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Ski guiding in Meribel France with British ski instructors
Ski guiding in Meribel France with British ski instructors
Ski guiding in Meribel France with British ski instructors
Ski guiding in Meribel France with British ski instructors

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First Thoughts On Mountain Upgrades - Part 1

Posted on
December 15, 2021

Hi everybody, a couple of months ago I posted an article about the upgrades in Méribel and the 3 Valleys that we would see this coming winter, click here for a link to this post. Some of the observations were from last winter whilst out ski touring during the pandemic-hit ski season, and also whilst I was here in Méribel in September. Now the ski lifts have started, and the snow has certainly fallen, it has been time to have a nose around. I haven't been ski instructing this week, so what a great time to go for a free ski with my camera. First up, the new chairlift called Bouquetin above Méribel Mottaret.

The base station of the new Bouquetin chairlift.

Although this was completed in time for last winter, it has now been opened to the public. It is a straight replacement for the very old Plattieres 3 bubble. I've used it several times this week, and much more than I would've used the previous bubble if I'm honest. How come? I think because it's so convenient to use now, you keep your skis on and get to the top within just over two minutes. It is a six person chairlift, and I just can't imagine that there will ever be queues for this lift. A big thumbs up from me with this.

From the top of the Bouquetin chairlift, turn left and you are at the top of the Alouette red piste that keeps you in the Méribel valley. There have been a couple of upgrades to Alouette: after the first steep section part way down, there used to be a tricky narrow path that had to be 'negotiated'. During the busy periods, you kept your fingers crossed that you had the path to yourself. Good news - and this was something I didn't know about until I skied it a few days ago - this path has been widened making it much more user friendly and safer, see below.

Snow cannons on the Alouette red piste, looking towards the bottom of the Côte Brune chairlift.

The second improvement is that ski cannons have been installed on the full length of this piste ensuring good snow coverage. It is a popular piste and can get heavy traffic sometimes, which means during the busy periods or lean snow times, rocks would often come through and be a nuisance. Another major piste, a blue called Lac de la Chambre, has also had snow cannons installed (see below). This is one of the main routes over from Val Thorens, so another good upgrade. A third piste that has had cannons installed is another red above Méribel Mottaret called Mouflon. I haven't skied down Mouflon yet this winter, but it was also historically sometimes a 'rocky' piste.

Snow cannons on the Lac de la Chambre blue piste.

Let's pop over to Les Menuires, and in particular La Masse. I love the skiing on La Masse, it's a huge lump of a mountain and perhaps doesn't get the love that it deserves. Over the course of the last two summers, a brand new bubble has been created called Pointe de la Masse. The previous very old bubbles called Masse 1 and 2 were getting very tired indeed. So this is a welcome upgrade. The base station is located right next to the Reberty chairlift, and goes all the way to the top next to 'Le 2800' mountain restaurant; there's no mid-station.

The base station of the new Point de la Masses bubble.

Although the old La Masse bubble did its job, and got us up the mountain, it wasn't especially user friendly or comfortable. This new bubble is the complete opposite; it is a ten seater and pretty fast at getting to the top. The old bubble sometimes used to have big queues especially during the school holidays. Will we still have these queues? I suspect not. Plus, the old Masse 1 bubble at the bottom is still there and marked on the this winter's piste map, which to me suggests that it will still run.

Not the clearest of photos, due to reflection inside the bubble, but you get the general idea. With 'Le 2800' mountain restaurant to the side.

The top of the lift is interesting in that the bubbles reach the peak inside the lift station building. To gain access to the pistes, you have to go up an escalator. Nothing wrong with this, it does after all save your legs - better an escalator than steps. But a big warning, this escalator is absolutely lethal. At the bottom is a small blackboard that warns you it is slippery. You are not kidding: both climbing on at the bottom and walking off at the top is dangerous. Perhaps I had snow stuck to the bottom of my boots which made it worse, I don't know!?! But why the warning on the blackboard? So please be careful.

Looking down from the viewing platform.

I do like this upgrade, it is comfortable and fast, and another decent investment. The old Masse 2 bubble has been taken out. And I can confirm that the old slow chairlift called Lac Noir has also gone and doesn't feature on the piste map any more. This is a shame.

There are plenty more upgrades that I haven't mentioned yet, and will blog about them in a few more days, I'd rather not overload this post. Oh, by the way, the snow conditions are fantastic for this early in the season, plus this week we've had loads of sunshine. Come back soon. In the meantime..... Live With Passion. Martin.

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Hi everyone, and welcome back to another post from Méribel, an early spring edition. Since the previous article, Méribel has remained busy leading up to the Easter Bank Holiday, providing me with plenty of ski instructing work. I've enjoyed teaching a whole variety of people including a Corporate Group from the UK, a private school from Lincolnshire, a mum and daughter combo from South Africa, a lovely Irish family and a regular Dutch husband and wife team.

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With our skills- based system of learning, we give you the tools to safely negotiate any demands the mountains make on you, helping you to increase your comfort zone and ski in a wider range of conditions. Whether you are a nervous novice, a blue piste cruiser or an all mountain adventurer, we tailor your ski lessons to create a perfect fit. The question is, which one are you?

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