All posts by Jim Duncombe

Three Valleys Snow Round-Up – November

Huge early season snowfall in the Three Valleys

At the beginning of November, the ground was looking a bit brown with small patches of snow from previous snow flurries and snow cannons. Now the whole ski area is cover in the glorious white stuff! Here is a look at all the photos and videos from the last few days.

Meribel valley on the 1st of November before the snow.

Latest webcam round up

Val Thorens capture the first few flakes of snow on the 5th.

Check out all our latest offers
16th Dec from £599 pp inc FTA
Save £340pp on Christmas Ski Holidays
Up to £800 off New Year Ski Trips

Snow settles on the town

Loads of snow outside Jacks Bar

A post shared by Jacks Bar (@jacksbarmeribel) on

Courchevel shows off the town all covered in snow.


The snow gets all the way down to La Tania

No lifts, no problem.

Courchevel sends the photographer out for a walk when the sun comes out

A 4×4 Fiat Panda gets out in the Meribel snow

Testing out my new ride #4×4 #4x4panda #fiatpanda #meribel #snow

A post shared by DJ KAYA Mixcloud DJ_KAYA (@roblangley01) on

Val Thorens sends out the piste bashers!


To book a ski or snowboard holiday to Meribel or La Tania give us a call or take a look at our catered chalets in the 3 Valleys.

 


Guide – off-piste in Meribel

Run report – off-piste in Meribel

off piste meribel One of the best parts of my job is being able to share my own knowledge of the ski resort, passing on tips and suggestions of which pistes to try, where to find the best conditions and how to get the most out of a week skiing in the three valleys.

As befits the largest ski area in the world, there are hundreds of kilometres of pistes to enjoy for skiers and boarders of every level. However, for experienced skiers, there is a world of fun to be had beyond the marked and bashed runs.

Before saying any more, we need to be totally clear that skiing off-piste can be extremely dangerous. It should only be considered by experienced and confident skiers. As minimum safety precautions you should always look to go in small groups – 3 or 4 is ideal – and never alone. Be aware of the published avalanche risk, but be aware that snow conditions can change rapidly. An hour in the sun can turn safe routes into an unacceptable risk in less than an hour.

Before setting off, you should ensure your insurance covers you for going off-piste and carry and know how to use the relevant safety equipment of a transceiver, shovel and probe. We would strongly recommend engaging an instructor or a guide, and it is always worth checking with the pisteurs for their views on where is safe to go. Always remember that skiing off-piste poses a risk not just to yourself, but also to those who on the mountain around you, such as other skiers on the same slopes, or the secouristes who would conduct a rescue operation if anything went wrong. If you are at all unsure, you should not go.

With the proper precautions however, off- piste skiing can be one of the great highlights of a skiing holiday in the Alps, so where are some of the best routes in Meribel?

My advice would be to head to the Vallon and Cote Brune sectors. On the Vallon gondola you will most likely see plenty of tracks underneath the lift, which can be accessed from the corner at the top of the Combe de Vallon piste. While this is one of the more recognised and accessible off-piste routes, beware of partially covered rocks.

WP_20140326_018For those looking to go further into the backcountry, head through the gap in the rock on your left as you come out of the Vallon bubble. There is another reasonably established route straight down hereto the side of the piste, but if you keep left, a small 10 minute walk and a short traverse lead you out to some powder field coming down from the ridge. Check with the pisteurs before attempting this route as the snowpack can be unstable above you, but in the right conditions the fluffy powder, comfortable gradient and spectacular views can make this route a showstopping highlight.

A final route to try is accessed from the top of the Becca lift. In the snowbank opposite the lift you will most likely see tracks leading diagonally up to the ridge line. The top offers a spectacular view both down to Les Menuires one way and across to the Mont Vallon summit the other. Be careful of the entry point here. Traverse across the slope to the centre of the chute to avoid the treacherous rocky drops immediately below where the track up reaches the ridgeline.

The descent down from here looks clear enough but boarders in particular will want to avoid keeping too far left as they will risk being caught out by a flat section right at the bottom before regaining the piste. Equally however, head too far right and you risk being blocked by another few rocky drops, or finding yourself underneath a particularly steep section of the slope where the risk of avalanche is higher. Keep to a conservative line though and you should have a fabulous descent, with the added bonus of being able to admire your track as you head back up the Cote Brune lift.

To book a holiday to Meribel or La Tania call us on 01273 466 535 or go take a look at our chalets.


What’s new in the 3 Valleys for the 2017/18 season

Find out what is new in the 3 Valley this winter 17/18

2017/18 3 valleys map

The winter is not very far away now! Skiers will be on the slopes of  Val Thorens on the 18th of November followed by Meribel and Courchevel on the 9th of December.  As always the companies behind the 3 Valleys lifts and pistes have been working hard over the summer to introduce new or improved facilities for its customers!

New Lifts in the 3 Valleys

Loupit – Rond Pont – Covered magic carpet

The beginner’s area located by the Rond Point in Meribel will have new Covered Magic carpet similar to the one found in Mottaret. The learner zone alongside it will also be developed into a safer space for skiers to master the basics away from the busier slopes.

Ariondaz Gondola – Courchevel 1650  -Moriond

Over in Courchevel 1650 the old Ariondaz gondola that takes skiers and boarder out of the resort has been replaced by an 8 seater lift that can carry double the amount of passenger up the hill.

Moraine – 10 seater Gondola – Val Thorens

€14m has been spent on installing a new gondola in Val Thorens. The 10 seater lift is 2.5 km long and carries skiers up to the foot of the Glacier de Thorens.

Roc de Tougnete – 6 seater – Meribel

For many years there has been 2 drag lifts that served this area and for that reason it often goes unexplored by many. The arrival of this new lift will change all that and make the Lagopède and Bartavelle pistes a lot more accessible.

New Pistes in the 3 Valleys

Lac de la Chambre – Meribel

Previously a red run the Lac de la Chambre that started at the Col de la Chambre has been given a new course down the mountain to make it into a easier blue. The run is a great way to get back from Val Thorens into Mottaret and Meribel.

Croix d’Antide – Val Thorens

High up above the Orelle valley there is a new blue run called the Croix d’Antide it can be found under the Peyron chair and runs parallel to a piste of the same name.

Corniche – Val Thorens

Another new blue piste in Val Thorens. This one runs from the Folie Douce and joins up with the stade to make an easy run back to the resort.

New Luge run

A new 3 km luge run has opened up in 1650 and can be accessed by the new Arinodaz lift. This means that there are now loads of sledging opportunities in the 3 Valleys to complement the original and best one in Courchevel that runs from 1850 to 1550.

4 hours ski pass

This season sees the end of the half day pass as the 3 valleys will introduce a 4-hour pass that can be used at any point during the day and will cost €54.5 . It is worth noting that it is still better value to buy a 6 day pass at €300 if you are going to ski all week!

New Ski Schools in Meribel

This winter two of our favourite Anglo-French ski schools have come together to make one outstanding provider of ski and snowboard lessons. Magic in Motion is now part of Oxegen ski school. 


If you are looking for a catered ski chalet in Meribel or La Tania take a look at our website or call us for chat. 

<


25 years of ski fashion

In the last 25 years, ski fashion has changed a lot!

Since we started up 25 years ago we have witnessed a wide range of ski fashion on the slopes from the death of the onesie to its rebirth there have been a lot of styles.

We thought that while we are reflecting on 25 years of making ski holidays we should look back at some of the clothes we probably wore but have since binned and erased all evidence of.

Ski fashion in the 1990’s

The 90’s witnessed the transition from the bright clothing of the 80’s to day-glow and pastel colours. But it didn’t mean goodbye to the onesie as that iconic piece of clothing manages to hang around almost until the turn of the century. It was also a when the ski bib arrived on the slopes. Essentially it was just the top part of an all in one suite and often came with a belt located around the midriff and kangaroo type pocket pouches.

It was also a when the ski bib arrived on the slopes. Essentially it was just the top part of an all in one suite and often came with a belt located around the midriff and kangaroo type pocket pouches.

Headbands were still part of the trend for our heads and for some reason wearing a baseball cap on the slopes was becoming a thing! Towards the end of the decade, synthetic fleece material was starting to be used and dictate a lot of the new styles as well as the development of gore-tex inspired materials. Wearing a one-piece was a thing of the past and the two piece with the dungaree style salopettes was starting to emerge.

Ski Fashion in the Noughties

Colour was starting to become a bit more muted on the pistes of the early 00’s with greys, greens and blues becoming popular and there was an assumption that if you wore something bright that you were a good rider. Padded jackets also became a must-have look despite the lack of movement it offered the skier, combine this with the microfleece layer and we all started to look like all we ate was fondue.

Snowboarding was at its peak of popularity in the double O’s and by the middle of the decade was starting to have an influence on winter ski fashion. Snowboarding trends were influenced by the baggy clothing of the skateboarding scene. The desire for baggy low cut trousers aided the demise of the traditional salopettes and the need for upper body movement encouraged the development of looser lightweight jackets. And as time went by the ski world started to adopt the styles and fashions of the “cooler” snowboarding scene.

Ski Fashion in from 2010

By the time we headed into the second decade of the century colour was back, the rivalry between skiing and snowboarding was just a murmur and rock star winter sports icons like Shaun White and Lindsay Vonn had emerged. Ski clothing was now practical, well designed, trendy and affordable. The main trend has been for technical clothing that performs well for its intended use,  with clothing designed for different disciplines. The baggy look has been overtaken in both sports in favour of a return to a more fitted look.

The main trend has been for technical clothing that performs well for its intended use,  with clothing designed for different disciplines. The baggy look has been overtaken in both sports in favour of a return to a more fitted look.

One of the most important fashion developments to happen was the styling of helmets. Originally these were cumbersome and unattractive, they were practical but not very cool with a one option fits all. Today the majority of piste users wear them and they have evolved to match your look. The protection of your head is well and truly in vogue.

We have also seen a growth in retro looks on the slopes. Originally there was a wave of ironic 80’s clothing being worn on the slopes which was aided by the arrival of online companies renting out retro ski outfits. Slowly this has become adopted into the wider mountain fashion but there are also companies making redesigned onesies that look pretty cool!

Alpine Action is celebrating 25 years of making ski holidays! 


How to get your non ski friends to ski

IMG_0807

Convert your non-skiing friends! Send this post to them!

Skiing. It’s not a closed-group thing, quite the opposite actually, but if you’re a non skier it can be a little off putting coming into conversation with a bunch of regular skiers or snowboarders. “You’ve never been skiing? What do you mean you’ve never been skiing?!!” You end up either with the opinion that skiers are a bunch of incredulous idiots, or that skiing is actually worth a bash… perhaps you’ll get round to it one day…

But there are many good reasons for this wall of disbelief! Skiing is a joy, a buzz, a real thrill, and these days it’s nowhere near as pricey as it once was. So what do you mean you’ve never been skiing?!

1. Skiing is a wonderfully challenging and rewarding sport to undertake

Whether you’re a complete beginner mastering the intricacies of the snowplough turn or a seasoned expert well used to high speeds and big air jumps, there’s always somewhere to push yourself to improve. In Europe, for instance, the pistes are divided up into four colours representing their gradient; green, blue, red and black. The sense of satisfaction you experience when graduating to steeper terrain as you progress in the sport is fantastic, and really spurs you on to improve further. Equally for more advanced skiers, the buzz of landing a new jump or discovering and nailing a fresh powder field never really wears off.

10351169_10152916357414820_5400666199869309368_n

2. The Great Outdoors!

The special blend of clean, fresh air and magnificent Alpine peaks is a massive draw. Ski resorts today are mountain playgrounds and it’s easy to forget how remote you actually are. But stop and think – two thousand metres up with crisp white snow all around – these are scenes of rare beauty! Drink it in!

10968494_10152847441198598_2501545005419072034_n

3. Wonderfully hobby

Gathering a group of like minded friends for a week of challenging skiing, boozy après ski and lively banter is what some of the best memories are made of! It’s the joy of shared experiences… amazing fun with a group of mates. It’s also a great way to widen the social circle, because organising a large group of skiers almost invariably involves fresh introductions at the start of the week. Before you know it, you’re enjoying banter and laughs with friends old and new over a few refreshing après ski beers… joy!

IMG_1014

4. Great travel opportunities 

It’s an easily overlooked point, but skiing is also a great way to see parts of the world you’d never otherwise get to visit. Despite the British bars and boozy après ski which prevails in many resorts it’s perfectly possible to step off the beaten track, make an effort with the lingo and enjoy genuine cultural enrichment. Of course, such experiences are perhaps more fulfilling in the smaller, traditional ski resorts… Woe betide the poor sap who tries to order une grande biere s’il vous plait in Jack’s Bar. But there are myriad chocolatiers, patissiers and the like in resorts across Europe who would welcome your efforts. And quite apart from any linguistic foray you may make, exploring ski resorts in different countries is also a great way to try new cuisine. Savoyarde specialities such as tartiflette and foldue are well known classics, but there are plenty more where they came from.

In short, not only is skiing a fantastically challenging and rewarding pursuit, but it’s also amazing fun! Push your boundaries and test your mettle in spectacular scenery, live to tell the tale then gather the gang, save a few quid up and do it all again next winter!

Click here to look at our ski holidays to Meribel & La Tania

 


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.


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.


Meribel & La Tania Holidays

Find out more about our holidays to Méribel or La Tania.

Contact Us

If you would like to chat about holidays to Méribel or La Tania please get in touch via one of the methods on our contact page.

Our Favorite Topics

Subscribe

To sign up for our newletter please enter your email address below: