Winter has come to an end, so what next?
20th April 2018 | Meribel
What a winter! It’s closing week for Méribel and Courchevel, and we’re ending with copious amounts of snow. The conditions are a far cry from the previous few years, and we are not complaining! The summit of Courchevel/Méribel still has 300cm of snow, a snow-pack which will not be disappearing anytime soon! Over in Val Thorens the summit holds 330cm, ideal for the longer lift openings.
This winter has been endless, with statistical rumours of only 25 sunny days over the course of the winter season; brutal, I think we can agree! But, one thing is for sure, the snow has been undeniably incredible. Powder days, groomed mornings and a distinct lack of ice has made for superb conditions throughout the winter, totally unheard of in comparison to the previous few seasons. It paved the way for skiing being fabulous fun, no matter what time of day you hit the slopes. Those of our friends who bought properties last winter have surely been reaping the benefits throughout this season of having their own property to nip to for long weekends and school holidays.
So what’s next in the Alps? Well May and June consist of sleepy towns as the resort recovers, and regenerates. The snow will melt, as the rivers run faster and deeper and prepares for summer. This, personally, is my favourite time of year. Most things close, from the lifts to the restaurants, and if you need groceries there is only a small window during which you can seek your eggs and bread. The roads are quiet, less the road cyclists who start to appear, pulling themselves up hairpin after hairpin after a long winter of lunches and warming foods. The resort has a lull, a period of snoozing and long days as the sun starts to turn the resort green and lush.
OK, admitted, I’m getting romantic! Whilst this time of year isn’t for everyone, for those who own property here and want to escape the peak season busy times, avoid the crowds and walk for hours without seeing another soul, this is perfect.
On 7th July the lifts will reopen for summer, bringing mountain bikers and hikers. Whilst Méribel’s summer scene is increasing, it is still relatively quiet compared to the close-by Tignes which hosts a whole array of summer activities. For me, it’s the perfect combination. We have activities galore, but in a small environment, activities which aren’t imposing and allow people to undertake exactly the sort of holiday they want, whether that be drinking in the sun, hiking alone, or hopping onto the mountain bike trails with a group of friends.
So what lifts are open for summer? Well, read on, but, big news! This summer all lifts in Courchevel will be free access! Meaning you can pop up for a quick photo session, or just to try and spot marmottes without the pressure of buying a lift pass; perfect!
In Méribel, Tougnette 1 & 2 will be open every day of the week. Pas du Lac 1 & 2 will be open every day except Saturdays.
In Courchevel, take advantage of the free pass, on the Verdons, Saulire, Le Praz and La Tania bubble lifts. All open every day except for Saturdays. The La Tania bubble closes between 1230-130, so make sure to plan around your lunch!
Val Thorens is a little more complicated, with different lifts open each day, click here for a full list of what lifts you can take advantage of on the different days of the week.
I would thoroughly recommend the use of a car in the summer to make the most of being able to pop between resorts for different activities. Whether you want to hike the different mountains, go spotting wildlife, or undertake an activity it really makes a difference to the activities available. From wake boarding in Le Praz, to Paddle Boarding on Bozel lake. Whether you fancy a thrill from Via Ferrata, horse riding through the mountains, or to take the high ground and parapente above them. The options are endless. And that is, of course, without mentioning the main attraction of mountain biking and road cycling.
My top tips for summer, make the most of the lifts, even if just to ride up and down them. Follow the walking signs and see where they take you. Take a dip in Bozel lake, and buy a ‘Cote de Provence’ rose to sip in the sunshine.
If you’re thinking of buying in the Alps, the summer is the perfect time to peruse the properties and their locations. Take time to bask in the sun and open your eyes to the fact that buying a property in a ski resort, brings so much more than just a ski holiday!