In December we featured a typical favourite – chocolate cake, for January we have the humble Banana Bread. This classic loaf is a fabulous way to use up any uneaten bananas and is better when they are a little mushy. Magic in Motion ski school LOVE our Banana Bread and said Daisy from Chalet Alysson’s Banana Bread was the best they have eaten – now that is a BIG statement when ski schools are piled with cakes on a weekly basis!
So if you loved our Banana Bread as much a Magic in Motion then here is our secret to this simply classic afternoon tea treat:
Serves 10 Preparation time 10 minutes Cooking time 45 minutes
1 pot (yoghurt pot) of brown sugar
1 pot of natural yoghurt
¾ pot veg oil (not olive oil)
3 pots of self rasing flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 mushy bananas
Method: 1. Preheat oven to 180c.
2. Line and grease loaf tin.
3. Place all the ingredients in a bowl mix well then pour into loaf tin and bake.
4. Decorate with a sprinkle of icing sugar – maybe use your creative skills like our host Davina in Chalet Bouchot and use a seasonal stencil.
The beautiful thing about the 3 Valleys is there’s something for everyone. If you aren’t a skier/boarder or your body won’t allow the aches and pains that come with the sport, there is still so much to do. If you love the mountains; scenery, crisp air, breath taking views and fabulous lunch spots, you can still experience this at a slower pace. There are some stunning walks around Meribel and La Tania to keep you more than entertained.
One of our hosts Adrian from Chalet Cote Coeur has been out of action due to injury. He and his partner Gemma decided to adventure around the local landscape and see what La Tania walking trails have to offer. We interviewed them to find out more, here is their account of the Teppes Trail a beautiful, snowy, woodland walk:
Teppes Trail, La Tania with Adrian and Gemma from Chalet Cote Coeur
Starting out at the bottom of the Grand Bois lift, cross the bridge to the centre of the resort. Take a left towards the shops and walk up the steps between the Saucisse Savoyarde deli and and the Ski Lodge. Turn left at the top and follow the road for about 20 meters, then take a right up the steps leading to the Saboia residence. The top of these steps is the beginning of the Teppes trail. Follow the footpath through the woodland and enjoy your adventure!
Adrian and Gemma…What was your favourite part about the Teppes trail? When the trail went through the woods off the main track up to the picnic spot.
Would you say this is an easy walk? If not what ability do you think suits this kind of walk? Yes I would say it was easy, Adrian managed to do it with a broken collarbone.
What attire would you recommend for the trail? For example: snow shoes, normal shoes, poles etc… We went in our snow boots, wore thermals, ski jackets and took ski poles.
Are there any lunch/refreshment stops on the way? There is a picnic spot at the top of the trail with benches and a lovely view.
How long did the walk take you? It took us an hour to do the walk
Did you see any wildlife or interesting plants during your walk? We didn’t see any animals but we did see lots of animal tracks and there was an information board at the picnic spot telling you about the wildlife and plants.
Would you say that La Tania is an easy access resort for non-skiers? Yes I would there are many walks that you can do in the woods and up the mountains so there is a lot of variety and there are many snow shoe walks in Le Praz that we want to do as well.
For more information on walking routes and alternative activities, check out our “Non-Skiers” pages on the Alpine Action website…
La Tania non-skiers: CLICK HERE
How to make sure you are taking the best photos when you are skiing
With stunning mountain peaks, glinting white snow, bright sun, heavy fog or snowfall, spectacular valley views and high speed action, taking decent photographs in the Alps is a real challenge. Conditions can vary not only day to day but hour to hour, and there’s no one setting which will work for all conditions.
Point-and-click cameras set to ‘auto’ will often take decent images but they can only do so much and they’ll never do justice to the beauty of the Alps, but if you play around with the manual settings on your camera it’s surprising how much improvement you can see.
Whether you use a basic hand-held camera or a high-end DSLR camera the fact is that with a little practice, setting the camera to manual and mastering the shutter settings will almost always bring you higher quality pictures – the camera’s automatic setting isn’t always right!
How to take snow park photos and ski action shots
Everybody wants that one perfect shot of them zooming down the piste or nailing a huge kicker, which they can then load up to Facebook and show everyone how skilled they are on skis! Sadly the majority of action shots just don’t come out like that – they’re usually mis-timed or out of focus. Action photography is very tricky to get right!
The first thing to do is set the camera up correctly. To avoid blur you’ll need a very fast shutter speed, and to let enough light into the camera lens and compensate for the speed of the shutter you’ll need a wide open aperture. It’s well worth taking a few practise shots of people to get the settings right before you line up and take the perfect shot, as they’ll always vary.
Another key factor in successful park or action shots is the positioning of the camera. You can get wonderfully dramatic shots on-piste as well as off-piste if you shoot your subject as he or she skis town the slope towards you. In the park, amazing big-air shots can be captured by positioning yourself to the side of the kicker and following the skier down as he or she approaches the jump. Opening the shutter at the key moment takes practise and patience but when you get it right it’s far more rewarding than simply setting the camera to shoot 3 frames a second and picking the best one.
How to take scenic photos of snowy mountains
In the Alps you can wake up to bluebird skies and bright sun in the morning, but by the afternoon the weather has closed in leaving flat-light or low-light conditions which make photography a real challenge. The camera settings you use for each shot when taking scenic photos have to be adapted to the conditions at the time, so it’s always a good idea to take a few quick shots with slightly different light and shutter settings before choosing a setting you’re happy with and lining the shot up properly.
If it’s a bright and sunny day, attach the lens hood to the front of the camera. It blocks side light and lens flare which can so easily spoil a great scenic photograph. Line your shot up and avoid pointing the camera towards the sun. In sunny conditions you’ll need a fast shutter speed to avoid flooding the image with white light, and a very low ISO setting. It’s also worth closing the aperture quite a lot too, to stop excess light getting in and spoiling the image.
If you’re shooting in low-light or night time conditions it’s a very different story. You can slow the shutter down so it stays open longer and lets more light in, and perhaps use a tripod to avoid blurring the image. Other tricks to good low-light photography include keeping the aperture wide open so as much available light gets in a possible, and increasing the ISO setting. Bear in mind, however, that too high an ISO setting will ultimately damage the quality of the photo and it’ll look grainy.
The best thing to do when shooting out if the Alps, where conditions are so variable and the scenery is so beautiful, is simply to play around with your light settings before each shot. If you take the time to get to know the camera, you’’ll gain an understanding of what settings work best in certain situations and ultimately you’ll get a lot more out of your mountain photography. Happy shooting!
The 2016/17 winter season is here. Find out what to expect in Méribel & The Three Valleys in our pre-season preview.
Skiing started in the Three Valleys on the the 19th of November when Val Thorens turned on its lifts and welcomed skiers and boarders earlier than expected due to some seriously heavy November snow. Courchevel was also able to open some of its runs early due to the 120cm of snow that fell across the Alps. All that happend before the season truly kicked off, so what has this winter got in store for the 3 valleys? Lets find out…
As we said there has been loads of snow already and all that snow has laid down a great base for the season and the temperatures are staying low according to the long term forecast. That coupled with the 3 Valleys’ amazing ability to make snow this could be a great season. Méribel opens its doors for skiing on the 10th of December opening up the whole of the 3 Valleys for skiing until late April.
We couldn’t wait to get up on mountain so we went hiking on the 17th of November.
You can save €10 per lift pass if you are buying more than one as part of the new Duo Lift pass, you must be purchasing a 6 day pass for a valley or the whole area to get the discount.
Tubing in Mottaret is opening this winter meaning that you can spend your evening flying down the slopes in a rubber ring.
If you like to picnic on the slopes then there is good news as Méribel has opened some indoor lunch lounges complete with microwaves. These can be found in Méribel and Mottaret main lift stations.
There are also new lifts in Val Thorens, the Roc and Stades drag lifts are now a shiny new 6 seater chairlift and the Boismint has also been upgraded to take more passengers.
There is lots to look forward to in the 3 Valleys this season from the Ski Cross world cup in Val Thorens on the 5th of December for 5 days to the end of the season mega party that is the 3 Valleys charity day. Here are few to look out for…
December is a busy month with opening parties as well as Christmas and New Year celebrations all going on. But there is also the the FIS Ladies Alpine World Cup being held in Courchevel from the the 20th December.
One of the best events to watch in January is the annual British Armed Forces Combined Services Alpine Championships which is held in Méribel and will be in its 11 the year.
This month the resorts will celebrate Valentines day with various activities to help show your love. There will also be loads of children’s activities across the 3 Valleys as during the majority of the month there will be a region of France that has a half term holiday as well as the UK Half Term week starting on the 11th.
The big event in March is the Ronnie Loves Music Festival, hosted at the original aprés ski destination The Rond Point. This year Norman Jay MBE will return and there will be a set from 6 Musics Craig Charles playing music from his trunk of funk. There will also be some of the worlds top riders showing off on a specially build park. The event kicks of on the 20th of March.
As the season comes to a close there are a still some great events on. We have all ready mentioned the incredible 3 Valleys Charity day happening on the 12th of April and it will feature all the best Aprés ski bands. There is also the 3 Valleys Enduro event where you can take part in events across the ski area such as Giant Slalom and Ski Cross.
If your heading to the Three Valleys then you may want to tick of a few thing on the Méribel bucket list and you definitely don’t want to miss out on some of our favourite things…
You need to make sure you spend at least one afternoon dancing at the Folie Douce.
Spend your evenings hanging out at Jacks Bar in Méribel where they have live music nearly every evening as well as comedy and great drinks offers.
If your in La Tania make sure you grab some lunch in at Pub Le Ski Lodge as well as enjoying the evening entertainment.
Also don’t forget to get your photo taken in one of the 3 valleys giant photo frames.
Help us rank all of this seasons ski and snowboard innovations
We went to the London Ski Show to check out all of this winters newest technology. Below is a list of some of the best things we spotted. Help us work out which is the best by voting for your favourites.
Yep that’s right I failed again. But I fail in the same way every year and each year I promise to learn from my mistakes.
Each year I book myski holiday or holidays if I am lucky and each time I promise myself that it is time to improve. This is the year I will get better at skiing. For too many years my ability to ski has remained the same and probably if I plotted it on a graph from year to to year we would have seen it plateau for a while. The reason lies in that ski life mirrored real life as once I was old enough to leave ski school I did and I have never been back.
This means that I have never improved and have a technique so full of flaws that I now fear a ski lesson as much as a trip to the dentist. Which is why I have failed again this year.
Despite promising that I would have some lessons. I didn’t. I also made other “ski resolutions” which I failed to keep. I said to myself that this year I would hire a guide and hit the backcountry for a day. I did come close to achieving this if you count looking at the Méribel Guides website before I went on holiday.
I failed in my attempt to try the park out and see what I was missing out on. When I was younger I loved to hit the snow park. Now I stop at the the top of the park remember the thrill of “getting air” and the think about the pain it might result in. Then after those thoughts leave me, I start to pressure myself into proving that I still can do it. Psyched up I ski off towards the green kicker, I panic, swerve and ski off out of the park making out that I intended to do that all along.
I also failed in my promise to avoid aprés ski, chalet wine and general excursions to the pub. My failure to do this probably contributed heavily to my failure all round.
But do you know what. I had a good time it was probably one of the best ski holidays I have had.
It’s a fact that we spend more time thinking about skiing or boarding than we actually spend on the snow doing it. Some of us are happy just dreaming of being on the mountain but occasionally we need a reminder of what we are missing. The other day we found ourselves sat on the sofa trawling the internet for ski movies to get us through the summer. We found some new, some old and some very boring movies to watch and after we had quenched our frozen water thirst we thought we would share what is out there with you so you could hydrate yourself.
Watching a snow movie reminds you how much fun you can have out it the mountains.
Below is a selection of ski and snowboard movies and TV shows that are available on the internet with subscription services like Netflix and Amazon, as well as free services such as Red Bull TV and YouTube.
Steep was filmed in 2007 and looks at the history of extreme skiing, it starts by looking back at the 1979’s when a skier called Bill Briggs who was a pioneer of Big Mountain Riding skied down the Teton Mountain in Jackson Hole. The history of the sport is told with the help of ski legend such as Shane McConkey, Chris Davenport and Ingrid Backstrom. The motto of the film and the people featured in it is “ski where the sport of skiing is still an adventure” and this is what the film is about too.
Deeper – Further – Higher
This trilogy of snowboarding films starring Jeremy Jones isn’t all about tricks and montages, it truly is about the adventure of free-riding and searching for the ultimate line in some of the worlds most extreme places. Jones and his crew don’t just rely on heli drops they believe that mountaineering is part of the experience of big mountain riding. These films follow Jeremy and the team who film him as they go deeper into the back country. These aren’t films about goofy snowboard dudes these are documentary’s about pioneers and explores who respect their environment who just happen to have the best way of getting down a snowy mountain.
I went to the Cinema to watch this when it came out and spent the time scoffing at the unrealistic depiction of chalet staff, later on I reflected on this thought and realised that being realistic would have made a pretty boring film. The movie is loosely based on the story of Olympic Bronze Medallist Jenny Jones and her life as a seaonnaire. While the actual ski and snowboarding content is limited, in an odd way, you might find this film inspires you to get back on the snow or even apply for a job as a chalet host.
Also on Netfilx is My Side of the sky a TV docudrama about Windells Academy a school for snowboarders.
Going Downhill Fast
If you are a fan of science movies that you were shown in school in the 90’s and made in the 80’s then this is the ski movie for you and it is also Amazons only ski offering. The documentary talks about going fast on skis and has interviews with experts who talk about snow in terms of penetrating particles and freezing points. Watch this if you want to learn something, not if you want arty shots of powder runs and big air. Going Downhill fast
Red Bull TV
Art Of Flight
If I owned a company that made too much money, I like to think that, like Red Bull, I would just keep ploughing the money into doing cool stuff to promote my company! Despite the fact that The Art Of Flight is a feature length advert, but then aren’t most ski films, this is one of the best and possibly the most beautiful winter sports film ever made. The film starring Travis Rice documents what its like to challenge yourself in a dangerous environment and challenges what you may think about riders who put are searching constantly and pushing the boundaries.
Red Bull TV has plenty to keep any winter sport fan entertained for hours with shows such as Keep Your Tips Up a documentary about a group of riders making a movie, a film about Lindsay Vonn’s comeback and one about Mike Shaw a pro skier who was told he may never walk again.
There are 4 of these movies that have been since 1983, originally a promo video for Les Arcs these films have turned into a cult classic. This isn’t your usual ski movie and don’t let what I am about to tell you put you off. Firstly there is a plot that revolves around the snowboard legend Régis Rolland on his swallow tail board as he is chased around the mountain by evil mono skiers trying to capture the secret of skiing. The music is incredible the stunts amazing and the ski outfits are some of the best you will ever see. Still not convinced.. I have put the first instalment below. Trust me you will be hooked.
Also on YouTube is the movie a Few Words which is a documentary by Quicksilver about one of the worlds most accomplished skier, Candide Thovex. One reviewer describe its as “A great overview of the life of this incredible skier…. great cinematography as well as music and the skiing out of this world 10/10; this is one ski film worth buying and keeping.”. Which obviously you don’t have to as they have uploaded it to Youtube. It is a high quality movie that will make you consider the possibilities of what is possible with a pair of skis, before you realise that remembering which pocket you put your lift pass in is hard enough.
Brexit was voted for and we will have to wait to see what the exit of Britain from Europe will look like. One thing the referendum has done is make us think about the future and how skiing and snowboarding might change over the next 50 years.
Snow and Climate Change
There is a big move for ski resorts to become more responsible for sourcing their energy as it is an industry that feel the affects of climate change directly. One example is our winter home of Méribel where all the energy that powers the lifts and snow cannons are powered by hydroelectricity. Other resorts are installing wind turbines and solar powered technology. You can expect most ski resorts to be self sufficient and 100% powered by renewable energy in the near future.
With climate change we may well see less snow and a shift in the seasons so we predict a huge rise in snow making. All the big resorts are investing in snowmaking equipment some are even making it part of their marketing. For example the 3 Valleys is boasting about the 2189 cannons it has covering 50% of its ski area. Maybe one day it will be 100%.
Since the the UK voted in the referendum the pound has dropped meaning that we currently get less euros to the pound. To help put into perspective the lowest cost of a € during the following winter seasons looked like this: 2013 – £1.14 : 2014 – £1.18 : 2015 – £1.26 .
We haven’t heard of a single tour operator currently looking to increase the cost of their ski holidays based on the referendum results and as you pay in sterling your holiday won’t cost any more.
However the cost of a lift pass is likely to creep up every year as the cost of maintaining and improving ski areas becomes more costly. But there is some good news as a handful of experts believe that the cost new chairlifts are coming down so maybe the yearly lift pass price hike won’t be as much in the future.
One thing that is sure to change is ski and snowboard technology. The fundamental design of skis probably won’t change very much so it is likely that it will be the boot that sees the biggest changes with fully mouldable outers and inners. According to Mike Hatrrtup from K2 we will probably also see a change in bindings with a move to magnetic systems in a bid to save weight.
The hoverboard could ruin everything if its is invented as that is because if they did create Back to the Future type hoverboard technology it would be like cruising down a powder field!
Currently the number of people skiing globally are decreasing and many in the industry are saying that the uptake of the younger generation is much lower and few people take it up later on in life. This could mean that ski resorts are quieter in 50 years time which is great news for people taking the sport up now.
Don’t worry about the future if going skiing or snowboarding makes you happy go to the mountains and enjoy yourself.
1. Try wake boarding – It is like snowboarding! 2. Try grass skiing – It sounds rubbish, and probably is. There must be a reason you don’t get grass skiing resorts. 3. Try water skiing – It is like skiing but harder, wetter and even more expensive. 4. Go in-line skating – It might be similar to snow blading but you don’t admit to doing that either. 5. Head out to the Alps and go skiing on a Glacier – There are several to choose from and are open all year round like the Grand Motte in Tignes. 6. Go riding Down Under – There is plenty of skiing and boarding to be done in Australia or New Zealand. 7. Try a snow dome – You have 5 to choose from in the UK. 8. Dry slope skiing – Over 50 dry slopes in the UK, so there should be one near you. 9. Ride the Emirates – This is massive waste of money cable car in central London. 10. Give mountain boarding a go – Don’t be fooled by the name this is mainly done on hills. It is the snowboard equivalent to grass skiing. Expect to sit down quiet a bit.
11. Go Surfing – The wet equivalent to mountain boarding an much, much cooler. 12. Sit on a chairlift – There are many located across the UK from the Isle of White to Scotland. 13. Nordic Walking – It’s like skiing without skis or snow. www.nordicwalking.co.uk 14. Watch Ski or Boarding Movies – There is a great selection on Netflix. 15. Go to a ski show – You will have to wait until October but there is one in Scotland, Manchester and London. 16. Recreate a chalet holiday at home – Click here for our handy guide. 17. Look up ski fails on YouTube – We have done it for you. Click for ski fails. 18. Get fit for your next ski holiday – Our friends at BayFitness have made a great video to help you. 19. Learn the Language – Unless you ski in Scotland, Canada or America the language is different so why not learn it. 20. Drink a half larger – Just like the Europeans do. Why not stick some peach syrup in it.
21. Book a ski holiday for next year – And that should probably be a ski holiday to Meribel or La Tania. 22. Go and see a covers band – This will be like every aprés ski session you have ever been to. 23. Hunt for snow in Scotland – You can find it even in the summer as it is always cold up there. 24. Make a snow globe – It looks pretty easy. 25. Subscribe to a ski magazine – Suggestions please. 26. Buy some new kit – Go and spend your cash in Snow and Rock or Ellis Brigham. You know you need a new jacket. 27. Bore someone with you ski stories – Someone will listen. 28. Wax & edge your skis or board – You can always get the hire shop to do it properly when you get to resort. 29. Draw a picture of your nearest hill and add some runs 3o. Read a book about skiing – I am going to read Maggie does Meribel. 31. Drool over winter photos on Facebook – Our Facebook page will be posting plenty.
32. Play Golf – Mainly because many ski resorts are golf courses. 33. Wear your ski jacket to the pub – Great way to do number 27. 34. Give skateboarding a go – Do this months before you have booked your ski holiday as you will need the time to heal. 35. Go on a Chalet Cookery Course – Learn the trick of the trade. 36. Think about buying a chalet in the Alps – Then realise you can only afford one 5 miles away from a ski resort you have never heard of and book a ski holiday instead. 37. Go Trampolining – We are not sure why but all the winter Olympians do it. 38. Have a fondue party 39. Make Croissants – How hard can it be? 40. Design a snow park – Send us your designs we would love to see them, maybe we could build it next winter. 41. Plan a back-country ski tour – That you will never go on.
42. Watch repeats of Ski Sunday – Dust of the VHS player. 43. Practice your journey to the airport – You can never be too prepared. 44. Knit a hat – It is trendy to have a hat the looks like you made it. 45. Pack – See 43. 46. Play snowboard games – SSX is good apparently. 47. Apply for a ski job – You can apply here. 48. Become a ski instructor – You can do courses at your nearest indoor or dry slope. 49. Become a cheese connoisseur – Just because cheese is great. 50. Run a marathon in ski boots – If you do it I will sponsor you. 51. Make your own list – The chances are that it will be better than this one.
If Alpine Action could arrange the weather …………………It would snow all night then in the morning, there would be fresh powder, clear blue skies and sunshine!
However, if you have skied a bit then you will know that you always get a bit of everything when it comes to the weather.
So if you wake up and see it snowing, don’t panic. Here is my guide to skiing in bad visibility. Take your goggles helmet or hat!
Try to stick to runs with trees, it gives you definition in a whiteout. There are lots of runs lower down in both resort Meribel and La Tania with trees.
If you are in Meribel then head up the Rhodos bubble and ski the Rhodos or Altiport runs, If you are feeling a little more confident and want to go a little further head down the Lapin run to Meribel Village, the Lodge du Village is at the end for a well-earned coffee or beer!
If you are staying in La Tania, just head to the Folyeres blue run, tree-lined and easy to follow back to La Tania, for those wanting a bit more of a challenge try the red run Murettes or Jockeys the black into La Praz, at both resorts you will find a coffee or beer waiting at the bottom.
Use the piste markers. The pole on your right-hand side always has an orange top. This way you will always know that you are on the piste if this is on your right-hand side. This is the best tip I can give you.
If you are really nervous just ski from pole to pole ensuring the orange tip poles are on your right-hand side. I often use this when leading my group.
Ski in pairs at least. If you are skiing in a group, stick together, stopping and checking you are all there. Discuss where you are going heading too.
Stay on the piste, so you know exactly where you are. It can be really disorientating, even for the most experienced skiers so stay on the piste, then there is no risk of falling off a drop or path.
Use your piste map and try to stick to runs that don’t split off in too many directions. That way you will always end up at the lift together.
And finally ……….. enjoy! A whiteout normally means that there is a ton of snow. It doesn’t hurt falling into the soft fluffy white stuff!
So smile, laugh and fall then get up and do it again. It is a great feeling having mastered skiing in a whiteout! And if you have ever decided to not ski you will know it’s a long boring day around a chalet!