Nick's Season Snow Review of The Three Valley 2010/2011

So how good was the skiing this season?

May 2011
Thanks to Nick from Nick Ski for this report - one of the few who gets out skiing just about every day (even on his day off!) during the whole season. It makes his Three Valleys Lift Pass work out less than £6 a day!

Nick first down Gazex2 above La Tania on opening day 2007

How good was the skiing this season? With France Meteo saying the least snow in a generation and HAT saying the least snow since 1949. Well from the 11th December until the beginning of April the 3 Valleys had at least 90% of pistes open but generally 95%.
What really happened?
As always we started to ski in November in Val Thorens and finished as planned on the 8th May. This season the snow and cold weather had arrived about a month ahead of average and by the opening day of Courchevel on 4th December and the 3 Valleys links, there was far more snow than normal and what a great first day we had skiing back home to La Tania.

1850 Opening Weekend 4 December 2010 - Nick skiing back to La Tania

Then a huge temperature change with rain and very warm weather,you could almost see the snow melting in resort. However things picked up and the week of the 11th December was fabulous with around 50cms at mid station and a few classic powder days.

15 December 2010 near the Bouc Blanc

Then on New Year week after some more snow the Grande Couloir opened the earliest I remember in 10 years. This indicated that we had a huge amount of snow base higher up as the steepest marked run in Europe is very rocky and normally opens at the end of January.
We then had a medium powder day on Wednesday 12th January followed by rain up to around 2300 metres which put a crust on almost all the off piste. The pistes were pisted and we started to enjoy some fabulous piste skiing but the off piste was impossible to ski below around 2700m then very cold and sunny days for week after week until the week of the 19th February when the snow returned.

Folyeres on 27 February 2011

By this time the pistes were becoming very hard not icy but the best skiing was in the first couple of hours. The sunny slopes like Mur and the bottom of Marmottes started to close even though it was very cold the sun was melting these and similar direct sun-facing pistes throughout the 3 Valleys.
The season then seemed to be more normal with a few medium snowfalls which freshened the pistes and made the off piste much better but extremely dangerous on steeper slopes because the layers of snow had not and were not bonding.

Above 1650 on 20 March 2011

So March progressed and the final sting in the tail happened with temperatures reaching heights that had not been seen since the late 1800s. The snow then started to melt rapidly and many pistes were closing by the start of April. Folyeres kept going until the 8th April and after then we were basically 2 weeks ahead of normal which would mean everywhere except Val Thorens would normally be closed.

Off Saulire 1 April 2011

However the amazing work by the piste bashers continued to astound us and the Three Valleys links were kept open until Easter Monday with some downloading in to Mottaret for the last week .
So to sum it all up a season of extremes, generally a cold and sunny season until the end of March and then very warm. Only a few snow falls after December but by then the base was well above average and helped tremendously by the snow making facilities and the skills of the piste basher drivers who took snow from everywhere possible at the sides of the pistes.

Top, top skiing on perfect corduroy in 1850, worth getting first lift for! 14 March 2011

Did we have fun? Of course what could be better than being in the mountains with lots and lots of sunny weeks. How about our guests? On a number of occasions when ski hosting the guests said it was one of their best days skiing ever. It was especially important to pick the best routes and pistes this season but there was lots and lots of fabulous skiing to be had.
See you next season,

Nick - Nick Ski

page last updated 17/05/11