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Opening Weekend

Posted on
December 5, 2023

Hi everyone, and welcome to the latest post from your blogging ski instructor, the first one after having been on skis this winter. First things first, I hope this post doesn't make me out as gloating, that's the last thing I want. Having said that, I do know that many of you are interested in the latest snow conditions, and that it's a big part of helping you look forward to your ski holiday. So how were the snow conditions over the opening weekend?

Before I answer that question, let me give you some background leading up to Saturday. I arrived in resort Monday last week, and for the first part of the week it was mostly quite snowy and also below freezing. The authorities were definitely making the most of these temperatures with plenty of snow making. However, and this is a big however, there was biblical torrential rain for 48 hours starting in the early hours of Thursday. For almost 48 hours. The freeze level bounced around quite high and up to 2,500 metres for a chunk of time. It was utterly miserable, and of course a concern as to what damage may be done on the mountain.

Above Courchevel 1850 on Saturday.

Thankfully on Friday evening the temperatures dropped back to below zero, with the very heavy precipitation continuing through Friday, and fizzling out eventually later on Saturday. We certainly dodged a bullet that's for sure. Somehow we ended up with on average of 40cms of fresh light snow to ski on top of the previous base. We couldn't believe our luck. Granted, it was flat light for most of the day and not many brave souls were out there, but we had a fun ski all the same, and blew away the cobwebs.

And then on Sunday we hit the jackpot.........

Chaudanne on Sunday.

Look at the weather - it was mind blowingly beautiful. Bright sunshine all day, and pretty cold. A skier's dream. Not only could we see where we were skiing, unlike the previous day in the flat light, but we could see the scenery properly as well.

The terrace of La Panoramic mountain restaurant.

The above photo of the Panoramic mountain restaurant is located at the top of the Saulire Express bubble (and the currently non-functioning Courchevel cable car) at 2,700 metres. This gives you an idea as to how much snow had fallen the previous days. I'd estimate close to head height.

Looking down to Méribel close to the top of the Tougnete 2 chairlift.

I'm sure you can guess how good the snow was, very nice indeed. It was lovely to see the stunning views, covered with fresh snow. The blue sky, the sunshine, everything was amazing. It always takes a few overnight grooming sessions for the pistes to be as smooth as a baby's bum, but I certainly wasn't complaining.

The Venturon and Alouette red pistes.

As is always the case this early in the season before Christmas, there is a limited amount of skiing available. Gradually the number of pistes available will grow, after all it is quite a lot of work to open all of this huge ski area of the 3 Valleys. I skied with my friend and colleague Ian from the ski school both days, and we popped over to Courchevel. We skied Méribel both days and also we went to (freezing) Val Thorens on Sunday. Over there it seemed like business as usual with loads of people and a sizeable ski area open. Les Menuires opens this coming Saturday.

Mother Nature continues to help us along, with cold weather and snowfall off and on the last couple of days. The snow cannons continue to produce the important base on many of the pistes. That massive investment with the snow making infrastructure over the recent years is being put into good use. So at the moment, things are looking good. I'm planning on skiing again tomorrow, and can't wait. There'll be fewer skiers around during the week, especially compared to Sunday. Right, I better head off down the valley for a weekly shop. Live With Passion. Martin.

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