At long last it has been a snowy week across much of France since the weekend as the snow that started in the country’s south eastern corner last week has spread north giving most resorts at least 10-20cm of new snow, dramatically improving conditions.
“I’m just back from Chamonix yesterday where there was a foot of perfect fresh powder on Grand Montets yesterday, it was my best ski day in a long time,” one happy skier tells us.
The most dramatic snowfalls have however been in the Pyrenees, which are currently on-going with some areas saying they’ve now had over a metre (40 inches) of snow since the weekend, giving superb powder conditions.
March is the month when the slopes get sunnier and resorts lay on more socially minded events as Springtime comes around. With the snow conditions we’ve had in the first two months of 2011 often being fairly Spring like, the typical freeze-thaw on the slopes for this time of year won’t be the novelty of usual winters. Indeed who knows, we may get winter backwards and have two months of deep powder ahead of us (we can hope…), but typically the days are longer, the snow hard-packed in the early morning, softening up by lunchtime and it’s probably time to stop for a beer and sun yourself on a deckchair by mid-afternoon.
One of the main music festivals to consider aiming for is the Little World event in Meribel (littleworldfestival.com) which runs for five days from 12th to 18th March. More than 40 acts play at various venues around the resort including a big open-air concert on the piste. The festival is the brain child of ‘local’ band The feeling and will bring their friends and family including acts like the Freemasons, Squeeze, Sophie Elli Bextor and Fiction Plane. A pass to all gigs costs 95 Euros.
But it’s still an all action month on the slopes of France with the X-Games Competition back in Tignes for the second year, this time from 16th 18th March. More than 125 of the best athletes from all over the world will be there to compete in freestyle ski and board contests. It promises to be quite a show again.
For serious skiers, if not necessarily world-class, the ski touring season starts to traditionally take off in March too. Ski touring then lasts well in to May (just in case you thought the season was more than half over already!).
But there are less tiring, pure fun activities to enjoy as well. In Courchevel you can now enjoy night skiing on the Verdons slope, every Tuesday from 5.40pm, while neighbouring Meribel have opted to offer more at the other end of the day with skier able to book access to the pistes before they open to the general public giving you the chance to put down tracks on freshly-groomed snow. Then while everyone else queues for the lifts you can enjoy a gourmet breakfast at the summit of Tougnète. Perfecto!
Posted by Patrick Thorne on Monday 28 Feb 2011