Category Archives: Twin Meribel

Meribel Twinned with Aviemore

Meribel Twinned with Aviemore

If you are keeping up with our campaign to twin Meribel with an British town you may have some of the following opinions.  A Common in London with a ski slope once a year is not what you would consider a sensible option for a place to twin Meribel with.  A sleepy town in Oxfordshire is not a perfect match, despite it being the home of the founder of Meribel or maybe you thought that twinning Meribel with a town in the Lake District was good but not good enough. And it could be that you feel our reasons for trying to twin Meribel with Shoreham-by-sea are a little selfish. Then maybe Aviemore is the sensible suggestion you have been looking for.

Meribel has a ski area on its doorstep and so does the town of Aviemore, let’s go the whole way and admit that they are both ski resorts and have a lot in common. Take a look at the table below.

Aviemore Meribel
Lifts 12 57
Vertical Drop 500 1852
Parks 1 (snow dependant) 2
Pistes 28 74
Highest Point 1245 2952
Alpine Action Chalets 0 7
Restaurants 20 110

Other than sharing some great skiing the two also have another thing in common, great Après ski! That’s right, just like Meribel there are loads of pubs that are full of British people getting drunk. Some people have even compared The Vault night club to the infamous Dicks Tea Bar.

Some people say that a ski resort isn’t a ski resort if it doesn’t have a Funicular, (a steep incline railway). Luckily for both Meribel and the Cairngorms they can both be considered a proper ski resort. But the reason we bring this to your attention is that it is in this area that the Aviemore ski area trumps Meribel. Just take a look at the two Funiculars below and decide who’s is most impressive.

funicular


Meribel Twinned with the place of Peter Lindsays birth

Meribel Twinned with the place of Peter Lindsays birth

We would like to be honest – As of right now we have no idea of where he was born. We are going to research this! But while we do here are a few reasons why we should twin Meribel with wherever it is that he was born.

Peter Lindsay is from Great Britain, specifically he is a Scots man. It was in 1938 that he got the first lift installed in Les Allues but it wasn’t until… read more Meribel History here… News just in we now know where he was born.

Since starting this blog, we have done some research. A friend of a friend, who is the son of Peter has confirmed where he was actually born. And it turns out that he was not born in Scotland at all. Mr Lindsay, the founder of Meribel was actually from Sutton Courtenay in Oxfordshire!

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That means one of our potential places to twin Meribel is just outside Oxford off the A339 on the banks of the Thames and it is called Sutton Courtenay.

According to the official Sutton Courtenay website there have been many famous and noble people from the village, George Orwell is buried in the church yard and the Time Team from Channel 4 have popped in for some digging.

The population of the town is 2400, many of whom are employed in the nearby Didcot power station. The most exciting thing to happen in the town took pace in 2008 when the local petrol station and tyre shop exploded, we are lead to believe that no one was injured.

A quick tour of the village on google street view reveals that there are no skiable mountains and no ski infrastructure. We don’t even think there is a ski hire shop. So this means that it may not be the perfect place for a twinning. But it is still the BIRTH PLACE OF PETER LINDSAY, FOUNDER OF MERIBEL!


Shoreham-by-Sea twinned with Meribel

Shoreham-by-Sea twined with Meribel.

How did this get included you may ask? Other than the links that we will detail shortly, it was at the insistence of the boss. This is where we are based and where we work hard to make sure that every Alpine Action holiday you go on is the best holiday you take. In effect our office is a little part of Meribel in England. Our walls are adorned with posters of Meribel and full of Meribel memorabilia, piste maps and old lift passes.

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During the winter months, when we are not in resort, there is an open line to the resort. We get information about the weather in  the mountains and they get a weather update about Shoreham-by-Sea. The resort staff inform us about the piste conditions and we feedback the state of the high street traffic.

Meribel is famous for it’s chocolate box architecture and traditional buildings, it is one of the few major resorts to have predominantly chalet style accommodation. Shoreham-by-Sea mirrors this as there is a large amount of beautiful houses and the architecture is wonderful.

Every elite location needs a small private airfield and Meribel and Shoreham-by-Sea are no exceptions. While you can’t fly direct from the two on a chartered plane, you probably could if you had a billion pounds and a private jet. Oh, and an experienced pilot that is happy to land on snow. These are sadly things that are just dreams for Alpine Action. But it’s nice to know the option is there should we ever win the Euromillons or marry a footballer.

What other reason do you need to consider that this is a great option for our twining mission? Meribel needs a twin which compliments it. Shoreham-by-Sea is, as the name suggests, by the sea. Isn’t it everyone’s dream to spend the winter in the mountains and the summer by the ocean? During the winter you can ski or snowboard all day long then in the summer you can stay at your twin town and spend your time making sandcastles, messing about on boats and trying to catch your dinner.

 

 


Streatham Twinned With Meribel

Streatham Twinned With Meribel

Now at first glance this may seem an odd choice! If you have to choose a Londonish location, why not choose some where like Hemel Hempstead, at least they have a ski slope. Well that is where you are wrong. Google Streatham piste map and you will find that they too have a ski area. It can be found on the famous Streatham Common. The nearest station is Streatham Common, where trains pass through to Gatwick. So almost like going to catch a plane!

Unlike Meribel the Streatham ski area is probably only open once or twice a year. You can tell when it is open as the rest of London will come to a standstill. Streatham boasts about 2km of trails compared to the 600km of piste that the Three Valleys boasts. The full area of Courchevel, Val Thorens and Meribel have a combined total of 180 lifts, Streatham has none. Unless you count the 249 and the 417 bus routes that runs up the side of the common.

streatham-common-pistemap

If you are a regular visitor to Meribel then you will have enjoyed the wonderful mountain restaurants that the area has to offer, just check out this guide to gourmet food in the Trois Vallee. The Streatham ski area also has one mountain side restaurant. It is called the Rookery café and if you are a fan of budget all-day breakfasts, instant coffee, and tuna sandwiches then this is a great place for you to visit after a hard day putting in several turns then waiting for a bus. They will probably even microwave you a bottle of Blossom Hill.

When Albertville hosted the Winter Olympics back in the 90’s, Meribel played its part by hosting the Ice Hockey tournament. Team GB didn’t enter a team for this event but if it did you can bet your left ski boot innersole that they would have trained in Streatham. It has one of the UK’s most iconic rinks and other than crime, is the second thing that people associate with Streatham.

Nightlife is a huge part of Meribel’s culture, from Après at the Ronnie, meeting up in Jacks and late nights in Dicks. Streatham also has an exciting array of nightlife. At the bottom of the slopes you will find a selection of pubs to Après in and it has a great late nightclub called the Hideaway. Sadly none of these have had the foresight to install ski racks and leaving your beloved snowboard outside is not something we would recommend.

 

 


Meribel Twinned With Windermere

Meribel Twinned With Windermere

So why should you choose Windermere as a place to be twinned with Meribel? There must be more than the reason “just because Ange Jeffery nominated it!” That is exactly what we plan to find out in this blog.

Alpine Action has visited Windermere before, now we are not suggesting that this is a reason to twin it with Meribel, but as we look closer it could turn out to be a key link. During our first visit to Windermere we witnessed a case of amazing stupidity. It was a case of idiotic  littering as we witnessed a woman throw a polystyrene cup into the lake. When confronted she claimed it was disposable, this was back in the 80’s. In some ways the problem of throwing disposable things into areas of natural beauty has become endemic, in a similar way that cigarette butts have in Meribel. There is a link and that anecdote was not for nothing.

Windermereislands

Windermere offers a refuge of pubs, restaurants and shops, from the surrounding hills of the Lake District. It acts as a base for many before the step out and explore the vast network of trails and walks, this is in much the same way that Meribel is treated and set up for the skier. Meribel has, like Windermere many shops full of technical equipment for the adventures that lay on the doorstep. For some it is part of the experience to head to the destination and buy the new kit for the weeks activity, this could be hiking or skiing, you could call it shopping with a reason. The shops in both places are also there for the absent minded, who each year forget to pack an essential piece of gear.

Windermere is a great match for Meribel in that people visit for one key ingredient. Ask someone what they expect when going to Windermere and they will tell you, begrudgingly, that they expect it to rain. If we are honest the name Lake District is code for rain, as those lakes don’t make them self.  This is the same reason that people head to Meribel, frozen rain. Without precipitation a winter holiday to Meribel would be a dull prospect, unless you like cold, dark walking holidays!

So there it is a few reasons why Meribel and Windermere could be great together under the international umbrella of the twinning association.

If you can think of more reasons, or want to share your joy or disgust of the idea, then please post your comments below or on our Facebook page.


Final Five – Meribel

The Final five!

It seems as though we have been agonising over the short list for places in the UK that we should try and get twinned with Meribel, for what seems like months! Finally we have done it! We have managed to choose between all your suggestions, so hopefully in years to come, when you are driving into Meribel, you will see the sign, Meribel twinned with …………, but in the French Language obviously.  And when you see that sign you will think, I suggested that, or I voted for that, or I suggested a different town that no one voted for, or my suggestion wasn’t even short listed. At the very least you will think that is a good Idea, good to see Meribel twinned with ………… .

So which UK places will be going to the public vote for that chance of us contacting their local authority about the prospect of Meribel being twinned with them? The finalists are, (long pause), in no particular order, (long pause), decided by our panel, the UK locations are: (even longer pause)  Windermere in Cumbria, suggested by Ange Jeffery. The second UK location through the final is, (really long pause), Streatham in South London, suggested by Alex Smith. The third finalist facing the public vote will be, (you get the idea), Shoreham-by-Sea, suggested by Alpine Action, (“Fix, Fix Fix”). The last two places will be Aviemore, suggested by Keith Stevenson and the birth place of Peter Lindsay founder of Meribel, (no one knows where this is), suggested by Colin Mathews.

Well that was tense. Some surprising choices, one of our Facebook fans suggested that there would be no representation from places in the North. However it seems our panel have opted for a fifty/ fifty split, that is until we discover where Peter Lindsay was born, we suspect Scotland. In the next few paragraphs we will give each nomination a short introduction. Over the coming weeks we will get a bigger profile and reaction from each of the nominated towns..

Windermere, nominated by Ange Jeffery.

Windermere is already twinned with a town in Germany called Dießen am Ammersee.  Much like Windermere, Dießen am Ammersee is next to a lake and in a quite hilly region, Bavaria. But there are many towns with duel twinning, oddly not called triplets, so let us not be put off by that. Like Meribel, Windermere attracts adventure nuts all year round and is the gateway to some amazing terrain and ski fields.

Streatham, suggested by Alex Smith

A few years ago, it wasn’t cool or hip with the affluent city types, much the same as Meribel. It has only been in recent times that the light has been seen and more and more people are flocking to the areas. Both have a vibrant and diverse night life and a great amount of restaurants that cater for people looking for a variety of culinary experiences. The Streatham ski area is limited and only available to skiers once or twice a year. However it does have an excellent mountain restaurant, and bars at the bottom of the runs.

Shoreham-by-Sea, suggested by Alpine Action

Our head office is situated in  Shorham-by-Sea, and as we are Meribel experts we kind of thought that it would be a good reason to start a link with the resort of Meribel. As previously noted, like Meribel, Shorham-by-sea has a small airport. Over the next few weeks we will reveal other parallels to Meribel. We also hope that out ties to both will mean something to the Mayor of each location.

The birth place of Peter Lindsay founder of Meribel, suggested by Colin Mathews.

An excellent suggestion, only confounded by the lack of information surrounding the actual location. We know that he was a Scott, and Lindsey was his clan. So we can assume that it will be a location in Scotland. Which is good, as it will be, if nothing else a snowy place that we will be potentially twinning with Meribel. Based on the confusing family tree of most Scottish families we are in for some degree level research.

Aviemore, suggested by Keith Stevenson

This final suggestion is possibly the most sensible of all the nominations, other than the selection of other ski areas in the UK that were nominated. But we couldn’t choose all ski resorts so we have chosen Aviemore to represent. It has a good ski area and a developed infrastructure. Both resorts have a funicular, but unless you are a funicular geek like me you wouldn’t know about the one in the Meribel Valley. Aviemore is a small version of a ski resort and as such could easily be twinned with Meribel. There could even be mutual benefit to come from it.


Twinning Meribel – The List

Twinning Meribel – The List 

meribel twinned with

Everyone has now had a chance to suggest which location in the UK we should try and twin with the mighty Meribel. The response hasbeen excellent and the variety of locations has been surprising. Below is a list of the places suggested by you wonderful ski lovers.

Over the week we will now whittle it down to five locations and we will then have a public vote on which place we should attempt to get twinned with Meribel. This is your last chance to sway our panel to make sure your choice is short listed. So please post any pleas, messages of support or final reasoning in the comments below, on our Facebook page or you can tweet us.

Sheffield, suggested by Celine DayAnge.
Windermere in Cumbria, suggested by Ange Jeffery.
Wantage in Oxfordshire, suggested by the company Chaletmanager.
Meribah in South Australia, suggested by David Froom – (But as he must be stuck in the days of the empire we shall ignore his application).
Bath, suggested by Mark Summers.
Bournemouth, suggested by Russ Lowe.
Streatham, suggested by Alex Smith.
Croyde in North Devon, suggested by Us.
Shoreham-by-Sea, also suggested by US.
Broxburn in West Lothian, suggested by Neil Baxter.
The birth place of Peter Lindsay founder of Meribel, (know one knows where this is), suggested by Colin Mathews.
Cleethorpes, suggested by David Nathan.
Dalwhinney, suggested by Alan Mackenzie.
Raise Mountain a Lake District “ski resort”, suggested by Maya ArCtic.
Motherwell, suggested by Keith Geddes.
Glencoe, suggested by Lisa Lavin.
Ben Nevis, suggested by Stuart Jack Moran Taylor.
Cheddar in Somerset, suggested by Anthony Garrod.
Aberdeen, suggested by Gregor Pirie.
A selection of rude place names, suggested by David Cuthill.
Aviemore, suggested by Keith Stevenson.
Fort William, also suggested by Keith Stevenson.
Chelsea, suggested by Mick Coles.
Morpeth in Northumberland, suggested by John Quinn.


Twinning Meribel

Twinning Meribel

We would expect very little argument if we said that Meribel is the most British friendly ski resort in France and as such is incredibly popular with skiers coming from the UK. Meribel was one of the first resorts to really understand the value of the British tourist and have since been courting our custom. It hosts numerous UK chalet companies as well as having a good section of British run pubs and restaurants, you can even get a full English breakfast. Meribel is also home to several UK ski competitions and even boasts some all year round expats. Despite all this Britishness it retains the charms of a classic French ski resort.

meribel twinned withYou could even say that Meribel is the ultimate destination for Anglo-French harmony and as such should have the words ‘twinned
with’ on its sign. And that is what we plan to do. We feel that Meribel should have a British sibling and will be trying to get the resort of Meribel twinned with a town in the UK. The problem is we don’t know which one? We don’t know if it is even possible. But we are going to try.

So first things first, we need to choose a town to twin Meribel with. For this we want your help to decide on a town. We want you to nominate a town, it could be where you live, or one that you think is similar to Meribel. We will then compile a short list and then have a public vote on who we should try and get Meribel twinned with.

We don’t think that there are any French ski resorts twinned with a UK town yet, however, Grenoble is twinned with Oxford and Annecy is twinned with Cheltenham, so we have some alpine links already.

To help you start thinking about where you think would be a great place to twin Meribel with, here are a few facts about the resorts.

  • Meribel hosted Ice Hockey and Womens Alpine events during the 1992 Albertville Olympics.
  •  It has its own airport.
  • Meribel is at 1400 meters above sea level.
  • Perminant population is estimated at 2000.
  • Located near the Vanoise national park.
  • Meribel was founded by a Scottish man called Colone Peter Lindsay.

 

We would like to start the ball rolling with a couple of suggestions.

Our first is naturally Alpine Actions UK home, Shorham-by-Sea. To start with it’s linked by the very fact that we send over 2000 people to the resorts every year from our office based in the Adur Business Center. Our population is around 18,000 which is almost the same as Meribel in the winter when populated with tourists. If they all went on one week we would double the permanent population. We also have a small airport, just like Meribel.

Our second is the Village of Croyde in North Devon, as it is a mirror image of Meribel. It is one of the UK’s most popular surfing destination, giving it that extreme sport link. It also has a small permanent population that swells during the in season time. Like Meribel it sits in the middle of three other similar destinations, these are the beaches of Saunton and Woolacombe. Croyde also has lively night life and has a big reputation for fun.

Nominations for where we should try and get Meribel twinned with must be suggested before the 1st June. You can let us know your ideas and reasons in the comments below, via our Facebook page, or you can tweet us @Alpineactionski or use the hashtag #TwinMeribel.


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