Sunday, 29 December 2013

Holiday time in Meribel

Carol singing in Meribel Centre
Although a little late Merry Christmas from Meribel - here's what has been happening here over the past 2 weeks.

Firstly Santa did leave us some snow along with his presents which was lovely. Christmas Day itself was not a bluebird day but plenty of lovely skiing on very empty Pistes. We find that most people have a slow start on Christmas Day and many do not venture out at all preferring to spend the time with family. This year the weather was certainly changeable, the sun tried to shine but was beaten back by ominous skies which eventually gave snow. 

Carol singing in Les Allues

Many people ask what it is like in Meribel at Christmas and the answer is very "Christmassy". Most Chalets are decorated with outdoor lights, the centres at each level of the resort have beautiful decorations and the activities from Church Services to Santa arriving on his sleigh are all available to be enjoyed. One of our favourites is the Carol singing which we have seen grow over the last couple of seasons. The first Carol singing event is held in Les Allues and features Vin Chaud and the opportunity to catch up with the locals and visitors alike. On Christmas Eve a second Carol concert was held in Meribel centre and a large crowd joined in with the Choir and local schoolchildren. Explaining Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer to a French person takes some doing but they do join in with enthusiasm and true Christmas spirit aided of course by the Vin Chaud.

We are enjoying more fresh snow over the next few days which means continuing great conditions for those visitors arriving for the New Year week. Here are a couple of pictures taken over the last few days

Berries remaining defiant against the snow in Les Allues village

9.00am waiting for the first lift from Chaudanne

Early morning sun from Saulire mid station

Friday, 13 December 2013

More on the new Season

Sunny days in December

The 2013-14 Season is now 6 days old and as we have been out skiing every day it's time to report back. There has been no fresh snow in the area for 10 days however we have been enjoying great skiing not to mention glorious sunshine. The considerable snowfalls during November have provided a great base and the ability to run snow cannons most nights has ensured there is great snow coverage. The official depth at the top of the resort is 95cm which is pretty impressive for the time of year.

Every day this week we have found beautiful soft snow on perfectly prepared runs. There are very few people here, it is possible to ski an entire run alone. The pick of the slopes each day have been the ones "bashed" the previous night by the impressive fleet of snow groomers called "Piste Bully". If you don't fancy taking your chances going up in a lift to see what has been groomed you can find out before you even leave the Chalet and plan you day accordingly. On the Meribel website you can view an interactive plan of the runs where there is an option to see which runs have been groomed:

Plan des pistes - Meribel Official site

On the same Map you can also view which lifts/runs are open or scheduled to open and which 3 Valley Links are operating. If you are already on your way to the slopes and you forgot to check don't worry you can ask at any lift station for advice, the Tourism Information noticeboards display a list of groomed runs each day and many lift access points will have a blackboard listing the condition of the runs the lift serves. If a run is show as "D"  it has been groomed "ND" it hasn't. 

There will be more people around from Saturday although as more lifts and runs open it is unlikely to feel any busier. A change in the weather looks likely from Tuesday next week, in the meantime we will enjoy the sunshine and unexpected pleasures of picnics on the snow in December.

Lac de Creux run in afternoon sun

Sunday, 8 December 2013

First day of the season

The lifts opened in Meribel today including links to Val Thorens and Courchevel. This first week is known as Premier Neige - first snow and acts as something as a "soft opening" Not all lifts, runs, restaurants/bars are open but this is more than made up for by the quietness of the area and today in particular the lovely sunshine and blue sky.

This time last year visibility was poor and the huge amount of snow meant links were closed due to safety risks. This time we have a very decent snow depth although no fresh powder, a different situation but still the same excitement and anticipation of the season ahead. The snow conditions on the runs is excellent, we skied Meribel Valley and didn't encounter any loose stones or rocks. The off piste will need fresh snow to cover the inevitable obstacles but off the sides of the runs there is some nice fluffy conditions to play in if corduroy does not float your boat.

Planning to take a closer look at Courchevel tomorrow so will report back later in the week, in the meantime here are some snaps from today - happy faces all around.