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12-19 Dec Tignes, Arc 1950 or Les Menuires?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I know there's no way of knowing for sure, but which out of these three resorts would have the best chance of good snow and lifts being open in the week 12-19 December? I have booked an apartment in Arc 1950 that can be cancelled up to 10th Dec, and am now wondering whether I picked the right resort. We are two adults and a seven year old. Flights booked into Lyon and back from Grenoble.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Snow wise it will make no odds. They would all be good choices.

Sit back, relax and look forwards to your trip.
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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?
I agree, there won't be much difference in snow. If it's bad in Les Arcs it's not going to be good in Tignes, and vice versa. I've skied that week in Les Arcs for more than a decade and even in years when the snow wasn't great I have never been tempted to drive up to Tignes. Although early season can be marginal for off-piste as there will not be much of a base, on piste is always skiable especially those posts protected by snow cannons. When I've skied that week most years it's been at least OK, plenty of years when its been fine, and some years I've been lucky to have awesome conditions.

In terms of lifts opening the biggest threat to that is too much weather, especially high winds. A bad winter storm can close most lifts in Tignes and around Arc 1950/2000. On those days you have more chance of skiing the lower slopes above Arc 1600/1800 as these lifts will often run, and if you're based in 1950 you can catch the resort shuttle bus around to 1600 and ski from there.
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Thanks. I'm just aware that the weather doesn't care a fig for our Saturday - Saturday constructs!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Snow might be similar and Tignes might be the longest journey but it is also much more geared to earlier opening so is likely to have more runs, lifts, shops and restaurants already functioning.
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You'll need to Register first of course.
First, I would tend to look at Val Thorens before Les Menuires as it's about 500m higher in the same valley.

The places you mention are not the same and often do have quite different conditions from each other early in the season. Last year for example, Tignes/Val d'Isere had way more snow than either of the others that week, to the extent that off-piste was not just possible but really good, while Val Tho was scratchy at best. I was surprised at just how big a difference there was between the 2, at similar altitudes, just 25km from each other. But then, VT v Les Men can be chalk n cheese and they're about 2 km from each other Confused
OTOH, I've seen Tignes struggle to get much of their system running in a week that VT was already going strong.

IMV There's no huge distinction that makes any one of these places much more reliable than another, in a particular early season week, except the glacier in Tignes. In the rare scenario that the snows don't come at all, Tignes has its glacier as a fall-back to go and have some lessons on. I've never seen them fail to get the Double 'M' run home open either.
In the end, there's little that can be said to assure you that booking any one of these for that week is the right choice over the others and things can change drastically over the course of a few days so unless you've particularly challenging accommodation requirements, I'd tend to lock in travel plans but settle on the final destination as late as possible, perhaps even leaving it until the previous week.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
If you can cancel your booking up to 10th of December, then sign up for "weather outlook" thread on this forum and enjoy the suspense - not much else you can do. Don't pay attention to the trolls that frequent that thread either.

In a very (extremely!) unlikely event that by 10th even Les Arcs 2000 (short cable car ride up from 1950) will be unskiable due to lack of snow, cancel and book somewhere else. Although in that case chances are that the entire West Alps will be in dire conditions.

We ski on Christmas (the week right after yours, usually not that much difference in snow conditions) every year and no matter what there is always plenty of skiing and we always have fabulous time, despite all the bad forecasts and trolls going out of their way to doom monger on snow report threads.
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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!
Val d'isere? maybe a bit more expensive but they have one of the best snow making systems in existence, majority of runs above 2400 m and is mostly north facing? We've skied that week a few times based in La Daille, and they have always had most of the resort open, even during some Decembers when pretty much everywhere else hadn't opened yet. And some great tree lined runs down to La Daille for bad weather days.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
It's been a while since I've ridden early season in the Alps, so I don't know.

If you think there's a chance of "brown hillsides", then Tignes is presumably best as the glacier is going to be open in most conditions you could expect and that funicular is presumably weather-proof as far as it goes. Les Menuires is kind of bleak and there are lots of ways that can be negative.

I'd prefer Les Arcs for reasons given above.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@oldschool72, Arc 1950 is *never* the wrong resort!

(Actually... skiing anywhere is never the wrong resort - unless you are determined to upset yourself by looking at what everyone else is doing and missing your own good fortune)

12th - 19th you also have the film festival in town - in 1950 and 2000. So the shops & facilities will be in full swing; early evening street entertainment provided and suitable for a 7 yo; the place will be full but the slopes will be empty [as the producers and money are there for business]; yet they will be well prepared and maintained since the 'celebs' (mainly people you've never heard of to be fair) like to potter about for the odd hour or so. So there WILL be skiing!

Your 1950 advantage is literally having your boot room on the slopes. Ski-in/out has never been bettered, whichever accommodation you are in, and the ski schools a maximum of 100m from your front door - usually less.

Yes weather can be variable - it's a mountain - but there's plenty to do if you are snowed in, and we've always enjoyed our time there during that week. (Note: the Vanoise won't be open to link to La Plagne, but you won't miss it).

If you are concerned about the differences in quality within a small region - and the posters above are right, a mediocre week in Tignes can be a bad week in Arcs, can be a dreadful week in the 3 valleys, while in Rosiere or St Foy it is magnificent - then there is always the option of cancelling your booking and moving into Bourg St Maurice, then picking your resort on a daily basis. We did that this spring, no regrets.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
[quote="Oleski"]If you can cancel your booking up to 10th of December, then sign up for "weather outlook" thread on this forum and enjoy the suspense - not much else you can do. Don't pay attention to the trolls that frequent that thread either.


Oh, I'll be eating, sleeping and breathing the weather outlook thread from mid-November!
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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.
P&V are doing free cancellation on most of their properties up to 10 Dec that week. Would it be very cheeky to make bookings across multiple resorts (if their system allows that) and just cancel the unwanted ones at the last minute?
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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
@oldschool72, I really wouldn't sweat it - 1950 is a nice station, there will be enough skiing.

Whilst there can be variation even over a short distance it's not something that's going to make or break your trip.

I've been at Christmas and a couple of times the week before the last 12/13 years. It may not snow all week and a storm blow in on transfer day, it may snow, then rain, then snow again, it may snow almost constantly for over three days, it may be just dull and murky all week and everything else you can think of. The forecast for the large part wouldn't have told you this 3/4 days before you went out there.

So I would stick with what you have.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Ok. I'll stop overthinking it!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Arctic Roll, I beg to differ. As a man from the other side of the hill I have seen the Arc2000/1950 valley closed many a time and people coming around to 1600 on the bus (I've done it myself). Even on the very last day of the season I've never known people having to get the bus to 2000 to ski from 1600 (but I have got the bus back Smile )
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@johnE, indeed agree on going round to 1600 - including me on occasion! But the point I was attempting to make was that, yes, subject to poor weather conditions, there will be snow, there will be slopes open. 1950/2000 is as snow-sure as you can get for that time of year.
(and to be fair, I don't think I've lost more than a handful of days over the past 17 years and 40+ weeks skiing there)
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