All posts by Jim Duncombe

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


Signs that spring is the mountains

7 Signs that spring has arrive in the mountains

Fresh dumps of snow

Fresh Snow

The end of March and the start of April were once times that dedicated skiers would try and avoid the slopes. But over the last few years these 6 weeks have seen an increase in big fresh dumps of snow. The snow that falls in spring may not stay around as long but when it falls it is light, fluffy and often accompanied by blue skies.

Outrageous tan lines

A goggle mark has always been more of a statement rather than a lax approach to sunscreen application. And the best time to get yours is during the spring months. But why stop at a goggle mark when there are T-shirt lines to collect on your arms, neck and rear.

The sighting of Marmots

Marmot

To some these are mythical creatures that only exist in souvenir shops or name of the piste where you were meant to meet your partner after their ski lesson. To others the appearance of these giant rodents is a sign that spring is here and the summer is on it’s way.

Mini Festivals

The alpine festival is a growing trend, Méribel alone can boast of the Ronnie Loves Music Festival, the Piste Basher Festival and the 3 Valleys Charity Day (festival). Once the posters for these start to go up we know that we are in for a good time and that spring has arrived.

Rocks

piste sign meribel

Rocks are a part of the spring experence and other than the petex manafacures, no one enjouys their appearence. First the big ones that form the landscape start to appear then slowly smaller ones start to popup on the lowere slopes and busy intersections. By the final week of the season, (if its hasn’t dumped), part of the game is to dodge the rocks.

Sunbathing lifties

An iconic image of a ski resort in spring is the sunbathing liftie. Over the years the resorts have become more customer focused and the role of the lift operator  more responsible this sight happens less and less. But when it does you can’t but think…. “ I’d quite like that job”.

Puddles to skim

2010 Puddle Jump

You know the drill, you spot a puddle or melted pond, you point it out to your group, then you watch someone effortly skim across it on skis. The challenge is on. One of your group heads back the chalet early to dry off. In some resorts this is now a major event, don’t let your mate enter!

Take a look at our spring ski deals or call us for more information.


How Green is Méribel

Find out how Méribel reduces its environmental impact

You may be surprised to discover that Méribel is, environmentally speaking, considered a very green ski resort. Unlike the green runs which only accounts for 9% of the resort’s pistes. The Ski Club of Great Britain has identified 7 initiatives that ski resorts should be implementing for it to be considered an environmental friendly ski resort.

Only 2 resorts in Europe have the full 7 in place, and only 11 in France are implementing 6 green initiatives. Méribel is one of the 11 and is well on the way to having all 7 initiatives in place, making it the greenest resort in the 3 Valleys, although Courchevel has more green runs.

green2

Why is Méribel so green

The resort, along with the whole of the 3 valleys, source the energy needed to power the lifts and cannons from renewable sources in the form of hydro electric dams that are located throughout the local area. Local water  is also used to create the snow made by the cannons and comes from the nearby Ariondaz dam.IMG_0301

Renewable energy

The ski area also uses solar energy to power all radio communications that keep the slopes safe and maintained. There are also plans to ensure the ice rink and swimming pool are powered by renewable energy.

As part of its green plan Méribel encourages people to walk. Which may seem a simple solution but it makes a big difference in reducing the traffic in the valleys villages. The town has invested lots of money into ensuring there are safe walkways and that they are maintained throughout the winter.

Where it is clear that walking would be a bit to much the resort lays on a free bus service at a cost of 1 Million euros per season but it helps to reduce the need for private cars and local emissions so it is a worth while investment. The resort also has a policy of free open air parking or affordable underground parking.

Rubbish and Recycling 

Litter has always been an issue in ski resorts and we have all heard stories about the amount of rubbish and cigarette butts that appear under chairlifts as the snow melts in the spring.

Méribel is very proactive in discouraging skiers and boarders from littering and educating them about the impact throwing rubbish of chairlifts has. Despite all this there still needs to be organised mountain cleans at the end of every season.

The town has always had a recycling policy, just ask your chalet host how much time they spend ensuring the waste that the chalet generates gets put into the correct bin.

Architecture

One of the joys of Méribel is the architecture. There are no hideous high-rises and modern monstrosities that you find in many nearby ski resorts, this is down to the strict 80 year old building code of the town

It was’t probably introduced for environmental reasons but the policy of only using stone, wood and slate for building as well as strict height restrictions has minimised the environmental impact the development of the resort had had on the mountain.

Can Méribel It be greener?

Of course it could be more environmentally friendly, which ski resort couldn’t be. However, Méribel is working towards it. They are close to complying with the ISO 14001 which is an international standard of environmental management. Take a look at the ISO website if you want to find out more about the ISO 14001, but in short it is good for our planet and good for Méribel.

If you want to book a ski holiday to one of Europe greenest ski resorts take a look at our chalets in Méribel.

 


FIRST SKI HOLIDAY WITH CHILDREN : PART 4 – The best holiday ever

Why our first ski trip was the best holiday.

I recently spoke to someone who had read the first few of my blogs about taking the family skiing. They told me that I had made it sound a bit stressful. Maybe they were referring to part 1 where we missed the flight , maybe it was the daily dash to ski school or it could have been the restaurant experience.

I would like to reassure everyone that we really did have a wonderful time on our ski holiday to Méribel. So much so that we have booked another ski holiday in spring, only this time we are driving.

Read about the rest of the trip
Part 1 : Part 2 : Part 3

I can truly say that it was the best family holiday we have been on so far.

Everyone had a lot of fun and it has been the topic of conversation since. I often have this conversation with the youngest who didn’t even really get to ski, “Go skiing now daddy?”… “ermm, no, we’re going to nursery”… “awwwww. Wanna go skiing”. Which is both very pleasing and irritating in equal measure.

When I questioned my 4 year old on the best thing she has ever done the answer was “skiing”, although when the same question was put to her by Grandma the response was “helping you plant flowers”.

 

Why was it so good?

Being proud is an important part of being a parent and there are many moments that will bring out that feeling, such as the first time they sleep through the night, writing their name or getting good exam results.

But none of that comes close to the selfish feeling of pride when they show a glimpse of interest in a passion of yours. I felt that on the the first day of Ski School when she was excited about going, then displayed as much skill as a 4 year old can when pointed down a hill on skies for the first time. Crucially she wanted to do it again and again. It was a very proud moment.

Another moment of family bliss came when we all sat down in a bar in Méribel Centre and all enjoyed a hot chocolate after spending the afternoon on beginner slope. The time was spent being shown what was learned at ski school, sledging and general sliding about. The sun moved on and we started to feel a bit tired and chilly. We head for Evolution and all sat down with our drink and a collective feeling of contentment. Once the warmth had returned to our extremities and the sugar rush has started to kick in, we were back out on the slopes earning our next moment.

I spent many years working in the Alps, single and childless, watching families get ready for the slopes. It always looked hard work and far from relaxing. I always assumed that stress would follow them around the mountain. But once out the door the pace changes, family life slows down and unlike many holidays you work as a unit, sharing a joy in the same pursuit.

Within a few days you settle into a routine and have learnt to be prepared to leave the chalet in time for ski school in an efficient manner that still eludes you at home when trying to get to work via school/nursery. But that’s probably because you don’t really want to go to work.

There were many firsts on this trip. The one I will remember the most was at 6am on the first morning. We were all awake and discovered that it had snowed. Understandably they were very excited.  I opened the door just enough to peer out. As it turns out it was also just enough for the children to squeeze past. And so their first introduction to fresh snow was barefoot in pyjamas being chased by parents, similarly dressed, shouting warnings about the dangers of frostbite.

The future bond

As a ski trip is unlike many other types of holidays it develops a special place on the Family calendar. I have noticed that the family ski trip lasts well past leaving home and for many becomes as important as birthdays and Christmas, as an occasion to get together. I think it is because it is a shared passion and everyone can sit round the chalet dining table at the end of the day and share their stories. Or it could just be that the parents are paying and you can’t turn down a ski holiday.

Read about the rest of the trip
Part 1 : Part 2 : Part 3


If you are looking to book a holiday for your family, young or old, then give us a call and chat about your next trip – tel:01273466535


How to beat the post ski holiday blues

Guide: How to beat the end of ski trip blues

After a great week of skiing, delicious food in your catered chalet and little bit of aprés it is hard not to feel a little blue on the run back to the airport. There isn’t a 100% cure to the glumness inside but there are ways you can make yourself feel a bit better…

Talk about buying a place in the alps

“Maybe we should all chip in and buy a place in the alps” is how the conversation starts. You all know deep down that it won’t actually happen but that doesn’t stop anyone. Before the coach has arrived at the airport you have started a WhatsApp group and are sharing links to wildly unaffordable properties. One member of the group provides a spreadsheet breaking down costs that unlike your home has zero outgoings. In the arrivals hall while waiting for your luggage you all agree to look at how much you can afford to “put in” and promise to meet up soon to discuss it. You all leave happy and dreaming about the chalet you will never buy.

Consider a job as a chalet host

To avoid the post-ski holiday blues you could look into getting a job in the Alps next winter. Start by asking your host/driver/rep on that last day if they are enjoying their season. Undoubtedly they will say yes and stir up your desire even more. You can then spend the next few days after your trip applying for jobs and imagining how good you will be at skiing by the end of next season.

Book your next ski holiday

Beating the blues is all about having the next thing to look forward to. If you are out early in the season you could always book another ski holiday that season. Or you can start planning next winter’s ski trip and maybe go all out and put the deposit down. As they say booking a holiday is almost as exciting as going on one. It is worth noting that booking a ski holiday a season in advance can often be cheaper as many tour operators will honour the current season price.

Concoct an epic ski trip

Why stop at dreaming about your next ski holiday. Why not plan an epic snow chasing adventure like Travis Rice in The Fourth Phase in an attempt to abolish the sadness. You could keep it local and plan to ride every dry slope in the UK. Or maybe dream of riding a mountain on every continent, just imagine ticking off Antartica.

Buy some new ski kit.

For instant gratification get online and buy some stuff. During your holiday you will have decided that something needs replacing, maybe your jacket is a bit drafty or your goggles are scratched. It could be that you are still skiing in rear entry boots. A post ski holiday spending binge is the perfect way to cheer yourself up. Plus you get the 2nd tier of excitement when they arrive in the post and a 3rd wave of joy when after 10 months of never actually using whatever you ordered you discover it just before your next trip.

Start eating mountain style at home

They say food invokes memories so why not spend the week after your trip trying to recreate that meal you fell in love with that your chalet host cooked. Or maybe if you want more cheese and cream google a recipe for Tartiflette and indulge in some traditional Savoie food. You could even dig out the fondue kit that you found in the house when you moved in. Then get the ingredient from the supermarket and invite some friends round to indulge in melted fromage and ski stories.

Watch a ski or snowboard movie

Your final option is to wallow a bit longer, pull on your PJ’s, crack open a bottle of wine and stick a pizza in the oven. Then choose your favourite winter sports movie, snuggle up on the sofa, reminisce about the fun you had during your trip and dream of next time.


If you need some help getting over this year’s trip by planning for next year then take a look at our catered ski chalets in La Tania and Méribel. Or give us a call on 01273 466535.

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