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France 2017-2018 :Alpe d'Huez, Oz, Vaujany, Villard, Auris

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Well, Winter's nearly here, so time to start the new thread. Here's hoping for a better season than the last 2. Might skip Christmas and NY just in case. Looks like first trip will be on 19th Jan. Anyone else already planning?

I was down twice over Summer - first at the beginning of July to cycle the Marmotte Granfondo and then with the family at the end of July. Weather during the family trip was amazing and warmest I've seen it. Hopefully will signal a colder Winter.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Good victory against the run away development at l'Alpe d'Huez in the Grenoble courts today

http://www.ledauphine.com/isere-sud/2017/10/19/la-frapna-annonce-l-annulation-du-plu-d-huez

This after a number of serious planning violations by l'Alpe d'Huez.

As for a cold winter, I'm not so sure, apparently the Atlantic is very warm at the moment, hence the hurricane that hit Ireland and this will continue keeping Europe warm. With a bit of luck the weather gods will decide otherwise.

It is true that some snow would be nice this season

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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?
Wow! Was that at the end of the season? Mind you Lans on Vercors looked a bit like that on a couple of days during the February holidays...
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'According to La Frapna, "the Alpe d'Huez built its local urban planning plan on totally far-fetched development hypotheses. The municipality planned to build almost 6,000 new tourist beds and hoped to increase the number of ski lifts by 34%, while 65% of the station's 33,000 beds are cold beds, that is to say occupied less than 3 weeks per year, and that the use of ski areas has been stagnating for 10 years in a climatically unfavorable climate for snow tourism. The increase in the permanent population of + 40% was also on the agenda. It is the entire urban development plan approved in 2015 that was challenged by the justice system for its impact on the environment and its unjustified nature'.


Basically the Alpe d'huez Local plan has been found to be based on unsound evidence and is therefore unable to justify further development that would cause harm to wildlife and natural beauty.

I wonder if this has implications for other ski station development plans, particularly the statement about 'climatically unfavourable' (is that specific to Alp d'heuz's southerly facing position) and the proportion of second homes or underoccupied letting properties ?
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Red Dave wrote:
Wow! Was that at the end of the season? Mind you Lans on Vercors looked a bit like that on a couple of days during the February holidays...


That was just before the middle of April. Things looked ok during the February holidays and it was possible to ski down to Huez then. In some ways the skiing was actually better in April - less ice, we had a lot of fun that day.

What was amazing is that they kept things going as long as they did, thanks to having laid down man-made snow opportune moments. Without snow canons there would have been no skiing below the 2nd troncon for much of the season.
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@Peter S, davidof The local plan might have been rejected but I can tell you they are still crashing on with the building anyway from what I can see, rightly or wrongly. I actually think wrongly because I think there is no real shortage of accommodation, just a very bad distribution of skiers. I am not quite sure where their cold bed figures come from. Just from anecdotal observation in our block of 115 flats, then New Year is close to 100% occupancy, at least 3 weeks in February are too. It's quite easy to tell, the gardien, who is normally not the happiest guy anyway, becomes super miserable with emptying the bin room hourly on changeover day Toofy Grin I would say ours is one of the typical 80's constructed blocks in the resort, probably not as popular as the Bergers or town area either. Granted occupancy drops to the floor in January but then selectively reducing the price of passes would soon fix that perhaps.
Having said that, from what I understand all the new building is being done by private companies, although what deal they got on the acquiring the land from the council I do not know.
Interesting to see how it all pans out, some of the new lifts will be welcome, especially the "urban transport system" as I think they refer to it, connecting Huez Village to the town, Bergers and Eclose replacing those old bubbles, buckets and chairlifts.
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The lift system is a bit crap to be honest, we go there for the sunshine and the cheap lift passes on Saturdays but you always seem to spend a huge amount of time on lifts compared to better organized ski areas. It needs a serious rethink. I wouldn't pay 55 euros or however much it is for a day's skiing to be honest.

There are some nice pistes though, some good off piste too.

Still at least it is not les Deux Alps.

http://www.liberation.fr/futurs/2016/10/28/l-alpe-d-huez-la-montagne-terrassee_1525006
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Interesting article. Not just the uk where big business sometimes disregards public scrutinity. It is perhaps instructive about some of the impending tensions in the ski industry between falling revenues, customer expectations and climate reality.
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@Peter S, Actually the lift company SATA is, I think, still 51% owned by the town. If you call the town a "big business", which it is in many ways, it is then down to what you consider public scrutiny is. I guess the town council would say that as they put the plans forward for the good of the town that is what they were elected for and that's it. Still not convinced of the cold bed theory though, especially when you are adding "upmarket" apartments etc.
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@davidof, Yes 55€ sounds a bit steep. Never understood the entire logic behind replacing the marmottes 1 cabins with the big chairs. The cabins could download as fast as upload but the chair has to be slowed for people to get off, so they then build the Flie Douce at the top and the chair spends most of it's time running at half speed to download Flie Douce customers Puzzled I guess also improvements to the lift system are complicated by the fact that Oz-Vaujany now own some of the worst offenders. On a good day with quiet lifts you can do some great circuits though, which I like.
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I imagine that some of the issues with the lifts are historic. At one time individual peasants owned each lift and you bought a carnet of tickets for each one! So you had lifts dotted around the fields in a piecemeal fashion, probably some of the lifts follow this.

Regarding planning, l'Alpe d'Huez is part of France, they can't just decide what they fancy doing as if they've declared UDI - although this is how many mountain communities act.

You are right about the Oz side being some of the worst offenders. It is like a Swiss ski area with all the competing villages.
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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.
Looks like the snow is coming early again! Hope it's not a repeat of the last 2 years where there was plenty in November and then almost nothing in December and January!!
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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
I was doing a function in Vaujany on Monday night for AG2R cycle team and the tourists office mentioned that they will try for the first weekend opening on the 25th November.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@howiet, thanks for the heads up Very Happy
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@howiet, @Claude B, Yes, should be out then, will give you a call
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Although looking at the long range forecast there isn't any precipitation forecast until that weekend. Cannons will be running though I expect. I'll def come over 1 day if it does open.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Well, @howiet, did the first weekend opening happen on the 25th November? Looks like some considerable snow has fallen over the last day of so all the way down to the valley and the cold weather looks set to continue. Hopefully we have another sizeable dump before the season proper starts. Can we start to dream about good conditions this season?????
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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?
@Bjorn_again_Daehlie, No it did not. Snow was a bit thin I would say. Has snowed some since then though, especially last night and snow cannons have been running day and night some days this week. Was snowing more on the way up from Grenoble tonight than it was in Alpe d'Huez ! Looks very stormy so probably more to come.
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Fantastic conditions to-day for the opening. Hopefully it bodes well for the season.

Little story about what I love about Oz and area. On Friday night we went to Bourg to do some shopping. Stopped off for Pizza and while waiting nipped across the road to Le Negociants bar and myself and mates bought a round. Was having a bit of banter in broken Franglais with the barman and various druken French dudes, so the bar man got our next round. Happy days. Meanwhile it started thumping snow and of course we rented a cheapo Fiat Punto with no chains...oops. Anyway we go as far as Oz village after pushing it up the last little bit. Met the Dutch chef from La Cure you was out walking this dogs. "No bother, gimme 10 minutes and I'll give you a lift up in the 4x4"....where else would you get it....
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@rzer, Sounds good. Back myself next Saturday, looking forward to it now Very Happy
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Lots of snow today. But raining down low tonight. Which is good because we have to get said FIAT Panda down the hill in the morning.
More snow forecast for later in the week so I'd say you will have a blast Very Happy
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@@rzer, Hope you managed to get down the hill OK. They're a nice couple who run La Cure. Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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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!
@rzer, Sounds even better Very Happy Unfortunately my reason for coming out next week is to finish the work I started on the apartment, which I did not finish the last time because of "distractions" rolling eyes
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It's good today ... lower down ... some wind scouring higher up.
But miraculous improvement on the last couple of Decembers Very Happy
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Snowing again when I left work.. Station looks great with all the snow Smile
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I feel as if every morning for the past week there has been some sort of snowfall during the night Smile. Resort looks great. People happy. More snow due tomorrow. Long may it continue Smile
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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.
Had to go over yesterday to ski as my girlfriend's skis were there and she needed to activate her season pass there. Cracking day, beautiful snow and very quiet. We didn't queue for a lift all day Very Happy
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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
Anyone coming to Alpe D tomorrow is in for a right treat!
Snowed all last night, and started again this afternoon
Pow days are here!
Enjoy!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Arriving next Saturday for a week if anyone is around and fancies a catch up, staying in Le Bergers.
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:


It's been a tough last week or so weather wise. Loads of snow followed by wind and rain and lift closures.
Snowing a little today in resort.

A view from the office!
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Poster: A snowHead
Anybody out at the moment? How's it looking? We're arriving 21st Jan, can't wait!
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Not much open as I look out from the Auris skipass office. Snowing all day today but the wind has closed most of the lifts.
Tomorrow should be a bit better.
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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?
20 mins earlier than expected the snow has begun Smile
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howiet wrote:
20 mins earlier than expected the snow has begun Smile


Thanks howiet! Now if you could just continue to update every 10 minutes or so for the next 24 hours before I arrive it'd be greatly appreciated snowHead
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Morter, Very Happy

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@howiet Very Happy Just need it to carry on for another day or so, then a nice bluebird week... wink
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
5-10 cm expected today. It's been snowing most of the afternoon so the forecast looks about right.

Happy days Smile
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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!
Lovely few days ahead before the next snow hopefully

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Snowing heavily since about 7am here in Auris Smile
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good we are out there on the 7th Very Happy Very Happy
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