The snow levels in the Grand Massif during winter season 2012-2013 were the best since 2002 and some of the highest snow depths in the French Alps were recorded in Flaine and the Grand Massif. At March 31st there is still 365 cm of snow at the peak. Arriving on Saturday in the 2nd week of March we had 2 days of continuous snow, white-out conditions and significant snow down below the village of Les Carroz (altitude 1200 m). Snowfall of about up to 50 cm was reported at altitude so we were excited about the prospect of skiing in fresh powder conditions.
I skied in white out conditions for a short time, before deciding to abandon, but then the weather turned to blue skies, remained cold and the pistes were in absolutely brilliant condition with large depths of snow.
As an example, is a photo of the Sabonne blue run, which goes from Les Molliets to the Timolet piste in Les Carroz d’Araches. The piste is quite narrow and how a lot of low incline so is really more suitable for cross country skiing, nevertheless some of the views are spectacular.
I’ve been a regular skier in the Grand Massif since 2001 and keep a watch open for lifts and pistes that are very snow and weather dependent. In March the red piste called Grand Chaudron was open on several days. This piste is accessed from the Veret drag lift off the blue piste called Tourmaline; which is one of the main runs down into Flaine from Les Carroz d’Araches. The views from the summit provide a different perspective on the Grand Massif as Samoens, Les Carroz and Flaine are readily seen from the summit.
There were a few days when the weather warmed up to about 8C in the village of Les Carroz, but the pistes at 1750 m and above were perfect all day and only the lower slopes in the late afternoon were showing that soft or crystalline snow feeling.
A fantastic few weeks of skiing in the Grand Massif and with these snow depths I expect great conditions until the end of April 2013. If the lifts remain open then I could envisage skiing into May this year.