Thursday, 30 May 2013

2012/13 - The season that really was very, very white

As we start to experience winter in Sydney - OK it's 22 degrees and sunny in Sydney but we have had 2 days of fog - and the Alps start to feel stronger rays of sunshine it seems a good time to look back on last season before moving onto the next.

When we arrived at the end of October there was already a decent covering of snow on the higher peaks and our swap from sandals to hiking boots was swift. By the time the lifts opened on 8th December more than 2 metres of snow sat at the top of the lifts and almost 1 metre at the resort level. Those wanting a white Christmas were not disappointed and snow chains were getting a good workout even at the Les Allues level.

First snowy walk in early November

January is always a special time; the slopes are quiet and it's a great time for those working in resort to catch their breath. For most I suspect lie ins were forsaken for frequent trips up the mountain as we enjoyed powder day after powder day. In January we also had our first taste of temperature inversions where it felt so cold getting on the bus at Les Allues that a short ski day was being mentally planned. As if by magic it was warmer the higher we went and those short days became long days enjoying magical conditions.

Temperature inversion - warmer at the top than in the valley

February can be summed up in two words - cold and snow. We experienced a minus 28 degree skiing experience in Val Thorens which presents an interesting dilemma of - do I ski faster to get to the hot chocolate stop sooner or do I slow down because the faster I ski the colder it feels. We didn't reach a conclusive decision on the best course of action except to say don't venture over to VT when it's already showing minus 12 on the thermometer at the base of the lifts in Meribel. The snow fell throughout February and many guests enjoyed the best half term skiing in memory. The resort was busy but the amazing size of the area and the efficient lift system kept everyone moving and away from the main centres  which meant we still found empty runs to enjoy

Minus 12 at the bottom of the lifts

Towards the end of February we did start to see the temperatures rise and thought "is this an early Spring"? No not at all, it lasted a few days and then started snowing, heavily, again. As Easter fell at the end of March/start of April the talk of the resort from confirmed Easter skiers was "never seen anything like it". Well into April spring skiing made an occasional appearance but as fast as layers of clothing were being discarded the clouds were gathering and more snow fell.
Ist April, Meribel Altiport and the snow keeps coming

The unpredictability of the weather is always part and parcel of a ski holiday. Whether you are a Skier or a Rider the changing conditions are what keeps you challenged and what makes the sport so addictive. We had dream conditions with so much snow but I think it would be fair to say many people took more tumbles than usual due to the huge amounts of powder and the sales of fat powder skis sky rocketed in the Alps. 

So looking forward to next season with a hope that it will be even better than 2012/13 or failing that half as good would do. One thing is certain the whole of the Three Valleys area will do everything possible to ensure you have a great experience and at Chalet Vache Bleue we will do everything within our power to provide you with a modern,comfortable base for your time in the snow. Look forward to seeing you next year.