Tag Archives: snow

Guide – off-piste in Meribel

Run report – off-piste in Meribel

off piste meribel One of the best parts of my job is being able to share my own knowledge of the ski resort, passing on tips and suggestions of which pistes to try, where to find the best conditions and how to get the most out of a week skiing in the three valleys.

As befits the largest ski area in the world, there are hundreds of kilometres of pistes to enjoy for skiers and boarders of every level. However, for experienced skiers, there is a world of fun to be had beyond the marked and bashed runs.

Before saying any more, we need to be totally clear that skiing off-piste can be extremely dangerous. It should only be considered by experienced and confident skiers. As minimum safety precautions you should always look to go in small groups – 3 or 4 is ideal – and never alone. Be aware of the published avalanche risk, but be aware that snow conditions can change rapidly. An hour in the sun can turn safe routes into an unacceptable risk in less than an hour.

Before setting off, you should ensure your insurance covers you for going off-piste and carry and know how to use the relevant safety equipment of a transceiver, shovel and probe. We would strongly recommend engaging an instructor or a guide, and it is always worth checking with the pisteurs for their views on where is safe to go. Always remember that skiing off-piste poses a risk not just to yourself, but also to those who on the mountain around you, such as other skiers on the same slopes, or the secouristes who would conduct a rescue operation if anything went wrong. If you are at all unsure, you should not go.

With the proper precautions however, off- piste skiing can be one of the great highlights of a skiing holiday in the Alps, so where are some of the best routes in Meribel?

My advice would be to head to the Vallon and Cote Brune sectors. On the Vallon gondola you will most likely see plenty of tracks underneath the lift, which can be accessed from the corner at the top of the Combe de Vallon piste. While this is one of the more recognised and accessible off-piste routes, beware of partially covered rocks.

WP_20140326_018For those looking to go further into the backcountry, head through the gap in the rock on your left as you come out of the Vallon bubble. There is another reasonably established route straight down hereto the side of the piste, but if you keep left, a small 10 minute walk and a short traverse lead you out to some powder field coming down from the ridge. Check with the pisteurs before attempting this route as the snowpack can be unstable above you, but in the right conditions the fluffy powder, comfortable gradient and spectacular views can make this route a showstopping highlight.

A final route to try is accessed from the top of the Becca lift. In the snowbank opposite the lift you will most likely see tracks leading diagonally up to the ridge line. The top offers a spectacular view both down to Les Menuires one way and across to the Mont Vallon summit the other. Be careful of the entry point here. Traverse across the slope to the centre of the chute to avoid the treacherous rocky drops immediately below where the track up reaches the ridgeline.

The descent down from here looks clear enough but boarders in particular will want to avoid keeping too far left as they will risk being caught out by a flat section right at the bottom before regaining the piste. Equally however, head too far right and you risk being blocked by another few rocky drops, or finding yourself underneath a particularly steep section of the slope where the risk of avalanche is higher. Keep to a conservative line though and you should have a fabulous descent, with the added bonus of being able to admire your track as you head back up the Cote Brune lift.

To book a holiday to Meribel or La Tania call us on 01273 466 535 or go take a look at our chalets.


Woodland Walks: Teppes Trail – La Tania

The beautiful thing about the 3 Valleys is there’s something for everyone. If you aren’t a skier/boarder or your body won’t allow the aches and pains that come with the sport, there is still so much to do. If  you love the mountains; scenery, crisp air, breath taking views and fabulous lunch spots, you can still experience this at a slower pace. There are some stunning walks around Meribel and La Tania to keep you more than entertained.

One of our hosts Adrian from Chalet Cote Coeur has been out of action due to injury. He and his partner Gemma decided to adventure around the local landscape and see what La Tania walking trails have to offer. We interviewed them to find out more, here is their account of the Teppes Trail a beautiful, snowy, woodland walk:

Teppes Trail, La Tania with Adrian and Gemma from Chalet Cote Coeur

Walking Trails: La Tania – CLICK PICTURE FOR FULL MAP

Starting out at the bottom of the Grand Bois lift, cross the bridge to the centre of the resort. Take a left towards the shops and walk up the steps between the Saucisse Savoyarde deli and and the Ski Lodge. Turn left at the top and follow the road for about 20 meters, then take a right up the steps leading to the Saboia residence. The top of these steps is the beginning of the Teppes trail. Follow the footpath through the woodland and enjoy your adventure!

 

 

 

 

 

Adrian and Gemma…What was your favourite part about the Teppes trail?
        When the trail went through the woods off the main track up to the picnic spot.

Those views!

Would you say this is an easy walk? If not what ability do you think suits this kind of walk?
       Yes I would say it was easy, Adrian managed to do it with a broken collarbone.

What attire would you recommend for the trail? For example: snow shoes, normal shoes, poles etc…                   We went in our snow boots, wore thermals, ski jackets and took ski poles. 

Are there any lunch/refreshment stops on the way?
       There is a picnic spot at the top of the trail with benches and a lovely view.

How long did the walk take you?
      It took us an hour to do the walk

 

Did you see any wildlife or interesting plants during your walk?
           We didn’t see any animals but we did see lots of animal tracks and there was an information board at the picnic spot telling you about the wildlife and plants. 

Would you say that La Tania is an easy access resort for non-skiers?
           Yes I would there are many walks that you can do in the woods and up the mountains so there is a lot of variety and there are many snow shoe walks in Le Praz that we want to do as well. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information on walking routes and alternative activities, check out our “Non-Skiers” pages on the Alpine Action website…
La Tania non-skiers: CLICK HERE

Meribel non-skiers: CLICK HERE


Christmas festivities in Meribel and La Tania

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the 3 Valleys, with twinkling lights on every street and Christmas trees up in all our chalets. There really is no place more festive than the French Alps at Christmas.

Meribel Village
Meribel Village

Chalet guests are currently enjoying an Alpine Christmas, spending their days carving up the pistes, followed by a spot of Apres Ski. Then heading back to their beautiful chalet to refuel with a home cooked dinner. Evenings are spent snuggled up on the sofa next to the warmth of a roaring log fire and playing board games with their family and friends.

Resort entertainment is in full swing this time of year and we have brought you the lowdown on what events and activities are happening in and around the resorts of Meribel and La Tania.

 

Meribel

Meribel has got a huge schedule of activities so we have plucked the very best to keep you in the know…

Saturday 24th

Father Christmas will be cruising around town in his sleigh, starting at La Chaudanne from 4:30pm and finishing up in the centre of town next to the tourism office. Christmas Carols will be sung in the same location from 5:30pm onwards.

Vin Chaud: credit to Savoie Mont Blanc
Vin Chaud: credit to Savoie Mont Blanc

 

 

Free Vin Chaud and Hot Chocolate will be handed out to all who attend.

 

 

 

 

 

In the evening there will be a Christmas Mass held at the Olympic Ice Rink, doors will open from 6pm – don’t forget to wrap up warm!

If you want to boogie your way into Christmas day… Evolution bar and restaurant will be featuring “The Mardy Johnny Depps” from 10pm and Jack’s Bar will be hosting “Shameless” from 10:30pm.

Sunday 25th CHRISTMAS DAY!

From 4:30pm Father Christmas will be saying his farewells and a magical torch lit decent will light up the piste down at La Chaudanne – free hot drinks will be served to keep you warm.

Meribel Chapel: credit to Merinet.com
Meribel Chapel: credit to Merinet.com

 

 

An English speaking church service will be held at the beautiful Notre-Dame des Neiges chapel at 6pm.

 

 

 

 

If you can pull yourselves off the sofa after a fine Christmas feast, then Evolution will be hosting an open mic night at 10pm.

Doron Pub will have DJ Kaya dropping some beats for any Christmas Day ravers and O’Sullivans will be starting off Boxing day with the “Slope” from 12am.

Boxing Day

Himalaya by night, tobogganing: sledging at night up in Meribel Mottaret, 5 euros for one go or 10 euros for the evening, this is a lovely family activity.

Jack’s Bar will be hosting Monday Apres Ski with “Rob Cross” and Evolutions will be featuring “The Mardy Johnny Depps” from 10pm.


La Tania

Saturday 24th

Families can arrange for Father Christmas to visit their chalets by registering the chalet at the Tourism office in the centre of La Tania.

Father Christmas: Credit to Courchevel.com
Father Christmas: Credit to Courchevel.com

Pub Le Ski Lodge, will be celebrating Christmas Eve with live music from LES DEUX ROUES at 10pm.

Sunday 25th December

8.30-10am – Father Christmas continues his chalet visits around La Tania don’t forget to register at the Tourism Office.

5.20pm – Christmas Evening, a Children’s torch lit decent will commence down into the centre of La Tania. If your child would like to participate, head down to the Tourism Office to register.

During the evening festivities you can warm up with FREE Vin Chaud and hot chocolate in front of Tourism Office.

The evening celebrations will continue with local ski instructors performing their own torchlight descent at 6pm.

Christmas celebrations will end with some fabulous FIREWORKS to light up the resort.

Keep checking our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: @AlpineActionSki and @AlbertAction for what our staff and guests are getting up to over the holiday period – don’t forget to join in by liking our pages, following us and sharing the fun!

From all the Alpine Action team in the UK, Meribel and La Tania we wish you a VERY MERRY and (fingers crossed) SNOWY CHRISTMAS!


3 Valleys Season Preview

The 2016/17 winter season is here. Find out what to expect in Méribel &  The Three Valleys in our pre-season preview.

Skiing started in the Three Valleys on the the 19th of November when Val Thorens turned on its lifts and welcomed skiers and boarders earlier than expected due to some seriously heavy November snow. Courchevel was also able to open some of its runs early due to the 120cm of snow that fell across the Alps. All that happend before the season truly kicked off, so what has this winter got in store for the 3 valleys? Lets find out…

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Snow

As we said there has been loads of snow already and all that snow has laid down a great base for the season and the temperatures are staying low according to the long term forecast.  That coupled with the 3 Valleys’ amazing ability to make snow this could be a great season. Méribel opens its doors for skiing on the 10th of December opening up the whole of the 3 Valleys for skiing until late April.

We couldn’t wait to get up on mountain so we went hiking on the 17th of November.

Let us take care of you this Christmas – Ski and come home to a traditional meal with all the trimmings
Christmas holidays from only £549 for an adult and £466.65 for a child from Gatwick

What’s New In The Three Valleys

You can save €10 per lift pass if you are buying more than one as part of the new Duo Lift pass, you must be purchasing a 6 day pass for a valley or the whole area to get the discount.
Tubing in Mottaret is opening this winter meaning that you can spend your evening flying down the slopes in a rubber ring.
If you like to picnic on the slopes then there is good news as Méribel has opened some indoor lunch lounges complete with microwaves. These can be found in Méribel and Mottaret main lift stations.
There are also new lifts in Val Thorens, the Roc and Stades drag lifts are now a shiny new 6 seater chairlift and the Boismint has also been upgraded to take more passengers.

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8 THINGS WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS WINTER

Events – What’s on on the Three Valleys 2016/17

There is lots to look forward to in the 3 Valleys this season from the Ski Cross world cup in Val Thorens on the 5th of December for 5 days to the end of the season mega party that is the 3 Valleys charity day. Here are few to look out for…

December

December is a busy month with opening parties as well as Christmas and New Year celebrations all going on. But there is also the the FIS Ladies Alpine World Cup being held in Courchevel from the the 20th December. lindsey-vonn-2015-audi-fis-alpine-ski-world-cup-womens-super-g-in-italy-02

January 

One of the best events to watch in January is the annual British Armed Forces Combined Services Alpine Championships which is held in Méribel and will be in its 11 the year.

February

This month the resorts will celebrate Valentines day with various activities to help show your love. There will also be loads of children’s activities across the 3 Valleys as during the majority of the month there will be a region of France that has a half term holiday as well as the UK Half Term week starting on the 11th.

March

The big event in March is the Ronnie Loves Music Festival, hosted at the original aprés ski destination The Rond Point. This year Norman Jay MBE will return and there will be a set from 6 Musics Craig Charles playing music from his trunk of funk. There will also be some of the worlds top riders showing off on a specially build park.  The event kicks of on the 20th of March.
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April 

As the season comes to a close there are a still some great events on. We have all ready mentioned the incredible 3 Valleys Charity day happening on the 12th of April and it will feature all the best Aprés ski bands. There is also the 3 Valleys Enduro event where you can take part in events across the ski area such as Giant Slalom and Ski Cross.

We Recommend

If your heading to the Three Valleys then you may want to tick of a few thing on the Méribel bucket list and you definitely don’t want to miss out on some of our favourite things…

You need to make sure you spend at least one afternoon dancing at the Folie Douce.

jack-bar-meribel

Spend your evenings hanging out at Jacks Bar in Méribel where they have live music nearly every evening as well as comedy and great drinks offers.

If your in La Tania make sure you grab some lunch in at Pub Le Ski Lodge as well as enjoying the evening entertainment.

Also don’t forget to get your photo taken in one of the 3 valleys giant photo frames.

Check out all our latest offers to the Three Valleys

 

 

 

 


What Emily Sarsfield Loves About Méribel

Emily Sarsfield is the UK’s number 1 female Ski Cross athlete, has been ranked 20th on the World Cup circuit and is a member if the British Ski and Snowboard squad. For the last 10 years Emily has lived, worked and trained in Méribel and is a big fan of the Three Valleys.  Recently we had a chance to sit down with Emily and talk to her about what she loves about our Alpine home.

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Val Thorens World Cup, credit: Daniel Smye-Rumsby

Not only does Emily train in the Three Valleys she also runs a small ski school offering private lessons out of Méribel, this is obviously when she isn’t competing and is often during the school holidays. The reason she does this is because unlike many other athletes she doesn’t receive funding, so has to find ways to fund her own training and racing. As Emily bases herself in the Three Valleys and is always returning in Méribel, we started be asking her why she keeps coming back, her response was that the resort has a strong community, although she doesn’t behave like the usual seasonnaire and is likely to be found in the gym when everyone else is in the pub.

We then chatted about her missing out on the Winter Olympic Games and becoming a ski instructor but we soon ended up back on the subject of Méribel. One of the first thing Sarsfield mentioned was the fact that all of the resorts in America would fit into the Three Valleys before pulling out the usual but true clichés and declaring that Méribel is “postcard picture perfect”.

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Megeve World Cup, credit: Daniel Smye-Rumsby

In the 10 years of skiing in the Three Valleys she doesn’t think she has skied every run, which is probably very true, after all the years we have been working out there we probably haven’t either. If you live somewhere for a long time you will inevitably notice the changes, one of the big things Emily has noticed is how the access to cross the entire ski area has developed and even beginner skiers can now move from resort to resort on mainly green runs.

“There is always something different” – Emily Sarsfield on the Three Valleys

Of course one of the main reason Emily loves the Three Valleys is because of the Ski Cross park in Val Thorens, which is one of the best in Europe and regularly hosts World Cup Events. Over the years she has fallen in love with off piste skiing which the the 3Vs has plenty of when the conditions are right and Sarsfield top tip is to head up the Loze chair on a bluebird for some easy access powder.

We saved our “best” question until last, when we asked her in our serious interviewer voice, what is her favourite run in the resort and the answer was the Mauduit. The run is from the top of Saluire and goes all the way down to Méribel Center, or you can choose to head down to Méribel Village. She described the run as “long, open, well groomed and a thigh burner”.

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If you would like to keep up to date with Emily then check out her Facebook or Twitter.

To book a holiday to Méribel visit our website. 

 


Meribel Weather Forecast

Snow Alert

The season is almost upon us and the snow is on its way. This weekend we could see up to 70 cm of snow in the Three Valleys and as the temperature is set to drop it means that the snow will stick around. Here is our round up of the snow forecasts for this weekend in the Alps.

This map from Snow-Forecast.com shows that the Three Valleys can expect between 40 and 70 centimetres of snow on Saturday!

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Other forecasters are in agreement.

*** VERS L’ARRIVÉE DE CONDITIONS HIVERNALES ***Le temps très doux et sec qui persiste depuis le début du mois de…

Posted by Meteo-Alpes on Saturday, 14 November 2015

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Meribel is set to open on the 5th of December and Val Thorens was due to open on the 21st of November. Due to the current poor snow conditions and the massive snowfall that is predicted for this weekend Val Thorens has decided to postpone the opening until the 28th as they believe that they will need the week to prepare the slopes.

 

 




More snow is expect in the coming weeks which could mean that the start of the season will be full of amazing powder days.

There are some great deals on ski holidays to the Three Valleys for the beginning of the season.

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Join the Méribel Weather Facebook group to keep up to date with the weather throughout the season.


A guide to Snow parks in the 3 valleys

A guide to Snow parks in the 3 valleys – By Rob BartettMeribel Map, board park, dc park, moon park

The season has flown by but as the final weeks of skiing approach there is no let up for the team out here in resort. With Easter on the horizon, the final weeks will see many kids arrive in resort on their Easter holidays.

For many this will be their first time in the mountains and their sights will be set on the huge achievement of completing their first green run. But for the older kids, who may have had a few weeks skiing before and feel comfortable on blues and reds, some of them may be on the lookout for their next challenge. Their parents may be wary, but for many that challenge could be to master their first tricks in the park.

Fortunately Meribel and the Three Valleys have several different snow parks, with routes for riders of all abilities, from wide boxes for those taking their first steps up from piste skiing, to Olympic size kickers, rails and half-pipes for experienced (and brave!) freestyle skiers. As with my recent entry about off-piste skiing, you will find that an instructor will be worth their weight in gold for both your safety and enjoyment as you take your first steps in the park.

Moon Park

The smaller of the two parks in Meribel is the Moon Park, accessed off the top of the Plan de l’homme lift from the Chaudanne. A great starting point here is the boardercross route, with the twisting run, steep banks and simple rollers allowing you to get a feel for freestyle riding.

Moving up a level, the Moon Park has a nice series of entry level boxes and small kickers, which make it the perfect place to learn your first tricks, although boarders be aware that to go straight back around when you reach the bottom it is a steep drag lift.

One or two large kickers aside, more experienced park skiers may be looking for a bigger challenge. In which case the choice is clear: head to Mottaret.

DC Park

Variously known as the Plattières park, the DC Park or Area 43, the snowpark off the top of the Plattières 1, Plan se Main and Chatelets lifts is undoubtedly the biggest and best in the Three Valleys. It has a full range of options for all riders, including entry and intermediate boxes and kickers as well as a mini half-pipe to try. But as great as trying the different modules yourself is, that’s only half the fun of your time here.

That is because this is where the serious freestyle riders come to play. Start by watching them to the full-size half-pipe immediately underneath the Plattières lift station. With a steep gradient and high walls, you can see some seasoned veterans getting big air and maybe putting in a few 180s or 360s.

As you go further down, on the far right hand side you will see some huge kickers, where riders tend to favour grabs as they carry in some cases 20m or more in the air. Finally underneath the DC sign you will see the advanced rails, painted yellow and black as is fitting for some of the most difficult modules around. Watching the pros balance on their tips over these rails is an awesome sight, but you will wince if they don’t quite nail that landing. Parents may want to look away, but if the kids are dreaming of thrills and excitement this holidays, look no further than a spot of freestyle skiing in the snow parks in Meribel.

DC Board Park Meribel


Three Valleys Snow Report – Weekending 15/3/2014

Three Valleys Snow Report – Weekending 15/3/2014

What to say about a week like that? It was, quite simply, awesome.

Wall to wall sunshine, brilliant blue skies, mild temperatures for the season, all for 6 solid days. Skiing simply does not get any better than that!

However, the obvious question after such a spell of mild conditions then becomes how has the snow held up to the sunshine and warm weather. Guests arriving today though have no need to worry: there is still plenty of great snow to ski throughout the Three Valleys.

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Off piste in Meribel. Alpine Action staff

In fact, listening to experienced riders and instructors this week , they will say that the period between 10 30 and 3 on such sunny days – after the early morning chill has dissipated but before the lower slopes show too many signs of wear at the end of the day – offers some of the best conditions possible as the snow allows you to have confidence to go right onto your edges. And with the huge area of the three valleys, including the higher altitudes of the Burgin and Cote Brune sectors, and especially the VT valley, there is still great runs to be discovered for skiers of all abilities.

Amazingly, the great weather is set to continue into next week. While not quite hitting the heights of the last few days, those arriving today will still see plenty of sunshine through the early part of the week, with snow predicted for Thursday or Friday to top up the base again. It should be another great week of skiing in Meribel.


Snow Report – Three Valleys 20-12-13

Snow Report Week Ending 20/12/13

Guests thus far have enjoyed uninterrupted blue skies as the sun has shone down in Meribel. The thick base laid down in late November has held up very well but some runs were starting to show signs of wear. As if on cue, Thursday saw a gentle but persistent snowfall through late morning and early afternoon. The dusting has just served to freshen up some of the key routes through the resort, particularly the Forêt and Doron runs down to the Chaudanne, while Lapin back to Meribel Village is in as good shape as many can remember.

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Looking further ahead, forecasts are predicting heavy snowfall for the early part of next week – an ideal Christmas present for those joining us in resort next week.

Check out our snow forecast for Meribel and La Tania.

This weeks report was provided by our resort Rep, Rob Bartlett

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Snow – The Facts

Snow – The Facts

To some snow may just be “the white stuff” that either causes travel delays, is good for snowball fights or good for siding down hills. To the more geeky,;p’[ it is (1) an ice particle formed by sublimation of vapor in the atmosphere (2) a collection of loosely bonded ice crystals deposited from the atmosphere; high density snow (greater than 550 kilograms per cubic meter; 34 pounds per cubic foot) is called firm if it is older than one year.
So we thought it might be helpful to create a quick guide to snow.

How it forms.

The conditions must be right for snow to form. Up in the atmosphere it must be below zero degrees and there has to be a minimum amount of moisture in the air. Of course the ground needs to also be below zero for it to fall and settle. Some people claim that it can be too cold to snow, this in actually an old wife’s tale. A snow flake starts life when the moisture in the air freezes to make an ice crystal, these then stick together to form a snowflake. Once the snowflake is heavy enough it will fall to the ground.

Types of snow
For the purposes of this article we are just going to look at wet snow and dry snow. The snow that we are less interested in is wet snow. Wet snow is good for making snowmen, which would suggest that it is sticky and not great for sliding on. Wet snow occurs when the temperature is slightly warmer than the optimum zero degrees, the temperature melts the edges of the flakes causing them to stick together and create bigger heavy flakes. The good stuff is the dry snow which forms small powdery flakes that don’t stick together.

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Working out what type of snowfall it is

The snow is falling and you’re putting off your venture to the lifts, in the end you go out and have fun and get cold, but how many times have you claimed to have skied in a blizzard? The chances are you didn’t. Here are the definitions of types of snow fall for next time. To be defined as a blizzard the snow fall must last three or more hours, be in sub-zero temperatures, have a strong wind and the visibility must be less than a quarter of a mile. A snow storm is when there has been a large amount of snow fallen. And a now flurry is when snow falls in varying degrees of intensity with little or no obvious build up on the ground.

The snowpack
This is the name given to the snow on the ground or snow cover. Once the snow has settled, being either wet or dry, it undergoes another transformation, some snow will become several types of snowpack in its lifetime. To start with it will be called new snow, and if it is dry snow it is actually called powder snow. After a while this snow goes on to become Névé snow which is newish snow that has melted slightly, been frozen again and then compacted, this type of snowpack is what most of us will ski on. Most snow will melt after a season, the snow that doesn’t will probably have settled on a glacier. This is actually how glaciers form, (but that is a different article).

A few other things you might need to know
Do you know what a cornice is? Well you should, as they can present serious danger to the winter sport enthusiast. A cornice is an overhang of snow and ice created by the wind, you will find these on the top of cliffs and mountains. Another thing that you may come across is a crust, which is a hard surface of snow on top of soft snow. It is like a pie and is caused by extreme variations in temperature, often associated with spring snowfall.


Meribel & La Tania Holidays

Find out more about our holidays to Méribel or La Tania.

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