Méribel is open. And it's glorious!
There was a wonderfully typical European mix of confidence, optimism, nervous trepidation and caution when Méribel and the Three Valleys ski area opened in December, following last season's full closure due to Covid-19 lock-downs.
Despite the pessimistic predictions from some, the 2021/22 season is off to a strong start. This is primarily thanks to two sensible precautions that have been in place: 1) the restriction of access to ski lifts to people holding a valid pass sanitaire (health pass) (and beware: there are spot checks in place), and 2) the mandatory wearing of face coverings when in close proximity to others at and on lifts and public venues such as restaurants (which for the most part people are adhering to).
We had an immense dump of snow in December - the strongest snowfall since 2012, I'm told. And since then we've had fair weather and at times perfect skiing conditions. People have been having a wonderful time reconnecting with the mountains. And restaurants seem to be doing a roaring trade, with people keen to enjoy a near-normal ski season.
Enter the new Omicron variant Stage Left. This has brought with it two further restrictions: 1) closure of the Anglo-French border to all non French nationals and 2) restricting all hospitality venues to table-service only. This brings real challenges to the local economy as Brits make up around 50% of Meribel's visitors (and a higher proportion in January), and as many hospitality establishments cannot make ends meet without filling their venues.
Nonetheless, the season continues, and what a relief it is, following the complete closure of the resort last year. The snow base remains strong, and we are expecting fresh snow and sub zero temperatures in the coming days, which bodes well for a long season with quality snow. If you can make it here - from wherever you may be travelling - it's well worth the trip and extra precautionary steps that may be required. It's a small price to pay for the privilege and joy of Alpine skiing.
À bientôt et bon ski !!