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

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
So we are half way through our week skiing out of Samoens (full TR to follow) but hereís an update for those interested in snow conditions.

In general terms there is a full coverage of loads of snow everywhere. In 95% of the 75 odd miles Iíve done in three days the coverage is good with nice pistes however certain places are becoming very hard packed and patchy with ice. Good example of this is the new Chars run down to the new Coulouvrier chair lift. There is a tight narrow section towards the bottom third which is a sheet of ice with loose powder on top. Itís ok in the morning but afternoon itís littered with novice skiers who just donít have the skill set nor temperament to ski it safely. Add this to numerous inconsiderate advanced skiers who think,they own the track and itís a bit uncomfortable and I will avoid it the rest of the week.

Places such as Perce Neige are moguled with big piles of loose powder as is tourmaline as per usual from cannons. Pretty much all the off piste is mega tracked out. Can still find some to have fun on but itís not powder skiing by any stretch of the imagination.

In short Iím so glad we are here the week before school half term. Itís quiet enough to really enjoy aside from the odd straightlining moron who seems to follow us about like a bad smell. If there is no fresh dumps by next week it could get hellish in places for beginners. Best runs so far are off the top of flaine but also Les Carroz down from the top gondola by any route has been superb. Sairon and Bergin in Morillon was good condition too.
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thanks for the report jirac.

Am out in Morillon next week with family. Tried to get down to the new Coulouvrier chair when out there over Xmas. Coaxing the 7yo down the ice stretches on that blue was an experience neither of us wish to repeat. It seemed to be hardly ever open that week and even after 20cm it was still icy. Add the holiday crowd next week and it will be chaotic. Guess next year it will revert to Red or they will reshape in summer.

....off now to continue the snow dance.
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@dozofoz, itís really not a blue run in my opinion most of it is red for those who hold great stock in the colour code system. Hope my update doesnít sound overly negative as there is a lot of good skiing to be had especially if you are familiar with the area
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We did Les Chars down to the Coulouvrier chair just after 1pm today, we thought there were 2 sections that were steepish and had icy patches, but nothing too bad. We think it is a really nice red and that they are a bit cheeky calling it a blue. But our ZigZag instructor reckons it is a good blue because the steep sections are short!
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@stodge, thatís fair in that they are short steep sections but overall I think itís also fair that in icy conditions itís red difficulty for most people. We did the run at 4pm yesterday and it was unpleasant. Not helped by a guy injuring his knee and laying prone in the very middle of steepest iciest section. Iíd sooner go down to the Gron Chair to get up to tÍtes des Saix and then down dahu and marmottes into Samoens 1600. Wonít bother doing chars late in the day again.
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Two red runs are planned to Coulouvier next season. Will this result in some modifications to the blues and/or will they be black runs in disguise?
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@ian999, do you know if they will be more or less directly under the chair? I have had some great off piste from the point where you enter that tight space between the rocks near the top just below marmotte. Will be a shame to run groomers in that bowl but c'est la vie - just opens up more off piste adjacent.

regarding the grading, i never thought about it too much until kids came along and thought I knew GM well enough to pick the runs with them safely but the new chars did catch us out.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Very cold today up the hill with whiteout conditions freezing fog everywhere. Only mad dogs and Englishmen out on the slopes it was extremely quiet which actually made for some really good enjoyable technical skiing. Not a boy racer in sight! Been light rain at village level so I expect maybe a few centimetres of fresh snow from 1100m upwards.
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Thick fog just about everywhere today with the odd clear patch. Snow was topped up by maybe an inch in places overnight. Again very quiet across the gm today and some great piste skiing to be had. Still loads of snow about for next week no worries there just a bit icy in places as previously described.
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@jirac18, you obviously didn't make it to Flaine! We skied Morillon and Les Carroz in very poor vis in the morning, then went over to Flaine in the afternoon (have to confess we cheated and drove, didn't fancy near zero vis on the Tete for the 3rd time in a day!) to be met with clear blue skies and sunshine. Coming along the top from the DMC you could see all the fog/cloud all around at lower levels. By about 4pm the sun had gone and it looked like the fog was probably about to descend on Flaine.

@dozofoz, there doesn't seem to be anything about the new pistes on the GM website, but there's a provisional routing for the reds in this post from Alps Accommodation: https://www.alpsaccommodation.com/coulouvrier-chairlift-grand-massif.htm
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@sj1608, no some of the group didnít fancy the blind ski from TÍtes to Flaine which was fair enough. Once we got to Molliets it was good for a few hours doing loops down to Kedeuze and Gron. Plein Soleil, forestiŤre, coombe and timalets runs were all really good and viz was okay just flat light away from the thickest of fog. Tried Morillon for one run but that was almost zero viz that side so came back to Carroz and down into Samoens again.
Perce Neige at the end of the day in zero viz fog was interesting!
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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.
@sj1608, thanks for the link to the map. If true it looks like they are bringing the new pistes into the bowl a little lower than the good stuff at the top Smile
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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
Well thatís our week done and weather saved itís best til last. What a stunning blue sky day today! Snow under ski on piste was really good itís remained well below freezing all week mid station and above. The trees look amazing all frosted and snow laden still.
Hope everyone coming out as we go has a wonderful holiday 👍
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You know it makes sense.
@jirac18, Safe travels back.

Looks like cold Temps will continue with maybe a small dusting Sun/Monday.

Early start tomorrow. Hopefully in Morillon in time for dinner.
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Same here - driving down tomorrow to Samoens
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Noticed they had the snow making machines blasting at Vercland this morning so looks like they're getting Grand Cret ready for half term
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Good news folks a couple of inches of fresh snow at village level so should be a bit more up top. Roads are clear and it looks picture post card for your arrival 👍
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@stodge, it's en prevision today.......
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Just arrived and loving what we have seen so far. Kids canít get over the scale of the Alps. Plus iíve spotted a coffee table book about Pomís in the news agent! Iíll be out boarding alone tomorrow morning. What are the best lies for blasting out the big lazy turns and the best reds to get away from some crowds?
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@ExSussexSnow, heading up from SamoŽns? Probably go straight to Marmottes for a long warm up Red. Snow canons busy right now so they'll be icy turns.

I am at Morillon 1100. Won't be out first thing as got here late and now up with a sick kid.

Monday morning is the one to bag. A nice top up is due.
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Nice ski today. Weather varied from light snow to rain to heavy snow. Visibility was fine - no fog. But very flat light.

Skied Dahu to warm to warm up then over to Morillon. Marvel was in good condition and surprisingly quiet. Sairon also good and Char down to Coulouvrier was fine. Bit icey on the first steep narrow pitch.

Quick blast down Portet then Marmottes in Samoens and home. Legs had gone a bit.

Wasnít too busy apart from the first pitch down from tete des saix. Kids arenít in ski school this week so was able to go a bit late and miss the early morning ques.

Raining at village level now but supposed to get quiet a nice top up overnight so should be good tomorrow.
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Forget the skiing, just discovered the Petit Sherpa does Findus frozen tarteflette!
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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!
Ended up taking the junior boarder with me today. Dahu good in places. It poorly positioned people at every zig and zag of the narrow bits. Somewhat like threading a needle. Took Ecuriel down to Aulia, or whatever combinations of vowels. It was much quieter that night Pierce Neige bit had that awkward off camber for much of. It is a blue, yes the steps have steep bits but it is so wide there is room for all. Snow good on it too.
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Snow was better than I expected it to be. Nice dusting up higher if a bit wet lower. Wasn't as crowded as I thought it was going to be either. Over lunch period even had times alone on piste. Light snow just now at 1100. Needs to get heavier!
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It did get heavier 😀. Looks like a decent amount overnight at village level and still snowing now.
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Good day today thanks to a good 20cm of fresh snow over night. It looked horrid and murk this morning right up to 9am, snowing heavily in the village. Then it stopped and cleared enough to get up and enjoy stealing powder st the side of the pistes. It was covering a lot of chop from the previous days so a bit too lump and bumpy off piste proper. Lumps and poor visibility not a good combo.

Tried to get ove to Couloivrier first thing but Aoulis shut with a pisteur manning the fence. So, off fast down Grand Cret to Vercland. Good sport and powdery stashes on the margins. These were throughly slashed on a high speed bomb down. The Vercland egg is pure vintage. It is almost back in fashion.

I then went hunting for a good quiet blue for the family that was boarded friendly. Discovered Verosse off and under the old slow Charland 2 lift. I the. Popped up the Demoselles and down Aoulia to go up Coulouvrier finally. Tooke Pierce Neige and Arete but found the latter very poor for boarding given the slow fresh snow. Two annoying hikes across flats. Shame as this is the key to so much more. Chads was good though.

Rendezvoused with the family and coaxed them down Verosse. They loved it. Helps the Sun wasnít out.

Also nice of the Grand Massif to be giving out free hot chocolate at the top of the GME. France has discovered customer service.

A good day!
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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.
Great day today. Snow in lovely condition. V squeaky with good fun to be had off the sides. Had one of the kids with me today so didnít get around loads. Stayed in Samoens. He skied Marmottes from top to bottom with all the bumps and was v pleased with himself. Had to drag him off the mountain which is good. Blue skies forecast tomorrow.
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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
Yep. Wonderful day today. Had the kids first thing but managed to sneak off for some great untracked off Corblanche just before lunch.

Sun came out in afternoon and even spotted someone with a Snow heads sticker on helmet in lift Q.
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You know it makes sense.
I havenít skied so much pow since I did La Grave back in early 2009. Fresh untracked pow everywhere provided you just went 3 degrees off the beaten track. Was thinking of doing Gers and then skinning back up for a second helping. On the way there I realised the blacks in Samoens were untracked and served by a lift system Smile 9000m vertical and must have touched a slope about 4 times. Epic...
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What is the ĎVercland Eggí?
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Jenniper, it's the Saix lift between the Samoens plateau and Vercland. If you scroll down the page here https://www.remontees-mecaniques.net/bdd/reportage-tcd4-des-saix-poma-2068.html and look at the photo on the left you'll see how they got their name!
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@sj1608, I hadn't seen that site before. Very interesting. Thanks for posting.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
So a quick question for those in the know out there
My last trip of the season has been put back to 7th April weekend for a week until 14th for various reasons. I had been leaning towards a return to GM after a three year break, as 1) I love it, 2) it's always quieter than everywhere else and 3) it's such a damn easy drive from Calais. I had a three year break as the last time we came out it was mushy rain for the whole week!
So for those based out there or there a lot, with the excellent base down now do you think we'd have a good week that late in the season - I know it's not an exact science but gut feel would be good. Thanks

Otherwise it will be 3 Valleys I think.
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Well, well, weíll, letís hear it for Sixt. Empty red rolling runs to myself this morning. A wee gem of a resort. I got he 0850 red bus up, just myself and a racer kid off to practice. Arrive in Sixt at 0910 and up the drag, down the blue between the chalets over the road and to th bottom of the old Vagnys two seat lift. Slow but beautiful ride up over hamlets, dog in gardens and garden chapels. Hop onto Pralets life and up to the reds. You can ride the lift and lap the run in ten minutes. Good reds with wide steeps and mini bowls that allowed me to hoon around making the big turns in the board. The ski racers had a slalom set up on one variant but the rest of the reds weee share with half a dozen of us. Up above the top lift the hikers zig zags lead to the top of a small pyramid feature and had beautiful powder turns etched in it. The pisteur advices against going off after them though. From here there is also a great view of the final zig zags of the Cascade piste from Flaine. Looks good. Well worth a morning visit to Sixt. I then took the book home at 1212 and rendevouzed for lunc with the family. Then off to Morillon to cruise Marvel with the beginners.
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On the late season trip to GM had a good chat with a local Brit here about that very question. He says it is open to 20th April. Says Morillon has snowmaking to the base station and recommends late trips. I am. Th impressed by the closeness to Calais point. Would have expect3d t9 have to go to VT for late season. Used to go there for a May bank holiday trip
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Any one currently in GM out braving today?

Had some very heavy fresh turns on Chamois but after that I got to top of Vernant chair and turned around. Went back and told kids to stay in their PJ's

Seemed to be only ski schools and English out. I guess Higher up at Flaine may not have had wet snow but what was visibility like?
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Not me! Official rest day today Cool
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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!
Popped up this morning. Snow from half way up the upper lifts. The blues down the back of Tete de Saix had 5 cm of freshies on top of groomed. Quiet pre ski school. Went over to Flaine but rain on the lower half of the Vans lift. Got wet som came home. May go ice skating. There is also. Ice hockey match tonight t 8.30pm
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@Ghanny, sensible call.

We went for crepes and not many in the restaurant were in ski boots.

Shame it is due to continue tomorrow. I am surprised at how high the snow/rain limit is. 2000m and still raining Evil or Very Mad Fresh snow up high for those here next week though.
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@Ghanny, sensible call.

We went for crepes and not many in the restaurant were in ski boots.

Shame it is due to continue tomorrow. I am surprised at how high the snow/rain limit is. 2000m and still raining Evil or Very Mad Fresh snow up high for those here next week though.
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