All posts by Jim Duncombe

Albert Action – Snow Dog

Bonjour,  Je m’appelle Albert Action, 6556584924676096

I am a St Bernard dog and I live in your chalet, I hope you don’t mind if I hang out with you on your chalet holiday. You will be pleased to know that I am chalet and chairlift trained. I also love playing with children of all ages. I enjoy making new friends and having adventures.

It would be great if I can come on some of your adventures? I would hate to miss out. I can guarantee that we will have a good time.

I am a big poser and love having my photo taken when I am doing cool stuff. I have lots of friends all over the world and they like to see what I am up to. It would be great if you could share our adventures on-line using the hashtag #AlbertAction.

You can also see what other adventures I have been on by searching #AlbertAction or by following me on Twitter @AlbertActionSki as I like to share my photos with my friends.

10404112_975810132430765_8709051424696891455_nAlberts list of things I like doing…

Skiing and Snowboarding

Sledging

Making Snowmen

Eating Cheese

Barking

Ice skating

Most other extreme sports

Being stroked

 

Alberts list of things I don’t like doing…

Going in Washing Machines

Hanging out with cats

Hot tubs

Going home

Button Lifts

I am looking forward meeting you this winter . I think we will have a great time.

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A.Action

 


What the press think about Méribel

We love Méribel, many of our team live here all year round they love it that much and all of us love the skiing and boarding that the 3 Valleys offers. We have written many articles on why we think Méribel is the best place to stay and we have compiled detailed guides on why the 3 Valleys is a great ski area.  In this blog we have pulled together the opinions of the people who have the job of reviewing ski resorts to find out what they think makes Méribel so amazing.

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Méribel as one of the top five destinations for UK skiers. Brits make up 37 per cent of total visitors to the resort (French guests comprise a further 48 per cent). During the vast annual influx, the resort becomes Little England upon Alp” Matt Barr, Independent

“For keen piste-bashers who like to rack up the miles but dislike tacky post-war resorts, this resort at the heart of the famous Trois Vallées is difficult to beat: Unlike other modern purpose-built resorts, Méribel has always insisted on chalet-style architecture.” Where to Ski and Snowboard

“The lifts spring from the middle of the village in all directions, making Méribel a great base from which to explore the rest of the 600km of ski area – Courchevel to the east, Val Thorens to the south, St Martin and Les Menuires to the west and southwest.” Mad Dog Ski

“The quality of the tuition from Meribel’s independent ski schools is top-notch.” We Love 2 Ski

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“The height of these peaks, along with Mont du Vallon – the highest point in Méribel’s local ski area at nearly 300m – means good snow throughout the season” Sophie Butler, Telegraph Destination Expert

“Crucially, we were drawn back year upon year by the endless amounts of terrain on offer. The bare statistics – 600km of pistes and 183 lifts – don’t begin to do it justice.” Matt Barr, Independent

“Méribel is part of the largest ski domain in the world, with more than 370 miles of managed pistes. We skied non-stop for four days and barely scratched the surface of what was available.” Jon Sopel, Daily Mail

“The resort has enough varied terrain to keep all abilities happy: good, steep freeriding, plenty of long cruising reds and blues, as well as gentle tree-lined runs for beginners” On The Snow

“What’s more, there’s oodles of off-piste terrain in between the groomed runs. Very little of it is protected against avalanches by blasting, so a guide is essential, unless you’re properly trained and equipped with avalanche safety gear. But with a staggering 40,000 hectares (98,800 acres) of mountain to play on, the possibilities are almost limitless.”  We Love 2 Ski

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“Bar a Vin A tiny bar on Route du Centre, it’s by far the most authentically French drinking spot in town. There are more than 90 wines on offer, and at €4 for a glass of Sancerre, prices are reasonable. Being French, it’s busier around aperitif time than après-ski.” Tom Robbins. The Guardian

“For a more sophisticated cocktail head to Le Poste in the centre (Champagne Mojitos are a must!) or for a quiet drink 50:50 is the place to go. Most bars boast live music most nights, The Rondpoint has live music every day between 5 and 7pm.” Mad Dog Ski

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Le Grand Coeur. Presided over by head chef, Marc Dach, this is main restaurant of Méribel’s top luxury hotel is in the centre of the resort. It’s a smart restaurant with elaborate mains and formal service.” Sophie Butler, Telegraph Destination Expert

“You can eat at Le Panoramic every day if you wish and there’s even a Michelin star restaurant cal led La Bouitte, in the ski-in, ski-out hamlet of St Marcel. My favourite two mountain restaurants are Les Cretes on the way down to St Martin de Belleville and Bel Air above Courchevel 1650.” Mark Palmer, The Mail on Sunday

Find out more about our catered accommodation in Méribel


3 Valleys Season Preview

The 2016/17 winter season is here. Find out what to expect in Méribel &  The Three Valleys in our pre-season preview.

Skiing started in the Three Valleys on the the 19th of November when Val Thorens turned on its lifts and welcomed skiers and boarders earlier than expected due to some seriously heavy November snow. Courchevel was also able to open some of its runs early due to the 120cm of snow that fell across the Alps. All that happend before the season truly kicked off, so what has this winter got in store for the 3 valleys? Lets find out…

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Snow

As we said there has been loads of snow already and all that snow has laid down a great base for the season and the temperatures are staying low according to the long term forecast.  That coupled with the 3 Valleys’ amazing ability to make snow this could be a great season. Méribel opens its doors for skiing on the 10th of December opening up the whole of the 3 Valleys for skiing until late April.

We couldn’t wait to get up on mountain so we went hiking on the 17th of November.

Let us take care of you this Christmas – Ski and come home to a traditional meal with all the trimmings
Christmas holidays from only £549 for an adult and £466.65 for a child from Gatwick

What’s New In The Three Valleys

You can save €10 per lift pass if you are buying more than one as part of the new Duo Lift pass, you must be purchasing a 6 day pass for a valley or the whole area to get the discount.
Tubing in Mottaret is opening this winter meaning that you can spend your evening flying down the slopes in a rubber ring.
If you like to picnic on the slopes then there is good news as Méribel has opened some indoor lunch lounges complete with microwaves. These can be found in Méribel and Mottaret main lift stations.
There are also new lifts in Val Thorens, the Roc and Stades drag lifts are now a shiny new 6 seater chairlift and the Boismint has also been upgraded to take more passengers.

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8 THINGS WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS WINTER

Events – What’s on on the Three Valleys 2016/17

There is lots to look forward to in the 3 Valleys this season from the Ski Cross world cup in Val Thorens on the 5th of December for 5 days to the end of the season mega party that is the 3 Valleys charity day. Here are few to look out for…

December

December is a busy month with opening parties as well as Christmas and New Year celebrations all going on. But there is also the the FIS Ladies Alpine World Cup being held in Courchevel from the the 20th December. lindsey-vonn-2015-audi-fis-alpine-ski-world-cup-womens-super-g-in-italy-02

January 

One of the best events to watch in January is the annual British Armed Forces Combined Services Alpine Championships which is held in Méribel and will be in its 11 the year.

February

This month the resorts will celebrate Valentines day with various activities to help show your love. There will also be loads of children’s activities across the 3 Valleys as during the majority of the month there will be a region of France that has a half term holiday as well as the UK Half Term week starting on the 11th.

March

The big event in March is the Ronnie Loves Music Festival, hosted at the original aprés ski destination The Rond Point. This year Norman Jay MBE will return and there will be a set from 6 Musics Craig Charles playing music from his trunk of funk. There will also be some of the worlds top riders showing off on a specially build park.  The event kicks of on the 20th of March.
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April 

As the season comes to a close there are a still some great events on. We have all ready mentioned the incredible 3 Valleys Charity day happening on the 12th of April and it will feature all the best Aprés ski bands. There is also the 3 Valleys Enduro event where you can take part in events across the ski area such as Giant Slalom and Ski Cross.

We Recommend

If your heading to the Three Valleys then you may want to tick of a few thing on the Méribel bucket list and you definitely don’t want to miss out on some of our favourite things…

You need to make sure you spend at least one afternoon dancing at the Folie Douce.

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Spend your evenings hanging out at Jacks Bar in Méribel where they have live music nearly every evening as well as comedy and great drinks offers.

If your in La Tania make sure you grab some lunch in at Pub Le Ski Lodge as well as enjoying the evening entertainment.

Also don’t forget to get your photo taken in one of the 3 valleys giant photo frames.

Check out all our latest offers to the Three Valleys

 

 

 

 


This seasons ski innovations ranked

Help us rank all of this seasons ski and snowboard innovations

We went to the London Ski Show to check out all of this winters newest technology. Below is a list of some of the best things we spotted. Help us work out which is the best by voting for your favourites.

Continue reading


Is the Ski Show a good place to take the family?

We took our family to the ski show

– by Jim Duncombe

In preparation for our first family ski holiday we thought a good warm up would be to take them to the precursor to the ski season the Telegraph Ski and Snowboard show in Battersea. As the show was being held during the Autumn half term the show was promising plenty for young ones to do  my children are 2 and 4 years old so I was still unsure how entertained they would be while I looked around. Spoiler Alert: My children were more than entertained for the time we were there but not for the reason you would expect.

The show, which goes on until Sunday the 30th of October, has made an effort to attract families and make sure it is good value for money, a family ticket is £40 and under 11’s are free.  They have also put on a few activities that will appeal to the younger generation.

Ice Skating

This year they have installed a real ice rink that is free to have a go on and all you need to do is book a time online or when you arrive. I am no John Curry but that didn’t stop me attempting to teach my 4 year old how to skate. For me it was like a 20 minute weight lifting session as she held on to my arm while doing her best to look as she had been to the Acme Loony Toons ice skating school.  We walked away uninjured and very entertained.

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KidZania

Normally KidZania can be found in the London Westerfield and is a giant role-play city for kids. A small section of this was transported to the back of the ski show and we had a go at being pro golfers and surgeons which everyone taking part looked like they were really enjoying it. Our 2 year old got giveen a hat for taking part in the golf tournment, which as you will find out opened the flood gates for free stuff. 20161027_133956

 


 



Christmas Ski Deal to the 3 Valleys from £549pp


 


 

Skiing and boarding

Despite all the ski chat that goes on in our house my children have never seen real life ski people. During the demos on the kicker and RailJam area they were totally engrossed and it could well be the moment that they start to develop an interest for the mountain lifestyle. Which I hope they do as a family ski holiday is a holiday that spans the generations and continues even when other holidays have been abandons or snubed… athough I may soon learn that this is because “mum and dad are paying”.

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Talking & Shopping

Normally the show is about chatting and catching up with people. Not this year. If you want to research, shop and relax  don’t take two under 4’s they aren’t interested. I managed one full conversation with Andrew an inventor who had designed the PolePod, an adaptor that turns your ski pole into a selfie stick, and can be found in the innovation area. An area where I would have liked to spent a bit more time.

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Free Stuff

As it is Halloween week, on the way in we were given a bag of sweets for the children which set a precedent for what was to come. It has always been a tradition of trade shows to give away free marketing stuff, as an adult I have learn’t that I don’t need 100’s of ski resort stickers, out of date ski pass holders or badly made pens. A 2 year old, hyper on jelly beans, has yet to learn this. Once he had been gifted a hat and the initial shyness had subsided it was assumed that everything on any stand was fair game. I had to put a lot of things back. 20161027_154134

A glimpse of the future

We had a good time. We didn’t learn much new about the development of the sport. We did find out what it will be like taking our family unit skiing. If your in a similar situation to us and at the ski show then I suggest that you head to the photo booth, tell everyone to get kitted up with ski gear and have their photo taken… this may give you an insight into what it would be like with all that kit and all those children in a ski resort.

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Meribel Snow Records, Statistics & History

We take a look at the snow record of Méribel

The hardest thing about being a skier or a snowboarder is that we are all slaves to the weather. While resorts like Méribel can make snow and ensure the pistes are always open. They can’t create that magical moment when you wake up to a massive dump of snow and go and ride fluffy white powder then at the end of the day you have a silly grin on your face and aching legs.

So while we anticipate what the weather gods will blow into the the Three Valleys this year, we thought we would analyse the last 8 years of snowfall and snow depth and make some cool graphics to tell the story!

Méribel’s best season for snow

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Which is the best month for snow in Méribel?

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Average snow depth for Méribel

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Christmas skiing in Méribel & La Tania from £549pp

Average snow condition for peak weeks in Méribel

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Best day for snow in the last 8 years in Méribel

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Please take a look at all our catered ski holidays to Méribel. 

 

 


What is your ski racer name?

Have a go and tell us what your ski racer name is in the comments below or leave it on our Facebook post.

Ski Racer Name Game


8 reason why we are looking forward to the ski season

8 things we are looking forward to this winter

There is a chill in the air, there has been no indian summer and people have started to put the heating on all of which means that it’s time to look forward to the winter season. It won’t be long before we are packing our bags and heading back to the Three Valleys, opening up our chalets in Meribel and La Tania and making sure our guest have a great ski holiday.

It has been a great summer, full of sun, sea and fun leaving us very little time to miss the mountains. Now the cold wind is blowing and our mind has started to drift to our colder happy place… here are some of the things we are looking forward to this winter.

Skiing

Of course! As soon as the temperature drops we start to think about clipping into our skis and hitting the mountains. Right now as I type I can feel the excitement of the first day on the slopes. You know that feeling, the one that makes you just want to run to the lift knowing that the wait is nearly over and how that energy will carry you through the day as you ski run after run with a stupid grin on your face.

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2016/17 Lift Pass prices for the 3 Valleys : 1 Day €60 – 6 Days €279

New in Meribel

Every year the resort works hard to make things better. This year there are no new lifts or runs to look forward too. However, there is something that we are quite excited about. In Meribel-Motteret they are introducing an indoor picnic spot, complete with sofas, kitchen, free WIFI and charging points. It sounds like the ultimate skiers common room. You can expect to find us hanging out with a Baguette at lunchtimes!

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A new ski outfit

This year it is new outfit time which is very exciting. Once you have spent ages deciding what style and colour to go for the most exciting thing is then getting to discover all the different pockets and features that you didn’t even read about, like a whistle tucked into a hidden pocket in the collar!

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Catching up

It doesn’t matter if you’re a season worker or a holiday maker returning to a resort,is a joy when you meet up with people you know from past winters. It could be your favourite waiter, chalet host or ski instructor. They will be as pleased to see you as you will be to see them.

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Early season snow

Last year the snow fell before the lifts weren’t even open yet. This didn’t stop us as we hiked out of Méribel up to the top of the Saluire to get some of the first tracks of the season. Check out the video below.

Breathing the Air

How can you not miss the cold, unpolluted, crisp air of the alps. We always look forward to walking out onto the chalet balcony, all wrapped up warm, probably with a glass of wine, to look at the stars and breath the cool night air.

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The Food

Every year our executive chef dreams up a menu full of old favourites and new dishes and we love getting to eat every one of them. It also means a trip to our favourite butcher who always makes sure we get the best local meat and treats us to some his incredible pork chops (not pictured). We also get to sample all the wines that Tom picks to accompany your chalet dinner.

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The View

To be in the mountains is to feel humble and awestruck by the might of nature! Here are some photos to remind you of what it looks like.

If you want to join us this winter then check out all our catered ski holidays to Méribel and La Tania here!


What’s on at this years London Ski show

Find out what is on at this years London Ski Show

The London Ski Show has been going for 43 years and last year it saw some massive changes as it moved to a new venue. The general feeling was that the show was much better with more to see and do and the outside space that hosted the big kicker (Mount Battersea) and aprés stage proving to be very popular. There is more good news as 2016 sees the price of tickets fall as much as £5. Also the date has changed and the show has been moved back to into the half term holiday week.  Below is our guide to what to see and what is new…

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The Facts

Dates: Thursday 27th October to Sunday 30th October (times vary)
Location: Battersea Evolution in Battersea Park
Price: Early Bird – £15 Full £20 – Conssesions £10 – Children £8 – Under 11’s Free
Website: london.skiandsnowboard.co.uk

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Whats on

Skiing and Snowboarding

There is more skiing and snowboarding to watch than ever before which is good as it is what the show is all about. Mount Battersea is back with it’s pro riders hitting a real snow kicker pulling off some massive tricks. Expect to see some of our Olympic star’s like Murray Buchan taking part in the pro rider demo alongside some emerging talent. New for this year is live rail jam sessions and the rail area will also be hosting the  University tour – Downtown Throwdown finals.  There are also some great talks in the Mountain T=theatre on Back Country Skiing and improving your technique from the likes of Warren Smith and John Godfrey.

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Kids

As the show is held during half term this year there are more things for kids to get involved in which will make spending the day there more bearable for those with families. A New addition this year is the family tent where you the organisers promis games, magic shows and face painting. There is a chance for the children to get there Christmas fix win 2 months early as Santa is set to visit the show.  For the slightly older children KidZania are setting up shop at the show, giving kids the chance to go on a role play adventure, maybe they will pretend to host Ski Sunday?

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Entertainment

A returning addition is the Ice Rink, this time it is located outside and you will get a 15 minute session completely free and available to book in advance. The comedy tent is back with regular show attendees Marcus Brigstock and Andre Maxwell among some exciting cabaret acts. Boot fitting is back and is great fun if that is your idea of entertainment.p1000437

Exhibitors

The truth is that the show wouldn’t exist without the “trade show” element and for many people the chance to shop for all things ski related in one place is the reason they attend. This year there are some more focused areas, France have a whole pavilion dedicated to tempting you to ski in French resorts as do the Americans. As well as that you can expect the usual mix of small and large tour operators, retailers such as Ellis Brigham and Finches Emporium, gap year opportunities like our friends Basecamp ski instructor courses, representatives from ski areas like the Three Valleys, Clothing and Equipment as well as the obligatory novelty helmet stand.

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Food

Last year the food on offer was mountains better than in previous years with some of the street food being surprisingly tasty and at quite reasonable prices. It could be your first chance of the winter to get some tartiflette.p1000438

Free Stuff

On top of all the free pens, lanyards, sweets and stickers you can get a free pass to the Hemel Hempstead indoor ski slope, which if you claim it and use it makes the entry price to the show good value for money.p1000443

Apres ski 

Naturally there will be beer and wine and probably a Jager bomb too but this year the Aprés ski has been toned down after last year there were less that 5 people watching Hot Chip and Norman Jay MBE. Friday night is your best bet for a party fix as the show is open until 10pm and the party will be going on on the EIS HAUS Lounge. If you want to be a bit colder you can book to go into the EIS HAUS Experience a frozen bar with ice cold drinks.


What is the most satisfying feeling a skier can have.

How satisfying is skiing?

We recently asked a load of skiers what makes makes them the most satisfied when they go on a ski holiday. Here are the results.

Click here to take the survey.

Booking a ski holiday.

Before even going skiing nearly 70% of skiers reported that they feel very satisfied after they have booked a ski holiday, with only 2% not getting any satisfaction from booking the annual trip.

First Lifts

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The other 50% were all satisfied if they got out for the first lift however, there was a small percentage that weren’t. We can only assume that the unsatisfied 8% were more keen to a lie-in.

Ride, Eat, Party

We asked everyone how satisfied they felt after half a days riding, a long lunch, one more run and some Aprés? There was nearly a 30/70 split with the majority feeling pretty pleased with this approach to skiing.

Dump of snow

Unsurprisingly waking up to a fresh dump of snow was the most satisfying with 93% of skiers feeling satisfied/quite satisfied or very satisfied. There was a small group that weren’t very happy about this. We suspect that these are the same ones that were planning on a lie-in.

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Becoming a ski instructor

We wondered how satisfying it would you be if everyone who had been skiing followed their dream and became a ski instructor? 31% claimed it would not be satisfying at all but on the positive end of the scale 42% of skiers would be very happy to end up working as a instructor.

Hiking and getting fresh lines

The results were pretty clear  for the question “How satisfied do you feel after a day hiking and making fresh tracks?”. With the majority claiming that hiking was high on the agenda when looking for thrills on the mountain.

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Home Time 

How satisfied to you feel at the end of the trip? On the whole most people felt satisfied at the end of a weeks skiing with a massive 52% being very satisfied.  Not surprisingly there was an 18% who craved more mountain time which is why they should consider working a ski season.


Meribel & La Tania Holidays

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