Skiing is all about luxury and spoiling yourself. From champaign lunches to a nighttime soak in the chalet hot tub, it is your duty to document them all and share your experience with your friends.
No mountain holiday would be compleat with the overindulgence of cheese and this comes in many forms. There is the fondue night, the tartiflette on the mountain, the after-dinner cheese board and not forgetting the stunning displays and tasters on offer at the local market.
Top Tip: Fondue tastes better than it looks especially when it a low-resolution camera in a low light restaurant after a few wines!
The Mountain View
On a clear day, it is the summits are where the Alps is at its most spectacular. With views across to other mountains, sweeping valley vistas and endless horizons. Not to mention the untouched snow full of untapped potential.
Top Tip: Never used the panorama setting on your phone? This is the moment.
The Action Shot
Possibly the hardest one to get done. Let’s be honest very few of us are amazing skiers and even few of us have a camera crew follwing us about taking 1000’s of pictures allowing us to pick the best one.
So get your mate to have a go at getting a good shot of you. You will get better results if the photos are being taken closer to the ground.
And if you get a good one it will be your profile picture for many years to come.
The Apres Ski One
This is the one even your non-ski pals will find envious. It can be hard to get right as many apres venues can be a bit dingy. But choose one like the Folie Douce in Meribel and you’re going to get a winning photo every time.
Why the 3 Valleys lift pass is good value for money.
Next winter the 3 Valleys lift pass will cost €306 for an adult for 6 days and is outstanding value for money. There are are a reported 4.5 million skiers that visit The 3 Valleys each year giving the area plenty of funds to reinvest.
The constant investment ensures it remains great value for money and the best place to ski in the world.Find our how The 3 Valleys spend their money and give skiers the best possible experience.
For your money you get 600km of piste to play on and to put that into perspective all of the ski areas in Canada could fit into the 3 Valleys. If you then break that down into Euros per kilometre you get 2.1 km for every Euro you spend on your lift pass. The next best value for money resort is neighbouring La Plagne where you get just 1.5 km per euro.
Despite the vast area, 85% of runs are above the magic 1800m with the highest peak of 3230m in Val Thorens. This impressive altitude guarantees snow and there is an average base of 80cm and annual snowfall of 155cm. All these stats are the reason that the 3 Valleys features in all snow-sure ski area lists.
Snow Making in the Three Valleys
Being British we know the weather can be unpredictable and maybe this has rubbed off on our colleagues in charge of The 3 Valleys ski area and help them come to the decision to invest heavily in snowmaking. There are currently 2200 snow cannons that can make 5,280,000 cubic meters of snow per day across the area.
In Méribel, there is the DC Area park that features big kickers, a half pipe and is flanked by a boarder cross course. You can also find the slightly tamer Moon park in the same valley. Courchevel has a family park that is suitable for all and has an air bag to help you improve your tricks.
Val Thorens has invested in an expert and beginner slopestyle park that is popular with local riders and there is also FIS standard ski cross course. And finally, there is the BK Park in Les Menuires full of rail and bumps for all abilities.
Three Valleys staff
For many business one of the biggest outgoings is the wage bill and the 3 Valleys is no different. The area employs 1200 people just to operate the lifts on top of this there are security staff, pisteurs, resort staff, bus drivers and maintenance teams. If they were on minimum wages the monthly bill just for lifties would be €1,740,000.
How much does The Three Valleys Invest
We often speak to the management directly responsible for the infrastructure and they always talk in big numbers and they know that it is the continual reinvestment and development that keeps people coming back year after year.
Before last season started at least €50m was spent on improvements and new infrastructure. This included 3 new chairs in Val Thorens, a new chair and multiple piste improvements in Courchevel & Méribel, across the board snowpark improvements, indoor picnic areas, family entertainment, night skiing, wifi and selfie machines.
The Three Valleys is environmentally friendly
There is also investment in what you can’t see such as drainage, waste and reducing environmental impact. The resorts of The 3 Valleys come in the top 20 of environmentally friendly ski resorts in Europe and that is down to its investment in renewable energy to power the lifts.
All the resorts are committed to minimising the traffic and reliance of cars in resort which is combated by providing free bus services at an estimated cost of €5m per season.
What else can you get for the money
For €306 euros you can get a weeks lift pass and go skiing in The 3 Valleys or you could get…
1 day at Alton Towers for a family of 4 plus £50 spending money.
9 hours indoor skiing.
8 hours Wakeboarding.
68 bottle of alcohol free red wine.
685 All Butter Croissants from Lidl
So there you have it The 3 Valleys lift pass is great value unless you like croissants more.
Oh and one last thing..
Is it cheaper to do 6 half day passes?
We get asked if there is a cheaper way to buy a 3 valleys lift passes, such as 6 half day passes. If you were to buy 6 half day passes you would, in fact, spend €42 more. A day pass can be bought for €62 and would get you 4.5 ski days for the same cost as a 6 day.
If you want more information an skiing in the 3 Valleys or want to find out about our catered ski chalets then please give us a call on 01273 466 535 or check out our website alpineaction.co.uk.
The London Ski Show has been going for 45 years. The last few have seen some massive changes as it moved to a Battersea Park and is now called the Ski and Snowboard Festival.
There is more than before to see and do and the outside space that hosts the big kicker (Mount Battersea) and aprés stage is the best part of the whole show.
Below is our guide to what to see and what is new…
Dates: Thursday 25th October to Sunday 28th October (times vary)
Location: Battersea Evolution in Battersea Park
Price: Early Bird – £15 Full £25 Concessions £10 – Children £8 – Under 11’s Free
What’s on at the Ski Show
Skiing and Snowboarding
There is more skiing and snowboarding to watch than ever before which is good as that is what the show is all about.
Mount Battersea is back with its pro riders hitting a real snow kicker pulling off some massive tricks. Expect to see some of our Olympic stars like Murray Buchan taking part in the pro rider demo alongside some emerging talent as well as Q & A’s with the stars of Team GB.
The Ski Club of Great Britain will be making the most of the real snow at the foot of Mount Battersea by offering avalanche training sessions before the big air starts.
If you fancy a bit of skiing yourself then there will be an artificial rolling ski slope for you to develop your skills on. Numbers are limited for this but you can book your place online prior to the event.
Kids & Family
As the show is held during half term this year the organisers are making sure there is a tonne of things for kids to get involved in which will mean that you can spend a whole day there.
During the day there is entertainment in The Lodge area with children’s entertainers Tootles & Nibs that includes winter sports-themed games and activities, winter selfie station, arts & crafts and face painting.
There is also ice skating and rock climbing also available as part of the ticket price.
Husky sledging is a new activity at this year’s festival for you to try, details are slim but we guess it will be a sleigh on wheels being towed by the dog around the site.
The show is also introducing a vintage Ferris wheel to the fun. From the top, you will get great views of the park and the Thames.
And the Apres is being ramped up with a headline set from Sunset Sons on Saturday night.
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.
Naturally, there will be oodles of clothing and equipment for sale as well as the obligatory novelty helmet stand.
Since moving from Earls Court the food on offer is 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.
Don’t miss out on all the free stuff. Get it right and you could restock your stationery cupboard, bag some new sunglasses & get enough sweets to cover the trick or treaters over Halloween.
Find out why is breakfast important when you go skiing or snowboarding?
OK we admit it, we put our hands up – We are feeders. We can’t help it though, food is important, it fuels us, it can affect our mood and it also brings enormous pleasure. It is for these three reasons that we make sure we put on a seriously good breakfast.
When you head out for a day’s skiing you need to be ready for action, full of energy, in a great mood and you also need to feel like you are on holiday.
A hassle-free breakfast
Before we look into the scientific benefits of having breakfast before heading out to go skiing lets quickly consider one massive benefit that goes unnoticed. Getting ready to skiing, for some reason, is the most demanding part of a ski holiday.
Where are your gloves? Have you packed your ski pass? How many layers do you need to wear? So having breakfast ready for you is helpful, but not quite as helpful as not having to clear it up.
Leaving you to worry about what colour lenses to put in your goggles. If you have children you will need little imagination to realise how big a difference only having to eat breakfast makes.
Benefits of a good breakfast are huge, especially when you are heading out for a long day of extreme sports. Food is fuel, and we need it to function. In the morning your body has slowed itself down because it hasn’t eaten for a while, so tucking into breakfast helps wake you up. It also helps you function and run better for the rest of the day.
The chances are that when you are in the Alps, you will eat a lot of bread, cheese and ham. All these will be available at breakfast time in our chalets, but we also realise that you need a balanced diet. We know that you won’t get all the energy you need from those three food items.
What we serve
That is why in the morning we offer you a selection of cereals, a cooked breakfast, lots of fruit juice and fruit. Not to mention the yogurt and endless tea and coffee.
We also understand that food can affect your mood that is why our breakfasts are full of quality produce, with enough to fill even the largest appetite. One of the worst things is heading to the slopes in a bit of a grump.
It spoils your day and the people who have to share a lift with you. So make sure you take full advantage of our selection at breakfast time. It is also proven that missing breakfast makes you grouchy for the rest of the day.
Eggs for breakfast
Another way that we can make you happy is by allowing you to be fussy. We believe that breakfast time is a very personal meal. Everyone likes it a different way, especially when it comes to eggs.
To make sure you get it how you like we let you tell us how you want them cooked. Boiled, fried, poached scrambled, we can do it however you like
What we are trying to say is that we are on hand to set you up for the fun day of skiing that you have come on holiday for. A days skiing starts around the table and that helps keep you going until lunch.
A guide to some of the best pistes in the Three Valleys – Run Recommendations
There are 321 pistes in the 3 Valleys, so choosing which runs to do can be a bit of a headache without a guide.
To help we have compiled a quick guide of pistes that have been recommended and are well worth trying out next time you are skiing in Meribel, Val Thorens or Courchevel.
All these runs have been recommended by regular skiers to the area and tested by us.
Guide to Blue Pistes in The Three Valleys
The Loze runs from the top of the chairlift of the same name. The lift starts and the run ends in the Altiport area of Meribel and starts where La Tania and Meribel meet.
The piste zigzags it way down the mountain and after several hairpins, you will find yourself in the trees before an exhilarating flatline to the bottom of the lift.
Keep your eyes peeled on the run for dragons, hammocks and activities. It definitely ranks among the more challenging blue runs in the area.
You maybe forgiven for giving this run a miss. On paper, it looks like an essential run to use if you are staying in La Tania and need to get back to your accommodation.
However, we would say that this a must to do run as it is so much fun. It is a fast run through the trees ending in the middle of La Tania. It is also a great run if it is a whiteout.
If your there at the right time grab some lunch and catch some rays outside the Ski Lodge.
You should also double this up by skiing down the equally fun and often untouched Lanches red run that feeds into the top of the Folyeres
Gelinotte & Choucas
The Gelinotte is wide and underused run that starts midway up the side of the Valley at the top of the Roc de Fer chair and comes directly back into the Chaudanne area of Meribel.
A great run for beginners who aren’t looking to stray too far from the centre of town. The downside to this piste is that the chair that serves the run is pretty slow, however, you do get a great view of the Stade de Slalom.
You can extend the run by catching a second lift, (Olympic) to the top of the mountain and enjoying the Choucas piste directly to the top of the Gelinotte.
This legendary run has recently been reclassified as a blue run but it is still truly epic. It runs from the top of the Meribel/Saint-Martin link down into Saint-Martin-de-Belleville.
From the long wide corners to the fast straight sections and the incredibly fun rollers that appear throughout, this is one of the best runs in the area.
No trip to the area is complete without a hoon down this run.
This is on many people’s list of top runs in the 3 Valleys and for a very good reason. It is a thoroughly enjoyable run.
The start is quite challenging for a blue run and it is often quite crowded but there is plenty of space and it is easy to pick your line.
As you get towards the bottom of the first section the crowds seem to disappear and you can start to pick up more speed as you go under the Creux Noir char down into the valley that divides the Courchevel ski areas up.
There is a fun compression before you pass the Chanrossa lift station and once you have passed that you can put in big carving turns all the way down the Aguille du Fruit chair.
To listen to a podcast that features all this runs click on the box below or follow the link to iTunes.
This runs down the face of the Saulire mountain underneath the Courchevel gondola and it is an incredible run. It is one of the fastest and widest runs in the 3 Valleys.
Due to its location, it is heavily used, especially in the afternoon as it is the easiest way back to Courchevel. For that reason, we recommend putting it at the beginning of your ski day while it is still groomed.
As you speed down this run take some time to enjoy the magnificent couloirs to your left and the stunning view of the valley and Mt Blanc in the distance.
If you’re staying in Meribel you must head up Mt Vallon. Firstly the vistas of the Vanoise National Park are incredible.
But primarily the runs down, Combe du Vallon and Campagnol are fun and challenging. Due to the location, they also make you feel like your actually skiing down a mountain.
Guide to Black Pistes in The Three Valleys
A secret little black run that glides past the Courchevel Altiport down into the Valley.
We like this run as very few people use it and there are some interesting features as you drop down past the tree line.
It is a challenge, but isn’t too long and makes a great place for skiers who are looking to build up their confidence on a black run that is not very busy.
This is a monster of a black run and runs from the top of the Vizelle bubble to the bottom. There are multiple routes to take down but try and stick to M.
The run is fairly steep all the way down and will work you hard, especially if it hasn’t been maintained regularly.
The challenge is rewarded by a big wide exit at the base of the run right by the cable car so you are ready to do it again.
To get to this black run you take the Creux Noir chair. At the top there are some stunning views and a choice of runs down, the red called Creux Noir will take you down to Meribel or you can take the Rocher Grises that splits into a red and black.
If you like MPV size moguls then this is the run for you. If you are an intermediate you will look down and feel overwhelmed, a little scared and ultimately pretty pleased with yourself.
Advanced skiers will relish the challenge that this steep run offers. Due to the location of the run, the snow is generally in good condition which allows you to really dig your edges in when needed.
It is worth mentioning that this is one of the areas guaranteed powder areas… which means that it is left ungroomed after fresh snow.
Another piste that is dismissed as a just a home run. Jockeys starts at the top of the Foret chair and winds its way back down to the station of Le Praz, home to the Olympic ski jump.
The run is left ungroomed after a snowfall and maintained for the rest of the time. During periods of low snowfall, the run can be a bit icey.
However, when the run is in top condition it is fast and a lot of fun.
There are some people that have never been to Méribel, there are many that just miss being there and there are the obsessed that just love Méribel so much that they can’t get enough of it. To help all these people out we have put together a virtual tour of Méribel using a collection of videos. Hopefully it will help the people that have never been want to come, those that miss it feel like they are back there and those that love Méribel can get quick top up.
You have probably heard about all the snow this season but if you haven’t here is everything you need to know about the conditions in the Three Valleys.
Since the colder months arrived the Three Valleys has officially received around 135cm of snow and there is more to come over the next few week.
UPDATE – FRIDAY 8TH DECEMEBR
Opening dates and prices
Val Thorens opened for the season on the 25th of November and due to the conditions, Courchevel opened up for a day of free skiing on Wednesday the 22nd of November.
The season truly gets underway on the 9th of December when Meribel and Courchevel start the lifts up and all the links open. La Tania opens a week later on the 16th of December in time for a white Christmas.
Lift Pass Prices
How good is good
Currently, the base level at altitude is between 80 and 100 cm which is the average for a whole season. Ski runs back into Meribel have a respectable 30cm coverage.
We have said the snowfall has been impressive this season but how impressive is it? The first snow fell on the 30th of October, since then we have received 7 more significant snow days, with the best being 40cm on the 20th of November.
Last winter 80cm of snow fell in November but crucially the temperatures were unusually high causing the snow to melt at lower altitudes which made the beginning of the season feel a bit like spring. This year the temperatures have remained low and have stayed in the minus figure since the first snow fell.
The amount of snow that has fallen places it in the top 3 best starts to a winter season since 2006, only being beaten by 2008 and 2012, but this could change over the weekend.
Looking ahead there is another 50cm of snow predicted to fall before the lifts open on Saturday and the snow won’t be stopping for most of the week with a total of 176cm set to fall on the higher slopes by Friday the 15th. The snow may continue into Christmas week as there is another half a meter appearing on the longterm forecast.
Our guide to how you can help your body recover from a day skiing or snowboarding : Get the most out of your ski trip.
Do you plan to get ski fit for your next trip only to put it off and then suddenly you’re on a plane and you haven’t done any relevant exercises? Skiing and Snowboarding works parts of your body that you don’t use in everyday life. If you aren’t “ski body” ready there are going to be parts of you that will ache after a day on the slopes. There are things that you can do during the evening in your chalet to make you feel ready for the next day on the slopes.
Stretching is one of the best ways to help your body recover after skiing, it will help you to avoid sore muscles the next day. Stretching after a day of riding helps muscles return to their original position by removing the tension. During your post ski stretching the circulation of blood will return to your muscles allowing them to recover and repair. Make sure that you focus on stretching your leg muscles, glutes and lower back.
Here is a handy warm down guide from ski expert Warren Smith.
Warming your muscles up a few hours after exercises can really help ease the pain and get your body back to it’s full potential. In many ski chalets you will find a hot tub or a sauna. Don’t mistake these for novelties that add a level of sophistication to your holiday, these are important bits of kit that can help your post ski recovery. Warming your body in a hot tub or sauna increases blood flow and allows more oxygen get to your muscles. Experts advise that you wait for several hours before hopping into a sauna or a hot tub after skiing or snowboarding and to make sure that you are thoroughly hydrated. Many sports therapists also suggest that you should wait until your a few days into your trip before indulging your muscles as the heat can also inflame your muscles and slow down the recovery.
… & in the morning
If you are an early riser or you don’t rush out onto the slopes you may want to use the time to warm up in the hot tub, sauna or shower. Warm muscles are less likely to be damaged during exercises.
A great way to make sure you are ready for the next day on the slopes is to get a sports massage that works on the soft tissues around the most worked parts of your body. A massage after skiing should focus on your lower back and knee area. Having your body looked after like this will aid your relaxation and increase your recovery.
Out of all the techniques this is probably the best at ensuring your muscles recover overnight. The chances that your chalet will have enough ice on hand to do this is unlikely but don’t worry. All you need is a bath at normal cold tap temperature, between 8°C and 10°C. The cold temperature will slow the inflammation and help get the recovery process working faster. You should go for two session of five minutes with a warm up in between. If there is a fresh dump of snow you could always jump in that.
All the above will be a waste of time if you don’t hydrate effectively at the end of the day. We all know that at altitude you lose water from your body faster than at sea level. If you are then taking part in a strenuous activity such as skiing or snowboarding you will become dehydrated even quicker. You body needs liquid to help with repairing muscles as well as to extract the nutrients from your food during the digestion process. Taking a drink directly after skiing will also lower your heart rate faster and ensure that you don’t spend the evening feeling fatigued. Please note that chalet wine is not an acceptable way to hydrate yourself!
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.
For 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.