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

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Stayed in les carroz and morillon this morning, with snow top of les carroz gondola, raining below gron. Off piste quite pleasant, cream cheese snow, lower down in morillon it was rather sticky. So just did mellow off piste getting a bit wet at times, sun even came out briefly. Started to rain more at 12.30, and as thats my hours done until tomorrow, went home.........

Loads more due tonight....time to try my new Elans.........
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
To all the lovely Flaine experts - let's take a break from the weather .... any recommendations for eating out at night (we are staying at the Totem) and do we need to book anything before we arrive (we are lads in our 40s who like a good meal and really good red wine) ... also are there any bars of note?

Thanks a lot.
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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?
We are a group of 50 year olds - classic intermediate standard piste bashers - who have decided to break out of the annual PdeS trip and go somewhere new. If the links are open is it realistic or indeed possible to ski the entire Grand Massif area in one day (from Samoens) and if so are there any recognised "circuits"? I've heard of the Cascade run (or slog) which would get us home (via bus) but looking for a full day's itinerary if such a thing exists?

Seems as though snow conditions will be fine when we arrive next Thursday?!
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I've been to Flaine a few times and alway go back to Brasserie Le Cimes if I don't eat on the slopes (Igloo, Anfionne and Chalet Claire my faves there). I'm no cordon bleu expert but it ticks all the boxes for me (i.e big portions!).

Where you are staying at Totem is great for a pre-dinner drink by the fire. They've done a great refurb job. I don't care what they say about Flaine- I like the concrete!

PS - Thanks for all the weather updates everybody. Flying out on 27 Jan and the snow (sorry to mention but it is the snow report part of the forum) is so much better than when I last visited in 2016. Very Happy
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
We are also a group of 50 year youngs that have been to the Grand Massif way too often (no map needed now and the thought of two new pistes is way too exciting).

You can easily cover the whole GM in one day (not every piste!) but we tend to head to one place and ski there for a while and then head somewhere else (especially if the weather closes in). From Samoens, Flaine is just two pistes and three lifts away (I'm not counting the short piste from the top of the GME to the next lift). Morillon and Les Carroz are even closer.
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@Bruce99, thanks, sorry I should have posted my Qs on the resorts thread. Thanks for the tips.

Looks like the FL is relatively high today but is due to drop as the storm passes through.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Franca - ps- yes I think you may need to book as it's usually quite busy.

@simonmj66 - Good question and others will know better than me so interested to know the answer.

The red and blue runs in Flaine, Marvel in Morillon, Serpentine, Cupior and most of the tree lined blues in les carroz are not to be missed, in my opinion.

Did Cascade once and thought it was good but a lot of polling (?) and ice at the end. Took about half a day all in all from Flaine. Ski bus back to Samoens was reliable.
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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!
@Bruce99, Even with all the rain (its raining quite hard in les carroz at the moment) the snow is better than it has been since the rather good year in 2011, and due lots tonight.

@Brownpack, There will be more runs created around the new lift in morillon this summer, so should get even better
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@Zorrac 2011 was my first ever ski trip (at 47 years) and I was spoilt by the snow. Hasn't been that good since. Hoping it's all still there in March for me.
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I recall that 2011 was a poor year for snow and the lower parts of the GM shut early. Whereas there was masses of snow in 2012-2013.
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Maybe 2012 was my first year - I am getting old
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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.
@snowymum, it all blurs a bit............but 2011/2012 had an epic start dec / jan ((like this year) and les carroz gondola ran early) and then faded away, as this year could..............
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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
@Zorrac, I was thinking of 2010-2011...with jan/feb/March 2011 having little snow and warm temps.

In the 2011/2012 season we went to the southern alps so do not know how the GM was then.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Zorrac, I don’t recall 2011/12 fizzling out but as you say it all blurs a bit.

Must take more pics!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Today was wonderful in Flaine, despite Tetes des Verts being the only lift open in the bowl all day due to high winds. Was skiing with some friends who know where all the good off piste is and we hardly touched the pistes at all. Underneath the Tetes des Verds chair, to the left of Almandine and even Jade was wonderful, perhaps the best I have ever known it. This was, of course, because very few people had ventured out and those that did would have stayed on piste.

It snowed pretty much all day, not heavily but enough to keep everything fresh. this afternoon there was even strong wind below the top of Tetes des Verds and when it caught the snow it felt like your face was being sand blasted. Although the links have been closed all day Grands Vans was open this morning but even that was closed this afternoon.

Still snowing now in Flaine Montsoleil, sorry to hear from @sj1608, and @bobrun, that the lower resorts are not doing so well. The forecast is for the freezing level to fall dramatically (along with the temperatures) so fingers crossed for you guys.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
simonmj66 wrote:
...is it realistic or indeed possible to ski the entire Grand Massif area in one day (from Samoens)


It's certainly possible and quite easy - it's not that big an area really.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
9.00pm and its really hammering down with rain in Les Carroz, my roof gutters /pipes are sounding like waterfalls........ Sad Sad Sad

Cham meteo say freezing level is supposed to be falling to 800m tonight, well I hope it does, as I am virtually at the les carroz gondola level and its not very cold, and very wet.......
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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?
@simonmj66, it is certainly possible to ski all 5 areas within one day but unrealistic to ski everything. Hats off to @red 27 if he can ski over 260km in a day!

STILL hammering down, forecast says it turns to snow at about midnight, I'm not holding my breath. We're on the top floor with a complicated drainage arrangement from another block that has a rainwater downpipe onto our roof immediately above my pillow. Usually when it's raining I can hear the constant drip from the downpipe to the roof. Just been to check and no dripping sound at all, just gushing which is surprisingly less disturbing. But the silence of snow would be MUCH better!
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@sj1608, GM does not really have 260km, its sort of a bit of a fib, they count/ measure the km's by how far a skier doing turns would actually ski, ie. half circles. There is a study ref'd by where to ski and snowboard that has calculated there is about 159km in GM if you measure by straight lines. Most resorts measure by half circles, but not all.

With all this rain they may need to be repairing portet and combe again as the streams may appear once more.....hope not.

To bed to listen to gurgling pipes.......
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We are out to Samoens tomorrow. I guess we will be sticking to Samoens and Morillon for the first couple of days while the weather is bad. My first time there, but it looks like lots of tree runs to keep us occupied even if links with Flaine and Les Carroz are closed? Any advice much appreciated.
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Snowing heavily in Samoens this morning
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....and snowing in Les Carroz. Happy

@Duvet, there are plenty of tree runs in Morillon, less in Samoens, but you may find that the only way to link between Morillon and Samoens is by bus, if the links remain closed. The link between Les Carroz and Morillon is usually open except in the very worst weather, and there is lots of tree skiing in Les Carroz, too.
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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!
brilliant day, gondola and various other things not working until about lunch due to no electric, so up the old chairlift and then gron. superb snow in the trees, new elans gradually grew on me, totally superb in deep snow, not very nice on piste at all really hard work and they make a horrible hollow sound.

Just rotated around molliets and gron skiing superb powder pockets in the trees, some of it very deep and then with some scrappy blown off bits, just have to limbo at times. Face feels a bit sandpapered as it was very windy at times, The little off piste run from near oasis (its a walk in the summer) was fun, and mellow including climbing over a stream and up a step bank just after, comes out just behind the chalet just before the bridge near molliets lift.

The homemade framboise rocket fuel helped from a friend.....yum
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@franga, Restaurants I like in Flaine Forum....(sorry to continue this on the weather thread - I'll keep it brief...)

- Totem itself - great all you can eat buffet (+ free access to retro 80s video games in the bar area!). Extensive wine list, something to suit most pockets.
- Brasserie des Cimes - informal atmosphere, extensive menu, good portions, reasonable prices.
- Chez Daniel - next to the ice rink - lovely grilled red meats and other alpine specialities. Limited wine choice but gamay pichets are very drinkable.
- Michet - at the foot of the pistes - excellent food & wine, a bit posher (and more expensive) than the rest, but not prohibitive.

I've also heard that italian pizza place next to White Pub is good, but not been.
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@Ingemar_Skidmark, you're a star. Ta
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Just got in, and am a bit tired............damn elans are hard work...........

amazing powder in the trees where its not windblown, got in the first (ish) gondola up and then to corbalanche and got first tracks down it, top is a bit windblown.

Then did it twice again but through the trees down to portet, and superb really deep light powder, (except for a rock that put a hole in the new skis...ooops) then off the other side coming out near oasis, again super deep powder, but not a deep as the portet side. After that a quick break and then it had got more windy, so tried off side of tete des saix down to end of chamois, but rather wind blown and flat, so managed to hit a bit lump of ice and had a humdinger of a fall, one ski went miles, so had to ski down on one ski which was fun....not!

then back to les carroz and under gron etc, finally Felire a few times, plus the trees a bit, which was mellow, and needed to be as my legs were stuffed, new skis are good, but need to be driven, if you don't do that they bite.......

Conditions are wonderful, just be prepared for a bit of windblown icy bits, but its going to rain tonight as the freezing level goes up a bit this evening, and next week milder, but there is so much snow it should be fine.
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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.
Flaine has not stopped snowing for the last 4 days. Powder has been awesome but visibility was almost non-existent. The liaisons have been closed and the higher lifts in Flaine shut due to high winds and white out conditions. I've never seen snow like it in Flaine (been going there for the last 5 years).

We've spent the last 3 days just going up Tete des Verds and down the offpiste underneath it. Sounds dull but it's a different run every time and the snow is superb, especially in the trees.

Other than weather, the guys who own the White pub have taken over the pizzeria and it is miles better than it was (and the naked Betty Boop has gone from the ceiling...).
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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
Another powder day, this time a bit heavier lower down, and vis was a bit difficult, but did corbalanche again first thing and it was superb, if heavier lower down, off to the left side finishing at oaisis drag was superb and really deeeeep, then did the trees on the right down to portet, and new route, and a bit steep for me, have a bit of tree rash....opps. Then the trees around Felire for something a bit more mellow, did that for quite a while and then back as legs had given up, well one in particular.

Bottom of combe was quite heavy, and lou darbes had some brown bits!! have not seen them for a bit and its got much warmer, last day tomorrow and then the madness of half term....
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Thanks for the updates.

I thought half term was first week in feb. I.e 5 feb onwards...

Booked 26 Jan week to avoid it...

Oh dear...... Embarassed
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Bruce99, half term for us is week starting sat 10th feb

jan 26th is low season, it will be very quiet!

its snowed for quite a while this evening, should be good tomorrow
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 Poster: A snowHead
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It was good, superb powder, just les carroz gondola had massive queues.

For the time being conditions are brilliant, just got very windy this afternoon, but now with quite heavy snow.......

off to catch a bus..........
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Conditions off piste in Flaine very good, although the powder is of varying consistency and can catch you (or me, at least) unawares. On piste also very good, if a little bumpy in places. DMC and Aup de Veran closed at lunchtime due to wind so went up the Bois drag a couple of times to ski under the Aup de Veran chair. Tete des Verds chair was quite unpleasant in the wind and driving snow but well worth it for the powder underneath it. The weather forecasts appear to contradict each other and are sometimes very wrong. Now we've had an amazing amount of snow it would be nice to see the sun and for the wind to drop off.
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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?
Very limited GM lifts open tomorrow (Monday)
*Avalanche risk 5/5*

UPDATE from Zig Zag - The Grand Massif has just announced that in light of the unusual weather conditions again affecting the ski area (a prefectoral weather alert has been released warning of spontaneous avalanche risk that is likely to rise to maximum level), only the following lifts will open tomorrow:
Flaine :
- Téléski du Stade
- Tapis du Pré et Michalet
Morillon :
- Télécabine
- Télésiège des Esserts
- Téléski Télédébutant
- Tapis Essertoux
Samoëns :
- Télécabine Grand Massif Express
- Télésièges Damoiseaux et Demoiselles
- Téléskis Babuches, Château, Pendants et Plateau
- Tapis de l’Oratoire
Sixt :
- Téléskis Fontaine, Feulatière et Cascades
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That is very limited. Better safe than sorry I suppose!

Is this due to the yo-yoing temperatures this week or is it the recent rain that makes the snow unsafe (or both)?

How long are the runs usually closed?
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This is the official reasoning:

PREFECT OF HAUTE-SAVOIE
WEATHER ALERT BULLETIN
Sunday 21st January 2018 - 13h00
The LYON interregional meteorological center provides you with the regional monitoring newsletter.
VIGILANCE ORANGE: AVALANCHES and RAINFALLS
Event scheduled until Monday, January 22 at 21:00.
Qualification of the event:
A long-lasting episode of heavy rainfall that, combined with the snow melt due to
particular vigilance. Avalanche activity expected over the next 24 hours is observed on average
one to two times per winter in the Alpine massifs concerned.
The risk of spontaneous avalanches is already high, level 4 out of 5 on all the massifs of the Northern Alps. It is
even likely to become very strong, level 5 on some massive for the next night and tomorrow morning.
In all the interior alpine massifs, above 1500 meters of altitude, the additional layer of snow is
already from 30 cm to 50 cm. With an already heavy snowpack, this recent snow is not stabilized and can
cause some of the previously fallen layers.
Expected evolution:
In the Mont-Blanc massif, the main danger this Sunday comes from some big avalanches in
spontaneous triggering; they can spread quite low and threaten ski resort infrastructure as well
as their access roads, even the Chamonix Valley.
This risk persists for the whole day, with intermittent snowfall over 1200 meters in
average: even little intense this Sunday, they contribute with the wind to feed large accumulations.
In addition, new abundant rainfall is expected from tonight on all the northern Alps,
with a clear redoux that will raise the rain-snow limit to about 2000 meters in the night of Sunday
see you Monday. Above 2000 meters, at least 50 cm of additional fresh snow are expected between tonight and
Monday noon, sometimes more than 80 cm on some massive.
The risk of large avalanches in high-altitude corridors continues or increases. In addition, next night,
many wet snow avalanches are likely between 1000 and 2000 meters, as well as
related to the most intense rains. This generalized evolution for the night from Sunday to Monday leads to include
massive Chablais and Mont Blanc.
It should be noted that a strong reaction of torrents and mountain rivers is foreseeable next night.
On the Alps, we expect an additional 80 to 100 mm, locally 120 mm over the next 36 hours. These
Precipitation is aggravated by snowmelt, especially at medium altitude, where snow will melt rapidly
(between 1000 and 1500 m).
Message to the mayors of Haute-Savoie:
Mayors are asked to relay widely the information, the instructions of behavior to
their citizens and pay particular attention to watercourses, camp-sites and similar
and seasonal housing.


Everyone hopes it won't last long, but the weather patterns are not usual, so I guess it depends on what arrives next........ Sad
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Very wet in samoens today, only the two access lifts plus a few buttons open. Even though it was snowing first thing the snow under ski was very wet and by lunch it was more rain than snow.

Any local Intel on what might be open tomorrow? I'm only out here for 2.5 days so if tomorrow is a write off I'll just have had yesterday afternoon Sad Also any ideas for a bar showing the Liverpool game tonight, covey's is closed.....
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@Scongie, the GM website is showing vaguely normal openings for Les Carroz and Flaine tomorrow. But both Samoens and Morillon look as if they are the same as today, so guess they have not yet been updated yet.

One tip for you is that if the Chariande Express in Samoens is closed (ie links closed) and you want to get out of Samoens then you could check if the Morillon/Les Carroz link (which is lower down, so less prone to closure) is open. If it is, take the ski bus to Morillon and ski from Morillon rather than Samoens.

Sorry, no suggestions on the game, not in Samoens!
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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!
Well am back home and feeling very windblown indeed. They would not sell my friends a GM pass on Thursday and they were right. Kept as low as we could to avoid the driving wind and when we did venture up to the Tete de Saix, we very quickly dropped back onto Portet and did not bother again. @Zorrac - assume it was not you that I saw digging around waist deep in snow on Felire, looking for missing skis? Here's hoping that it gets really cold in the next while and solidifies everything, as skiing in that wind when they had the avalanche warning at 4/5, was a bit concerning. Everyone is working very hard in resort but my word it does seem a bit relentless at the moment.
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@Cheesie168, Hello, no not me on Felire,which is one of my favourite runs. I did manage to fall over off piste last thursday on tete des saix, made a very bad choice and went on the chamois side, and it was totally windblown with sheet ice and then random pockets of powder and you could not see!, so one ski went miles down on top of the sheet ice, so had to ski down on one ski to fetch the other one, which was not fun! Strange winter so far......
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The sun came out today! Very Happy

Initially quite foggy, but cleared by mid-morning leaving clear blue skies and sunshine - the first time we've seen the sun for over a week. Pistes everywhere in remarkably good condition after the rain. High in Flaine was above the freeze line, so there was fresh snow. The lower section of Serpentine was closed with avalanche across the piste, would guess that it had been deliberately triggered.

Dahu in Samoens was closed for avalanche risk below the first section. Not advertised anywhere, so people who had started on a blue were forced onto a red without warning. And there were a number of people who had ignored the warning and gone anyway - from the lift we saw two boarders sat talking on Dahu, in an area that was clearly at risk of a slip.
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