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Grand Massif 2016/2017 snow report, Les Carroz, Flaine, Samoens, Morillon & Sixt

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
These lifts are now open:
- Morillon : Esserts, Bergin, Biollaires, beginner button lift
- SamoŽns : GME, Vercland gondola, Damoiseaux, Demoiselles, beginner button lifts, magic carpet

A tree has touched Morillon gondola's cables and it will reopen once they've cleared it safely. In the meantime, a ski bus service has been put in place between Morillon village and Les Esserts.

The avalanche risk is high (4/5). See today's Bulletin de Risque d'Avalanche here http://www.meteofrance.com/previsions-meteo-montagne/bulletin-avalanches/chablais/opp01. Upper lifts are not opening yet as there are fears for skiers' safety in current conditions. Great prudence is recommended.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
We skied in Les Carroz this morning without realising there were problems elsewhere, as we'd already made the decision to stay in the trees and in Les Carroz as other half had a fall yesterday and needed to take it easy. All the links were closed first thing, but the link to Flaine was open by about midday.

It was snowing either heavily or very heavily all morning, but has eased off in the last hour or so in Les Carroz village.

@stewwrlfc, according to the Grand Massif website, it looks as if both Morillon and Samoens remain closed. So sorry for people who are only here for a week and thought they had hit lucky to have lots of snow, when the reverse seems to be true.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@sj1608, as is often the case... heavy snow brings its own problems...
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We are considering booking Les Terrasses d'Hťlios, Flaine for the first week of the easter holiday, arriving 1 April. It's a ski in/out place, do you think that there will be sufficient snow? We stayed at 1800m last year in Avoriaz, and conditions were great but Flaine is a bit lower. Sounds like there is a lot of new snow at the moment, but will that last 3+ weeks if not topped up, plus temperatures increasing? Hoping to book tonight, or tomorrow at the latest, so if anyone can offer any advice I'd be really grateful!
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@itsbeenawhile, I would have thought Flaine would be fine that week based on current snow depths. I haven't been to the GM yet this season so hopefully someone who is there now can confirm.
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@itsbeenawhile, It's impossible to say for certain but they try very hard to keep the run down from Helios/Eos to the bottom of the Gerats chair open for as long as possible. Helios is at about 1650m so not too far below Avoriaz. I will be out there that same week so I am very much hoping that it will be open. Both Helios and its sister block, Terrasses d'Eos, are lovely apartments and if all else fails there is a very good (free) bus service that takes you down to the bottom of the Grands Vans chair and access to the whole of the Grand Massif ski area.
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Hi, snowymum and Chris, thanks for replying. It is really helpful to get some advice. I think we will have to chance it and fingers crossed the run is open. Flaine does tick a lot of boxes and the apartments do look great. I was hopeful that we would have a good covering at hotel and village level but we maybe need to go earlier in the year for that. Just another question if you don't mind, although not sure if I should post on another chat; would you recommend ESF or ESI for lessons based on Les Terraces d'Helios location? ESF was okay last year, but the instructor wasn't overly friendly and I wanted it to be a bit more fun this year for the kids; it's only their second year skiing.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@itsbeenawhile, I have sent you a PM re; Flaine. I forgot to say that I'm afraid I don't know about the ski schools in Flaine itself as we have always used ESF in Les Carroz.
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@itsbeenawhile, ESI every time, especially from that location.
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@rungsp, thanks, I'm a bit confused as ESI looks like it picks up further away. I think our apartments (still researching whether to book Puzzled) are 7 or 8 on this map http://www.esi-grandmassif.com/flaine-en/ecole/rassemblement.html, if so I think ESF pick up closer. From what I've read though ESI sound like the better ski school?
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@itsbeenawhile, ESI has a better reputation, as @rungsp, said. However, I don't think ESI collect from and return to Helios/Eos whereas, certainly for young kids, ESF do. The downside of collecting and dropping off at the development is that they spend the first and last 20 minutes (or thereabouts) of each lesson faffing around on the slopes and chair close to the development before they get to the main ski area. I would guess that the lessons start at 9.30 each morning and looking at the ESI website they have a meeting point close to the bottom of the Grands Vans lift, which is at the far end of Flaine Foret. Assuming your kids are not complete beginners it will take you no more than 15 minutes to get from Helios to the bottom of Grands Vans. The chair you need to take is Gerats and this opens at 9.00. There is also a free bus that runs about every 10 minutes at peak times and that takes about 10 minutes to get to the bottom of Grands Vans. Picking up the kids from Grands Vans also means that you get another 15 minutes skiing in before having to meet them. I should add that I have no vested interest in either organisation!
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@itsbeenawhile, You could also consider Le Centaure residence which might be more convenient for ski school and has a large pool. I haven't stayed there but have skied past it and it looks well located.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@itsbeenawhile, agree that ESI has the better reputation but they had some issues around having enough instructors for Flaine at the start of the season (rumoured to be related to commercial/financial activity), so you may want to double check that they will have instructors by that stage of the season.

Centaure is definitely better situated for lessons and you might also want to consider the Hotel Totem, which is newly refurbed and in a great position. I have no experience of either.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Thanks for all the advice. I would never have considered that time would be wasted before the lesson, and therefore dropping off/picking up further away could actually be an advantage. I've been struggling to get hold of ESI so hope that is not a sign that they have issues this Easter. I'm going to wait until they confirm availability and then we'll book accommodation. We have shortlisted Helios, Le Centaur and Totem so thanks for the recommendations! I am favouring being closer to the lessons and restaurants (Centaur/Totem) but they are the pricier of the three.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Flying out on Saturday, how are things looking following the warm week?
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@linkem, they're looking warm and soft! Overall, things are holding up very well, it's very slushy in the afternoon, but cover in most places is still good.
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I wanted to note that in LC we are strong fans of ESF as opposed to any of the others. The team is stable, as it is made up of locals, some of whom are the sons and daughters of previous instructors. They have always, always been kind and friendly with the children, from their first foray onto skis at Piou Piou right through to gold badge graduation (which they do not hand out like smarties), and now encouraging them into racing...and even phoning friends who run race school in Flaine, to make the introductions. I think that with all of these things it is the individuals, as opposed to the name on the door that counts.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Rained all day Saturday. Warn this morning before the clouds rolled in, but stayed dry. Spring skiing which was good, however not been anywhere like it for how moguled (tourmaline, serpentine) the runs were. Ski in ski out at D'Helios very soft, not a great start of the day on the board, but does work well. Although just made the last lift at 5.20 to get back. ESF convenient and son enjoyed his morning with them.
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@linkem, what you have on those runs are not true moguls, they're just heaps of loose snow that are kicked up by skiers and boarders during the day, although i agree they are hard work to ski. Get up early and the pistes are all smooth. If you want to see real hard packed moguls, take the Diamant Noir chair lift and watch the skiers on the Diamant Noir run below!

Sun shining brightly today,looks like being another good skiing day. Saturday's top up of snow made for a lovely morning of skiing high in Flaine yesterday.
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@sj1608,
Quote:

If you want to see real hard packed moguls, take the Diamant Noir chair lift and watch the skiers on the Diamant Noir run below!

done this a couple of years back and can vouch for that! one of the hardest ski runs i've experienced or at least the most difficult of coditions, moguls at least a metre high and very plentiful!
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@northantsred, I have no wish at all to do the run, but enjoy watching other people from above! It was closed today, so nothing to see.

Beautiful day today in Flaine, brilliant sunshine with a few bits of cloud. Things were icy first thing, then nice for a few hours and by 2pm it was very soft and hard on the legs. There is still loads of snow, and if you are prepared to start early it's easy to get 5 hours or so in before it becomes harder work. Pistes were very quiet and very few speed merchants, which made a pleasant change.
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Large hole opened up at bottom of serpentine today, just avoided as it had not been marked off. Underground stream running fast with all the meltwater. Still plenty on fun to be had up top, till the clouds rolled in this afternoon and visibility became very low and threw the towel in at 3.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
We will be out in Flaine next week. I'm a bit scared to ask, having looked at the weather reports, but how is the snow holding up - particularly the beginner slopes? Thanks.
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Heading out on Sunday. Webcams in LC look OK...a lot better than when we were there at Xmas! Any on the spot reports gratefully received.
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Will also be in SamoŽns from Sunday, and it does look a lot better than Christmas and new year
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Flaine beginner areas still had wide cover of snow yesterday. Forecasted temps maxing high teens C at flaine 1600m today and tomorrow with some weekend precipitation with rain/snow limit of about 1700m, says chamonix-meteo. Keep your fingers crossed.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Thanks - everything crossed!
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Arrived in Flaine Saturday pm. Stayed in the Flaine bowl yesterday. Early on the pistes were quite hard, did a few rounds off the Lindars Nord chair, Agate was quite fun, slowly softening as the morning progressed. I am surprised at how good the pistes are, bearing in mind the lack of snow and high temperatures. Most pistes have brown patches on them but they are easy to avoid. There seem to be very few people about, which is surprising given that the Easter school holidays have started (in England, at least). Cloudy most of yesterday and occasional bad visibility. Today looks like being a very warm day, clear sky, wall to wall sunshine.
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You know it makes sense.
Monday was glorious, but not much good for the snow! Went down to Samoens (bottom of the Chariande Express), Carroz as far down as the Gron chair and Morillon as far as the bottom of the Bergin chair. Pistes all in fairly good shape but as the day went on you had to be careful as more stones appeared on the pistes. Some of the pistes lower down are getting very thin and they were bringing in snow yesterday evening in lorries to ensure that there is enough cover to keep the pistes open.

There was a bit of rain in the resort last night and this fell as snow higher up, not much but enough to make skiing off the side of Fred very enjoyable this morning. We were going to go over to Samoens again but from what could be seen at the top of Grands Vans there was a lot of low cloud, which is probably why all the ski schools were coming over into the bowl. Cloud has rolled in so visibility this afternoon could be difficult.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Nothing to do with the weather, but has anyone seen the news about the proposed new lifts in the Sixt/Gers area? Information here:

http://www.mairie-sixtferacheval.fr/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/projet-de-liaison-teleportee-1.pdf
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This morning woke up to light snow that got heavier for the next hour or so. Visibility was very poor at 9.30 and first run down Faust was difficult, even with a bit of fresh snow on the frozen piste beneath. As we reached the top of Dessert Blanc the sun came out and revealed that only 1 person had been down Lucifer, so we had to do that. It was glorious, did it again and then the off piste to the left of Lucifer. Off piste a bit bumpy in places but great to be making fresh tracks so late in the season. The sunshine soon brought the crowds out but the first 2 hours were wonderful. By lunchtime everything softening up but still great skiing higher up, particularly Agate and off the side of Fred across to Mephisto Superieur. Don't write the season off just yet!
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Les Carroz will close completely on Sunday 9th April.

Still great morning fun to be had in Flaine and having great slushy fun (on a snowboard!) until about 2pm in both Morillon and Samoens.

Discounted ski day passes available for all resorts other than Les Carroz.

Off to Flaine now for a bit of Fred, mephisto and dessert blanc action!
Happy last of the snow folks!
FS snowHead
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Yesterday was another nearly cloudless day. Did most of the runs down to Samoens, which are still in good condition, nice and fast early in the morning, softening up a bit by lunchtime. Was going to go down towards Morillon but it would appear that they have closed more runs and there was a sign saying the only way back was via the Lanches chair, which I didn't understand. Was going to take the piste across to the bottom of the Plein Soleil chair but that was closed beyond the top of the Kedeuze telecabine. What has surprised me more than anything this week has been the lack of queues, even allowing for people coming in from the other resorts to ski in the Flaine bowl.

They are really struggling to keep some of the lower runs open. The run past the Cascades restaurant down to the DMC was closed yesterday and the runs from Flaine Montsoleil that access the bottom of Tourmaline are getting very thin. The bottom of Serpentine is closed, everyone being forced to access Grands Vans via the nursery slope. As ever at this time of the year, conditions are much better higher up, particularly in the afternoon. There is still some lovely skiing to be had, all thanks to the guys that groom the pistes.
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The jist of notice in Les Carroz Tourist Office window is that weekend lift passes will be lower and that they will try to keep links open after Sunday but with no guarantee as the current weather forecast is not good for winter sports (sun worshippers will be happy!), free buses to Flaine to commence after Sunday. Weekend tariffs and bus timetable to be confirmed.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
It was our worst season in Grand Massif to date. We went first time in Feb(usually Easter hol), hoping (silly me!) for better snow. Instead we encountered massif queues due to bad infrastructure and not so good snow. Why GMassif ? Great childcare/ski lessons (3 and 8y old) so adults can ski all day non stop! If anyone know about great childcare skiing resorts where adults leave kids from 9am till 17.30 pm i would appreciate your recommendations.
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Yesterday was very warm and the lower runs are really getting hammered. There are places where you have to take your skis off (access to Gerats chair, very bottom of Tourmaline) and I understand that the pistes from Montsoleil to the rest of the bowl will not be opening again this season. Higher up there is still some good skiing to be had throughout the day. Went into the Gers bowl yesterday afternoon which was lovely, I would guess that early on it would be very icy. It's my last day for the season today. I have been told that Flaine is fully booked this coming week, if this weather continues the remaining pistes are going to deteriorate quickly.

@kedsky, Speaking personally, one of the pluses of family holidays is that the family gets to spend time together. My kids are now in their 20's but I did enjoy skiing with them when they were much younger. Full time child care? I know of one company that specialises in skiing holidays with childcare/creche facilities - Ski Hillwood http://www.familyskiholidays.com/ I know the couple that run the company so I suggest you take a look at their site.
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Heading out on Monday.
Doesnt sound promising but just to get away with the family will be good.
Early starts and hitting the pool in the afternoon appears to be the order of the day.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Was my last day today. Here till Friday but weather more suited to some hiking. Had a great ski this morning down Serpentine a couple of times and Marmotte in Samoens.

Skiing in the morning is fine especially higher. Considering the warm weather I am amazed how well the pistes have held up. Samoens 1600 is now a slushy muddy mess however and I don't think the run down to Chariande express will survive next day or so. I think to access that you will have to catch the little bus up then ski down that red.

As long as you have realistic expectations I love this time of year. If you are looking for wall to wall great snow you are obviously going to be disappointed. Had a great weeks skiing with the kids and left them at home today. Now for some sunbathing.
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@Ghanny, Totally agree with your comments. We went over to Samoens this morning, did Dahu, Marmotte and, when the racing had finished, the piste they were using for slalom. Also did Aigle Noire and Gouilles, Aigle Noire was still a bit icy at the bottom at midday. Had lunch at the top of Tete des Saix and then back to Flaine for 2 runs down the Gers bowl. When the snow is soft it is very forgiving of my (not very good) technique. Still shipping snow in by the lorry load so they are making a massive effort to keep as much open as possible. The run down to Molliets is still OK but Chamois is closed so has to be accessed via the top of the Carroz telecabine.

@ianbradders, Hope you have a great week, whatever it is you end up doing!
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We're not heading out until Thursday ... yikes! May bring our walking boots! What's the latest odds on the links being open to Flaine? Salice and Tourmaline?

Staying in Samoens again but may bring a car so we can drive to Flaine and perhaps Courmayeur or Avoriaz.
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