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A snowHead
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Location: snowHeadLand
Resort: Meribel
Country: France
Domain: 3 vallees
Author: Paul-B

Date: 11-18 Feb 2006
Our holiday: Large group of 5 families consisting of 5 beginners, 5 improvers, up to some folk with 10 week's experience
Website : www.meribel-alpina.com
Basics : We flew Gatwick to Chambrey, early Sat, 1.5 hour transfer, and were on the slopes by the afternoon
Lift system : Impressive. Much has already been said about the lifts in the 3V. Some queuing at peak times mid morning and afternoon. Generally free of queues at lunchtimes and during bad weather. New hands free lift pass system works very well, but we had a very damp day and some had problems when their passes got wet and needed to be replaced.
The terrain : All runs funnel into the Chaudanne which makes traversing out of Meribel difficult if the upper lifts are closed due to high winds. Some linking runs to Mottaret are a bit flat for boarders, but generally there is sufficient scope for most skiers without needing to go out of valley. Most bought 3 valley passes but were not able to make the most use because of adverse weather. Excellent snow park in Mottaret under the Plattieres gondola.
The snow : For the time of year, conditions were very poor. The beginner slopes were surprisingly good at the start of the week despite no large snow falls for nearly a month. It was noticeably better on the runs with snow making. When it snowed mid week it was accompanied by a huge rise in temperature which caused melting at resort level, which graudually improved on the last 2 days as the temperature fell again - though we had hight winds which closed the upper lifts. Runs back to parts of the resort were closed.
Off-piste : Simply not enough snow most of the week for off piste. Later in the week high avalanche danger. In a good season there would be plenty of scope.
The resort : Pretty, services generally available and convenient. The free shuttle bus service was reliable but crowded at peak times - on one occasion we waited for the third bus before being able to get on.
Food : Catered chalet. Prices in bars and restaurants generally very high. No specific recommendations.
Accommodation : Skiworld catered chalet. Food was excellent, service in general good. Bit cramped in shared areas for the whole party of 23.
Costs: Approx £850 plus lift pass (€210 for 3V) & ski hire (€100 approx). Expensive but reflects the resort and peak week, and early booking due to exclusive takeover.
Conclusion: Great holiday despite poor conditions, organised and pretty, if busy, resort.

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