Clouds make an appearance in Courchevel

27th February 2012, by Chris Gill

If you spot this combo in Courchevel, say hello to Alex

If you spot this combo in Courchevel, say hello to Alex

My first day in Courchevel – Sunday – was to be devoted to renewing acquaintance with my son Alex, who is working here managing the bar in Flexiski’s hotel St-Louis. Naturally he was still in bed when I rocked up at the appointed time of 1030. Kids, eh?

The temperatures were certainly a bit lower than yesterday in Megève, but still high. Overnight it had been cold enough to render the pistes pretty hard, and now it was sunny though not cloudless. My vague plan was to treat Alex to a trip outside the valley – his season pass is for Courchevel only – and a cheap lunch above Les Menuires. My only reservation was that the slopes on the Méribel side of the ridge, which get no sun until the afternoon, would be unpleasantly hard.

A first thrash down red Creux (on the Courchevel side) was more demanding than you would wish, so I was not looking forward to the descent to downtown Méribel. To my amazement, the Biche blue run down was in relatively good shape - not soft, exactly, but capable of taking an edge in a way that the slopes back in Courchevel were not. Really quite enjoyable. Super-thorough grooming is the only explanation I can offer - perhaps a repeat grooming in the morning? In any event, it was the first time in a thousand visits to the 3V that I’ve had better snow above Méribel than above Courchevel.

Our favourite restaurant above Les Menuires, Grand Lac, is only a single cross-mountain blue run from the top of the Tougnète lifts out of Méribel, so it is scarcely any less convenient than lunching in the Méribel valley. The upside is that you get friendly and efficient service, satisfying food and reasonable prices – my huge omelette with excellent fries was one of several acceptable dishes in the €12.50 budget section of the carte. Alex of course had a giant steak at twice the price.

We emerged (no, we didn’t eat on the terrace – we’re not tourists, for heaven’s sake) to find the weather going downhill. The Granges chair took us up into the cloud, and the trip back to Courchevel was dominated by poor visibility above mid-mountain. If there’s one thing worse than hard snow, it’s hard snow in poor viz. But we plugged away, and as the picture shows there were traces of sun by the time we got back down to Courchevel. We got to the bar of the St-Louis just in time to see Scotland thrash France. Well, to see Scotland go ahead with a peach of a try, only to then lose the plot. Shame.

More news from Courchevel tomorrow ...



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