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How will winter 2017 be remembered?

Despite relatively low snowfalls, we skied all season long

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Caroline Sayer | Val Thorens Reporter | Published: 6 Apr 2017


How will winter 2017 be remembered?

2017 won’t go down in memory as one of the epic seasons. This will be remembered as the season when the snow didn’t fall in any quantity until January, and then only fell a few times.

Or to be more accurate, the snow did arrive in November, but then mostly melted. The Christmas holidays saw fewer pistes open than usual and a drop in visitor numbers. The British press published scare stories about the lack of snow. January brought the first major snow falls. Despite several great snowfalls in February and March, April was slushy and the lower runs started closing earlier than usual.

On the other hand, 2017 saw lots of high points. The 3 Vallées resorts hosted world class competitions (Telemark World Cup, Europa Cup and World Cup races) and the French air display team performed an unforgettable display over Méribel. The pistes also saw lots of welcome improvements: new indoor and outdoor picnic areas, new pistes (JNBee in Meribel, Jerusalem in St Martin), a new lift (Stade in Val Thorens), a new themed toboggan run in Méribel, plus more snow cannons, free WiFi and 3 Vallées selfie spots. The sun shone throughout the season, allowing us to enjoy day after day of bluebird skiing, and apart from one cold snap in January, the temperature was kind to us.

Most of all, 2017 should be remembered as the season that les 3 Vallées provided great skiing despite relatively low snowfalls. Although it wasn’t a great season, it wasn’t a disastrous one either. These snow reports demonstrate we’ve enjoyed good skiing, both on and off-piste, right from the start of the season. All the holiday makers I have spoken to have said how pleasantly surprised they have been by the snow this season.

In a poor snow season like this, les 3 Vallées stands out even more than usual as a fantastic destination, partly because 85% of the ski area is above 1,800m. Many other European resorts were partly closed in December and January, with brown fields instead of snowy runs, while here we enjoyed hundreds of kilometres of open pistes. It’s in the poor seasons that we appreciate how lucky we are to be in a ski area with so much high skiing and such excellent snow-making facilities.

The lift companies deserve huge praise for their extraordinary efforts in opening pistes and keeping them in good shape. Vast quantities of cultured snow were created, hoarded, moved around and reused where most needed, all so we could enjoy our favourite sport. We have been able to ski throughout the season, on mostly good snow, thanks to their tremendous work. Un grand merci!

See you all next winter...