5 Ways to get your Summer Ski Fix

5 Ways to get your Summer Ski 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 winter sport fix during the long hot summer months?

1. Indoor and Dry Slopes

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 to. 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. A double bonus is that if you can then convince them to come on your next holiday you will get a bigger group discount, which is time well spent.

Chairlifts meribel La Tania

2. Water Skiing and Wakeboarding

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

3. Head Down Under

You could probably fit the whole of Australia’s and New Zealand’s ski runs into the Three Valleys, (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 the mountains of Mordor with a tinny instead of a Demis.

4. Create a Ski Holiday at Home

For more information on how to create a ski holiday at home read this handy guide.

5. Find a Glacier in Europe

There are some wonderful glaciers that are open for skiing during the summer. You could even pop over for the weekend. Our favourite 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.

 

 

 

 

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10 reasons why Snowblading is better than Skiing and Snowboarding

10 reasons why Snowblading is better than Skiing and Snowboarding

If there was any sport that should have been recognised as an Olympic sport it is this one.  We all know that little skis are by far the superior mode of transport when on snow and it is hard to ignore the huge number of people converting to blading each year. Just take a look at  the slopes in the Three Valleys it is full of Big Feet and Mini Maxs popping 360s. Here are 10 reasons why Snowblading is better than Skiing and Snowboarding.

1. They fit in your suitcase saving you paying ski carriage fees

2. They fit in your suitcase saving you paying ski carriage fees

3. They fit in your suitcase saving you paying ski carriage fees

4. They fit in your suitcase saving you paying ski carriage fees

5. They fit in your suitcase saving you paying ski carriage fees

snowblading meribe

6. They fit in your suitcase saving you paying ski carriage fees

7. They fit in your suitcase saving you paying ski carriage fees

8. They fit in your suitcase saving you paying ski carriage fees

9. They fit in your suitcase saving you paying ski carriage fees

10They fit in your suitcase saving you paying ski carriage fees

People who read this also read 10 reasons why skiing is better than snowboarding, probably.

By Jim Duncombe

Click here to look at all our snowblader  friendly holidays.  

 

 

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10 reasons why skiing is better that snowboarding

10 reasons why skiing is better that snowboarding

Skiing V’s Snowboarding is a more divisive topic than Scotland remaining as part of the UK. The difference is that very soon one will have a resolution on the 18th of September and one will continue to be debated forever. So in the spirit of fuelling the argument here are our top 10 reasons why skiing is better than snowboarding.

1. Feeling Superior

We all know that Skiing is much harder to master than snowboarding. Our gear is more technical. Our Technique is more refined and when done correctly looks amazing. And the history and development of skiing is deeper, to the point that it has been part of several war efforts. Other than in James Bond you won’t see an armed snowboarder.

2. Lifts are designed for skis

How many times has a skier taken you out getting off a chairlift? How many times have you watched a snowboarder struggle with a button lift or T-bar? The reason is that lifts are designed for skiers.

3. Everything is named after us

Ski Holiday, Ski Resort, Après Ski, Ski Sunday, Ski School and the list goes on. With the exception of Board Park which has slowly been renamed Snow Park to make sure us skiers don’t feel alienated and our feelings are not hurt.

Meribel ski holiday

4. Most snowboarders can ski

Most people get their first taste of the mountains on skis. Vary rarely will you find someone that hasn’t skied before getting on a snowboard. Although the ones that deny this are probably lying.

5. Flat sections are easier

Oh no a flat section on a mountain, shall I get off my planks and walk? No need, I can just effortlessly glide to the next downhill.

6. No cold bums

I am always glad that I never have to get off a lift and sit down to strap my board to my boots and then have to do the something again half way down the run. It always seem like an endless battle between the boarder and the ability to remain attached to the board.

7. Off Piste

Sure snowboarders look effortlessly cool with their big gliding turns and huge spray and “cheeky” grabs when freeriding in the backcountry. The truth is that skiers can do that too, but that is too easy. What is much more satisfying is the challenge of looking technically proficient when tackling as steep powder filled incline. More turns are better. What is more is that accessing the inaccessible slopes is much easier, that is why you can now buy a snowboard that turns into skis.

8. Moguls

This isn’t an argument about who creates them, however I will say that moguls were around long before snowboarding.  My point is that they exist and can often be a barrier to a great run deal with them, oh you’re on a snowboard you can’t!

9. Faster

It isn’t all about speed. But sometimes it is. I have done a small experiment and the evidence suggest that when out with a group of skiers and boarders, the skiers spend a small amount of time waiting around for the snowboarders. The boarders often defend this slowness by claiming that they are gibing about or riding switch.

10. Better hire equipment

Your own boots are always a good idea no matter what you ride however I have never heard a snowboarder who is happy with the hire gear they have. Skis are always updated in hire shops and if you pay that little bit extra you will get some really good kit.

Are you a snowboarder? Then read our 10 reasons why snowboarding is better than skiing.

By Jim Duncombe

Click here to look at all our skier and snowboarder friendly holidays.  

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10 reasons why snowboarding is better than skiing

10 reasons why snowboarding is better than skiing

Ever since the first man or woman, I haven’t researched this, strapped on a snowboard there has been a debate about which is better, skiing or snowboarding. We at Alpine Action love both sports however that doesn’t make good reading. Here are our 10 reasons that snowboarding is better than skiing.

1. The boots

Many people think that snowboard boots are really comfy. Compared to many mid 90′s ski boot they are. However they can be just as uncomfortable as a ski boot as times.  Where they really come into their own is walking around resort. Have you ever seen a snowboarder struggling to negotiate a set of stairs?

2. People think we are cool

This depends on your definition of cool. But we assume that baggy clothes, bright colours and a bobble hat no matter what the time of year means cool. Then we are cool.

3. Jenny Jones

Britain’s first olympic medal on the snow was won by a snowboarder. And In a year when the competition was tougher than ever before.  Making her a role model for many youngsters.

4. Sitting down

It’s not because we actually need to we just like the rest.  If us snowboarders wanted to we could easily strap in quickly and get on our way. The truth is that we quite like the social chat while we eye up a jump or route.

5. Off piste is easy

Well not that easy. But in principle tackling some fresh powered is a lot less challenging than on a pair of skis. This means that even people new to the sport can get a taste of the pure enjoyment that is floating on fresh, deep snow.

Snowboarding meribel off piste

6. No poles

Sure there are times when a set of poles would really help, such as long flat sections. But that is why we have skier mates to pull us along.  The up side is that we never loose our poles of a chair lift. It frees up our hands for useful reasons such as eating on a lift and throwing snowballs.

7. Innovation of skiing

Without the fast development of snowboarding in the late 90′s skiing may have not been as quick to develop the technology used today. Imagine all you skiers could still be using 10ft long straight skis with rear entry boots.

8. It is a lot easier to get a bubble for just your group

It may seem that it is a big hassle to get a snowboard in the slot or even squeeze it into the lift. This is actually a tactic to ensure that the lift is taken up by just our mates.

9. We have better computer games

Have you ever played a good skiing game? Thought not.

10. Lots of transferable skills

Once you have mastered skiing you can only use that skill for one other sport, water skiing and everyone knows that isn’t much fun. Once you have mastered snowboarding

Are you a skier? Then read our 10 reasons why skiing is better than snowboarding.

By Jim Duncombe

Click here to look at all our skier and snowboarder friendly holidays.  

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This seasons favourite meals!

This seasons favourite meals!

by Kayleigh Foreman

I am sure this is a blog post everyone has been waiting for! During the last season we are happy to announce that the favourite canapé was Honey Mustard Sausages, favourite starter was Garlic Chilli Prawns and the favourite main was Lamb Shanks! So here is a short and sweet post with the recipes for these delicious meals, we thought you might want to try them at home! If you do try these out please post a picture on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and #alpineactionski we would love to see what you do!

Canapé, Honey Mustard Sausages

Preparation time 5 minutes

Cooking time 1 hour

Ingredients:

• 550g pack cocktail sausages

• 125g honey

• 60g grainy mustard

• 1 whole loaf brown bread

Method:

1. Prick the sausages and place in a roasting tray.

2. Pour the honey and mustard over the sausages and cook for about 1 hour in the oven until the sausages are nicely sticky. Meanwhile, slice the top off the loaf of bread in one piece. Hollow out the rest of the loaf so that you can use it as a basket to hold the sausages. Keep the insides – they can be used for breadcrumbs. Fill with the sausages and place the lid back on top. Serve immediately.

Starter, Garlic, lemon & herb sautéed Prawns

Preparation time 10 minutes

Cooking times 15 to 20 minutes

Ingredients

• 1.2kg of large frozen prawns (defrosted).

• 3 lemons

• 10g of fresh parsley chopped

• 10g of fresh coriander chopped

• 10g of fresh chives chopped

• Olive oil

• Salt and pepper

• Mache leaves

Method

1. In a large frying pan heat the oil up then add prawns and sauté for 5 minutes then add the garlic and herbs. And cook for 5 more minutes then add the juice of 1 lemon.

2. Cut the other lemons into wedges place on the side of the plate with a neat pile of the prawns and the dressed leaves then serve.

Main, Confit Lamb Shank

Preparation time 15 minutes

Cooking time 2 hours

Ingredients:

• 10 lamb shanks

• 11 sticks fresh rosemary

• 1 onion, finely sliced

• 1 orange

• 45ml olive oil

• 35cl red wine

• 200ml beef stock

• salt & pepper

Method:

1. Grate the zest of the orange.

2. Heat the oil in a heavy lidded casserole dish or roasting tray and brown the lamb shanks on all sides.

3. Remove the shanks, and add the onion to the dish. Cook the onion with the orange zest until browned.

4. Add the wine, beef stock, 1 stick of rosemary and the juice of the orange, with salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a simmer.

5. Replace the shanks, cover the dish tightly with foil or a lid and place in a 180ºC oven for 2 1/2 hours. Check once or twice to ensure the liquid is not drying up, and add a little water if necessary.

6. Serve on a bed of sweet potato mash with some of the sauce spooned over the top and roasted vegetables around.

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Broken bones and Hospitals in the Alps

Broken bones and Hospitals in the Alps

I am in a hospital in England, the reason is uninteresting and quite routine. I, like most people, prefer to avoid hospitals. But as member of a resort team in the Alps it can be a regular occurrence, skiing and snowboarding are not called extreme sport for nothing. And no matter how good at our chosen winter activity we think we are and no matter how many precautions we take there is a chance we could end up in L’Hôpital.

The number of occasions I have cause to attend an Alpine based medical center is probably higher than most. And at the risk of making a regrettable stament, I have yet to be the reason for those visits. So as I sit here and dwell I thought I would share some of the stories with you.

The Neck Injury

I was on the bubble up from Le Praz and as we tracked across the Courchevel snow park I saw some friends building up to a jump. One of these friends was not renowned for his jumping skills. I watch him launch down the slope, his run-in looked wobbly. Sadly I didn’t see the jump as the bubble carried me out of view. I walked over to the park to discover lots of people I knew gathered around the resluts of the jump that I didn’t get to witness, on the floor. For some reason not one person had any first aid experience and despite the fact that my friend had landed upside down on his head and in considerable pain, people were trying to move him. I quickly put a stop to this and sent someone for assistance. Help arrived and off the two of us went to hospital. A week later he was discharged sporting a upper body cast.

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Three In A Day

Once again I found my self on a chair lift witnessing an injury. As I approached the top I saw the Resort Rep from a rival company standing up on her snowboard. With out moving she fell forward. When I got off the lift she was nowhere to bee seen. This particular day was a fresh powder day so I didn’t expect people to be waiting around. During that day my mate followed me down an off piste section caught an edge and broke his wrist. Like a true mate he made his way home and headed of to the hospital on his own. Later that day on a powder feild full of rollers the visibility was getting low. I had just launced off a slightly obscured lump and landed in a big pile of fluffy stuff. Behind me came another member of our group he also hit the lump. Sadly he missed the fluffy stuff and emerged with a broken collar bone. This time I knew he needed help so we got him off the mountain and headed for medical assistance. So I found my self in the waiting room with three people all with injuries that had witnessed.

Have You Got A Gregg

My last story, of which there are more, involves a non ski related injury. During the training week of my first season in the Alps I saw a guy a guy break his leg. The injury was caused by a miss guided beer fuled rugby tackle onto concrete following a few beers in a pub. The guy was called Greg and I was not part of the tackle or had even spoken to him. All I really knew is that he didn’t turn up to training the next day. Two days later I was along with someone else I was dispatched to take Greg some of his belongings. We arrived at hospital to realise that A, we didn’t know Greg’s full name and B, our french language skill were completely inadequate for the task. ” Avez-vous une Greg?”

By Jim Duncombe

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5 Reasons why we think we are the best ski company to work for.

5 Reasons why we think we are the best ski company to work for.

We have worked hard to establish our reputation in the ski industry as providers of excellent ski holidays over the last 25 years. We have many guest that comeback every year to ski with us because they like the way we do things.  One thing that is very important to us is our staff. We know that we must have the best team every year to make sure we can provide the lovely ski holidays that we want to. This means making sure we have amazing and happy chalet hosts.

1. Staff Accommodation

I, Jim Duncombe Alpine Actions resident blogger, have worked in the mountains for many years and the ski industry for longer. Working with some of the big tour operators, I have seen a big variety of staff accommodation. I once even spent a season in a triple bunk. However I have to say that Alpine Action staff accommodation is some of the best I have ever seen and is often coveted by other resort staff.

2. We are small and independent

Being small means that we can spend more time making sure our staff are looked after and have everything they need. It also means that we get to know all of our team well and can do as much as we can to support them and ensure they have a great season.

Alpine action staff playing in the snow meribel

3. Experienced Management

All of our management team have done many ski seasons and have worked for Alpine Action for a long time. This means that we know what is needed to make the winter a great experience for our team.  Ian our resort Director has lived in Meribel for over 20 years, this means that he knows a lot of people and is able to help our staff settle into their new home very easily. It also means that we have a great reputation and relationships with lots of companies in the resorts such as bars and hire shops.

4. Skiing and Snowboarding

Sometimes a week’s ski holiday isn’t long enough and that is probably why most of us go and do a ski season. Because all our management team are all passionate skiers or snowboarders we know that getting out on the mountain is a big part of being a seasonnaire.  That is why we work hard to make sure you get as much time on the mountains as possible. We will even show you around so you know where the best runs are.

5. Having fun

There is nothing worse than a boring job. Some people often leave their boring jobs to come and do ski season. During the winter we will make sure you have a great time. First of all you can be sure that the rest of the resort staff will become your new best friends and some may even stay best friends for life. I have just been the best man at my friend’s wedding, we met on a ski season 10 years ago. We also organise parties, days out and socials all throughout the season.

For more information on working for Alpine Action and to find out about all the jobs that we have please go to our recruitment page.

Please note that we can only accept applications from EU Passport holders, resident in the UK and those with a UK National Insurance number.

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Skiing and snowboarding is all about anticipation

Skiing and snowboarding is all about anticipation

I am writing this at the end of the winter ski season,  which I have been anticipating for a while. As soon as it starts you start waiting for it to end. There is only one other sport that compares to the constant longing for the next thrill that you find with skiing and snowboarding and that is surfing. In some respects surfing has a more detailed set of things to anticipate as once you have overcome the wait for good waves you have the wait for the right one.

Now as the season in the Three Valleys comes to an end I have a decision to make, wait a bit or wait a bit longer. I am of course referring to the next time I get some snow under my feet. I know I will have to wait untill December to get back out the my spiritual home of Meribel. But there are other options. I could go to New Zealand, get a job instructing at one of the indoor slopes or maybe head out to a glacial reort like Tignes for the summer?

I am a planner and I would have made these decisions long ago if I was going to do then. That means I have a summer of anticipation ahead of me. Even more so as I plan to surf as much as I can this summer. It is a good job that both these pursuits are pleasurable as the constant anticipation could wear me down.

There is lots to wait for with skiing. First is that as of spring we all now have to wait for winter. During that time there is a lots to fill the mind. There is the anticipation of the signs that the winter season is on the way, the first is the start of the UK ski shows. If any will be worth attending is hard to gauge but they have all seen improvements in the last few years. Once those are over we can start to look forward to the resorts opening.

The next wait is for the first snowfall. Many people use this as an indicator to the season ahead but often this can be a false indicator. As the British know all to well weather is unpredictable. But what ever the conditions the resorts will open at the beginning of December, the resort staff will arrive throw open the chalet shutter and welcome their first guest. And from then on all there is to do is anticipate the next epic day on the mountains, the next bluebird day, the next awesome Apres ski party and of course the end of the season.

To start to look forward to your next ski holiday check out our website, it is full of great chalets in Meribel and La Tania.

Google

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My failed winter.

My Failed Winter

Yep thats right I failed again. But I fail in the same way every year. My failing could be easily summed up in the same way that January is full of failure.

Each year I book my ski holiday or holidays if I am lucky and each time I promise myself that it is time to improve. For many years my ability to ski has remained the same. Once I was old enough to leave ski school I did and I have never been back. 

This means that I have never improved and have a technique so full of flaws that I now fear a ski lesson as much as a trip to the dentist.  This is why I have failed again this year.

Despite promising that I would have some lessons. I didn’t. I also made other “ski resolutions” which I failed to keep.  I said to myself that this year I would hire a guide and hit the backcountry for a day. I did come close to achieving this if you count looking at the Meribel guides website before I went in holiday.

I failed in my attempt to try the park out and see what I was missing out on. When I was younger I loved a play in the snow park. Now as every year I get to the top, remember the thrill and pain of my formative years. I then start of towards the green kicker. I panic, swerve and ski off out of the park as if I intended to do that all along.

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I also failed in my promise to avoid apres ski, chalet wine and general excursions to the pub. Which in part probably contributed heavily to my failure all round.

But do you know what. I had a good time, it was probably one of the best ski holidays I have had.

There is always next years ski holiday.

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Three Valleys Charity Day Review

Three Valleys Charity Day Review

Wednesday the 9th April saw the highlight of the end of the season for many people – the 3 Valleys charity day in Meribel Village.

The event, which has run annually since 2002, raises money for two Cancer charities: Sebastian Action Trust, based in Hampshire in the UK and France’s Ligue Nationale contre le Cancer. A veritable institution, beloved of seasonnaires and visitors alike, this year’s event was a real triumph.

After months of planning, this year’s event began in earnest in the very small hours as some of the area’s old stagers gathered to fire up the hog roast, set up the sound system and fix up the bouncy castle. They were soon joined by the Retro-rentals team with their tasteful selection of fancy dress costumes – special mention goes to the girls who donned spandex as the Jamaican bobsleigh team!

By 2pm the day was in full swing. Legendary Après band Bring your Sisters played a rousing set, backed up by The Elements, Dirty Pigeons and many others. There was a curry stand, the Snowbugs kids zone and a BBQ, with our very own Operations Manager Ben Butler manning the tongs, trying desperately to prove that he can be allowed back in an Alpine Action kitchen.

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The highlight of the day was the final live music set from headline performers the Dub Pistols. The Rond Point and the Folie Douce have had some epic parties this season, LDV and the Ski Lodge have rocked to some brilliant bands but I don’t think there has been quite such a an amazing party in all the best bars in the 3 valleys this year. Every available bench, barrier, step and floor space was packed as the sun went down behind the ridge above Olympic and everyone, young and old, had a ball by the main stage in the centre of Meribel Village.

Special thanks must go to all those who made the day such a succcess, notably Ralph from Freeride who masterminded the day, and Debbie and Tim Wall who’s support has helped make the event the success story it is. Finally, let’s all keep in mind the two great causes that will benefit greatly from the event: The Sebastian Action Trust and the Ligue National contre le Cancer.

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