Category Archives: Alpine Action

5 excuses to go skiing this Christmas

Do you always find an excuse to not ski at Christmas?

You have probably thought about going skiing at Christmas every year but something has put you off and you have always found an excuse. We have spent many Christmases in the 3 Valleys and we can confirm it is the most wonderful time of the year. You also get an extra thrill when you suddenly realise that it’s Christmas Day and you are on the slopes and having great time.

Whatever your reason for not going in the past here are a few excuses you can use this year.

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#1 You just love skiing

Maybe not an excuse and more just a fact but if you love skiing then what could be a better present to you and your family that the gift of a ski trip. It also means that you get to try out that new pair of skis that you will have been bought for Christmas.

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#2 Christmas is on offer

A week skiing during Christmas has never been so reasonably priced with all tour operators offering big savings, making the cost similar to off peak weeks. Our prices are starting at £599 pp for the festive week and there are savings of up to £350 pp on our best properties. So if you have always put off a Christmas ski trip due to price now is your chance.

#3 White Christmas

Every single year Bing Crosby sings “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas”. He is right to do so. If you look at the facts you notice that the UK hasn’t had widespread snow on the ground during Christmas since 2010 and before that it was 2004. So to combat this you could head to the 3 Valleys where they pretty much can guarantee you a White Christmas.

#4 Be looked after

The demands of Christmas day for those hosting can be huge, will Aunt Janet get too drunk, will the turkey be cooked in time, have you peeled enough potatoes? Why not avoid this and go on a catered ski chalet holiday and let them look after you? All you will need to do is go skiing and relax… unless you bring Aunt Janet with you.

La Tania 2005 - chalet dame Blanche

#5 One for the humbugs

Spending Christmas in a skiing is a great compromise as in a way it always feels a bit like Christmas in a ski resort. But at the same time it doesn’t as everything is open and everyone is either working or skiing or both. This makes it a perfect place to spend Christmas for families of mixed festive spirit.

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SEE ALL OUR CHRISTMAS DEALS 


Three Valleys Snow Round-Up – November

Huge early season snowfall in the Three Valleys

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

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

Latest webcam round up

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

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Snow settles on the town

Loads of snow outside Jacks Bar

A post shared by Jacks Bar (@jacksbarmeribel) on

Courchevel shows off the town all covered in snow.


The snow gets all the way down to La Tania

No lifts, no problem.

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

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

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

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Val Thorens sends out the piste bashers!


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

 


Guide – off-piste in Meribel

Run report – off-piste in Meribel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

2017/18 3 valleys map

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

New Lifts in the 3 Valleys

Loupit – Rond Pont – Covered magic carpet

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

Ariondaz Gondola – Courchevel 1650  -Moriond

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

Moraine – 10 seater Gondola – Val Thorens

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

Roc de Tougnete – 6 seater – Meribel

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

New Pistes in the 3 Valleys

Lac de la Chambre – Meribel

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

Croix d’Antide – Val Thorens

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

Corniche – Val Thorens

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

New Luge run

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

4 hours ski pass

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

New Ski Schools in Meribel

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


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

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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

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.


25 ways skiing has changed in 25 years

A lot has changed in skiing over the 25 years we have been making skiing holidays in the 3 Valleys!

Alpine Action started providing catered ski holidays to the Three Valleys in 1993 and over those 25 years the world of skiing has changed a lot. We thought we would take a look at some of the things that have fallen by the wayside since Dennis welcomed our fisrts guests back in the 90’s.

1. Straight Skis

It is hard to believe but people were still predominantly using straight skis in the early 90’s and it wasn’t 1993 that carving skis were put on mass sale by Elan skis.

2. Chalet Maids

1000’s of people are employed each year across the Alps each year as chalet hosts to work in chalets and look after guests. It is hard to pin point exactly when it stopped but female staff were originally referred to as chalet maids. We are glad that it moved on.

3. Making Cow Noises in Cable Cars

Back in the late 90’s early 00’s it wasn’t uncommon for a busy ride up the Saulire cable car to be accompanied by a chorus of moo’s created by the passengers, this was sketch recreated in crowded téléfériques around the world. It seems that this comedy routine has faded and is no longer performed but like all comedy acts it could well make a comeback.

4.Rear Entry Boots

In the 90’s the design race of the ski boot was coming to an end. At one point the rear-entry boot seemed to be winning with its comfort and how easy they were to put on. In the end, performance won and we all switched to the more responsive front entry boot… well except that mate of your dad who you only ever meet on the annual family ski trip.

5.Goggle Marks

OK so we still see them now but they now are no longer a fashion statement and more of a sign that you are incompetent at applying sun cream.

6. Ski Brochures

We printed our last ski brochure in 1998 and like many companies took our holidays online.

7. Rubbish Ski Hire

Ski hire had a bad reputation for years. Do you remember how you feared turning up to the hire shop knowing that you would be presented with 3 year old boots and skis with zero edges? Today you can be confident that you will receive comfy fitting boots with a set of sticks that are new that season and have been serviced in-between customers.

8. All-in-ones

One of skiing’s greatest losses was the unironic wearing of the all-in-one. Not only were they warm and comfy they all so came in such an array of bad designs guaranteed to offend the eyes.

9. The division between skiers and snowboarders

It could be one of the worlds most pointless feuds that for us, reached a crescendo when each party tried to blame each other for the creation of moguls.  Fortunately we have moved on and share the mountain in relative harmony and leave pointless feuding to the likes of Kim Kardashian & Taylor Swift.

10. Spag Bol AKA Terrible Chalet Food

When you have been out in the mountain air all day you look forward to dinner. These days you will return to the chalet and be fed a 4-course meal designed by experienced chefs accompanied with a selection of wines. Long ago it was deemed acceptable to plonk down a pan of spaghetti bolognese and a bowl of angel delight!

11. The Lift Pass Holder

The fumble fumble of the old photo pass attached to a mini retractable washing line has been replaced by the efficient beep beep clunk of the modern electronic pass that can remain in your pocket. It has also helped reduce queuing time.

12. Novelty Hats

This may depend on your definition of novelty. We are mainly talking about the long and spikey hats made from synthetic fleece and came in a variety of horrendous colours.

13.  Long Drag Lifts

 

There is still a place for the humble button lift. However, the place isn’t over 1ooo vertical meters of tough, steep, icy terrain. Fortunately, they have stopped being installed and most are slowly being replaced. Goodbye thigh burn.

14. Knees together

As the years have gone by the skier’s stance has got wider. At one point a requirement to become a ski instructor was to prove yourself by skiing with a hanky held between the knees. A wider more balanced stance has now been adopted.

15. Head Bands

Since we started operating another type of headwear has disappeared from the slopes, the headband. Once they were the height of fashion driven by floppy hairstyles and non-breathable clothing. Now they have been resigned to the poubelle.

16. The Jump

For 4 years this has been one of our favourite programs on TV. The show featured celebrities learning a variety of snow sports,  ski jumping and generally getting injured. Recently Channel 4 announced it was resting the show and we all know what happens when we sit down.

17. UK Ski Shows

There was a time when it felt like there was a ski show in every city from Glasgow to Brighton with Birmingham in-between. This year there is just one survivor left, The London Ski Show.

18. Smoking in Bar

Of course, this isn’t just a ski thing but it always seemed that even more smoking was done in the bars of ski resorts as well as the lifts and shuttle buses.

19. The Courchevel Eggs

For a while it felt like the out dated but iconic egg looking lifts of Courchevel from Le Paraz would never be replaced. But then they were and no one has missed them since!

20. Monoskiing

Seriously when was the last time you saw someone on one except in a novelty competition?

21. Lack of UK Success on snow in the Winter Olympics

In 2014 Jenny Jones took bronze in the Snowboard Slopestyle comp, securing the UK’s first Winter Olympic Medal. Since then a large amount of funding has been pumped into the GB ski and board team and there are high hopes for the 2018 games.

22. Bunny Ears

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Putting skis poles to your head is over as people realise it is no longer an efficient way of attracting attention on the slopes or looking cool in holiday snaps!

23. Being Disconnected

Along with Cornwall, the mountains used to be one of the few places left in the world where a mobile phone signal was virtually impossible to get. Today people are on their phones even while skiing down the mountain.

24. Slope Side Photographers

The upside to everyone having a smart phone in their pocket is that we no longer get hassled by photographers when we get off the lift or while skiing down the easy green into the resort.

25. Slopes Without Snow

Snow wasn’t always guaranteed. With the development and investment of snow making facilities, mega resorts like The 3 Valleys can guarantee there will be snow cover on 80% of the slopes for the entire season!

 

To book a ski holiday with us or find more about our service got to our website.


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

 

 


Meribel & La Tania Holidays

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

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