It hasn’t stopped snowing since our last snow report! We are a week in to heavy snowfall with it set to continue until early next week so there has never been a better time for a visit to Méribel! Weather this week has been hit and miss, with lovely fresh snow comes clouds and even some rain in resort and on lower pistes. However this hasn’t put us off, nothing a vin chaud by the fire couldn’t fix, and is worth it for the mounds of untouched powder we have been greeted by on a daily basis!
This week the temperatures have dropped significantly so another layer was very much needed out on the slopes, the start of the week was milder with the snow falling a little wetter than we prefer. This has all changed now and the snow is falling thick, fast and fluffy!
The snow is amazing! Some runs have only been pisted down one side leaving the rest pure powder, our chalet manager Eloise (who has worked 4 seasons and skied A LOT) described the champagne powder as the best she has ever skied on, and that’s saying something. The snow pack is over 2 metres deep at the top of the runs and 75cm on the bottom and this is only going to increase over the next few days. As incredible as the powder is the avalanche warning in resort is very high so off piste skiing is not advised at this moment in time.
The good weather is set to continue with snow expected until Tuesday with some blue skies poking through on Sunday which is set to be spectacular! Temperatures will continue to be low so wrap up warm and layer up on the mountain.
For the time being we have a lot of snow clearing to be doing, not a bad thing at all!
The snow has finally arrived and it’s not stopping anytime soon! In the last week the 3 Valleys have been completely transformed with over a metre of snow having fallen and more is on the way. We have been out with our shovels on a daily basis clearing snow from our drives for it to reappear only hours later- not that we are complaining!
The weather has been mixed this week, with heavy snow comes poor visibility and we have had some strong winds as well. For a couple of days we have had the holy grail of fresh powder combined with blue skies and beautiful sunshine but even in the poor visibility the snow has been so amazing it’s definitely a fair trade. The temperatures have dropped slightly this week and an extra layer of clothing has been needed on the slopes, especially when you get to the higher points of the mountain.
The snow conditions have been incredible with fresh powder on top of groomed pistes almost every morning this week. There are a few bumps and moguls around which has been great fun, even for those of us who have taken a couple of tumbles while trying to perfect our mogul technique! We asked a few of this week’s guests to describe the snow conditions in one word and this is what we got, “cracking”, “incredible” and we are slightly unsure of this one, but get the gist, “POWDERFUL”!
The slopes are unrecognisable from a mere week ago and things are only going to get better as more snow drops over the next week. Over the next 5 days we are anticipating another metre of snow to drop on the 3 Valleys so there are plenty more powder days on the horizon! The temperatures will continue to drop to around -10°C so if you are coming out remember to pack your thermals.
The start of the 2015/16 season wasn’t the best in terms of snowfall with many resorts being forced to postpone their opening. The lack of snow at the start of the season has highlighted how impressive the snow-making infrastructure of the Three Valleys is. While other ski resorts suffered the Three Valleys was boasting that it had 70% of runs open and they were in pretty good shape.
When the Three Valleys opened up in full on the first week in December the last snow had fallen three weeks earlier and the temperatures were not consistently low. However, on opening day Méribel looked like this.
And after two weeks they looked just as good with the run down to La Tania being one of the best maintained slopes in the area.
So why is the snow cover so good?
The Three Valles has made a huge commitment to snow making. It currently has 2186 snow cannons located across one third of it’s 327 runs, which are attend to by a 72 strong fleet of piste bashers. The snow making starts long before the lifts open for the season as the cannons get turned on as soon at the temperature drops low enough. It is also rumoured the Méribel alone spends half a million pounds a year just making snow.
When we had a chat with the manager from Méribel Alpina, the company that runs the mountain, he was keen to point out that part of their promise to skiers coming to the area is to always have the highest number of runs open in Europe. We thought we would test this by comparing 29th of December 2015 in Méribel to five of Europe’s most popular resorts and looked at the percentage of lifts they had open.
Les Arcs 46%
St Anton 74%
Val d’Isere 37%
Booking a ski holiday at the beginning of the winter season has always been a gamble and this had been reflected in the prices of December ski holidays. But the work that goes on behind the scenes at in the Three Valleys means that snow is as guaranteed as it can be throughout the season. Take a look below at our snow report from the end of December and you can see that despite there being no snow since the resort opened the piste were in pretty good shape.
It has been a beautiful second week of the season here in Méribel and La Tania for our guests and us! Over half of the lifts and pistes have been open this week, with decent snow, mild temperatures and a lot of sunshine. Around resort you can begin to see the faint lines of goggle tans emerging, so you know the weather has been good!
With only a sprinkle of snow in the last week some of the busier runs are starting to show a little wear and tear, however thanks to the 3 Valleys trusty snow canons the pistes are being topped up with cultivated snow overnight. Half of the resorts lifts and pistes are now open with many more expected to open next week for our Christmas guests.
As we move into one of our busiest, and most magical, times of year we can expect more sunshine and mostly clear skies. There is no snow forecast for the next few days but the solid snow pack means you will be guaranteed a white Christmas! Temperatures are set to stay mild, between 2 and 5 °C with some spots of cloudiness throughout the day.
If you are coming out to join us this Christmas make sure to dig out your best Christmas jumper as there will be plenty to do in resort. Vin chaud, hot chocolate, Christmas markets and even a visit from the big guy himself, there truly isn’t a better place to spend this time of year!
An exciting week in Meribel and La Tania as we have seen the lifts open and the slopes come alive once again! Blue skies and a decent amount of snow on the pistes, has led to a very successful opening weekend. As always, only the main lifts have been open but good weather and empty slopes have made for enjoyable skiing and boarding.
The Alpine Action team managed to squeeze a welcome day on the slopes into our busy training week, showing those new to resort why the 3 Valleys ski area is one of the best in the world. Snow conditions are a huge improvement compared to this time last season, the snow is soft, well-groomed and plentiful at the summits. Plenty of corduroy to ski on, even later in the day. The 3 Valley links are all up and running so even in the first week of the season Courchevel and Val Thorens are just a couple of lifts away.
There are varying reports of snow depth in resort, from 50-80 cm at the summits to 20 cm as you descend. Even with limited lift and piste openings this weekend there was fantastic skiing to be had, no matter your level or ability. It was something quite special to have a run to yourself, on a bluebird day, at two in the afternoon!
As the season kicks off for us at Alpine Action the weather is looking fantastic with blue skies and sunshine for the next week, except for expected snowy showers on Wednesday the 9th. Although no huge dump of snow is anticipated in the next week it will be cold enough for the snow canons to be working their magic and topping up the pistes as the week goes on.
From Saturday the 12th the rest of the lifts and resort will open up for the first wave of guests, which means all of our favourite après venues will also be opening up for the first time this season! La Folie Douce, Rond Point and Lodge Du Village in Meribel, as well as Pub Le Ski Lodge in La Tania will be throwing open their doors with live music, dancing on the tables and toffee vodka galore.
If you would like to get on the slopes next week take a look at our last minute ski deals to Meribel & La Tania from £359pp for 7 nights including flights, transfers, accommodation and our wonderful chalet food.
The excitement is growing amongst the 3 Valley locals as the ski area is due to open on Saturday the 5th of December.
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.
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.
All the locals will benefit from the quality skiing prior to Christmas, why don’t you too ?
The snow for the 2015/16 winter season has arrived and who ever was in charge of ordering should be congratulated. At the weekend there was so much snow that may people were referring to it as Snowmaggedon and one person lost their car, although we are told that they have now found it. Then after a few days of blue skies the snow started again and is still falling as we type. There is so much snow that Courchevel has opened some of it’s lifts early which also meant that Val Thorens, who had initially postponed it’s opening date due to lack of snow, was able to get the lifts turning and people skiing.
It was reported that up to 120cm fell in some parts of the Three Valleys during the weekend leaving a base of up to 50cm in many places. In the La Tania snow report Ralph from Free Ride Republic described the conditions as “Fantastic” when they went out riding the Jardin Alpine piste. There were no words from Ian our resort director when asked to describe the off piste condition but his face in the video below says it all.
A video posted by Alpine Action 🎿🏂🚠 (@alpineactionski) on
The temperature is set to stay in the minuses which means that more artificial snow can be made to complement the exsisting snow. In the short term snow making isn’t going to be necessary as there could be another 40cm falling over the weekend.
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!
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 goggles helmet or hat!
Try to stick to runs with trees, it gives you definition in a whiteout. 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.
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.
And finally ……….. enjoy! A whiteout normally means that there is a ton of snow. It doesn’t hurt falling into 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 whiteout! And if you have ever decided to not ski you will know it’s a long boring day around a chalet!
This is our round up of what is new in Méribel this winter.
This winter Méribel is making learning to ski a nicer experience by expanding its safe haven areas for children and beginners. The Altiport area has a designated “Ski Cool” zone that is for gentle and peaceful skiing it is also the home of the piste des Inuits, a nursery slope. On the other side of the valley is the “Zen Zone” and Yeti park, located on the Little Himalaya piste and is also billed as safe haven for people new to skiing and snowboarding.
The new lift is the extension of the Combes, which runs from Meribel Mottaret up towards Les Menuires. This lift now has a mid station allowing beginners to get off and access the Himalaya “Zen” area. It will also shorten the time it takes for skiers to get over to the next valley and onto the runs down to Saint Martin de Belleveille. The lift also boasts magnets as increased saftey for children wearing a special bib.
Take a virtual tour of the new lifts and runs!
Méribel has introduced free on piste Wifi. You can find out more about it and the locations in this article.
For many years the neighbouring resort of Courchvele has had an epic Toboggan run, this year Méribel is introducing not one but two! One run is located in up the Altiport are and the other is next to the Rhodos lift down by the Chaudanne. Sadly neither will be as epic as the one over in Courchevel, which you can watch in the video below.
There will be added photo opportunities this winter as Méribel will be installing a selection of giant photo frames arround the resort for you to have your photo taken with, as soon as we know the locations of these we will let you know.
The Alpine Legends Ski Pass
We wrote about the Alpine Legends pass a few weeks ago. It is a pass that allows you to ski the 3 Valleys, Espace Killy and Paradiski for one price. In the past there was always the option to “upgrade” for a day but this pass allows unlimited skiing in every resort, there is a challenge waiting for some adventurous people to invent, 9 Valley Rally anyone?
Click here if you want to get in contact and talk to us about booking a ski chalet holiday to Meribel.
Our guide to why Méribel is the best resort in the 3 Valleys.
The resort of Méribel sits in the Tarentaise valley of the French Alps. It’s a vibrant ski resort with an international following, popular across the winter ski season as well as the more relaxing summer climbing and hiking months. But with two such illustrious neighbours as Courchevel to the east and Val Thorens to the west sharing the mighty Three Valleys ski area, we got to wondering what puts Méribel so far ahead of the competition! Well, we’ve made a list of exactly why Méribel beats Courchevel and Val Thorens.
Méribel takes pride of place in the centre of the Three Valleys and no other resort in the area offers such easy access to all corners of the ski area. With the Saulire gondola swinging rapidly up to its namesake peak for skiing over in Courchevel, and the Tougnete lift winging people swiftly up towards les Menuires and beyond, Méribel wins hands down in this category. You could argue that Méribel-Mottaret is the actual winner here, being closest to the true centre of the Three Valleys, but Mottaret is part of the Méribel Valley!
#2 Best après ski
Méribel’s après ski scene used to be good. Now it’s excellent. The Rond Point has been a favourite amongst seasonnaires and visitors for years and remains a wonderfully popular venue. As the Méribel Folie Douce grows in popularity it means we have two epic venues to choose from and puts Méribel firmly at the top of the après ski tree in the Three Valleys.
#3 Best beginners’ area
Anybody mastering their first turns on the snow, whether on skis, board or blades, needs to head to one of two spots in the Méribel valley that are dedicated to families and beginners. The first is the Altiport a long, rolling, green run that is simply ideal for learners and has trees on either side sheltering skiers from the elements. The other is the Yeti park located around Mottaret. It is comprised of a gentle blue run called Yooni and a green run named Himalaya. The Yeti park area discourages the more adventurous skier leaving you safe to enjoy the wide runs, obstacles and entertainment.
#4 Best nightlife
Whilst it’s true that Courchevel Moriond and Val Thorens have good nightlife, neither of them can compete with the proximity of great bars to be found in Méribel town centre such as Jack’s Bar, famous for its live music and comedy and Barometer to name a few. And when they close, O’ Sullivans down the road is on hand to welcome revellers into the wee small hours. Val Thorens’ Malaysia nightclub offers strong competition but the overall winner has to be Méribel!
This is really a two horse race between Courchevel and Méribel – Val Thorens doesn’t get a look in here. Courchevel 1850 is pretty enough, and so are Moriond and le Praz, but none of them match the lovely Savoyard wood and stone to be found across Méribel, and charming, traditional villages in the Méribel valley such as Les Allues complete the picture.
#6 Best range of accommodation quality/price
Courchevel dominates the luxury market and Val Thorens is often a great resort choice for the budget conscious, especially in the last minute market, but none of them offer such a spectacular range of catered ski chalets, hotels and apartments from basic 2* properties all the way up to top-end 6* opulence. Again, Méribel trumps the competition.
#7 Best ski schools
This category is open to debate, because many of Méribel’s best ski schools also operate in Courchevel and some in Val Thorens as well. But the fact remains that Méribel offers some of the finest tuition of any resort in Europe, with classes, courses and clinics for every pursuit and every level imaginable. Alongside the established ESF are some great independent schools such as Magic in Motion, Marmalade and Parallel Lines.
With the same range of basic burger joints as you’ll find in Val Thorens and the same quality (although perhaps not quantity) of Michelin starred restaurants as Courchevel, Méribel really is a foodie’s paradise. The resort offers cuisine to suit all tastes and budgets, from fine dinning in Le Blanchot over in the Altiport area to amazing pizza in La Refuge, located in the centre of town. Although prices can be high, the quality of the restaurants in Méribel means value for money is very good.
#10 Best off piste
This is another contentious point as both Courchevel and Val Thorens boast spectacular off piste in the right conditions. But with so many lines to choose from running down from the Saulire peak into Méribel Mottaret as well as the open powder fields to be found on Mont Vallon, to name but two, Méribel is the best part of the Three Valleys to find yourself in when the skies have opened and fresh powder has fallen.
Of course this is all hugely subjective and Courchevel and Val Thorens have just as many die-hard fans as Méribel does, and with good reason. One of the most wonderful things about the Three Valleys is the range and variety of the resorts, pistes and amenities found therein. That said, Méribel is still the best…!