Category Archives: Alpine Action

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


Weekly Snow Report and Events in the 3 Valleys

The Alps is basking in glorious sunshine at the moment, after intense weather conditions last week it is a warming change. In the departures lounge at Grenoble Airport guests were rocking out their goggle tans after a sunny ending to their Chalet holiday.

This week sunshine and blue skies are forecast every day! Lunching on a sunny terrace with a view of the snowy mountains, Apres at the Rond Point and La Folie Douce will be divine in these Spring conditions. Moving into next week we have a mix of colder temperatures, sunshine and light snow showers.

As Spring skiing slowly moves in, temperatures are rising in the 3 Valleys with highs of 10 degrees and lows of 0 degrees. The coldest wind chill is forecast at -2 which is a lot warmer than last week’s -16!

Image from: Snowforecast.com
Image from: Snowforecast.com
Image from: Le Meteo France
Image from: Le Meteo France 7 day forecast
Image from: Le Meteo France
Image from: Le Meteo France 14 day forecast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Meribel valley currently has a reading of 65cm of snow at resort level (1450m) and 195cm at Altitude (2700m).

The Courchevel valley currently has a reading of 114cm at resort level (1850m) and 174cm at Altitude (2700m).

Avalanche risk is 2 out of 5 today, however, with temperatures warming up the snow pack is loose and it is strongly recommended not to go off piste unless you are with a guide.

Don’t miss out on our latest offers, blog and snow reports

We want to keep you up to date with weekly events and happenings in the 3 valleys so here are some of the best bits to get you in the winter holiday spirit…

What’s on this week in Meribel

Monday 13th
Live Music
Jacks Bar: Jay Tamkin – 5pm
Evolution: Mardy Johnny Depps – 10pm
Lodge Du Village: Alex Davies – 4pm

Tuesday 14th 
Market day in Meribel centre.
Live Music
Jacks Bar: Daisy B – 5pm
Lodge du Village: Bring Your Sisters – 4:30pm
Evolution: Hobo Chic – 10pm
Doron Pub: The Slopes – 11pm
O’Sullivans: Bring Your Sisters – 12:30am

Wednesday 15th
Yoga retreat hour: La Folie Douce – 10-11am register at auxalpes.com
Ice Hockey at the Olympic Centre: Meribel vs Chamonix, 8:15-11pm
Live Music
Jacks Bar: The Maps – 6pm
The Rond Point: Bubble & Crisp – 5pm
Lodge du Village: Mr Clean – 4:30pm
Doron Pub: Wingmen 11pm

Thursday 16th
Live Music
Jacks Bar: Hobo Chic – 5pm
Doron Pub: Gareth & Westy – 11pm
Tav: Bubble & Crisp, 10pm
Mountain Movers, O’Sullivans: Dub Pistols Sound System – 12:30am
Lodge du Village: Two Par Cajon – 4pm, Bandeoke with Mikey Gray – 10pm

Friday 17th
St Patrick’s Day
Market day in Meribel centre
Giant Slalom: with ESF ski school, Meribel Mottaret – 1pm
Live Music
Lodge du Village: Coco & the Butterfields does St Patrick’s day – 4pm

What’s on this week in La Tania

 

Last minute availability

The sunshine is here to stay, why not treat yourself to a last minute holiday in the spectacular French Alps? Ski all morning, lunch on a sunny terrace overlooking the snowy mountains, dance on the tables at La Folie Douce, soak in a hot tub back at your beautiful chalet… it’s not a dream. Take a look at our latest offers to see what availability we have left for the rest of the Winter Season.

CLICK HERE: http://www.alpineaction.co.uk/special-offers-last-minute.htm

 

 

 


10 Inspiring Women in Winter Sports

In celebration of International Women’s Day this week, we researched some awesome female icons in the world of Winter Sports. These incredible women, dating back to the 1800’s, set the standards in all female mountain sports, ranging from; Mountain Climbing, Figure Skating, Alpine Ski Racing, Back Country Skiing and Freestyle.

In honour of International Women’s Day, here are 10 inspirational role models, giving Girl Power with an Alpine touch.

1. Marie Paradis and Henriette d’Angeville

Image from: wikipedia
Image from: wikipedia
Image from: wikipedia
Image from: wikipedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marie Paradis was the first female to climb the famous Mont Blanc in 1808, during this time Chamonix was still under the reign of the Kingdom of Sardinia. This history changing female, succeeded the climb alongside mountain guide Jacques Balmat. The quirky fact in this story was the fashion… Marie Paradis did the whole thing in a dress! Thirty years later, Henriette d’Angeville was the second woman in history to climb Mont Blanc in 1883.

2. Sonja Henie

Image from: en.wikipedia.org -Sonja_Henie_1936
Image from: en.wikipedia.org -Sonja_Henie_1936

In 1924, the Winter Olympics was launched, women were only allowed to compete in one category – Figure Skating. At the young age of just 11 years old, Sonja Henie of Norway, competed alongside 13 other female competitors. In the 1928 Winter Olympics, Sonja went on to win Gold and in total won 3 Gold Medals over her Olympic career. There was controversy at the time around the length of her skirt, shorter than other competitors due to her age and size it was frowned upon. However, it is believed that a shorter skirt allowed her to incorporate more movement into her routine, such as spins and jumps. As a result, this iconic moment took Figure Skating to a new level with new attire!

3. Christl Cranz

Image from: europeana.eu
Image from: europeana.eu Christl Cranz

In 1936, the Winter Olympics was transformed with a new sport for females to take part in… Alpine Skiing: Alpine Combined (Slalom and Giant Slalom).
Christl Cranz of Germany was the first female to win a Gold Medal. This was the year for female competitors with over 500 women taking part. Christl Cranz then went on to win 13 World Championship titles.

4. Marielle Goitschel


This French female was originally born in Sainte-Maxine, however, moved to Val d’isere at a young age. The Goitschel family are well known for their talents in Alpine Ski racing, making it no surprise that Marielle became the second woman after Christl Cranz to win 11 World Championship medals in Alpine Ski Racing. To this day the Goitschel family are still based in the French Alps and have ski shops named after them in the resort of Val Thorens.

5. Janica Kostelic

Born in Croatia, Janica came from humble beginnings, during her European tour funding for accommodation was not available, so she and her family slept in a tent or their car during her competitions. Janica’s determination and drive to succeed landed her 4 Olympic Gold Medals. She is the only woman to have ever won 3 Gold Medals in one Winter Olympics (2002).

6. Julia Mancuso

World renowned American ski racer Julia Mancuso is a woman who never gives up, she is said to be one of the best female Alpine Ski Racers in the world. After 7 World Cup wins in Alpine Ski Racing, standing tall on the podium in 5 World Championships, winning 3 Olympic medals including GOLD in Giant Slalom in 2006, this lady knows how to win a ski race or two. Despite a hectic ski schedule she still finds time to enjoy surfing and paddling in Hawaii and is an ambassador for the High Fives Foundation supporting injured athletes.

7. Kelly Clark

This snowboarding role model has achieved the top of her game in Freestyle Snowboarding specialising in Half Pipe. She has had over 70 career wins – more than any Man or Woman. She is a 4 time Olympian and 3 time Medallist, wining Gold in the 2002 Winter Olympics Half Pipe. Kelly now focuses on her foundation, set up in 2010, her company motto is “Success starts with an opportunity to follow your dreams” and she is enabling young aspiring snowboarders to do just that.

8. Linsey Vonn

Possibly one of the most famous Female Alpine Skiers of this era, Lindsey Vonn is always making headlines. Vonn has just been granted the title of “most successful women’s skier of all time” by the Olympic organisation, after beating the World Record for 63 FIS World Cup victories which hasn’t been achieved since 1970’s by Austria’s Annemarie Moser-Pröll’s. Olympic Gold Medallist, and one of only 2 females to win the overall World Cup Championships, there really isn’t much this lady won’t do to succeed. She was awarded “Sports Woman of the year” at the Laureus World Sports Awards 2010 and despite her fair share of struggles due to injury has maintained her competitive drive and inspiring women.

9. Sarah Burke

This Canadian champion put Women’s Freestyle Skiing on the map. She campaigned for Freestyle Skiing to be in the 2014 Winter Olympics and succeeded in her cause. Four time Winter X Games Gold Medallist and World Championship skier in Half Pipe, Sarah Burke inspired thousands of women of all ages to follow their passion. Tragically Sarah Burke died during training in 2012. This devastating loss hit the Freestyle community hard, however, her legacy lives on inspiring females to take Freestyle skiing to another level. Lyndsey Dyer a creative film maker and famous Back Country skier dedicated her all female “Pretty Faces” ski film to Sarah Burke, this is a must see film for anyone who loves mountains, skiing and Girl Power.

10. Kelly Sildaru

The most recent female on our radar, Kelly Sildaru is a 14 year old Freestyle skier from Estonia.  Competing in Slopestyle, Sildaru is the youngest female to win a Gold medal in the 2017 Aspen Winter X Games. If that wasn’t enough she then continued being the first female to win 2 prizes at the X Games landing a Silver medal in Big Air. This talented teenager is one to watch for future Winter Olympics.

These inspiring women have excelled in the sport they love, and have motivated us to go out and challenge ourselves on the piste. This week we are very proud to announce that out of the 11 Alpine Action female staff that participated in the “Sheride Sessions, Slope Style competition” in Meribel’s Elements Park, 8 won prizes! Congratulations ladies representing International Women’s Day and Alpine Action. 


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.

Don’t miss out on our latest offers, blog and snow reports


How safe are you on the slopes quiz?

Do you know how safe you are on the piste? Take our quiz and see if you need to brush up on the mountain code of conduct!

 

Weekly Snow Report and Events in the 3 Valleys

It has been another glorious week in the 3 Valleys with sunshine, blue skies and warmer temperatures. Lunching outside on a sunny terrace in your favourite mountain restaurant has never been so appealing.

However, all is about to change, the snow gods have been listening and our prayers have been granted, as of tomorrow we are forecast nearly half a meter of snow! It’s time to brush off those powder skis and book a mountain guide to explore the vast 3 valleys off piste routes. Tuesday has heavy snow predicted all day, on Wednesday there will be light snow in the morning and brighter skies in the afternoon. Towards the end of the week/early next week, we are forecast for sun, cloud and light snow showers. Later next week the sun will come back out welcoming us into March.

Temperatures over the next 7 days include highs of 2 degrees and lows of -11 degrees on Tuesday evening. The coldest wind chill is forecast at -20!

Credit to: Snowforecast.com
Credit to: Snowforecast.com
Credit to: Le Meteo France
Credit to: Le Meteo France
Credit to: Le Meteo France
Credit to: Le Meteo France

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Meribel valley currently has a reading of 40cm of snow at resort level (1450m) and 122cm at Altitude (2700m).

The Courchevel valley currently has a reading of 74cm at resort level (1850m) and 122cm at Altitude (2700m).

Avalanche risk is 2 out of 5 today, however, with the huge dump of snow forecast this will change later on in the week.

JOIN THE 3 VALLEYS SKI CLUB GROUP ON FACEBOOK

We want to keep you up to date with weekly events and happenings in the 3 valleys so here are some of the best bits to get you in the winter holiday spirit…

What’s on this week in Meribel

Monday 20thth
Welcome drink, La Chaudanne, enjoy a complementary drink and advice on where to ski between  9am – 11am.
Live Music
Jacks Bar: Jay Tamkin – 5pm
Evolution: Mardy Johnny Depps – 10pm

Tuesday 21st
Market day in Meribel centre.
DC Area 43: welcome drink and games, opportunity to win prizes, 2-4pm.
Biathlon initiation: try out biathlon for free in the Family Cool area of Meribel Altiport, 10 – 4:30pm.
Fashion week and Mardi Gras at La Folie Douce.
Carnival at La Chaudanne – 5-6pm
Live Music
Jacks Bar: Daisy B – 5pm
Lodge du Village: Bring Your Sisters – 4:30pm
Evolution: Hobo Chic – 10pm
Scotts: Alex Davies – 10pm
Doron Pub: The Slopes – 11pm
O’Sullivans: Bring Your Sisters – 12:30am

Wednesday 22nd
Torch lit decent for children: La Chaudanne – 6pm
Ice Hockey at the Olympic Centre: Meribel vs Chamonix, 8:15-11pm
Belgium Party at Folie Douce – all day
Live Music
Jacks Bar: The Mardy Johnny Depps – 5pm & Wingmen – 6pm
The Rond Point: Bubble & Crisp – 5pm
Street Party outside the tourism office: Mr Clean – 4:30pm
Doron Pub: Wingmen 11pm

Thursday 23rd
Himalaya by night: night sledging 5:30pm – 7:30pm Meribel Mottaret
Archery initiation: try your hand at Archery in the Meribel Altiport family cool area – 10-4:30pm.
DC Area 43: search for DC shoes around the park to win them, 2-4pm
Tobogganing and mulled wine at La Chaudanne, 4:15pm.
♫Live Music♫
Jacks Bar: Hobo Chic – 5pm
Doron Pub: Bring Your Sisters – 11pm
Den: Bubble & Crisp, 10pm
Mountain Movers, O’Sullivans: Too Many T’s – 12:30am

Friday 24th
Market day in Meribel centre
Night Slalom: Meribel Mottaret – 5pm

What’s on this week in La Tania

 

 

Last minute availability

The snow forecast this week is so good why not book a last-minute holiday in the heart of the 3 valleys? Call our UK office today on: +44(0) 1273 466 535  to discuss what is on offer for next week and the rest of the season.


Why you should consider spring skiing

Officially winter ends on the 20th of March. The beginning of spring traditionally heralds the arrival of warmer weather, bird song and flowers coming into bloom.

So why would you head to the mountains for some skiing or snowboarding at this time of the year? Because spring in the mountains is great fun, there is some wonderful skiing to do and plenty of other things to get up to.

The Snow

We can’t promise you endless bluebird powder days in spring but more snow fall in the spring than you think. We looked at the snowfall for the 6 week spring period in the alps over the last five years and found that on average 49cm of snow fell in the period. Spring snow accounts for 14% of all the season’s snowfall. This can easily match the snowfall recorded during December in the same seasons.

When we looked at the base depths on the piste in spring they compared almost like for like with the depths of December. Naturally the snow is starting to melt as spring settles in and it is often the case that at the very end of April the charts start to tail off. However, for many of the season we looked at spring starts when the snow depth is at its peak.

Spring Snow 2016

Simply put skiing in spring is as fun and varied as the rest of the season only a little bit warmer.

The Sun

During the spring the average temperatures is around 11° which is a lot warmer than you can expect in January when the average is just above freezing at 2°.

 

In the middle of winter in Méribel there is around 75 hours of sunshine over 28 days. Once spring arrives there is in excess of 175 hours of sunshine throughout the month.

The Fun

It is during these months that the sun terraces start jumping into action with more outside gigs starting happen, BBQ’s appear and of course there is loads more sunbathing to be done.

Photo : 3 Valleys Charity Day Facebook

In Spring Méribel gears itself up for some great outdoor parties including the Ronnie Loves Music Festival with Norman Jay MBE, The Sunset Sons and Craig Charles.. There is also the amazing Three Valleys Charity day hosted by the LDV’s in Méribel Village.

 

If you fancy a week skiing in the spring then give us a call on 01273 466535 or take a look at our latest offers. 


First ski holiday with children : Part 3 – Playing and relaxing

How I entertained my children when we weren’t skiing.

When you plan a holiday “relaxing” would probably appear in capital letters and a bold font in your word cloud. Another highlighted word will be your choice of activity, my guess is that for many people it would be “beach”. My choice is skiing. With its hot tubs, after exercise socialising and tranquil scenery this “extreme sport” holiday is a very relaxing way to spend a week, that is until you invite your young children along for the first time.

Read Part One      –       Read Part Two

The first few days of my holiday had already involved missed flights and manic rushes to ski school, allowing me to tick off the extreme part of my vacation checklist before I had even hit the slopes. I spent some time skiing with my wife, drinking wine and eating delicious food. Relaxing box ticked. This left me with only one part of the holiday brief left to fill, “Spending time with the Family”. Luckily in Méribel there is plenty to do to entertain the children.

Sledging

Playing with Albert Action

In my head sledging involved me standing around watching my 2 and 4 year old children slide down and then gleefully running back up with the sled in tow, repeatedly until exhausted. In reality it involved an argument over the sledge colour, me towing a convoy of child laden sledges across a variety of terrain followed by the children gleefully sliding down and me running back with a full sled in tow repeatedly until exhausted.

Like many other parents we also chose not to use the allocated tobogganing area to allow our children to play in. Instead we chose a spot that was less distance to get to but ultimately more perilous. This meant that in between being a human tow, I spent my time flinching and shouting “désolé” as a fine ballet of near misses involving skiers, snowboarders and underage sledgers was performed in front of me. Untill now I have often wondered who these type of families were.

Eating

In the UK there is no trust between restaurant owners and dinners, which is why we have seen a sharp decline, almost to the point of extinction, of the humble tablecloth. In France there is little evidence of the disappearance of either trust or tablecloths. For one lunch we headed to Le Refuge a favourite restaurant of mine that is full of tables with tablecloths on and delicious pizza.

I am the sort of parent that winces at badly behaved children in restaurants, when in fact it isn’t bad behaviour it is normal behaviour in an adult environment. When it comes to my own children I tend to eat fast, over compensate with politeness, while paralysed with embarrassment. With our children inevitably under the table tugging on a table cloth with more glassware than we currently own, I ate fast, apologised profusely and left with redder cheeks then I went in with.

Skiing

Outside of ski school I wanted to do some skiing with my daughter. The experience was similar to sledging in so much as I decided to return to the same location. Unsurprisingly after only two lessons she wasn’t quite ready for that mildly challenging red despite what my bravardad feelings were telling me. I spent a very happy afternoon towing my daughter up a mild incline and watching her straight line the slope while avoiding everyone that cut across her line.

Our 2 year old had made it abundantly clear that he wasn’t happy with the lack of skiing at the nursery he was attending. To make up for this I negotiated a loan of kit from my older child. He was thrilled and much better that I expected… maybe good enough for a difficult green?

Riding the lifts

It was agreed between us that on some of the afternoons one parent would head off and go skiing leaving the other to entertain the children. Sensibly, during her turn my wife opted for cake and games in the sanctity of the chalet. I thought I would show them the mountain. My goal was a voyage of discovery through the snowy peaks on gondola ships with a final destination of La Folie Douce. As a whole family we boarded the Saulire in Méribel centre.

Once at the top the doors opened and the wind rushed in to violate the safety of the telecabine. I realised quickly that this may not be the place for a 2 year old. Especially one that has a tendency to run towards the most perilous thing in the room, or beach, or field and now mountain top. As my wife skied away I bundled the children back into the lift where we spent an hour or so going round and round while we ate a picnic and spotted mummy an incredible amount of times.

For those of you that don’t know the Saluire Express passes over the top of the Folie Douce. We passed over it at least 6 times before I decide that it wasn’t my best idea to take the children there. They seemed happy enough in the bubble lift.

Just who you want share lift with!


There are loads of other things to do with your children when you are in Méribel : Ice Skating, swimming, soft play, Bowling and more. We were just too busy having our own fun to get round to doing it all.


The Jump Season 4 – Is it as good

The Jump returned for its 4th season on Channel 4 this weekend but is it as good?

We are not convinced. Something seems to be missing. It could be that this is the first year that I haven’t live blogged the Jump therefore allowing myself more time to watch it but to me it seems to have lost its edge. It doesn’t feel as anarchic as is it once did it. It feels a bit like that seasonnaire who want’s to carry on living in the mountains but knows a lifestyle change is in order to make it sustainable.

At the end of the last season there was much written about it being the most dangerous reality show on TV after many participants were injured, including Tina Hobley who dislocated her elbow and Beth Tweddle who still sufferers from a back injury. Combined that with plummeting ratings and there were talks that it could be axed. But it wasn’t.

The return feels like it has taken seriously the safety issues that have been raised over the years, but that doesn’t mean that it is any safer. Vogue Williams, was the first person to injure herself and has not be able to compete in the show. Her knee injury happened while she was receiving some ski cross training. Last year 50% of the entrants when home with injuries, can you imagine if that was a sport wide statistic, skiing wouldn’t be as popular as it is.Image result for the jump channel 4 2017

There could argued that it doesn’t seem as good because the contestants aren’t that famous. Getting to know 14 new people in 90 minutes is a tough ask especially when several of them come from privileged backgrounds that make it hard to identify with and get behind. The rest of the cast are mainly athletes who essentially aren’t Phil Tufnell. The biggest star is Sir Bradley Wiggins, who looks like a man that has ended up at a Hen Do and can’t escape but  knows the only way to survive is to join in as half hearted as possible while saying how much fun he is having.

One of the biggest innovations of this years event was the celebrities being introduced and appearing from behind a screen and then paraded through a crowd of unexcited crew members. This could have been dramatically improved if done in ski boots on icy steps with a handicap system that matched number of day skiing to the number of additional children skis they had to carry.Related image

Of course we will still be watching every week and soon it will be time to confess that Spenser is our favourite, but not just yet. Let’s just hope the action gets a bit more exciting as this week’s just seemed like a beginner slope highlight package and the racing was about as tense as a snapped hamstring.

Join in the chat during the show with our twitter account @alpineactionski.


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