Thursday, 19 April 2012

Every type of weather plus cute animals

Melbourne in Australia is often referred to as the place where you can experience 4 seasons in one day, well we haven't experienced quite that but over the last few days "settled" is not a word which could be used to describe the weather. We started our week in Lyon where it was a very chilly 4 degrees, through 24 hours in the beautiful town of Annecy we went from freezing to sitting in the sun admiring the lake while people cycled by in their summer clothes. The lake was so inviting we took the long way home via Talloires and saw a touch of how many will spend their summer holidays lounging in the sun by the lake as this picture shows.

The very next morning we woke up to snow falling in Les Allues and thick cloud obscuring the view to the peaks. Undeterred we went up to the summit at Saulire and were treated to blue sky and sunshine - for about 30 minutes at which point it started to snow quite heavily however we were treated to a very Spring like sight of 2 Marmottes under the appropriately named Marmottes chair lift.

We continued skiing runs around Suisse and Combe de Saulire enjoying beautiful soft fresh conditions underfoot while more fresh snow fell from above. The temperature at the top was a chilly 0 degrees but every now and then the sun appeared giving amazing views over empty Pistes.

The weather forecast for the next 5 days shows up to 60 cm of fresh snow could fall on the peaks. Not perfect April sunbathing weather but we are being treated to lovely conditions and have the added pleasure of skiing most runs with only a handful of other people to share the space with. As this winter like weather looks set to continue we will venture across to Val Thorens over the next few days and report back on how conditions are over there.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

April skiing

Although there is just 2.5 weeks left of the season here in Meribel we are enjoying fabulous snow conditions. As to be expected by this time in April the lower runs have softer snow but thanks to recent snow falls we have been enjoying fresh snow over much of the area. These pictures were taken on Easter Monday:

Meribel sits at the heart of the largest connected ski area in the world but size is not everything. Meribel benefits from a great aspect giving the choice of sun and shade skiing through most of the day, and more than 70% of the ski area is found above 2,000 metres which means snow sure conditions throughout the season. Having said all of that the maintenance of the runs is something which the area takes very seriously both in winter and summer and is what makes the difference between a good resort and a great resort.

Every night a team of Pisteurs in their amazing machines groom, soften and spread the snow so next morning we have the pleasure of the best conditions possible. During the summer while the area is a playground for walkers, cyclists and other outdoor enthusiasts  the ski runs are prepared, in some cases this involves being re-shaped, de-stoned and re-grassed so as to ensure the best possible snow cover in winter. The condition of a run impacts the level of difficulty, the picture below shows the targets the Pisteurs work towards. Notices are posted around the resort and at lift stations to show which runs have been groomed the previous night, you can also access this information on-line to help you plan your day. Just all part of the great service we receive here in The Three Valleys.