down to 1450m.

The enormous investment into the latest snow making in Meribel and La Tania is a game changer in modern Ski Resort infrastructure. Its pure science at its best. The recent low overnight temperatures and an accumulated high altitude water storage equals big snow making.

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Snow Making

The state of the art 3m high canons produce huge mounds of fresh snow,they appear like dorsal fins on the slopes. The exterior of these mounds are usually rock hard like egg shells but with the best chalky man made inside. Prior to the big day on Saturday the piste machines will move in and distribute the stockpile on the existing base. Its left very rough initially to avoid any melting. The corduroy effect is left to the last moment and in the 3 valleys its an art form.

The end result on Saturday is first class pistes from Saulire at 2750 ms to Meribel Chaudanne at 1450m.
The East facing Tougnete side has had the same treatment. The pistes under Tougnete 2 chair look particularly good. Most of the runs are at their mid winter width. The poles were put in yesterday by the security des pistes who get to ski weeks before every else.

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All the locals will benefit from the quality skiing prior to Christmas, why don’t you too ?

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Our guide to skiing in bad visibility

If Alpine Action could arrange the weather ………………… It would snow all night then in the morning there would be fresh powder, clear blue skies and sunshine!

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However if you have skied a bit then you will know that you always get a bit of everything when it comes to the weather.

So if you wake up and see it snowing, don’t panic. Here is my guide to skiing in bad visibility. Take your googles helmet or hat!

Try to stick to runs with trees, it’s gives you definition in a white out. There are lots of runs lower down in both resort Meribel and La Tania with trees.

If you are in Meribel then head up the Rhodos bubble and ski the Rhodos or Altiport runs, If you are feeling a little more confident and want to go a little further head down the Lapin run to Meribel Village, the Lodge du Village is at the end for a well-earned coffee or beer!

If you are staying in La Tania, just head to the Folyeres blue run, tree lined and easy to follow back to La Tania, for those wanting a bit more of a challenge try the red run Murettes or Jockeys the black into La Praz, at both resorts you will find a coffee or beer waiting at the bottom.

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Top Tips

Use the piste markers. The pole on your right hand side always has an orange top. This way you will always know that you are on the piste if this is on your right hand side. This is the best tip I can give you.

If you are really nervous just ski from pole to pole ensuring the orange tip poles are on your right hand side. I often use this when leading my group.

Ski in pairs at least. If you are skiing in a group, stick together, stopping and checking you are all there. Discuss where you are going heading too.

Stay on the piste, so you know exactly where you are. It can be really disorientating, even for the most experienced skiers so stay on the piste, then there is no risk of falling off a drop or path.

Use your piste map and try to stick to runs that don’t split off in too many directions. That way you will always end up at the lift together.

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And finally ……….. enjoy! A white out normally means that there is a ton of snow. It doesn’t hurt falling in the soft fluffy white stuff!

So smile, laugh and fall then get up and do it again. It is a great feeling having mastered skiing in a white out! And if you have ever decided to not ski you will know it’s a long boring day around a chalet!

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