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Grand Massif 2017/2018 snow report, Les Carroz, Flaine, Samoens, Morillon & Sixt

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Flying out tomorrow. Weather looks pretty good and it all looks great on the webcams, so keep you posted on the snow conditions (if the wifi behaves!). Very Happy
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Hazy sunshine this morning in Flaine with occasional low cloud. From the top of the Tete de Saix it looked as though Samoens, Morillon and Carroz were in cloud but did not go down to investigate.

In Flaine the pistes are in good condition, if a little ice and lumpy in places. The off piste is very lumpy and hard and not worth the effort of skiing it, in my view. Top and bottom of Serpentine closed. After the rain on Monday it is remarkable that there is anything to ski on at all. They have been removing snow from the sides of the roads because there is so much stacked up that when it snows again there would be nowhere to plough the snow to.

Cascades, Combe de Veret and Gers still closed but pretty much everything else in Flaine is open.
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Cascades now open as is most of the Grand Massif. Gers still closed.

Ski from flaine down to the new lift. The blue leading to it via verclands (?) was a bit icy but great fun. Then stayed in les carroz for most of the day. The reds were in good condition considering no snow for a while.

In fact, loads of snow and very few signs of bare pistes. The runs back to flaine were very lumpy as usual due to the weekend skiers I expect.

Due to snow later on this week which would be good although blue skies are never something to complain about!
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@Bruce99, Gers was open yesterday afternoon

Skied round all the resorts yesterday, where the conditions on piste were generally very good with some icy patches on steeper sections. Combe de Veret opened. The bottom of Tourmaline was very busy and therefore chopped up. Serpentine is now open for its entire length, albeit with a small width restriction towards the bottom. Looking forward to some fresh snow on Wednesday night but today is another bluebird day.
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Can anyone tell me what the drive is like in to Samoens town? I'm driving out Wednesday with a stop over so will be on route Thursday morning. Looking at the forecast there should be some fresh snow around. Have snow tyres and chains so not too worried just be good to know how steep the road is. Thanks in adavnce!
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Itís one of the easiest drives up from the valley youíll find. Roads up from Sallanches will almost certainly be cleared anyway but unless itís extreme I think snow tyres will suffice anyway.
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@jirac18, you mean up from Cluses surely? If you've got to Sallanches, you've gone too far...
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@under a new name, duh yes sorry Cluses only been there ten times Embarassed
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I was in samoens this afternoon after cascades and the roads are clear. Hardly any snow anywhere at that level.
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Woke up this morning to fresh snow and it has been snowing ever since, although it has eased up a bit now. Visibility this morning varied between bad and dreadful, although keeping to runs in the trees helped. In Morillon it seemed as though it might have been raining before it turned to snow because there was ice beneath a very small amount of fresh snow at the bottom of Marvel. Also, Chars was closed at about midday, maybe poor conditions towards the bottom? Coming back into Flaine down Tourmaline was challenging, to say the least, bumpy and very poor visibility. Looking a bit brighter now. As they say, any snow is better than no snow and the whole area needed freshening up after about 12 days without snow and 1 day of very heavy rain. Perhaps as much as 25cm has fallen.
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Spent today charging around the trees in Le Carroz and Morillon 1100. I didnít notice any sign of rain just a fair amount of fresh snow to play in with varying levels of bad visibility. My back leg (Iím a snowboarder) aches with all the riding today. But Iím grinning like a Cheshire Cat.
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@Chris Mason, neither Chars nor Coulouvrier were scheduled to be open today, which seems to be pretty regular at the moment. Spoke to someone the other day that said that the instructors in Samoens are now refusing to use Coulouvrier as both Chars and Aouia are not really blues at all, and both prone to be very icy. I guess that cuts demand, since Club Med was the whole reason for the lift. Just checked now and they are closed again tomorrow.

Snow has now stopped in Les Carroz.......
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This afternoon was much better than this morning. The snow eased off and the sun tried to show its face. The visibility was, briefly, good all the way to the top in Flaine, allowing us to make fresh tracks between Almandine and Minos. Snow was a bit heavy but great fun all the same. Now snowing again and temperature seems to have fallen. Visibility permitting tomorrow should be another great day. Hope so, as it is my last day here until the last week in March. There is an excellent snow base that, barring freak warm temperatures or sustained heavy rain, should ensure that the rest of the season is far better than normal.

@sj1608, Interesting what you say about Coulouvrier. I am not at all surprised that instructors are refusing to use the Chars and Aouia runs, they do get very icy. Before they took out the Lanches chair you could get back up to the Tete de Saix quite easily from, say, the top of the Sairon chair. Now I think you have to go via Carroz and Molliets. If the Coulouvrier chair was designed to ease the pressure on the Chariande Express due to the number of extra beds in the new Club Med development it seems daft that it has 'scheduled' openings.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
They are both certainly Ďreddishí blues but not ridiculous. Crazy that the lift isnít open. Whole point was to relieve pressure on Chariande express. Iím out for half term when ques there can be horrible so I hope they open coulouvrier then.
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@Ghanny, a couple of weeks ago there was a solid 2km of ice on Chars, with people scattered all over anything with a gradient. Many people were taking off their skis and going down sat down. I wouldn't call that 'reddish'. When I was a nervous beginner I'm pretty sure that I would have given up on skiing if I thought blues were like that. I think they're both great slopes - but not blues.
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Fair point sj1608. Iíve only skied them without ice.
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@sj1608, +1

We skied Chars at Christmas/new year and last weekend and I have experienced 'blue' conditions on it for minority of the time. We have only skied Aouia once, at Christmas and it was icy.

I suspect that there will be some slope remodelling this summer. I also hope that they do something about the tunnel but I expect that this won't be changed.
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@Chris Mason, hi Chris - what do you mean by scheduled openings of coulouvrier please?
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@Freestyle, it was me that said that. Each evening the planned status of the lifts and pistes the next day is updated on the GM website. If they don't plan on opening them, they have a red cross against them. Coulouvrier/Chars/Aouia have had that the last two days.......but they are all open today. So the closure may have been due to a fault that has been fixed.
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Out of interest, do they ever open Grand Cret down to the bottom of the Vercland gondala? I've never seen it open this season so far (on the app or web site).
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Left home 6am flight 8am skiing by 1.30 (French time ). 3 amazing hours of skiing.

Coulouvrier open . Both blue open and in best condition I have skied them. Only icy last 100 metres, but they are really tough blues whatever the condition

Snow condition is very good . Minus 1 in Samoens village , minus 4 at 1600m
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@sj1608, ah I see. Thanks.
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@stodge, yes.

Last time we were up though, a few weeks ago, there were trees across the piste, brought down by high winds or weight of snow.

Wouldnít have thought it was their highest priority, esp. given everything that currently needs to be kept safe...
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Morning all. Can anyone please tell me if there are any ski lockers at the bottom of the Vercland bubble? Ta.
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@Jenniper, as far as I know there aren't, although there are some at the top. This thread seems to have most of the info:
http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=133164
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Oh fab - thank you.
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Just booked a last minute half term holiday in Samoens. So, really enjoyed combing though the thread to get up to speed. Thanks you all for posting so far. Weíre staying in the Chalets de Layssia. Weíre four in number and looking for any tips on pistes and cafes for a very mixed group. Iíll sk, telemark, board anything, The Mrs likes cruises blues and the odd red. The 15 year old doesnít reallly want to be here but may go down a blue on skis. The 11 year old boards with me and will lazily slide down a blue. So, I guess, whatís the best blue that doesnít have flat spots? Any boarder flat spot traps to avoid?
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No ski lockers at bottom of vercland bubble that I know of but Roland gay have plenty at the top of the bubble that you can rent if you rent hear from them
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2020rules wrote:
No ski lockers at bottom of vercland bubble that I know of but Roland gay have plenty at the top of the bubble that you can rent if you rent gear from them
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Samoens will be very busy at half term so if you want to dine out in the evening book two days in advance (at least). Bar de Savoie best for casual and doesn't take bookings. Serac also a good atmosphere but def needs booking. If your party can manage it, and its open, then take the Coulouvrier chair to the Tetes de Saix (top of Samoens and access to whole of GM) and bypass long queues at the Chariande Express. If you want to go to Flaine my advice would be to go mid morning once the crowds have already gone. The Vernant chair can be a half term nightmare. You will need patience!
@ExSussexSnow,
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Iím in morillon for half term and can concur with Ian that restaurant booking is worth doing in advance.
Itís my wifeís 40th on 14th Feb and when I tried booking Le 8M des Monts for 4 of us a week back it was already booked up.
Thankfully I have secured a reservation for Fifine instead.
Mike
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Excellent, thanks for the tips. Reading back it seems the piste down to the new lift are icy. Having grown up skiing and boarding in Scotland i can handle sketchy. More cocerned for junior. Does it really get icy the whole length?
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@ExSussexSnow, no, not the whole length. On Chars can be up to 2km depending on conditions. We went down yesterday morning and it was OK for the whole length, came back about 3 hours later and parts of it had been scraped and were very icy, with the same scenario of nervous beginners removing skis and walking the steep bits. Not so sure about how much ice Aouia from Samoens gets, but it has been icy on the few occasions we've been on it.

It really depends where you are heading. If you are happy to stay in Samoens, Chariande 2 lift (just to the left of Chariande Express as you go into the lift) takes you up to almost the top of Samoens, a bit below the Tete de Saix, and you can loop it without the massive queues. I suspect that during half term they will also open Gouilles lift. If they do, you can ski down from the top of Chariande 2 to Gouilles and that will then take you up to the Tete de Saix. The other alternative is to get up early and beat the queue for Chariande Express!

One other thing, there is a red in Samoens called Marmotte. If you turn right off of Chariande 2, you join it part way down and have missed the steep bits. Terrific views and that lower section is certainly less red than than the much-discussed Chars down to Coulouvrier lift! If you decide you like that one, you can come down from the Tete on the blue Dahu and then turn hard left at the top of Chariande 2 chair, and hop across to Marmotte. We think it is easier (and certainly wider) than the rest of Dahu.


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Sun 4-02-18 16:22; edited 1 time in total
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@ExSussexSnow, one other thought. Think you are in Samoens village? If so, you can always take the ski bus to Morillon, and go up from there one or two days. Morillon has the longest green in Europe (allegedly!), which is tree-lined, pretty and requires virtually no poling, as well as red and blue options. Along with the not-so-nice Chars......
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Chars is the approach run from Morillon to Colouvrier. Aouba (or something like that) is the run from Sam 1600. The icy parts are much shorter than Chars.
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Just got back from Samoens and I thought it worth mentioning the work done at the top of the Tete de Saix, the widening of the blue piste there (4x wider, maybe more) has made a massive difference and has taken the dread and fear of being taken out by others when passing through that area. I imagine at busy periods it will still be very crowded but will feel much easier and safer.

The Chars piste is a lovely piste but it was icy at the bottom and it feels wrong to be a blue.

Our favourite route down to Samoens from the Tete de Saix is the top of Dahu, then after the first short steep turn left on to the Marmotte by the top of the Chariande II lift, then down the Marmotte for 300m ish and then take the Verosse blue. You then have various options to complete the run back. The advantage of this route is that it cuts out the two steep sections on the Dahu which at half term are busy with beginners picking their way down.

Cafes:
Morillon sector - Chalet Clair & L'Igloo. Bar 7 at the top of the Morillon gondola was good as well - also discovered it has a picnic room
Carroz sector - either of the 2 at the bottom of the Plein Soleil and don't forget the large picnic room at the top of the Carroz gondola
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So, is there ever a combat skiing route down to SamoŽns village? Or do you end up skiing down an open road, or over a cliff on a power line clearance?
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@ExSussexSnow, too many roads, felled trees and farmerís land to negotiate to get down to Samoens village!
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Freestyle wrote:
@ExSussexSnow, too many roads, felled trees and farmerís land to negotiate to get down to Samoens village!


Given they have decent snow, why is the red down to Vercland not open? The big landslide that happened last year or something else?
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@ExSussexSnow, and a river.
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