Category Archives: Tips

Great Gifts from the Alps

Great Gifts from the Alps

When it comes to gift buying, the reality is that some people can spot the perfect present a mile off and some cannot. I bought my mother a VHS copy of Cilla Black’s Blind Date out-takes for Christmas 1994, and thanks to the ‘International Registry’ my Dad is allegedly the proud owner of a star in the night sky. I’ll leave you to work out the physics behind that… suffice it to say that I’m pretty useless at present-buying!

My gift-buying woes fall by the wayside once or twice a year though, and are replaced by a veritable sea of inspiration! Gifts for everyone from my boyfriend to my Great Aunt abound, and even the cat gets a treat! In case you haven’t already guessed, I am of course talking about Grenoble airport’s Duty Free shopping area where, on my way home from another wonderful ski holiday each year, I am faced with one perfect gift idea after another.

Let’s say, for instance, it’s mid-February. You’re on your way home with your mates after an epic week hitting the slopes and bars of Meribel, and you know Grandma’s birthday is coming up. You’re strolling through the departure lounge wondering what to do then suddenly, like Newton with his apple or the bloke that invented the hula hoop, inspiration strikes. What could give Grandma greater joy in her dotage, what could put a broader smile on her face, than a whistling marmot toy? Listen to his whistle! It truly is the gift that keeps on giving!

images (1)

What about for that special someone in your life, your boy or girlfriend, husband or wife? How can you best express the depth of your feelings towards him or her? You could certainly never tell them how strongly you feel about them… words can only do so much. Again, inspiration will strike amongst the magazines, gin and chocolate of Grenoble airport’s Duty Free lounge – a stuffed St Bernard! He may not have an in-built speaker like the marmot, but one look into his eyes will tell your girlfriend all she needs to know about how you feel.

You could be forgiven for thinking that the best of these tax-discounted gift ideas come in the form of various stuffed toys… but how wrong you’d be! Let’s say your friends have a new baby and you want to express your happiness for them – how better to do it than with a foot long bar of Toblerone?! Baby can enjoy hours of carefree fun trying to open the package and when finally he succeeds, what joy! A chocolatey treat for him to munch on! (When he gets teeth of course.)

Few culinary delights match the gentle aroma of those wonderful French cheeses, and isn’t it such a joy to be out in the Alps tasting them anew! Those petit producteurs in the Alps spend months producing and ageing their fromage to perfection, and the Grenoble airport cheese counter is the perfect place to buy your sister’s gift. “Nothing cheesey,” she said! Ha! Imagine her face when she unwraps your gift to find it’s actual cheese! You’ll be talking about that one for years, assuming the stench gets past the sniffer dogs at the other end.

You’re heading home from your March ski break with mates when suddenly you remember, Uncle Phil has just successfully completed his Alcoholics Anonymous course – he’s been off the booze for 6 full months! With family and friends around him in support, what better way to toast to his success than a refreshing bottle of Genepy?! Ahh, the spirit of the Alps in a bottle, and yours for a wonderfully discounted duty free price. He’ll be over the moon!

However you choose to mark your ski holiday, a small gift to a loved one or relative who wasn’t able to join you will show them that they were always in your mind. So next time you’re returning from a week’s skiing, remember to save a few Euros up for a spot of Duty Free shopping. With gifts as high quality as these, you’ll be the talk of the town for months!

 


Insider Tips on How to Make the Most of the Three Valleys

Insider Tips on How to Make the Most of the Three Valleys.

The Three Valleys ski area sits in the Tarentaise Valley of the French Alps, and is home to some of the country’s finest ski resorts. From Courchevel in the east, through la Tania, Meribel, Mottaret, St Martin de Belleville, les Menuires and then Val Thorens, the Three Valleys boasts the largest lift-linked ski area in Europe and is quite simply some of the most exciting terrain you could ever hope to ski.

From complete beginners through to world-class skiers and snowboarders, the Three Valleys has slopes suitable for all, and with so many resorts to explore the range of accommodation options here is spectacular. But the question is, whether you’re there for just a week’s holiday or you’re working there the entire winter ski season, how can you make the most of the mighty Three Valleys?!

2011Skier2

Pistes for all Levels

 Beginner skiers in the Three Valleys can find a number of areas which are perfect for comfortable progression. Meribel’s Altiport takes pride of place as the single best part of the Three Valleys for learner skiers. Gently rolling, broad, sheltered and long, it’s just the most fantastic place to master those all-important first turns. Aside from that, Courchevel 1850 and the nursery slope under Val Thorens town centre are also superb.

Intermediates looking for long, undulating terrain can focus on the area between Courchevel 1850 and Moriond, where the pistes flow down between the pines and exploration is a joy. The Meribel valley is well suited to intermediate cruising as well, especially on the Saulire side. The approach down into Mottaret is steeper, the perfect place to push yourself. The fantastic selection of blue and red pistes around the les Menuires and Val Thorens end of the Three Valleys are also ideally suited to intermediate skiers and boarders. In

Advanced skiers looking to get real mileage under their skis can challenge themselves to ski lift-to-lift and get right across the Three Valleys and back in time for après ski. Although it’s perfectly doable if you’re quick enough, you don’t want to get caught out the wrong side of a ridge as those taxis are pricey! Highlights include the red Jerusalem piste down towards St Martin and the Folyeres run down into La Tania. If you want a real challenge, try skiing from the Saulire peak all the way to either Courchevel le Praz or Meribel Village non-stop!

Off Piste; the Highlights

First things first – if you’re going off piste then pack a probe and transceiver and hire a guide! That said, read on. Everybody who knows the Three Valleys well will have their own favourite spots to head to when the powder is fresh, and this is a huge ski area so few people know them all!

A highlight from this writer involves starting at the Saulire peak and heading down the steep couloir above Meribel. Once through the couloir, stay right and stay high – you can traverse the entire mountainside off piste all the way down to the point where it re-joins the piste.

Another great of piste track starts at the Tougnete peak – in fresh snow you can drop in near there and bounce though fluffy powder all the way to St Martin! This run has its pitfalls though and a guide is highly recommended.

Over in Val Thorens, one spectacular bit of back country is accessed from the top of the Boismint chair. Once you reach the top, climb up and over the ridge in front of you and drop in. Following the valley along its natural course, you pop out at the bottom and can head off to the right to catch the base of the Plan de l’Eau chairlift.

Back in the Meribel valley, from the top of the Saulire gondola you can ski to the enormous rock that sits on the Courchevel/Meribel border, take a right and traverse past the edge of the piste. From here you can pick your line carefully and ride down the mountain off piste all the way to Meribel Mottaret!

Terrain Parks

In a nutshell, there are two outstanding parks in the Meribel Valley; the Moon Park and the DC Area 43 Snowpark. Both offer a superb range of hits and kickers, though the Moon Park is slightly smaller. Both parks are within easy reach of Meribel Centre, heading in the direction of les Menuires.

There’s also a fantastic snow park in Val Thorens, located under the Plateau lift.

Après ski and Nightlife

The best après ski and nightlife in the Three Valleys is found in Meribel centre, Courchevel Moriond and Val Thorens. Apres ski bars such as the Folie Douce in Val Thorens or the infamous Rond Point in Meribel are perfect places to enjoy a drink and a dance at the end of your ski day.

For late night partying, Malaysia nightclub in Val Thorens and Dicks Tea Bar in Meribel are highlights, with regular sets from international DJs as well as various club nights throughout the week.

If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a bit of peace and tranquillity, villages such as Courchevel le Praz, la Tania and St Martin have very little of the nightlife of their noisier neighbours and are the perfect antidote to all that silly dancing!

Ski Schools

In general, the level of tuition you can expect in the Three Valleys is very good. With the ESF operating across the board and an excellent selection of international ski schools to choose from as well, classes for all levels and pursuits are readily available. Whether you’re looking for beginner lessons in the hope of learning the basics or hoping to progress to parallel turns on skis, keen to master mogul fields on your board or push yourself past your plateau, the sheer range of tuition options in the Three Valleys means you’ll find the right classes to meet requirements.

Overall however, the two resorts offering the highest quality tuition are Courchevel and Meribel. It’s in these resorts that the best beginner slopes can be found, and it’s here that the best of the best ski schools are based.


Eating out in Méribel

Eating out in Méribel

  The French ski resort of Méribel draws people from across the globe keen to experience the resort’s spectacular slopes, lively nightlife, charm and character for themselves. But aside from the pristine pistes and varied après-ski on offer, there’s another major reason to pay the resort a visit; the food.

meri1

Méribel is a mega-resort with a reputation for luxury, so you’d be forgiven for thinking dining options were restricted to expensive restaurants and Michelin-level fine dining, but this is simply not the case. Visitors to the resort can find everything from basic baguettes, burgers and pizzas all the way up to exquisite haute cuisine in five star surroundings. In short, there are eateries and restaurants to suit all budgets and tastes.

Budget

 At the lower end of the dining spectrum, Méribel offers a wealth of sandwicheries and burger bars perfect for picking up an inexpensive lunch in advance or taking the kids for a cheap treat. With baguettes freshly made each day and fresh produce throughout, these inexpensive eateries are the perfect option for the price-conscious.

Venues such as the ever popular Jack’s Bar plus other centrally located options like la Taverne and Scotty’s all offer broad menus of filling burgers, pizzas and the like and the value for money is good. Over in Méribel Village, the Lodge du Villagebar and restaurant has been a favourite for years and with good reason. Other cheap eats like hot dogs, wraps and nachos are also popular options for seasonnaires, parents and kids alike.

Mid range

 Méribel’s superb mid-range restaurants are notable for those ever popular Savoyarde specialities so many skiers know and love. Fondues, raclettes, hot stone pierrades and tartiflettes feature heavily and make for a wonderful change from the norm, though international cuisine is also popular.

 For a good quality meal out which won’t break the bank, Méribel offers myriad options. Highlights include Chez Kiki andAux Petits Onions up the hill in Mottaret, plus le Refuge and la Galette in the heart of town centre. These traditional and characterful French restaurants may enjoy a certain mark up on their meals, but the food is superb and you’ll leave feeling full so the value for money is pretty decent overall.

Top end

 With stories of seafood being flown in directly to slope-side restaurants in time for the luncheon rush and cellars full of the finest vintage wines, the top-end restaurants in the Alps take their service very seriously and Meribel is no exception. The resort has a long history of haute cuisine and boasts some of the finest restaurants of any resort in Europe.

 For discerning diners looking for something truly special Meribel offers a few highlights, both on and off the mountain. Up on the slopes, establishments such as les Allodis offer the ideal location for a terrace lunch in the sun. Les Allodis sits opposite the mid-station of the Rhodos cable car with spectacular views and a menu to dine for. Other highlights include theGrand Coeur in town centre, a traditional restaurant with tip top service and superb food, and le Blanchot up near the Altiport, which is undoubtedly one of the very finest restaurants in the Meribel valley.

By – Liz  Camperhand 


Where do I fit in the unwritten rule?

This post was sent to us by Fran Welch.

Where do I fit in the unwritten rule? Who should I ski with? 

When I first went skiing, little did I realise how many categories of skiers there were. Which did I fit into? What is an intermediate skier? How do you qualify for this status?

Obviously when I on my first ski holiday I was a beginner, so I thought when I went into the hire shop at the beginning of my second ski holiday and was asked what level I was, I answered “intermediate”, only to be interrupted by my husband who claimed I was still a beginner!

There seem to be a multitude of other categories that exist to fox me and when choosing a group of skiers to holiday with, it appears vital that a) you know what category you fit into and b) know what category the other members of the group are in.

I made the mistake of not doing my research on my last trip and found myself skiing with 4 ex-seasonaires. Not wanting to by shown up on the first day, I, of course, set off expecting to be able to keep up with them all. How wrong I was! I spent the day mainly ‘off piste’ having never entered this zone before, it was a little hard on the legs to say the least.  Whilst they spent the lunch time reliving the amazing powder on the last run, I used the time to try and cram as many calories into me to get through the next few hours! I fixed the vision in my head of the Jacuzzi back at our Alpine Action Chalet and the thought of the delicious meal that would be awaiting us on our return. I soon realised that as well as wearing ‘beginner level skis’ I certainly did not fit into the ‘seasonaire’ or ‘ex seansonaire’ category either.

Finding the perfect ski partner or group is a tricky business. Whilst you need to be pushed to improve, you also don’t want to be pushed so far that you ski the first day of your holiday and need to lie down for the rest! Skiing with a less confident skier can also be the most frustrating thing in the world. If you find a solution to this problem, I would love to hear from you, but until then I will just continue to ski with my husband, who can put up with me on my ‘beginner skis.’


Tip of the week #4

How to survive a whiteout/bad visibility on the slopes this season!

When visibility is poor on the slopes, it’s not just about the nerves, you just cannot see where you are going, it can be dangerous and frightening.

ALWAYS REMEMBER: That the piste poles on the right hand side of the piste all have orange tips. So stay close and move down from one to the next, keeping to the left of these “orange” poles. If you stay to the left of the right side poles you will ALWAYS be on the piste. How do you think the experienced appear so calm, it’s not easy for anyone in poor visibility.

 

whiteout

 

 

 

 

 

 


Why is breakfast important when skiing?

Why is breakfast important when skiing?

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 great mood and you also need to feel like you are on holiday.

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.

0312-continental-breakf-44C

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. 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.

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.

 

 

 


How to get a job in Meribel or La Tania

How to get a job in Meribel or La Tania

We are on the lookout for staff to help us run our chalets for next winter. In particular we are looking for people who are in love so much that they believe that they could work and live together for a whole winter season.  Alpine Action are also looking for good friends to run two small chalets that are next to each other. On top if this we are also looking for Reps to be the face of Alpine Action, help guests and perform driving duties. To find out more about our ski jobs go to our recruitment pages.

Those are the jobs, but how do you get one? And what if you don’t get a job with us? How do I secure a job in the Alps next winter? Well the good news is that our resident blogger Jim, knows a thing or two about getting a job in the Alps. He has previously worked for one of the UK’s largest ski tour operator and he also worked for seasonaire experts Natives.co.uk as their recruitment manager for many years. Jim even helped us find some of our past staff. Here are his tips on getting a job in the Alps for the winter.

staff

First of all I would like to say I  can really recommend Alpine Action as a great company to work for in the winter. You may think that “I would say that”, seeing as though I regularly contributor to these pages, but the truth is that during my time at Natives I was always recommending Alpine Action to people looking for jobs in La Tania and Meribel. The reason for this is because they always looked after their staff and at the end of the season I always got great feedback from the staff that worked for Alpine Action.

Back to helping you get a job. First up Alpine Action always needs great cooks in the team. So if you are a couple, one of you needs to have a flair and a passion for cooking. Dionne loves her food and can spot someone who has the same love a mile away. So when applying you need to make sure your cooking experience and interest of food come across. As you can see from the Alpine Action website, food is a big part of the holiday experience and you need to be able to deliver that. The first way that you can prove this is by creating a great menu plan, that represents your skills and your style of cooking. Prove that you are a foodie and you could be invited to an interview with Alpine Action. If you do get an interview, then this is you next chance to wow Dionne and the team with your food knowledge. Bring along some samples of what you can make and prove that you can cook and bake!

I know from future experience that Alpine Action really want people that have a talent for looking after people. A chalet is a place that should feel like a home from home, and when guests are there they need hosts that can help them relax and have a great time on holiday. So when you are applying to Alpine Action you need to make them know that you can help achieve this. This also applies if you are applying for a Rep Job.

If you are applying for a Rep job you need to be aware of what it entails. First of all you need to remember that Rep is short for Representative and that is what you are expected to do, represent Alpine Action. This is the image you need to get across on your application form and when you attend an interview. You will also need a driving licence and be over 23 for insurance reasons.

But what if you don’t get a job with Alpine Action? They don’t employ that many staff as the only have a dozen chalets. But the good news is that there are hundreds of jobs out there and all of them are on the Natives website. No matter what your applying for you can help your chances by following my top 10 tips on how to secure a ski job.

1.       Follow the instructions that are on the application form.

2.       Give the ski company a great insight into who you are on your application.

3.       Attend a cookery course – These can increase your chances of finding a job by a huge amount.

4.       Always send a picture with your application – This helps them remember you, they get 1000’s of applications each year.

5.       Be on time and dress smartly for your interview. This is a real job and a real interview.

6.       Research the company you are looking to work for, are they right for you?

7.       Don’t leave it too late – All the best jobs will be gone before August.

8.       Apply to as many companies as you can.

9.       If you don’t have experience then get some.

10.   Stand out.

I hope that my advice helps and that you can secure a job in the alps for next winter either with Alpine Action or one of the many other ski companies out there. Good Luck. 


6 great afternoon tea recipes.

6 great afternoon tea recipes. ( You need a day off)

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Mention Lemon drizzle cake and you will either get a joyful response or you will be told where to stick it. But for some reason the universal love of cake will force the nay-sayer into having a small slice and they will like it as much as the lemon cake lover.

Here is a great lemon cake recipe for you to try.

You will need…

250g unsalted butter

250g caster sugar

4 eggs

zest and juice of one lemon

250g self raising flour

juice of three lemons

85g caster sugar

Combine your very soft butter with the sugar and mix until its well incorporated and light and fluffy. Add your eggs one at a time, with a portion of flour with each one and then finally incorporate the lemon juice and zest.

Spoon your batter into a greased loaf or round cake tin, and bake for 35-45 minutes in the middle of the oven. While it’s baking make the lemon drizzle glaze!
Combine your lemon juice with the sugar and stir until dissolved.

Once your cake it out of the oven and almost completely cool, poke a few holes in it gently using a fork and then brush over the lemon drizzle glaze and let it soak in.

Chocolate cake

There are hundreds of chocolate cakes and there is a reason for that. They are blooming great. Despite being the enemy of the waist we estimate 1.36 million are eaten in the Alps alone each season.

Try this simple Chocolate cake recipe that we found.

You will need…

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans

2 cups sugar

3/4 cups good cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup buttermilk, shaken

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

 

Instructions

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the

bowl and mix until combined.

In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes at 350, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Cookies

The best cooki recipe that I ever found was on the side of a French cookie recipe. I have since lost it and then found it. It is currently lost again. So here is the second best cookie recipe I have ever found. Thanks Nigella.

You will need…

100 grams butter

140 grams brown sugar

1 tablespoon corn syrup (or golden syrup)

1 egg (straight out of the fridge)

200 grams plain flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 pinch of salt

½ vanilla pod (seeds only, or 1 packet of vanilla sugar)

200 grams white chocolate (chips or finely chopped)

Method

In a bowl over a pan of simmering water melt the butter, brown sugar and syrup. In another bowl mix the flour, salt, vanilla and baking powder. Beat the egg into the butter mixture, followed by the flour mix. Cool in the fridge for an hour while the oven preheats to 175°C. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment.

Into the cooled dough mix the chocolate chips. With gloved hands shape walnut-sized balls out of the dough, place them on the baking sheets and flatten them slightly. Be careful to leave space between them, about an inch or 3 cm should be enough.

Bake for 12-15 min. They should look done but still be soft. Don’t place the baking sheet too high in the oven, or the white chocolate might catch. A bit of caramelization is expected and desired but burned chocolate isn’t a nice thing.

After taking the cookies out of the oven, leave them on the baking sheet for 2 min, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Millionaire shortbread

Shortbread, caramel and chocolate, what is not to like. Also you get to pretend you are eating something that only rich people can afford to eat. It is the L’Oreal of afternoon tea, because you are worth it.

Have a go at making it yourself, you cheapskate.

Shortbread Ingredients:
125g (5oz) butter (at room temperature)
50g (2oz) caster sugar
175g (7oz plain flour)

Topping Ingredients:
400g condensed milk
50g (2oz) butter
50g (2oz) soft brown sugar
150g (6oz) chocolate

Mix the butter and sugar together

Add the flour and mix to form a dough
Press the dough into a baking tin (approx 23cm square)
Bake at 190°C (Gas mark 5) for 20 minutes
Leave to cool

Meanwhile make the topping:

Pour the condensed milk into a pan and add butter and sugar
Boil gently for 5 minutes stirring continuouslyuntil it forms a caramel consistency
Pour the topping over the shortbread and place in the fridge to set
Once set, melt the chocolate either in the microwave (on full power for approx 60 secs) or place chocolate in a heatproof bowl and melt over a pan of simmering water. Pour melted chocolate over the topping
Place it in the fridge or a cool place and leave it to set
Cut into squares and serve

 

Ginger Bread Men

They taste great but they also act as a secret voodoo doll. Who are you thinking of as you bite the head of, or snap the arms. What no one? It is just me? Opps. In years to come this will be quoted back to me in a court of law.

Make your own ginger bread voodoo doll.

350g plain flour

175g soft brown sugar

100g butter or margarine

1 egg

1 ½ tsp ginger

1 tsp Cinnamon

1 tsp Vanilla essence

4 tbsp golden syrup

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4

Put the flour, butter, ground ginger and bicarbonate of soda in a mixing bowl. Mix it all together with fingertips until crumbly. Add sugar, syrup and egg and mix until it forms a firm pastry mix.

Using the rolling pin, roll out the pastry to about 5mm thick. Make sure the surface and the rolling pin are well dusted with flour. Cut out the shapes with a knife and/or pastry cutter

Place the cut out pastry on a greased or non-stick baking tray, each 2cm apart to allow for them spreading out.

Put the baking trays in the pre-heated oven. Remove after 10 minutes (check after 8 minutes).

 

Fruit Muffins

All I am going to say is – Part of your five a day.

Make some for your health kick this recipe comes from weightwatcher too!
2 spray(s) cooking spray
1 cup(s) whole wheat flour
2/3 cup(s) uncooked wheat bran
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup(s) regular butter, softened
2/3 cup(s) unpacked light brown sugar, or turbindo sugar
1 large egg(s)
1 cup(s) buttermilk
1 cup(s) raisins, chopped

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Coat a 12-hole muffin tin with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, wheat bran, salt, baking soda and cinnamon; set aside.

Using an electric mixer, in a large bowl, cream butter with sugar until sugar is dissolved; add egg and beat thoroughly. Add 1/3 of bran mixture and 1/3 cup of buttermilk; mix until just combined. Repeat, alternating, with remaining bran mixture and buttermilk; fold in raisins.

Fill each prepared muffin hole about 2/3’s full with batter; place in middle of oven. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm or cooled. Yields 1 muffin per serving.

 


Catching a plane

You have your received your ticket and are ready to go on your ski holiday. You have thought about all the exciting things such as your ski apparel, packing your swimsuit for the jacuzzi and booking the gold ski hire. What you have put off organising is how you will be getting to the airport. Well, it isn’t as exciting as dreaming about the food you are going to get fed in your chalet, is it? So we thought we might see if we can help, with a guide to getting to the airport.

Before you set off it is always worth checking the travel news in case there is some unavoidable incident that may affect you. Weather is often a likely culprit so watch out for heavy snowfall and keep an eye on any active volcanoes. This sort of thing will be flagged up on local or national news. It is very rare that you won’t be able to fly. If you have a feeling that your plane could be grounded then you can check on the carrier’s website or call them, the number should be on the ticket or e-ticket. A quick tip: if you are collecting someone from an airport after they have been selfish enough to holiday without you, you can check for delays on the airport website now, just go to the live arrivals page.

 Driving

The impending deadline of a departing plane can cause a great deal of pre-holiday stress so avoid that feeing by planning ahead. If you are motoring to the airport check for traffic delays before you set off, that way you can avoid any jams and reduce the tension in the car. If you haven’t been to the airport before plan your route ahead of time. Make sure you have filled the car with fuel. Also, as you are heading off on a ski holiday it is likely to be cold when you set off, so make sure you have a way of de-icing the car.

Parking

It makes sense to pre book you’re parking, as it saves time and money. As we fly out of Manchester and Gatwick we recommend using these operators. Each parking company offers a different service. Some will park your car and have it ready for your arrival and others will require you to remember where you left it. I would like to say that no one in the world ever has remembered where they parked their car, without writing it down.

Train

If you book far enough in advance you could get a great deal and save money on getting to the airport. The other good thing about the train is that if you are on an afternoon flight you could have a cheeky glass of wine to help the journey along. We fly from Manchester and Gatwick and the trains go into the hub of the airport, which means that you don’t need to drag your luggage a long way.

 


The Rules of Table Alpine Table Tennis

The Rules of Table Alpine Table Tennis

It seems fitting that you should be able to get your Table Tennis fix when out in the Alps and staying in a chalet. After all, it was invented over at a dinner party and was originally played with a wine cork as the ball. So where can you play this? Well if you are planning a ski holiday to Meribel then you may want to consider the Chalet Serpolet, as not only does it have a sauna and hot tub it also has a games room complete with a Table Tennis table.

The game has seen a major resurgence since its inception in the 1880s, as an after dinner game played with books for nets and rackets. Its recent popularity has come from many sources. Thousands of people took an interest in it when it appeared in the 1994 movie Forest Gump. It was also a ratings winner in the 2012 summer Olympics despite the Chinese dominance of the game. Also as part of the Olympic legacy, 100’s of outdoor tables have been put into our parks and recreation areas. Also, many Table Tennis themed bars such as Ping in Earls Court have popped up, not as part of the Olympic legacy.

So let’s imagine that you have never heard of Table Tennis, Ping Pong or Wiff Waff before and you have booked into stay at the Serpolet. You will probably want to know the basics and the rules.

ping

What you need to know.

Equipment
To play you will need a racket or paddle as it is also known. A ball and a 9 ft long by 5 ft wide table with a 6 inch net to divide the table up. All of these items are available in the games room of our chalet Serpolet.

How to Play

Deciding the serve.

This is done by the toss of a coin.

Serving
To serve you must throw the ball up into the air, which must be at least the height of the net. You must then hit the ball so that it bounces first in the servers court and then in the opponents, without hitting the net.

Returning shot
When returning the serve the receiver must send the ball back before it bounces a second time in their side of the court. The returner must not hit it into their side of the table or the net.

Let
A let is allowed if the ball touches the net in service or when the player receiving the service is not ready to receive the serve.

How to score points
Points get scored when a rally is concluded in one of the following ways: The return of service fails; The ball is hit and does not touch the table on the opponents side; One of the players obstructs the ball; The ball is struck twice by the same player; A point is awarded to you if the competition hits the ball with the wrong side of the bat; If the opposition moves the table or net during play; You opponent is awarded a point if you touch the table with your non-playing hand.

The winner is the person who scores 11 points first. In the event that both players reach 10 points then the game is played until one person has a lead of 2 points. If you are playing a match then you should play to the best of 5 or 7

Who serves and from what end?
At the beginning of each game the players change ends. The services is decided rotated every two serves, this is regardless of who won the last point.

If you should choose you can also play a doubles game. The rules effectively remain the same with some additions

Doubles rules
When serving the play must go diagonally as the table is divided up into 4 quarters, this means the server must serve from the right hand side of the table to the left hand side. During play each team member must hit the ball in an alternating pattern. When the service is changed the receiver becomes the server and the partner of the server becomes the receiver.

Sometimes a match may go on a long time, especially if you are a novice. This could be annoying if you have a deadline, such as Canapés and wine being served at 7.30 or the ski lifts opening and it is a fresh powder day. The good news is that there is speedy version of the game. Sadly this only really benefits those of us that can have a rally of more than 13 returns.

Obviously Ping Pong is no substitute for getting on the mountains and skiing, but it can provide you with a lot of entertainment in the evening. That is once you have finished in the hot tub or jacuzzi.

Check out the that Chalet Serpolet here.

 

 

 


Meribel & La Tania Holidays

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

Contact Us

If you would like to chat about holidays to Méribel or La Tania please get in touch via one of the methods on our contact page.

Our Favorite Topics

Subscribe

To sign up for our newletter please enter your email address below: