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.
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.