Les 3 Vallees
Sunday 30 December 2001


Extremely variable. Snow overnight, clearing as the lifts opened. Cloud in the valley lifted briefly around midday. Brighter conditions at higher altitudes.


Extremely variable. 2-3" of fresh snow overnight on groomed runs was quickly skied off. By the end of the day, there were plenty of bare patches and areas of ice.

By Sunday morning, the temperature had dropped and the rain turned to snow. Overnight there was about 3 inches of fresh snow. The valley was still shrouded in cloud, but we were there to ski, so we got ready to go out as soon as the slopes opened. Sue decided not to ski (in fact for various reasons she did not ski all week, but did take some photos from our balcony with her new camera.



Chris with his key ring camera



Mike with skis

Cathy with skis

Chris with skis

Misty view from the apartment

Misty view from the apartment

The Chalets gondola



The plan for Sunday started with a gentle cruise down to Meribel (via Mottaret centre). The slopes were nicely groomed, but visibility was by no means good. Truite run down into Meribel would have been perfect for Sue in terms of gradient but was a little too long.

The run to Meribel

Truite down to Meribel

Dam on the river between Mottaret and Meribel

Burgin 1 (2237) : Blanchot Chardonneret

From Meribel centre, we took the first stage of the Burgin gondola. We emerged above the clouds. Visibility was much improved and snow conditions were excellent. We had a plan and the first part was the gentle blue Chardonneret run down to the Aliport area of Meribel.

Chris and Cathy preparing to ski

Chris and Cathy preparing to ski

Trails at the top of Burgin 1

The top of Burgin 1

Gondola station

Cathy on Chardonneret

Altiport (1072) :

The Altiport lift was the next progression from the high speed detachable 6-pack lift. With capacity for 8 people on each chain, the loading process was assisted with a "magic carpet" to get everyone moving together at the right speed. Visibility remained pretty bad.

The Altiport 8-pack lift

The Altiport 8-pack lift

The top of the Altiport lift

Chris near the top of Altiport

Dent de Burgin : Biche, Marmottes, Doron

Our final run on the West slope of the valley involved the Dent de Burgin lift, so named because it climbs towards a set of rocks called the Dents de Burgin. We planned on a series of blue runs right down into Meribel centre. At the top, visibility was not bad, but it gradually got worse as we descended. Cathy found the run rather long for the first day. She was clearly putting more effort in than Chris and myself and by the time we reached the bottom she was very relieved.

The Dent de Bergin lift

Cathy on Biche

Cathy and Chris in the mist

Tougnete 1 (1535) : Perdrix

The only way back to Mottaret (other than a very irregular bus service) was to take a lift up one side of the valley or other and ski down. The Tougnete Gondola mid station was just above Le Hameau. According to the map, the run down was marked green. Reality was somewhat different. The first thirty or so metres was pretty steep and cut up. The rest of the run down was pretty bare in places (despite the fresh snow).

We returned to the apartment for our mid morning break. As we were relaxing, the mist began to clear and the full extent of the other side of the valley up towards the Col de Saulire and the link to Courcheval gradually appeared.

Mist beginning to clear

Clear view to Saulire


Mottaret and the bottom of Aigle



Back out after coffee, we headed straight for the sunlit slopes we had seen from the apartment.

Pas du Lac 1 (1746) : Aigle

The long first section of the Pas du Lac gondola was in sunlight all the way up. Visibility and snow conditions at the top were excellent. As we skied down, clouds built up and we were skiing almost blind in white out conditions.

Good snow on Aigle

Moguls on Grand Rosière

Pas du Lac gondola mid station

Cathy on Aigle

Looking back up Aigle towards the gondola

Cathy on Aigle

Chris on Aigle as the clouds build

Cathy on Aigle as the clouds build

White out on Aigle

Arolles (769) : Turet

Once again we returned to the apartment and lunch. Visibility from the apartment got gradually worse and by the time we were ready to ski again, Cathy had decided that she would not bother.

Mike at lunch time

Cathy and Chris

Chrisw going up the steep stairs

Chris on the stairs

Table Verte (1538) : Matre

Chris and I worked out a plan, but without a great deal of enthusiasm. It started with the Table Verte lift from almost outside the apartment. The bottom half of the lift was grim. We were cold and could not see anything. Suddenly we emerged above the clouds into strong sunlight. We tried to phone Cathy, but her phone was switched off.

Table Verte above the clouds

Table Verte and clouds in the valley

The top of Matre run

Plattieres 2 (1310) : Sittelle

We worked our way across the slopes above the cloud line, using the gentle Matre run and the Plattieres gondola and Chatelet lift. The runs on the "Plan de Mains" had plenty of fresh snow but kicked up so that the skiing was quite hard work. I started to feel muscles in my thigh almost immediately, so had to go carefully for the rest of the afternoon.

Chatelet (1231) : Bouvreuil

Bouvreuil lead down to the bottom of the Mont Vallon gondola and the only toilet in this part of the mountain.

Rossignol run

Chatelet run

Rossignol run

Chatelet gondola mid station

Plan des Mains (937) : Rossignol

Plan des Mains was about the only busy lift on the whole afternoon. We had to wait several minutes. By the time we got back to the top of the lift we were getting tired and cold and decided to make our way back to the apartment.

Plan des Mains lift

Plan des Mains lift


The lower part of Matre down to Mottaret was in pretty bad condition, with slick patches and near the bottom plenty of ice that my edges could not cope with.

Arolles (769) : Turet

By the time we took the Arolles chair back, the white out was almost complete. The apartment blocks were virtually invisible from the lift.

Le Hameau in the mist

Le Hameau in the mist

Arolles chair

Furet in the fog

We started to settle down into a rhythm. After skiing, Chris and I had showers and then retired to our computers to record the runs we took (and the vertical feet skied).

The top of Chalets gondola

Chris recording his runs

Cathy relaxing


Lift Vertical Easy Runs Intermediate Runs
Getting ready to ski
Burgin 1 2237 Blanchot Chardonneret
Altiport 1072
Dent de Burgin Biche, Marmottes, Doron
Tougnete 1 1535 Perdrix
Coffee break
Pas du Lac 1 1746 Aigle
Arolles 769 Turet
Table Verte 1538 Matre
Plattieres 2 1310 Sittelle
Chatelet 1231 Bouvreuil
Plan des Mains 937 Rossignol
Arolles 769 Turet
End of the day
Total vertical 13144

Last updated: 1/15/2002