All posts by Jim Duncombe

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Over in Courchevel 1650 the old Ariondaz gondola that takes skiers and boarder out of the resort has been replaced by an 8 seater lift that can carry double the amount of passenger up the hill.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

 

 


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


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: