Les 3 Vallées - clarification

tom teton

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Jan 24, 2016
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hi guys and girls

I've just returned from 4 weeks skiing in Jackson Hole, I'm experiencing a massive case of skiing withdrawals. As a result I'm already planning my Jan 17 - Feb17 ski trip which will be for 2 months. Les 3 Vallees has caught my attention due to its size, variety and apres plus looks like a great place to explore for 2 months. I'm planning to stay 1 month in Val Thorens and 1 month in Meribel

My major concern is the weather and amount of snow. Or I may be reading all the data online wrong, these are my questions.

1. Is it true they only get around 2m of snow a season? If so, that's pretty ordinary as I ski places like Whistler, Niseko and Jackson so I like the bigger dumps.

2. It rain like 5 times in a month? So I am assuming it's very slushy? This is what I find hard to believe considering the elevation of Val Thorens.

3. It's very warm there? Like temperatures around 3-4degrees Celsius during the day. Again, how is that possible for a place so high.

4. Do they have good powder, or is the snow similar to an Australisn resort?

Looking forward to some responses from people that have been or have a good understanding, thanks.

Cheers
Tom
 

Boodwah

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Go, it's great.
I've skied lots of places, and it's my favourite.
Don't worry about snow - they're likely referring to the usual 2m base. Rain? Where'd you get that info? Whilst this December was the warmest on record, we still had great skiing with some awesome pow in the last week.
Personally I prefer Courchevel over MB and VT because of the views. VT is a bit modern, and above the tree-line, whilst MB sits in a shaded valley (although with MB you can always pop over into either VT or Courch).
 

tom teton

Early Days
Jan 24, 2016
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Go, it's great.
I've skied lots of places, and it's my favourite.
Don't worry about snow - they're likely referring to the usual 2m base. Rain? Where'd you get that info? Whilst this December was the warmest on record, we still had great skiing with some awesome pow in the last week.
Personally I prefer Courchevel over MB and VT because of the views. VT is a bit modern, and above the tree-line, whilst MB sits in a shaded valley (although with MB you can always pop over into either VT or Courch).

Thanks Boodwah

Yeah, I read somewhere they average 5 days rain a month, I thought it sounded crazy too. Courch sounds beautiful, but it's a bit pricier compared to VT and Meribel.

What about temperatures? Is it warm there compared to say resorts in Colorado. Some places I'm reading on the internet says it's about +4 degrees Celsius during the day, others are saying its like -15.

What's the climate like in Jan/Feb?

Cheers
 

Kletterer

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I wouldn't be worried about rain. There will be times when its too damn cold to go up to 2500/ 3000 mts. and other times when its warm/ sleeting ( wont use the R word) in the valley but snow is good up high. Bottom line is every Big resort in Europe is worth a visit and is so for good reasons.
 
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tom teton

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Jan 24, 2016
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Is this accurate? Surely it can't be that warm there

http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/Val-Thorens/6day/mid

I'm concerned on the snow conditions, I'd hate to go for 2 months and ski slush most of the time. I'll most likely head to Vail and get an Epic Pass and do the resorts around there, atleast I know it will remain below 0 and generally around -10 at all times with a gurantee of good powder.

If I was only going for a few weeks, I'd risk it at Les 3 Vallées.
 

tom teton

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Jan 24, 2016
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One does not compare Jackson with Les 3 Vallees, one just goes and experiences.

Over thinking .....

Not comparing, I just want to make sure I choose a place for 2 months that I'd most enjoy, if it's warm and slushy then I'd hate it. I'll probably do Vail and surrounding resorts on an Epic Pass.
 

Kletterer

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You never know what the weather will do tom. Just go somewhere that sounds good for you. Not much chance you will hate it.
 

tom teton

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Jan 24, 2016
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You never know what the weather will do tom. Just go somewhere that sounds good for you. Not much chance you will hate it.

Thanks mate, I have a good few months to think about it. So won't rush into a decision, will research it more.
 

dawooduck

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you-cant-find-online-brands-in-the-grocery-store.jpg


Les 3 Vallees

best-french-food-Marche-Richelme-Aix-CC-Wikipedia.jpg
 

Doonks

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We can't ski OS as regularly as some here for a various reasons, so if we're going to commit to it, we naturally want some level of confidence that we're not going to get somewhere that in reality has no chance of being much more than pretty ordinary and to find that we've then effectively done our cash cold. We went to Val d'Isere mid Feb 2015.

Mind. Blown.
 
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dawooduck

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We can't ski OS as regularly as some here for a various reasons, so if we're going to commit to it, we naturally want some level of confidence that we're not going to get somewhere that in reality has no chance of being much more than pretty ordinary and to find that we've then effectively done our cash cold.

Sure but ..... I mean ... hows does this "surety" actually work when planning to attend some of the worlds major ski destinations .....

I mean, ya get rained on in Jackson and the Vail back bowls can be breakable crud.

The only answer is .... go in Winter :p:D:thumbs:
 

tom teton

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Jan 24, 2016
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We can't ski OS as regularly as some here for a various reasons, so if we're going to commit to it, we naturally want some level of confidence that we're not going to get somewhere that in reality has no chance of being much more than pretty ordinary and to find that we've then effectively done our cash cold. We went to Val d'Isere mid Feb 2015.

Mind. Blown.

Thanks

Is that mind blown in a positive or negative way?
 

tom teton

Early Days
Jan 24, 2016
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Ok, guys. I've done some research and this has put my mind at ease regarding snowfall, I got these annual figures from onthesnow to compare Europe to America.

VT - 270 inches
Courch - 315 inches

Vail - 353 inches
Taos - 305 inches

Anyone got any good weather/tempreature data for Les 3 Vallées?
 
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Kletterer

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This is photos of the same area 1 day
20160111_113518.jpg
20160114_123122.jpg
apart 10/11 Jan. Things change quickly.
 

Kimski

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Just go.

With two months you'd be pretty unlucky to not get some great ski days in that time. Plus, besides 3 Vallees there's plenty more to explore in the area. Take a train from Moutiers to Bourg St. Maurice and you've got another huge ski area on your doorstep. From Bourg it's not that far to Tignes / Val D. You get the picture.

Apart from skiing there's also France and possibly other European countries to explore. Even on a budget it's not that hard to take the train to Lyon and the amazing food and history there.
 

Zimboo

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Isn't Val Thorens the highest resort in Europe with village at 2300m?
The end.
 

tom teton

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Just go.

With two months you'd be pretty unlucky to not get some great ski days in that time. Plus, besides 3 Vallees there's plenty more to explore in the area. Take a train from Moutiers to Bourg St. Maurice and you've got another huge ski area on your doorstep. From Bourg it's not that far to Tignes / Val D. You get the picture.

Apart from skiing there's also France and possibly other European countries to explore. Even on a budget it's not that hard to take the train to Lyon and the amazing food and history there.

Thanks for that, great advice, however I'm not looking to explore Europe, I've done that like 5 times on other trips and absolutely loved it. This trip I just want to ski - eat - sleep - repeat, have no intention to leave the ski village for 2 months.
 

Kimski

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One more thing, weather is unpredictable and you can get unlucky anywhere. I've had a few washout rain days in Japan (Honshu) and none in France/Italy.
 

Draizuh

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Apples and Oranges. If you are that worried about riding powder, go to Jackson hole again.
If you want to ski the largest resorts on the planet, You would be stupid to not go to the Tarantaise. I did a season in Les Arcs 2000 and i dont think there was a single day where i said "this place sucks" With 3V/Paradiski/Espace Killy all using the same pass (you get one day a week free at each resort with your season pass iirc)

And le hors piste.... Mon dieu
 
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tom teton

Early Days
Jan 24, 2016
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Apples and Oranges. If you are that worried about riding powder, go to Jackson hole again.
If you want to ski the largest resorts on the planet, You would be stupid to not go to the Tarantaise. I did a season in Les Arcs 2000 and i dont think there was a single day where i said "this place sucks" With 3V/Paradiski/Espace Killy all using the same pass (you get one day a week free at each resort with your season pass iirc)

And le hors piste.... Mon dieu

Great feedback, my mind is more at ease now.
 

Zimboo

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I believe it's claim to fame is being the highest ski village, as opposed to being the highest lifted resort.
Yes, that's what I was trying to get across - village at 2300m, so wouldn't expect any slush etc. in winter months. Think top lift is 3200m?
 

Chester

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Yeah, I thought that's what you might have been trying to say. Yep, 3220m and 3200m are the two highest lifts. The only way they'd get slush during the winter months (Jan-Feb) is if they had rain at high altitude. Unlikely, but not completely out of the question.
 

XTREMO

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3V is awesome particularly if you're on skis. The only negative of the area is the fact that there are quite a lot of flat spots for boarders, particularly if you're staying in Meribel and returning there each day.

Val Thorens is fantastic riding. As is Courchevel, and while jewellery shops and mink coats aren't a drawcard, its certainly interesting to spend a few hours there. The scenery is spectacular all through 3V and the food is great. There are lively apres spots (Rondpoint in Meribel) and Folie Douce in VT.

I wouldn't worry about it being warm, rainy or similar to an Aussie resort. When I was there, I don't think I've ever been as cold as the one night we stood waiting for a taxi back from a Raclette restaurant in Mottaret. Snow quality isn't a concern and whilst you can always have bad luck, there is a reason they have built the world's largest linked ski area in that part of the world - its high and cold enough. Early January has no guarantees.

Since you're spending serious time in Europe, then why stick to one region for the full two months? If it were me, I'd suggest sampling a few regions. Espace Killy ( Val D'Isere/Tignes), maybe Chamonix and other parts of the Tarantaise Valley (La Plagne etc). or heading over to Austria.The transfers between French resorts tend to be long so time-wise its close to the same hassle to hop on a flight to Austria - where most of the resorts are a 90ish minute transfer from Innsbruck or Freidrichshafen.
 
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tom teton

Early Days
Jan 24, 2016
42
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3V is awesome particularly if you're on skis. The only negative of the area is the fact that there are quite a lot of flat spots for boarders, particularly if you're staying in Meribel and returning there each day.

Val Thorens is fantastic riding. As is Courchevel, and while jewellery shops and mink coats aren't a drawcard, its certainly interesting to spend a few hours there. The scenery is spectacular all through 3V and the food is great. There are lively apres spots (Rondpoint in Meribel) and Folie Douce in VT.

I wouldn't worry about it being warm, rainy or similar to an Aussie resort. When I was there, I don't think I've ever been as cold as the one night we stood waiting for a taxi back from a Raclette restaurant in Mottaret. Snow quality isn't a concern and whilst you can always have bad luck, there is a reason they have built the world's largest linked ski area in that part of the world - its high and cold enough. Early January has no guarantees.

Since you're spending serious time in Europe, then why stick to one region for the full two months? If it were me, I'd suggest sampling a few regions. Espace Killy ( Val D'Isere/Tignes), maybe Chamonix and other parts of the Tarantaise Valley (La Plagne etc). or heading over to Austria.The transfers between French resorts tend to be long so time-wise its close to the same hassle to hop on a flight to Austria - where most of the resorts are a 90ish minute transfer from Innsbruck or Freidrichshafen.

Thanks, excellent feedback!

I'm a skier btw, so fortunately don't suffer the same pain as snow boarders on flat terrain. The reasons I'm thinking staying in the one area, is that if I stay for a month or more in the one place I get much better accommodation rates. Plus skiing on the one season lift pass is much cheaper.
 

tom teton

Early Days
Jan 24, 2016
42
2
8
3V is awesome particularly if you're on skis. The only negative of the area is the fact that there are quite a lot of flat spots for boarders, particularly if you're staying in Meribel and returning there each day.

Val Thorens is fantastic riding. As is Courchevel, and while jewellery shops and mink coats aren't a drawcard, its certainly interesting to spend a few hours there. The scenery is spectacular all through 3V and the food is great. There are lively apres spots (Rondpoint in Meribel) and Folie Douce in VT.

I wouldn't worry about it being warm, rainy or similar to an Aussie resort. When I was there, I don't think I've ever been as cold as the one night we stood waiting for a taxi back from a Raclette restaurant in Mottaret. Snow quality isn't a concern and whilst you can always have bad luck, there is a reason they have built the world's largest linked ski area in that part of the world - its high and cold enough. Early January has no guarantees.

Since you're spending serious time in Europe, then why stick to one region for the full two months? If it were me, I'd suggest sampling a few regions. Espace Killy ( Val D'Isere/Tignes), maybe Chamonix and other parts of the Tarantaise Valley (La Plagne etc). or heading over to Austria.The transfers between French resorts tend to be long so time-wise its close to the same hassle to hop on a flight to Austria - where most of the resorts are a 90ish minute transfer from Innsbruck or Freidrichshafen.

Oh one question as well, how was the powder? Any big dumps or only little dumps like in Australia of 5cm or so in a night. I've heard the dumps aren't that big like America and the likes.
 

XTREMO

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If you're asking whether Europe gets big dumps, then the answer is a resounding yes. Are you as likely to ride powder as you are in Japan or Utah? No. Are you more likely to have some bluebird days? Yes.

When I was in 3V (2010), I went off piste with two French boarders who knew the area well and I had a memorable day. I spent a week there all up. I honestly can't remember whether we had fresh falls during the week but I remember the general snow quality was excellent. To be honest you're gonna have to strike it very very lucky to get anything like the epic videos Mike Pow has just posted in the Europe thread. If you're wanting that type of experience then you're gonna have to plan your trip Carveman style - book your flights in to Geneva, hire a vehicle and make a late call on where to stay and ski.

Again - I really would not be comparing 3V (or any European) mountains or snowfall patterns to Australian resorts. Its chalk and cheese.
 

XTREMO

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The reasons I'm thinking staying in the one area, is that if I stay for a month or more in the one place I get much better accommodation rates. Plus skiing on the one season lift pass is much cheaper.

Yeah that's a solid reason. They're introducing a super pass later this year but annoyingly its only for short visits. Like 6 or 8 day passses. Seems like they've gotten it all backward. People are less likely to want to trek 3 hours to a neighbouring ski area whilst on an 8 day trip, than if they're doing what you're proposing. Hopefully they'll extend it to a combined season pass as some stage.

http://www.mountainheaven.co.uk/blog/alpine-legends-ski-pass-delayed-until-2016-17/
 
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