Category Archives: Ski

Where do ski instructors come from?

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A ski instructor is a highly skilled, highly trained and highly qualified individual they don’t just get dropped of by the ski stork pre-packaged in their instructors uniform. To become an instructor the individual must be highly motivate and incredibly committed as the cost of the training can be similar to the costs of attending university and getting a degree. As we all know there are international qualifications and there is the “French” qualification. As many of us ski and have lessons in France we have written this guide on the difference between the two systems and the route an instructor takes.

Ski Instructors from Most of the World

It may seem an oversimplification to lump everyone together but in general the qualifications follow a standard structure such as in Canada and New Zealand but for ease we will look at the UK system. The British qualification comes from the British Association of Snowsports Instructors (BASI), and fortunately the qualification can be obtained in other country’s. Many ski instructors holding a BASI qualification will have gained their qualifications in Scotland or in a European ski resort with many wannabe instructors opting to spend whole season training on residential ski instructor courses with companies like Basecamp, who run theirs out of Meribel.

There are generally 4 levels of instructor qualification to obtain. It should be noted that each course requires a level of skiing competence to be accepted on to the program.  Also each course covers elements of first aid and emergency procedure that is appropriate to level of instruction they will be qualified in.

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Photo from Basecampgroup.com

Level 1 – This can take three weeks and the end the instructor will be qualified to teach on indoor or dry slopes, children up to the age of 12 as part of a ski school as well as run ski racing training sessions for more serious skiers.

Level 2 – This is a 7 week course and as you can imagine requires more in-depth training and focuses more on technical aspects of  ski racing as well as developing the skills of the instructors on piste coaching.

Level 3 – Is where it gets tough and moves in to international territory and the qualification needed can an be obtained from the ISIA . Before an instructor can move to level 3 they must have completed 200 hours of teaching, have a second language and passed a level 1 in a second discipline such as snowboarding. During the course they will have train in mountain safety, performance training  and a common theory course and exam. All the hard work means that they can teach most mountain styles and techniques as well as being able to take clients off piste.

Level 4 – Requires a further 200 hours teaching and 6 days of ski touring achieved before they can start the course. They are also required to take the following: Euro Speed test, a written project, endless theory courses, Level 2 in a second discipline and be subjected to a interview. But all this hard work makes them able to teach anything to anyone and go anywhere on the mountain, the dream job.

Instructors are required to take a refresher courses every three years, to make sure they are up to date with safety, first aid and technique developments.

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Photo from www.esf-meribel.com

Ski Instructors in France

Despite what your are lead to believe being an instructor in France isn’t exclusive to the French, it just requires a bit more work as they have a different route to become a ski instructor and is similar to the systems of Italy and Austria. In France a individual wanting to be a ski instructor must first get into a ski school registered to train, get a first aid certificate, complete a two week residential and pass the notorious Test Technique, which requires an instructor to complete a slalom course within a set time.  This first step is the equivalent of Level 1 and the progress is very similar from there on with instructors to pass different levels of competence and complete 100’s of teaching hours to move up the qualifications. Once an Instrcutor has.reached the highest level then can then leave the umbrella of the ESF and set up independent ski schools such as Magic in Motion. It is possible for people from outside of France to enter the system at any stage but the Test Technique is an essential requirement as is speaking French.

This is just a summary of the levels of training an instructor has to go through just to make sure we aren’t dragging out inside edge when turning. If you are interested in finding out more about how people become ski instructors the take a look at these websites Basi.org.uk, Baseampgroup.com, isiaski.org and esf-uk.co.uk

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Photo from www.magicfr.com

 


Countdown to the Méribel ski season 2015

The countdown to start of the ski season in Méribel has begun!

Read on to find out about resort opening dates, lift pass prices, special offers on ski holidays in Méribel and La Tania and our chalets.

Méribel Ski Area Opening Dates 2015/16

5th December 2015 – 24th April 2016

Méribel Valley Lift Pass Prices 2015/16

Child 6 day pass : €194
Adult 6 day pass : €239 or €229 when booked through Alpine Action

Three Valley Lift Pass Prices 2015/16

Child 6 day pass : €234
Adult 6 day pass : €289 or €274 when booked through Alpine Action

La Tania / Courchevel Valley Lift Pass Prices 2015/16

Child 6 day pass : €196
Adult 6 day pass : €245 or €230 when booked through Alpine Action.

 

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Special Offers : Méribel and La Tania

Click below to find out about all our special offers and last minute ski deals to Méribel and La Tania

Special Offers

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Ski Chalets in Méribel and La Tania

Alpine Action has 10 chalets located throughout Méribel, take a look and see where they are located.

Méribel Chalet Locations

We also have 4 popular chalets located in the wonderful resort of La Tania, which is located in the Courchevel ski area.

La Tania Chalet Locations 

 

 


10 reasons why Méribel is better than Courchevel or Val Thorens!

Our guide to why Méribel is the best resort in the 3 Valleys.

The resort of Méribel sits in the Tarentaise valley of the French Alps. It’s a vibrant ski resort with an international following, popular across the winter ski season as well as the more relaxing summer climbing and hiking months. But with two such illustrious neighbours as Courchevel to the east and Val Thorens to the west sharing the mighty Three Valleys ski area, we got to wondering what puts Méribel so far ahead of the competition! Well, we’ve made a list of exactly why Méribel beats Courchevel and Val Thorens. 

#1 Location

Méribel takes pride of place in the centre of the Three Valleys and no other resort in the area offers such easy access to all corners of the ski area. With the Saulire gondola swinging rapidly up to its namesake peak for skiing over in Courchevel, and the Tougnete lift winging people swiftly up towards les Menuires and beyond, Méribel wins hands down in this category. You could argue that Méribel-Mottaret is the actual winner here, being closest to the true centre of the Three Valleys, but Mottaret is part of the Méribel Valley!

3 valleys piste map 2017

#2 Best après ski

Méribel’s après ski scene used to be good. Now it’s excellent. The Rond Point has been a favourite amongst seasonnaires and visitors for years and remains a wonderfully popular venue. As the Méribel Folie Douce grows in popularity it means we have two epic venues to choose from and puts Méribel firmly at the top of the après ski tree in the Three Valleys.

Folie Douce Meribel

#3 Best beginners’ area

Anybody mastering their first turns on the snow, whether on skis, board or blades, needs to head to one of two spots in the Méribel valley that are dedicated to families and beginners. The first is the Altiport a long, rolling, green run that is simply ideal for learners and has trees on either side sheltering skiers from the elements.  The other is the Yeti park located around Mottaret. It is comprised of a gentle blue run called Yooni and a green run named Himalaya. The Yeti park area discourages the more adventurous skier leaving you safe to enjoy the wide runs, obstacles and entertainment.

Meribel- Mottaret Family ski area

#4 Best nightlife

Whilst it’s true that Courchevel Moriond and Val Thorens have good nightlife, neither of them can compete with the proximity of great bars to be found in Méribel town centre such as Jack’s Bar, famous for its live music and comedy and Barometer to name a few. And when they close, O’ Sullivans down the road is on hand to welcome revellers into the wee small hours. Val Thorens’ Malaysia nightclub offers strong competition but the overall winner has to be Méribel!

 

Take a look at all our LAST MINUTE SKI DEALS to Méribel 

#5 Prettiest resort centre

This is really a two horse race between Courchevel and Méribel – Val Thorens doesn’t get a look in here. Courchevel 1850 is pretty enough, and so are Moriond and le Praz, but none of them match the lovely Savoyard wood and stone to be found across Méribel, and charming, traditional villages in the Méribel valley such as Les Allues complete the picture.

#6 Best range of accommodation quality/price

Courchevel dominates the luxury market and Val Thorens is often a great resort choice for the budget conscious, especially in the last minute market, but none of them offer such a spectacular range of catered ski chalets, hotels and apartments from basic 2* properties all the way up to top-end 6* opulence. Again, Méribel trumps the competition.

#7 Best ski schools

This category is open to debate, because many of Méribel’s best ski schools also operate in Courchevel and some in Val Thorens as well. But the fact remains that Méribel offers some of the finest tuition of any resort in Europe, with classes, courses and clinics for every pursuit and every level imaginable. Alongside the established ESF are some great independent schools such as Magic in Motion, Marmalade and Parallel Lines.

Magic in Motion

#8 Best non-ski activities

Where better to be if bad weather keeps you off the snow than Méribel? The resort offers ice rink with ice hockey league matches to watch, climbing wall, swimming pool and cinema. Courchevel and Val Thorens have some of these facilities between them, but neither of them have the full list.

Swimming Pool Meribel

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#9 Best range of restaurants

With the same range of basic burger joints as you’ll find in Val Thorens and the same quality (although perhaps not quantity) of Michelin starred restaurants as Courchevel, Méribel really is a foodie’s paradise. The resort offers cuisine to suit all tastes and budgets, from fine dinning in Le Blanchot over in the Altiport area to amazing pizza in La Refuge, located in the centre of town. Although prices can be high, the quality of the restaurants in Méribel means value for money is very good.

Meribel Restaurant

#10 Best off piste

This is another contentious point as both Courchevel and Val Thorens boast spectacular off piste in the right conditions. But with so many lines to choose from running down from the Saulire peak into Méribel Mottaret as well as the open powder fields to be found on Mont Vallon, to name but two, Méribel is the best part of the Three Valleys to find yourself in when the skies have opened and fresh powder has fallen.

Of course this is all hugely subjective and Courchevel and Val Thorens have just as many die-hard fans as Méribel does, and with good reason. One of the most wonderful things about the Three Valleys is the range and variety of the resorts, pistes and amenities found therein. That said, Méribel is still the best…!

If you would like to go on a ski holiday to Méribel then give us a call on 01273 466535 or go to www.AlpineAction.co.uk

Take a look at our catered chalets in Méribel


How to tell if you are a ski geek

unnamedHow to tell if you are a ski geek.*

*nb: In this article ski can be substituted for snowboard in most instances and as the ski v’s snowboard things is getting old we are just using the word ski because a). there are more skiers, and b). ski is a shorter word than snowboard. Any real ski geek may want to dispute this, please do so in the comments below.

 

Can you remember every ski holiday you have ever been on?

A true ski geek can remember more than if they just had a good time. They should be able to remember the exact dates, who went on holiday with them, which ski resort they went to, the flight times, the exchange rate at the time and the chalets hosts name.

Do you own your own skis?

Most experienced skiers will at the very least have their own boots, which is sensible and comfortable. But the true ski nerd will have their own pair of skis, preferably two, a set for normal conditions and a wide pair for powder days. They must also own a pair of ski poles.

Can you pack everything into your ski bag?

A proud ski geek should be able to proudly inform you that they can pack all they need for a ski holiday into their ski bag, thus making a saving on excess luggage. For extra kudos they should have a story about being told off by an airline for this, with the story concluding “anyway they let me on and they said don’t do it next time”.

Do you have a second “budget” ski holiday every year?

The best ski geeks will take a second ski holiday every year. However, this trip must be so cheap that it doesn’t sound any fun. The holiday must include some of the following; a coach trip from the UK with three or more stops: hostel style accommodation; two hour commute to the slopes each day; no free wine; other ski geeks; no eating out; hitch-hiking; homemade fondu; booking every aspect online separately.

Can you name every run in resort?

For most people a simple “I will meet you at the bottom of that run yesterday next to the bar we like” is all we need to arrange to meet up. For the ski nerd you must you use the piste name as well as give a recommended route and call each lift by name.

Have you ever been on a ski holiday on your own?

If you love skiing so much that you are prepared to leave your loved ones at home so that you can ski all day where you want and apres as late as you want, not get first lifts if you don’t want, drink as much at lunch as you want, then…. errm…. why don’t we all ski alone?

Do you have a collection of lift passes?

Most ski geeks will have at least one electronic lift pass in their wallet at all times. They will also have a collection of passes from all past ski trips. Attached to their ski trousers must be at least one day ticket from a snow dome or obscure ski resort. The older skier must also be able to produce a photo id ski pass from the good old days.

Is your facebook/twitter profile a picture of you skiing?

All true ski nerds live ski all year round on their social media pages. That is until they get married, then they will change their profile to a photo of them getting married, this will last a week then it will be back to a picture of them in hat and goggles, or of them getting some air, or a snow covered mountain range.

Have you ever had an argument about which is the best ski resort?

This is similar to an argument about which football team is better, the only difference here is that they will be using examples of black runs as opposed to formation strategy.

 

Why not unleash your inner ski geek and give us a call to discuss your next ski holiday 01273 466 535 or take a look at our chalets in Meribel and La Tania.


3 Valleys Snow Report – March 15th 2015

3 Valleys Snow Report – March 15th 2015

Hello and welcome to another snow report. What can I say apart from it has been a truly stunning week out here in the 3 Valleys with wall to wall sunshine for the last 7 days. The weather was very warm for the most of the week which made the slopes a bit slushy in the afternoons, then towards the end of the week temperatures dropped a bit to leave some great skiing conditions.

Looking forward into the next week the weather is set to stay a bit colder than it has been and the possibility of some snow on Tuesday and again towards the end of the week. This week brings us the ski World Cup in Meribel with top skiers from all over the world coming to compete, so get yourself to the World Cup run and check out how the pros do it and maybe even pick up some tips to improve your own down hill skiing!

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We are nearing the end of the season but the slopes are holding up well and with the forecast of some more snow on the way it looks like we could be in for some more great skiing out here in Meribel and La Tania.

Book your Easter ski break 

 


3 Valleys snow report 9th January 2015

 

3 VaA day in Meribel and La Tania. Alpine Action ski holidays. lleys snow report 9th January 2015

This is Pete’s snow report for the week. If you want to find out more about Pete take a look at his profile page. 

There has been lots of beautiful sunshine and cold temperatures 🙂

After the snow fall just before the New Year it’s been another beautiful week here in the 3 Valleys!! We have had pretty much wall to wall sunshine with cold temperatures since then with a few more centimetres of snow higher up the mountain early in the week.

VIDEO SNOW REPORT

The snow conditions are good from about 1800 meters and above, the temperatures have been sub zero and the snow cannons have been working well to keep the pistes in good order. It’s true, below 1800 meters the slopes are not in such good condition however the Folyères run to La Tania has been kept well thanks to the snow cannons being on and also the shade from the trees help keep the piste in good condition. The runs back into Meribel and Meribel Village are also open so skiing back to resort is not a problem.

The weather forecast for the next week looks much the same, with cold temperatures and sunshine. Apart from Sunday when we are expecting snow!!! There is also a possibility of more snow later on in the week for which we are keeping our fingers crossed!

Overall, there is some good skiing to be had higher up the mountain and with snow forecast for Sunday next week looks like it will be a good one here in the 3 Valleys.

If you want to book a holiday to Meribel or La Tania take a look at our website or call us on 01237 466 535.

 


A ski holiday with children is easy if you use a Nanny service

A ski holiday with children is easy if you use a Nanny service

This blog post is by Nicole Wallbank from Meribel Nanny Services 

nanny childcare ski school meribelA day with a nanny!

Youre looking at all the things ready to put in your suitcases and wondering, how is it going to fit? And have I got everything? Going skiing with your children is a great holiday but there’s a lot of organising to be done before and after you arrive which can feel overwhelming………..

Cue your private ski nanny, she knows what the children need for the day ahead, how to get their ski boots on, where ski school drop off is, the best places to take the children to lunch and the best places for snowman building and sledging.

Having a flexible private nanny for the week can mean you really can just ski, relax and enjoy your stress free holiday.

What does the nanny actually do with the children all day?

The first day is the most hectic.Your nanny will swoop in early to make sure she has all the correct details, which of course she does as you have spoken to the childcare manager before your arrival and the nanny has even bought a toy box with lots of amazing toys, including a mass of train track pieces which you had put on your information form as a favourite toy of your sons.

Knowing there is a toy box at your chalet for the week has meant that you haven’t had to bring a whole suitcase just full of toys!

meribel la tania ski school childcareSki School

Ski school starts at 9:15 and the nanny has let you know it is best to get there for 9am on the first day to find the right class and settle the older children in. She starts to help get the children ready which is great as you also have to get ready yourself and you haven’t got a clue where your ski pants and helmet are.

She goes through the check list, thermals, fleece, ski socks, ski pants, waterproof mittens, sun cream, snood, coat, helmet and boots and ski’s oooops and not to forget a snack in their pocket plus 5 euros for a drink and that’s the children ready.

The children are in the car and ready to go as the grown up’s collect their last bits together and off we go.

Its half term and ski school can be really busy but the nanny knows exactly where to go and who to speak to, to find out who the children’s instructors are. The older two are happy to go off with their instructor but little Jack is only 4 and has never skied before. He is feeling a bit shy and unsure but the nanny reassures him and tells him she will stay with him during his lesson then after they can go for a play in the snow together.

This cheers him up and off they all go with the instructor leaving mum and dad to head to the chairlift for their first day skiing relaxed and sure that their children are in safe hands.

Once little Jack is finished his first ski lesson he and the nanny go off to do a bit of sledging, go for a play at the park and for a Crepe then at 1:15 go to pick up his older brother and sister from their lessons and get the bus back to the chalet.

Mum and Dad give the nanny a quick call to see how everything is and all the children are fine and happy.

They have a nice warm pasta lunch and build a town with a gigantic train track running through and around it a game of hide and seek before colouring a picture to stick in their holiday diaries.

Then it’s time to pop on all their layers and ski clothes and head out to play in the snow, building snow castles and a snowman the size of Jack.

Meanwhile mum and dad have had a great ski a lovely lunch and have come back to very happy busy children, a warm cup of tea and a lovely afternoon tea cake while their chalet hosts get dinner ready….. A very relaxing first day of skiing.

 Take a look at the childcare and nanny services that we recommend in Meribel and La Tania.


Get ski fit for your ski holiday

Get ski fit for your ski holiday in 4 weeks – Video

Ski for longer and ski better

10-minute ski fit workout for Alpine Action from fitness guru Bay Fitness.

Get ready for skiing and improve your muscular endurance, flexibility, strength and mobility so you can ski for longer and ski better.

Start these exercise 4 weeks before your trip and do each exercise for 1 minute every day.

If you’re not to fit to start with you can perform each exercise for 20 seconds and build up until you can manage the full minute.


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Exercise One – The Running Man
Exercise Two – Curtsey Lunge
Exercise Three – Side Step Squat
Exercise Four – Yoga Long Lunge
Exercise Five – Parallel Ski Jump
Exercise Six – Lunge and High Kick
Exercise Seven – Forward Diametric Jump
Exercise Eight – The Hindu Squat
Exercise Nine – The Dance of Warrior Two
Exercise Ten – Lunge and Rotate
Ski with www.alpineaction.co.uk

Get ski fiit with www.bayfitness.co.uk


10 reasons why Snowblading is better than Skiing and Snowboarding

10 reasons why Snowblading is better than Skiing and Snowboarding

If there was any sport that should have been recognised as an Olympic sport it is this one.  We all know that little skis are by far the superior mode of transport when on snow and it is hard to ignore the huge number of people converting to blading each year. Just take a look at  the slopes in the Three Valleys it is full of Big Feet and Mini Maxs popping 360s. Here are 10 reasons why Snowblading is better than Skiing and Snowboarding.

1. They fit in your suitcase saving you paying ski carriage fees

2. They fit in your suitcase saving you paying ski carriage fees

3. They fit in your suitcase saving you paying ski carriage fees

4. They fit in your suitcase saving you paying ski carriage fees

5. They fit in your suitcase saving you paying ski carriage fees

snowblading meribe

6. They fit in your suitcase saving you paying ski carriage fees

7. They fit in your suitcase saving you paying ski carriage fees

8. They fit in your suitcase saving you paying ski carriage fees

9. They fit in your suitcase saving you paying ski carriage fees

10They fit in your suitcase saving you paying ski carriage fees

People who read this also read 10 reasons why skiing is better than snowboarding, probably.

By Jim Duncombe

Click here to look at all our snowblader  friendly holidays.  

 

 


10 reasons why skiing is better that snowboarding

10 reasons why skiing is better that snowboarding

Skiing V’s Snowboarding is a more divisive topic than Scotland remaining as part of the UK. The difference is that very soon one will have a resolution on the 18th of September and one will continue to be debated forever. So in the spirit of fuelling the argument here are our top 10 reasons why skiing is better than snowboarding.

1. Feeling Superior

We all know that Skiing is much harder to master than snowboarding. Our gear is more technical. Our Technique is more refined and when done correctly looks amazing. And the history and development of skiing is deeper, to the point that it has been part of several war efforts. Other than in James Bond you won’t see an armed snowboarder.

2. Lifts are designed for skis

How many times has a skier taken you out getting off a chairlift? How many times have you watched a snowboarder struggle with a button lift or T-bar? The reason is that lifts are designed for skiers.

3. Everything is named after us

Ski Holiday, Ski Resort, Après Ski, Ski Sunday, Ski School and the list goes on. With the exception of Board Park which has slowly been renamed Snow Park to make sure us skiers don’t feel alienated and our feelings are not hurt.

Meribel ski holiday

4. Most snowboarders can ski

Most people get their first taste of the mountains on skis. Vary rarely will you find someone that hasn’t skied before getting on a snowboard. Although the ones that deny this are probably lying.

5. Flat sections are easier

Oh no a flat section on a mountain, shall I get off my planks and walk? No need, I can just effortlessly glide to the next downhill.

6. No cold bums

I am always glad that I never have to get off a lift and sit down to strap my board to my boots and then have to do the something again half way down the run. It always seem like an endless battle between the boarder and the ability to remain attached to the board.

7. Off Piste

Sure snowboarders look effortlessly cool with their big gliding turns and huge spray and “cheeky” grabs when freeriding in the backcountry. The truth is that skiers can do that too, but that is too easy. What is much more satisfying is the challenge of looking technically proficient when tackling as steep powder filled incline. More turns are better. What is more is that accessing the inaccessible slopes is much easier, that is why you can now buy a snowboard that turns into skis.

8. Moguls

This isn’t an argument about who creates them, however I will say that moguls were around long before snowboarding.  My point is that they exist and can often be a barrier to a great run deal with them, oh you’re on a snowboard you can’t!

9. Faster

It isn’t all about speed. But sometimes it is. I have done a small experiment and the evidence suggest that when out with a group of skiers and boarders, the skiers spend a small amount of time waiting around for the snowboarders. The boarders often defend this slowness by claiming that they are gibing about or riding switch.

10. Better hire equipment

Your own boots are always a good idea no matter what you ride however I have never heard a snowboarder who is happy with the hire gear they have. Skis are always updated in hire shops and if you pay that little bit extra you will get some really good kit.

Are you a snowboarder? Then read our 10 reasons why snowboarding is better than skiing.

By Jim Duncombe

Click here to look at all our skier and snowboarder friendly holidays.  


Meribel & La Tania Holidays

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