It’s Christmas in the Alps and while it has been a bit of a challenge to get to the slopes for those lucky enough to be heading out this week, the rewards are definitely worth it with great snow, more Euros to your pound and a vin chaud waiting at the end of your day on the slopes.

Conditions are generally good across France with most top resorts reporting a 4 – 6 foot (120-180cm) base and fresh snow in the past few days. It’s snowing again over Christmas weekend with temperatures similar to the UK.

The most snow is in the Grand Massif with resorts like in Flaine and in Samoens reporting 190cm (6.4 feet) bases. in La Rosiere has a similar base and Alpe d’Huez is only a little way behind at 1.8m (six feet).

The biggest falls of the past week have been at Chatel in the giant Portes du Soleil region reporting a metre of new snow in the past seven days, with Montgenevre receiving 20cm on Monday alone. Then for Christmas weekend the French Pyrenees received the present of a foot of snow.

The women’s side of the World Cup circuit switched from in Val d’Isere to in Courchevel this week as the famous resort in the Three Valleys switched from staging a Ukranian billionaire’s 5 million Euro birthday party at the weekend, to hosting World Cup racing for the first time in several decades.

Photographers from the Zoom agency captured all the action and now an exhibition featuring Lindsey Vonn, Sandrine Aubert and locals Taïna Barioz and Anne-Sophie Barthet are on display at la Croisette for anyone visiting later in the season.

Also new this week in Courchevel is a new weekly evening event “Verdons by Night.” Staged every Tuesday night from 5.30 to 7.15pm these “après-ski” evenings will be held in the resort’s Family Park and on the Verdons slope. Different winter sport activities will be available for a six euro supplement including night skiing, sledging and the bravest will be able to descend as far as in Courchevel 1550 along the slope which departs from the Croisette over a 600m vertical.

Over the wider 3 Valleys a new “3 Vallées Liberté” pass has been released offering “skiing in complete liberty with zero constraints”. The idea is you tie your bank account to the “3 Vallées Liberté” pass and pay only after you have enjoyed your day at a lower price than a normal pass - saving 10% on a regular 3 Valleys ski pass and 15% if you stay in just one Valley. As an added bonus, if you’re in resort for more than a week every 8th day of skiing is also free for the entire 3 Valleys ski area.

Posted by Patrick Thorne on Friday 24 Dec 2010

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