I thought the hardest thing about trying mono-skiing was going to be finding a mono-ski and then I clipped my boots and discovered that actually skiing on one ski with my feet clipped in next to each other was actually harder.
After having the idea of giving this minority sport a go I set about looking for some kit. I started my quest at the usual ski hire shop, my question was met with silence and then laughter, they didn’t have one. After trying my luck at a few other shops where is was met with similar reactions I was told to try a hire shop that I had never noticed in resort before. I found it in a big apartment block located between some sort of office and a restaurant. Just by looking at you knew that it had never experienced the British onslaught of boot fitting and bad ski carrying techniques only seen on a transfer day.
Inside the shop there was a good selection of skis, certainly no snowboards, cross country equipment, snowshoe kit and two mono-skis of questionable quality. I arrange with the owner a day to hire them, filled in the paperwork and left a deposit. Next I went to inform my accomplice in this adventure who seemed surprised and mildly concerned.
It may be worth you knowing the level of our skiing. I was average at best, having learnt skiing at a young age then abandoned it for snowboarding, something I have later come to regret, not least on the upcoming “mono-ski” day. My buddy was a better skier than me however his distinct Dad style gave away the many floors in his technique which would also hinder his mono début.
The day arrived and lucky for us it was a pleasant spring day on the mountain. In a vain attempt to distract anyone from our lack of ability, we decided to dress-up as we assumed a mono skier would dress. Our outfits involved head bands and day-glow clothing, a look that seems to repeat itself on the slopes regularly as part of a decade long cycle.
I went for the turquoise and pink mono-ski the other one was purple and yellow, seemingly reinforcing our choice of attire. We headed for the lifts. Rather predictably we opted for the British approach to exploring which is to muddle through, invent and learn in the field. Our first challenge was the chairlift. I won’t waste your time with faux suspense at the outcome at the end of the lift. Let us just say there were people sat on a stationary lift wondering if this was the day they would be rescued.
Finally we were clipped in, we stood up and pushed off. We weren’t expecting immediate success nor were we expecting it take 2 hours to get down a slope that would normally take us 5 minutes to ride down. There is no forgives on a mono that you get on two skis and the motion of planting poles is crucial to success leaving me endlessly muddled in my attempt and on the floor after most turns. My biggest mistake was trying to use my poles to push off to make the turns. This did aide my speed down the hill, however that was with my back lying on the ski, feet still clipped in, head pointing down, with poles and head gear liberally distributed down the slope.
My second mistake was telling people we were going to attempt this and choosing a run than pretty much had a lift running over it the whole length. Normally I am the one sat on a chairlift laughing at the misfortune of others, today I was being laughed at, commented on and on occasions applauded but with irony. My friend feared no better than me I am pleased to report. Possibly my third mistake was not giving up after the first run, through the course of the day my technique didn’t really improve and my biggest success was probably linking 10 turns before confusion ultimately got the better of me.
At the end of the day we felt a bit sore, quite demoralised and no better at mono-skiing. I can thoroughly recommend this as a minority sport that you don’t need to try.
1. Try wake boarding – It is like snowboarding! 2. Try grass skiing – It sounds rubbish, and probably is. There must be a reason you don’t get grass skiing resorts. 3. Try water skiing – It is like skiing but harder, wetter and even more expensive. 4. Go in-line skating – It might be similar to snow blading but you don’t admit to doing that either. 5. Head out to the Alps and go skiing on a Glacier – There are several to choose from and are open all year round like the Grand Motte in Tignes. 6. Go riding Down Under – There is plenty of skiing and boarding to be done in Australia or New Zealand. 7. Try a snow dome – You have 5 to choose from in the UK. 8. Dry slope skiing – Over 50 dry slopes in the UK, so there should be one near you. 9. Ride the Emirates – This is massive waste of money cable car in central London. 10. Give mountain boarding a go – Don’t be fooled by the name this is mainly done on hills. It is the board equivalent to grass skiing. Expect to sit down quiet a bit.
11. Go Surfing – The wet equivalent to mountain boarding an much, much cooler. 12. Sit on a chairlift – There are many located across the UK from the Isle of White to Scotland. 13. Nordic Walking – It’s like skiing without skis or snow. www.nordicwalking.co.uk 14. Watch Ski or Boarding Movies – There is a great selection on Netflix. 15. Go to a ski show – You will have to wait until October but there is one in Scotland, Manchester and London. 16. Recreate a chalet holiday at home – Click here for our handy guide. 17. Look up ski fails on YouTube – We have done it for you. Click for ski fails. 18. Get fit for your next ski holiday – Our friends at BayFitness have made a great video to help you. 19. Learn the Language – Unless you ski in Scotland the language is different so why not learn it. 20. Drink a half larger – Just like the Europeans do. Why not stick some peach syrup in it.
22. Go and see a covers band – This will be like every aprés ski session you have ever been to. 23. Hunt for snow in Scotland – You can find it even in the summer as it is always cold up there. 24. Make a snow globe – It looks pretty easy. 25. Subscribe to a ski magazine – Suggestions please. 26. Buy some new kit – Go on spend your cash in Snow and Rock or Ellis Brigham, you need a new jacket. 27. Bore someone with you ski stories – Someone will listen. 28. Wax & edge your skis or board – You can always get the hire shop to do it properly when you get to resort. 29. Draw a picture of your nearest hill and add some runs 3o. Read a book about skiing – I am going to read Maggie does Meribel. 31. Drool over winter photos on Facebook – Our Facebook page will be posting plenty.
32. Play Golf – Mainly because many ski resorts are golf courses. 33. Wear your ski jacket to the pub – Great way to do number 27. 34. Give skateboarding a go – Do this months before you have booked your ski holiday as you will need the time to heal. 35. Go on a Chalet Cookery Course – Learn the trick of the trade. 36. Think about buying a chalet in the Alps – Then realise you can only afford one 5 miles away from a ski resort you have never heard of and book a ski holiday instead. 37. Go Trampolining – We are not sure why but all the winter Olympians do it. 38. Have a fondue party 39. Make Croissants – How hard can it be? 40. Design a snow park – Send us your designs we would love to see them, maybe we could build it next winter. 41. Plan a back-country ski tour – That you will never go on.
42. Watch repeats of Ski Sunday – Dust of the VHS player. 43. Practice your journey to the airport – You can never be to prepared. 44. Knit a hat – It is trendy to have a hat the looks like you made it. 45. Pack – See 43. 46. Play snowboard games – SSX is good apparently. 47. Apply for a ski job – You can apply here. 48. Become a ski instructor – You can do courses at your nearest indoor or dry slope. 49. Become a cheese connoisseur – Just because cheese is great. 50. Run a marathon in ski boots – If you do it I will sponsor you. 51. Make your own list – The chances are that it will be better than this one.
This week has been springtime skiing at its very best! Blue skies, sunshine and heaps of snow have brought us one of the best weeks of skiing this season and the good weather looks set to stay. If you’ve ever hesitated about booking a holiday later in the season this week has been an example of how fabulous it can be, with empty slopes to boot!
We have got piles and piles of snow after 2 big dumps in the last couple of weeks, the snow pack is over 220cm at the top of lifts and 125cm at the bottom with more than enough snow to see us through to the end of the season. There is even still some powder to be had if you’re willing to look for it! Every lift and piste in resort is open with all 3 Valley links up and running and all of the parks and fun areas are looking in fantastic shape.
The sun is set to stay in the 3 Valleys for the next week, some impressive goggle tans are starting to form and we already spotted our first shorts n’ t shirt combo of the spring, maybe a little prematurely. We are expecting a few snowy showers overnight to top up the runs but blue skies during the day- perfect conditions!
Springtime means party time in the 3 Valleys, outside enjoying the sunshine with a demi peche and some good tunes. This week we have a veritable feast of musical talent! On Monday night from 10pm we have Newton Faulkner playing in Lodge Du Village with local favourite Hobo Chic, then playing again at the Spring Party at the Chaudanne on Tuesday evening. We also have Norman Jay MBE spinning at Rond Point for Wednesday Apres, arguably the funkiest apres of the season!
There has never been a better time to come out to the three valleys, just don’t forget your sun cream!
It’s one of the busiest weeks of the season in Meribel, half term! The slopes are full of snaking lines of ski schools and the pubs are a lot quieter (not a bad thing!). However we have found lovely empty runs coming down from the Tougnette 2, the amount of choice up there means if you go for the furthermost runs, Cretes and Blaireau in particular, you can really enjoy the amazing snow we have had over the last couple of weeks.
Weather The clouds have finally broken and the sun is shining through! For the last two weeks in Meribel and La Tania we have been under a blanket of thick cloud, snow and rain but the weather is on the move and pockets of blue sky are starting to appear! The rest of this week is looking promising with light snowy showers and sunny spells, perfect half term weather. The temperatures are set to get milder towards the weekend and the skies are going to clear completely.
The snow in the three valleys is in amazing shape! The snow pack is 2 metres at the top of the lifts and 1 metre at the bottom. The snow itself is soft and light with some icy patches as you head back into resort. Our advice would be to stick to the higher runs to get the best snow and avoid the busy lift areas and tracked out runs back into resort, and when you do descend if things are looking a bit busy consider skiing down into a quieter area such as Morel or Meribel Village and use the free bus service to get you home.
Believe it or not we are over halfway through the season, after a shaky start snow-wise it has turned out to be a great season. Fantastic snow, the sun is coming out and we have good few weeks of great skiing ahead of us!
Bonjour from a windy and wild Meribel and La Tania! The snow is falling, the clouds have come in and visibility is low but we are still out there enjoying the fresh powder and a good few vin chaud stops throughout the day. In the last week we have had just about every kind of weather thrown our way; rain, snow, sleet, wind and even some blue skies poking through! The weather has changed every 5 minutes so we’ve been carrying around a whole load of extra layers just in case.
Right now the snow is hurtling down at resort level, we have had over 20cm in the last couple of days. Up on the mountain this has resulted in a lovely fresh layer of powder to top up the mixed snow conditions from last week. Visibility has been as mixed as the weather this week, we have had moments of the clouds breaking and blue skies poking through but eventually the clouds have rolled back in and more snow is pouring down!
In the next 5 days we are expecting snow every day! Over half a metre of fresh powder is anticipated which will make for fantastic half term skiing, the heaviest snow is expected for Saturday with some breaks in the cloud on Thursday and Friday. Our best advice for low visibility skiing is to stick to the tree-lined runs, there are plenty of options around Courchevel and La Tania, and be aware of lift openings as you don’t want to end up stuck in the wrong valley with a very expensive taxi bill!
With half term just around the corner the Meribel and La Tania are going to full of smaller skiers and there are plenty of activities for families to get up to on and off the slopes! The family friendly areas such as the Inuit piste in the Altiport sector and the Yeti Park in Meribel Mottaret have a range of fun and games including meeting huskies so stop by and check it out!