Alpine Action 25 Years – Upload Your Winter Memories

We are are 25 this year!

To help us reminisce we would love to see some of your memories of skiing in The Three Valleys or on holiday with us over the past 25 years.  Maybe you have pic of your favourite chalet host, or you skiing in an all-in-one back in the 90’s, apres partying in the 00’s or a recent family, it would great to see them.

To share your memories with us just fill in the form below or use the hashtag #AlpineAction25 on your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

We will add your photo to our online gallery and our Facebook gallery celebrating our 25 years of skiing.

Online Gallery – Facebook Gallery

UPLOAD YOUR PHOTO MEMORIES 



 

 

Take a look around our new chalet

Chalet Du Virage is idealy located for easy access to the resort, shops and bars and there is a Meribus stop right outside. There are simply breathtaking views of the Meribel Valley from the lounge and most of the bedrooms.  Find out more…

Chalet Virage - Meribel Centre


Alpine Action @25 Photo Gallery

This year we are celebrating providing catered ski chalet holidays in Méribel & La Tania for 25 years.

We wouldn’t be where we are today without our amazing guest and wonderful staff.  To celebrate we are collecting as many photos from everyone who has been involved in our 25 year journey and building this archive of memories.

Click to share your photo memories with us!

 


 

Are you planning on coming to The 3 Valleys this winter? Take a look at all our prices and availability.

Take a look at out new chalet Virage that is located in Méribel centre.


25 ways skiing has changed in 25 years

A lot has changed in skiing over the 25 years we have been making skiing holidays in the 3 Valleys!

Alpine Action started providing catered ski holidays to the Three Valleys in 1993 and over those 25 years the world of skiing has changed a lot. We thought we would take a look at some of the things that have fallen by the wayside since Dennis welcomed our fisrts guests back in the 90’s.

1. Straight Skis

It is hard to believe but people were still predominantly using straight skis in the early 90’s and it wasn’t 1993 that carving skis were put on mass sale by Elan skis.

2. Chalet Maids

1000’s of people are employed each year across the Alps each year as chalet hosts to work in chalets and look after guests. It is hard to pin point exactly when it stopped but female staff were originally referred to as chalet maids. We are glad that it moved on.

3. Making Cow Noises in Cable Cars

Back in the late 90’s early 00’s it wasn’t uncommon for a busy ride up the Saulire cable car to be accompanied by a chorus of moo’s created by the passengers, this was sketch recreated in crowded téléfériques around the world. It seems that this comedy routine has faded and is no longer performed but like all comedy acts it could well make a comeback.

4.Rear Entry Boots

In the 90’s the design race of the ski boot was coming to an end. At one point the rear-entry boot seemed to be winning with its comfort and how easy they were to put on. In the end, performance won and we all switched to the more responsive front entry boot… well except that mate of your dad who you only ever meet on the annual family ski trip.

5.Goggle Marks

OK so we still see them now but they now are no longer a fashion statement and more of a sign that you are incompetent at applying sun cream.

6. Ski Brochures

We printed our last ski brochure in 1998 and like many companies took our holidays online.

7. Rubbish Ski Hire

Ski hire had a bad reputation for years. Do you remember how you feared turning up to the hire shop knowing that you would be presented with 3 year old boots and skis with zero edges? Today you can be confident that you will receive comfy fitting boots with a set of sticks that are new that season and have been serviced in-between customers.

8. All-in-ones

One of skiing’s greatest losses was the unironic wearing of the all-in-one. Not only were they warm and comfy they all so came in such an array of bad designs guaranteed to offend the eyes.

9. The division between skiers and snowboarders

It could be one of the worlds most pointless feuds that for us, reached a crescendo when each party tried to blame each other for the creation of moguls.  Fortunately we have moved on and share the mountain in relative harmony and leave pointless feuding to the likes of Kim Kardashian & Taylor Swift.

10. Spag Bol AKA Terrible Chalet Food

When you have been out in the mountain air all day you look forward to dinner. These days you will return to the chalet and be fed a 4-course meal designed by experienced chefs accompanied with a selection of wines. Long ago it was deemed acceptable to plonk down a pan of spaghetti bolognese and a bowl of angel delight!

11. The Lift Pass Holder

The fumble fumble of the old photo pass attached to a mini retractable washing line has been replaced by the efficient beep beep clunk of the modern electronic pass that can remain in your pocket. It has also helped reduce queuing time.

12. Novelty Hats

This may depend on your definition of novelty. We are mainly talking about the long and spikey hats made from synthetic fleece and came in a variety of horrendous colours.

13.  Long Drag Lifts

 

There is still a place for the humble button lift. However, the place isn’t over 1ooo vertical meters of tough, steep, icy terrain. Fortunately, they have stopped being installed and most are slowly being replaced. Goodbye thigh burn.

14. Knees together

As the years have gone by the skier’s stance has got wider. At one point a requirement to become a ski instructor was to prove yourself by skiing with a hanky held between the knees. A wider more balanced stance has now been adopted.

15. Head Bands

Since we started operating another type of headwear has disappeared from the slopes, the headband. Once they were the height of fashion driven by floppy hairstyles and non-breathable clothing. Now they have been resigned to the poubelle.

16. The Jump

For 4 years this has been one of our favourite programs on TV. The show featured celebrities learning a variety of snow sports,  ski jumping and generally getting injured. Recently Channel 4 announced it was resting the show and we all know what happens when we sit down.

17. UK Ski Shows

There was a time when it felt like there was a ski show in every city from Glasgow to Brighton with Birmingham in-between. This year there is just one survivor left, The London Ski Show.

18. Smoking in Bar

Of course, this isn’t just a ski thing but it always seemed that even more smoking was done in the bars of ski resorts as well as the lifts and shuttle buses.

19. The Courchevel Eggs

For a while it felt like the out dated but iconic egg looking lifts of Courchevel from Le Paraz would never be replaced. But then they were and no one has missed them since!

20. Monoskiing

Seriously when was the last time you saw someone on one except in a novelty competition?

21. Lack of UK Success on snow in the Winter Olympics

In 2014 Jenny Jones took bronze in the Snowboard Slopestyle comp, securing the UK’s first Winter Olympic Medal. Since then a large amount of funding has been pumped into the GB ski and board team and there are high hopes for the 2018 games.

22. Bunny Ears

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0693.

Putting skis poles to your head is over as people realise it is no longer an efficient way of attracting attention on the slopes or looking cool in holiday snaps!

23. Being Disconnected

Along with Cornwall, the mountains used to be one of the few places left in the world where a mobile phone signal was virtually impossible to get. Today people are on their phones even while skiing down the mountain.

24. Slope Side Photographers

The upside to everyone having a smart phone in their pocket is that we no longer get hassled by photographers when we get off the lift or while skiing down the easy green into the resort.

25. Slopes Without Snow

Snow wasn’t always guaranteed. With the development and investment of snow making facilities, mega resorts like The 3 Valleys can guarantee there will be snow cover on 80% of the slopes for the entire season!

 

To book a ski holiday with us or find more about our service got to our website.


Rail Travel to the Meribel – Ski Train

Ski Train to the Alps – Get the Train to Méribel

Exciting news! The good people at Eurostar have just released their Ski Train prices for the forthcoming winter ski season! The service runs from December through until April and offers swift and hassle free access to Meribel and other resorts in the 3 Valleys.

eurostar - ski train to the alps

Why catch the ski train to Meribel?

Anybody looking to save money on travel, make the most of their time on the snow and benefit from free ski carriage would be well advised to give the train serious thought.

Plus of course with the recent increase in media coverage, skiers these days seem more aware than ever of the ‘carbon footprint’ they leave behind them during their week on the slopes – taking the ski train is a great way to reduce yours.

SAVE UPTO £300  ON OUR HOLIDAYS WHEN YOU TRAVEL INDEPENDENTLY 

The first advantage that Ski Train advocates will tell you is how you can use the timetable to your advantage to get an extra day on the slopes. By leaving on Friday night and arriving early on the Saturday, you can be on the slopes by mid morning!

Equally, return travel can be booked for the following Sunday evening, giving you another extra day’s skiing and bringing you back into London for work or onward travel Monday morning.

ski train meribel

Where to catch the ski train from

Train travellers to the Alps can either start their outward journey at London’s St Pancras International station, or Ashford or Ebbsfleet in Kent, before onward travel to a range of Alpine stations including Aime la Plagne, Bourg St Maurice or to access Meribel or otheer resorts in the 3 Valleys alight in Moutiers.

Perhaps most importantly, the range of resorts serviced by the Ski Train is superb! Highlights in France include iconic resorts such as Meribel, Courchevel, Tignes, Val Thorens, les Arcs and Val d’Isere and over in Switzerland ski trainers have easy access to stunning resorts like Zermatt, Saas Fee and Verbier.

With a small connection at places like Aigle and Martigny you can also branch off to resorts like Chatel, les Gets, Morzine and Chamonix.

The choice is seemingly endless! Moutiers train station, for example, is spectacularly well located for access to the resorts of the Three Valleys. Upon arrival into Moutiers it’s an onward drive of approximately half an hour up the mountain road to Courchevel le Praz and the upper Courchevel resorts, plus la Tania and Meribel too.

How to book the ski train to Meribel

With direct services to the French Alps starting at £150 return and connecting services also available, the Ski Train remains the modus operandi of choice for thousands of keen skiers each year.

Book here… http://www.eurostar.com/uk-en/train/france/ski-train

ski train alps


Driving to Méribel – Why it’s a great way to travel

Why you should consider driving to Méribel.

We have done the journey to the alps many, many times and we are big fans of driving out to the Alps and we drive out to Méribel at least once a year.

Driving can have some great perks as well as some serious financial benefits, coupled with the fact that it doesn’t really take much longer and you can make the journey part of the adventure.

Why driving to Meribel in the alps is a good idea

When Driving to Méribel should you take the Ferry or Tunnel?

The first decision you need to make is Ferry or Tunnel. No matter where you live in the UK the best place to cross the channel is Dover as you will still need to cover similar distance once you’re in France. If you went from further west crossings are also cheaper at Dover and at least every 30 min 24 hours a day.

The Eurotunnel is the fastest way to cross at 35 minutes compared to the 90 minutes on a Ferry. Speed comes at a premium with tickets starting at £79 one way compared to £39 for a more leisurely pace.

Why driving to Meribel in the alps is a good idea

If you are travelling a long distance before arriving in Dover the Ferry is a good opportunity to have walk around and take a break.

Both routes offer a flexi ticket for a bit extra , which is great if you’re rubbish at being on time but we have found that if you arrive early for either you generally get put on the next available crossing.

Take the toll roads when driving to Méribel

There is a lot of debate surrounding this. The cost of tolls from Calais to Méribel is around £80 each way which is quite a large amount of money but is it worth the saving?

toll road alps

The drive time on tolls from Calais to the alps is around 9 hours and there is less chance of being caught in traffic. A journey on lesser roads is about the 13 hour mark and that comes with a high risk of traffic jams and unforeseen hold ups.

Do you drive during the day or at night?

If you can split the driving and can stay awake driving through the night is a good option as you are guaranteed a clear run on the roads and if you are doing a week’s holiday you can extend your mountain time by 2 days.

Why driving to Meribel in the alps is a good idea

If you want to drive in the daylight stick to the tolls as you will get clearer roads through the day. But avoid non toll roads as you will be caught in traffic as you will be passing through towns and driving on single lanes for a lot of the time.

What about the coach instead of driving to Méribel?

You could always get the coach out there and with prices starting at £65 it can be a way to keep cost lower. You also get many of the benefits that you get by driving.

Why driving to Meribel in the alps is a good idea

However it is probably the longest journey you can make. Always research the coach company and route as you can end up in a car-park waiting for connecting coaches for hours.

 

Driving is environmentally friendly

If you are looking at reducing your carbon footprint then hitting the road instead of flying is a good start at reducing your impact.

Why driving to Meribel in the alps is a good idea

Carbon emission in kg per journey to the alps 

Full car 67.8kg
Large car 90.8 kg
Train* 56.6kg
Coach* 31.6kg
Plane* 181.5
*not including transfer

Save money by driving

A rough total cost of driving out a car with an MPG of 40 including tolls etc can be as little as £450. Many tour operators, including us, offer an independent travel discount at around £120pp and if you factor in ski carriage, airport parking etc there can be considerable savings especially if you can seat more than 4.

Why driving to Meribel in the alps is a good idea

On selected dates can save you up to £300pp if you travel to resort under your own steam.

Click here for more information on driving in France

 

 


Why the 3 Valleys lift pass is good value for money

Why the 3 Valleys lift pass is good value for money.

Next winter the 3 Valleys lift pass will cost €285 for an adult for 6 days and is outstanding value for money. There are are a reported 4.5 million skiers that visit The 3 Valleys each year giving the area plenty of funds to reinvest.

The constant investment ensures it remains great value for money and the best place to ski in the world.Find our how The 3 Valleys spend their money and give skiers the best possible experience.

FreeCurrencyRates.com

The 3 Valleys Ski Area

why the 3 valleys lift pass is good value for money

For your money you get 600km of piste to play on and to put that into perspective all of the ski areas in America could fit into the 3 Valleys. If you then break that down into Euros per kilometre you get 2.1 km for every Euro you spend on your lift pass. The next best value for money resort is neighbouring La Plagne where you get just 1.5 km per euro.

Despite the vast area, 85% of runs are above the magic 1800m with the highest peak of  3230m in Val Thorens. This impressive altitude guarantees snow and there is an average base of 80cm and annual snowfall of 155cm. All these stats are the reason that the 3 Valleys features in all snow-sure ski area lists.

Snow Making in the Three Valleys

why the 3 valleys lift pass is good value for money.

Being British we know the weather can be unpredictable and maybe this has rubbed off on our colleagues in charge of The 3 Valleys ski area and help them come to the decision to invest heavily in snowmaking. There are currently 2200 snow cannons that can make 5,280,000 cubic meters of snow per day across the area.

The cannons are located on a third of all the runs and there is a fleet of 70 piste bashers to attend to the snow. The resorts source water from a nearby dam for the snowmaking and the water bill is estimated to be around a €1m per valley.

Snow Parks in the Three Valleys

why the 3 valleys lift pass is good value for money.As the sport has changed and the attention is not all on Alpine skiers more people become interested in freestyle. The 3 Valleys has continued to keep up and has some of the best snow parks in Europe that have recently attracted the likes of James “Woodsy” Woods to play.

In Méribel, there is the DC Area park that features big kickers, a half pipe and is flanked by a boarder cross course. You can also find the slightly tamer Moon park in the same valley. Courchevel has a family park that is suitable for all and has an air bag to help you improve your tricks.

Val Thorens has invested in an expert and beginner slopestyle park that is popular with local riders and there is also FIS standard ski cross course.  And finally, there is the BK Park in Les Menuires full of rail and bumps for all abilities.

Three Valleys staff

why the 3 valleys lift pass is good value for money.

For many business one of the biggest outgoings is the wage bill and the 3 Valleys is no different.  The area employs 1200 people just to operate the lifts on top of this there are security staff, pisteurs, resort staff, bus drivers and maintenance teams. If they were on minimum wages the monthly bill just for lifties would be €1,740,000.

How much does The Three Valleys Invest

why the 3 valleys lift pass is good value for money.

We often speak to the management directly responsible for the infrastructure and they always talk in big numbers and they know that it is the continual reinvestment and development that keeps people coming back year after year.

Before last season started at least €50m was spent on improvements and new infrastructure. This included 3 new chairs in Val Thorens, a new chair and multiple piste improvements in Courchevel & Méribel, across the board snowpark improvements, indoor picnic areas, family entertainment, night skiing, wifi and selfie machines.

The Three Valleys is environmentally friendly

why the 3 valleys lift pass is good value for money.There is also investment in what you can’t see such as drainage, waste and reducing environmental impact. The resorts of The 3 Valleys come in the top 20 of environmentally friendly ski resorts in Europe and that is down to its investment in renewable energy to power the lifts.

All the resorts are committed to minimising the traffic and reliance of cars in resort which is combated by providing free bus services at an estimated cost of €5m per season.

What else can you get for the money

why the 3 valleys lift pass is good value for money.

For €285 euros you can get a weeks lift pass and go skiing in The 3 Valleys or you could get…

1 day at Alton Towers for a family of 4 plus £50 spending money.

9 hours indoor skiing.

8 hours Wakeboarding.

68 bottle of alcohol free red wine.

685 All Butter Croissants from Lidl

So there you have it The 3 Vallyes lift pass is great value unless you like croissants more.

 

Oh and one last thing..

 

Is its cheaper to do 6 half day passes?

why the 3 valleys lift pass is good value for money.We get asked if there is a cheaper way to buy a 3 valleys lift passes, such as 6 half day passes. If you were to buy 6 half day passes you would in fact spend €42 more. A day pass can be bought for €61 and would get you 4.5 ski days for the same cost as a 6 day.


If you want more information an skiing in the 3 Valleys or want to find out about our catered ski chalets then please give us a call on 01273 466 535 or check out our website alpineaction.co.uk.


5 Ways to get your Summer Skiing Fix

5 ways to get that summer skiing fix

It is a long wait between ski seasons in Europe. The wait is almost bearable if you’re are a resort worker. But for most of us who can only fit in a one-week holiday, it is 51 long weeks. So what can you do to get your skiing fix during the long hot summer months?

1. Indoor and Dry Slopesindoor ski

There are 100’s of these dotted around the UK, some big and some very small. You can find a full list of slopes on the Ski Club of Great Britain web site. There will be one close to you and they should have a small range of ski hire equipment too. In fact, why you are at it, you may as well take some non-skiing friends along and try and tempt them into taking it.

If you can convince them to come on your next holiday you will benefit from amazing group discount, which is time well spent.

 

2. Water Skiing and Wakeboardingwater skiing

Admittedly it isn’t the same. For a novice, it can be a bit like spending time on a slushy drag lift and it can work out costing a lot more than a week’s skiing.  You will also get wet. But if all that doesn’t put you off then it is a great way to feel that comforting leg burn that you get after a good day hooning around the slopes.

51 THINGS TO DO UNTIL YOUR NEXT SKI HOLIDAY

3. Head Down Under

You could probably fit the whole of Australia’s and New Zealand’s ski runs into the Three Valleys or even the Meribel Valley, (not an actual fact). Sadly we don’t offer catered ski holidays there and there is a long flight to consider. But that shouldn’t put you off. The skiing is actually very good in both countries.

What more could you want from a bit of summer skiing than to be carving down Kangaroo Ridge with a tinny instead of a demis.

4. Create a Ski Holiday at Home

Catered chalet breakfast

One way to make you feel like your skiing this summer without leaving the house is to take it turns to be the chalet host. To help we have prepared a guide on how to create a ski holiday at home.

5. Find a Glacier in Europe to go skiing on this Summer

There are some wonderful glaciers that are open for skiing during the summer. You could even pop over for the weekend. Our favorite is located just down the road from our spiritual home of Meribel, in Tignes. There is also a great one in Zermatt although it will take you about an hour to get to it from the resort.

 


 

Or you could just spend the summer reading ski magazines, watching snowboarding videos and deciding which chalet you will stay in this winter.


James “Woodsy” Woods top tips : How to perfect tricks in the park.

James “Woodsy” Woods top 6 tips to nailing a trick

During this winter our resort reporter Eloise was lucky enough to meet up with  Team GB Olympian James “Woodsy” Woods. Woodsy was in Méribel for a bit of skiing shortly after bagging Gold in the Big Air at the 2017 Winter X Games Aspen.

James Woods Meribel

Woodsy started out on Sheffield Dry Ski Slope as a teenager and has quickly taken himself to the top of his game. On the way, he has won FIS medals, finished 5th in slopestyle at the Winter Olympics in Sochi and has legions of fans across the world.

When Eliose caught up with Woodsy at the Méribel Planks Clothing store she didn’t waste the opportunity and got him to share his top tips on perfecting tricks in the park.

1. Look where you are going & let your eyes do the trick:

Wherever the eyes go the body follows, looking where you are going and spotting your landing is the most important thing when setting out to do a trick.

2. Finger guns:

Point your fingers out in front of you as if you are going to shoot something – this is where your hands should be.

3. Hold the box:

Imagine you are holding the corners of a box in front of you, this helps to keep your shoulders and body open.

4. Z legs:

Your legs need to be z-shaped, pushing your shins into the front of your boots.

5. Imagine you’re an apple:

When you throw an apple it doesn’t change its rotation mid-air. You should do the same, imagine you are an apple and continue your rotation.

6. If landing switch look back up the hill:

When landing backwards it is easy to be nervous and land at an angle, spot your landing then immediately look back up the hill to straighten out the landing so you are on both feet.


Quick Guide to Méribel Snow Parks

Meribel is home to one of the best Freestyle Snow Parks in Europe…DC Area 43.

DC Area 43 currently has something for everyone, with a mini-pipe, super-pipe, side hips, rails, boxes  and kickers (jumps) for intermediate – advanced park skier/boarders. The main drop into the park has a choice of 4 courses, on the left beginner/intermediate boxes, next blue and red kickers and sectioned off on the right a pro-line set up with multiple features. This truly is a park for all standards.

A GUIDE TO SNOW PARKS IN THE 3 VALLEYS

Then you get to the hut/picnic area, this year it supports WiFi, weekly entertainment with prizes, such as DC merchandise, a fusball table and a perfect view of the whole park.

If you want to perfect your tricks in the parks of Méribel the give us a call on 0127 3466 535 or check out our catered ski chalets.

 


What we learnt about the 3 Valleys when we skied somewhere else

We missed Méribel when we went skiing somewhere different

As you probably know we love Méribel and we love skiing in Les 3 Valleys. During the 25 years of operating in the area, we have witnessed the resort and slopes evolve into the incredible ski experience they are today.

But that doesn’t stop us venturing to other resorts for a ski day or even a holiday. Over the last few years, we have visited the Espace Killy, Chamonix, Ischgl, Borovets and recently La Clusaz. It was this last one that made us realise how amazing The 3 Valleys are!

Meribel

We are not about to character assassinate another resort and the truth is we had a lovely holiday skiing in a different place. Nor do we want to be the sort of people that say “why would you want to go anywhere else?”.

We understand that we all need to try something different, but we also know how good it feels to return to the familiar especially when it has the added bonus of being the best!

Our spring trip to La Clusaz was great, the resort was lovely, and the scenery stunning. In short, we had a great time. However, when you come from one of the best resorts in the world you do start to miss things.

The Snow

Not Much Snow
Not much snow should have stayed in the 3 Valleys

By going skiing at the extremities of the season there is always the risk that the snow conditions won’t be at their best. Our trip was in spring and the snow cover across the alps wasn’t outstanding.

It is during periods like this you realise how good the snowmaking infrastructure in The 3 Valleys is and how important attitude is to ensuring great season-long skiing.

The 3 valleys have over 2000 snow cannons across ⅓ of the ski area, in our spring destination there were just 200 and many of them were not in use due to the temperature and low altitude.

The Skiing

We can all have an opinion on what is good and bad skiing. What you can’t argue with is that the 3 Valleys is the largest ski area in the world and offers terrain and runs for every skier.  Yes in a small resort it is harder to get lost and in this case it was a great way for a mixed group to easily split up and hangout at the same time.

But if you consider that we occasionally discover a run that we haven’t skied for 10 years in the 3 valleys you can forgive us for not being satisfied with the amount of skiing on offer in other resorts.

The Lifts

Like the 3 Valleys the Annecy Ski area is many small areas linked. During my weeks stay none of the links were skiable, no runs were open into the resort and we relied on a car to get between ski areas. During the same week over in Méribel all the links were open and there was a plenty of runs open and runs back to resort were kept open.

During the same week over in Méribel all the links were open and there was a plenty of runs open and runs back to resort were kept open.

The next thing I started to miss was the quality of the infrastructure found in Les 3 Valleys. Every year there are new lift developments in the 3 Valleys and there has been clear progress in upgrading old lifts. So it is easy to tell when you’re in a resort that hasn’t had seen heavy lift investment.

So it is easy to tell when you’re in a resort that hasn’t had seen heavy lift investment. Many of La Cluzas lifts were old and none were covered, there was also a reliance on draglifts to access many of the ski areas.

The Apres

One of the charms of La Cluzas is how it has retained its original charm and very much remains a French ski resort. This has also meant that it isn’t quite up to scratch when it comes to Apres time! There is nothing to rival the Folie or the Ronnie and the bars in town are a more subdued affair.

Also after a recent Austrian ski trip and experiencing the whole Europop, Flulgle , dancing on the table madness I realised how well balanced the Apres ski scene in Meribel feels.

As we live in Meribel for half the year we can sometimes get complacent so a trip to another resort is good for us to realise how lucky we are to have the 600km of piste that we do.


If you are planning to return to The 3 Valleys or are heading there for the first time then check out our catered chalets in La Tania and Méribel or call us on +44(0) 1273 466 535


A guide to Savoie food

A Guide to Savoie Food and its traditions

Keen British skiers flock to France each winter for the country’s spectacular ski slopes, vibrant après ski, wonderful family facilities and catered chalet holidays.

But there’s one more thing which keeps us coming back for more each year, the food! Not just in the chalets but on the slopes and in the resort restaurants.

Meribel - Savoie

History of Savoie Food

A large part of the French Alps sits across the Savoie region, and like any other region or départment in France, the Savoie has its own unique cultural, historical, political and social background.

A hugely varied terrain, much of the Savoie is covered by high-altitude mountain plateaux, steep gradients, deep river valleys, farmland and lakes, plus of course huge swathes of the land are covered in snow for half the year, so the people who historically lived and travelled here were very hardy folk.

Food sources had to be readily available and that meant their diet largely consisted of hardy vegetables, cheeses and cured meats.

Since the turn of the twentieth century, the Savoie has changed from a largely agricultural terrain to an area more readily associated with tourism and skiing, but the cuisine of the area is inextricably linked to the Savoie itself and over the years has proven hugely popular amongst skiing visitors from all corners of the globe – so much so that for many people the Savoie food is now a major reason to return to France for the annual ski trip!

 

The Ingredients

Savoyarde cooking relies exclusively on products and ingredients from the area and, because of this, is unmistakably authentic. Staple ingredients include potatoes, which were grown over the summer and stored during harsh winters, and cheeses.

Of course, being an Alpine territory cheese making has always been a hugely popular pursuit in the Savoie and abondance, Beaufort, Tome and of course Reblochon cheeses all work wonderfully well with traditional Savoyarde fare. Cured meats also form a large part of the Savoyarde dishes we enjoy today, and they feature in a number of traditional recipes.

Fondue

Perhaps the most instantly recognisable of all the Savoyard dishes, fondue is like no other meal! Wonderfully convivial and great fun to enjoy with friends, eating fondue involves placing hard bits of bread onto a skewer and dipping it into a pot of melted cheese.

There are two schools of thought on the history of the meal, one a lot more fun and interesting than the other. The traditional view is that fondue came about when poor mountain farming communities had experienced lean times and were forced to make meals out of nothing more than stale bread and hard cheese, so they melted the cheese down and ate it with the tough bread as a warm and hearty meal. The truth of the matter, if you believe the nay-sayers, is a lot less intriguing… fondue came about as little more than a marketing ploy to get punters

The truth of the matter, if you believe the nay-sayers, is a lot less intriguing… fondue came about as little more than a marketing ploy to get punters into restaurants when skiing because popular in the Alps. I know which one I’m happier believing!

Raclette

Named after the cheese it’s made with, raclette is another wonderfully convivial dining experience – there are more flavours at play than with the fondue as well, and it’s a complete meal.

Potatoes are cooked in a pan of boiling water with the skins on, and placed on a plate alongside pickled gherkins, picked onions and a selection of dried meats.

Then diners take melted slices of raclette cheese and pour them over the dish before tucking in. It’s a hearty meal and leaves you fit to burst!

 Tartiflette

For a dish with as much flavour as tartiflette, it’s surprisingly simple to make. Butter is melted in a frying pan then finely chopped onions, bacon bits and thinly sliced potatoes are added.

Once the potatoes are nearly cooked you put them in an oven proof dish, layered with the bacon bits and onions. Then you cover the dish in strips of reblochon cheese and bake until melted and browned.

Tartiflette is a very old and very traditional Savoyarde recipe, but it’s one that anybody can try. Wonderfully simple to prepare, it tastes amazing and goes well with a crisp Savoyarde white wine.

These Savoyarde dishes are all wonderful in their own ways, and although no trip to the Alps is complete without one they are also perfectly simple to make and enjoy at home.

It’s all pretty carbohydrate-heavy though, but if you’re feeling too full after one of these dishes a shot or two of Genepi, the Savoie’s own digestif spirit, will sort you out in no time at all!

 


A great place to taste all these delicious dishes is the 3 Valleys. We have catered accommodation in Méribel and La Tania.

Go to our website for more details.

www.alpineaction.co.uk


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