First ski holiday with children : Part 2 – Guilt and Ski School

My first ski holiday with children

In my last blog about our first family ski trip I wrote about how we manage to miss the flight despite staying overnight at an airport hotel. This blog continues the story of our holiday and picks up the trip after we landed in France ready for our transfer to Méribel. 

READ PART ONE HERE

Part 2 – Guilt and Ski School

We arrived at Grenoble airport and were warmly welcomed by Alpine Action driver Eddie who my children instantly fell in love with and obsessed about during the duration of our trip. “I can’t wait to get back to see Eddie at the chalet”, “It’s kind of Eddie to let us stay at his house”, “Who are those people cooking in Eddie’s kitchen?” and “Let’s make a card to thank Eddie for letting us stay”. How much Eddie appreciated this admiration is a question for him and how much Jack and Emily, our chalet hosts, appreciated playing Carson to Eddies Earl of Grantham we may never know.

During our trip we stayed in chalet Trios Coeurs

Ski School

Once in resort there is always some pre-ski admin to do and after the flight fiasco I wasn’t expecting a successful outcome. However, getting ski hire for a 4 year old was simple, as was getting free lift passes for the children along with booking into ski school and child care. I doubt this success was down to us and the behaviour of our children so the credit should go to the wonderful resort staff that helped us along the way. As a result of my many trips to Méribel we were also spared the usual “where is my chalet” moment that we all get in a new ski resort. However my wife was determined to engineer this by repeatedly asking if I knew where I was going.

The next thing on the agenda was introducing our children to snow. The last huge snowfall in the UK was in 2009, way before my children were born, making this their first time experiencing snow. There are many things you can do with snow such as skiing, snowball fights, snowman making or even sledging. The main priority for my children during their first encounter with snow was to eat it and they were determined to sample it from as many locations as possible. Due to my children’s partiality to consuming snow we spent very little time near the resort ponies.

Children’s mealtimes were a success thanks to “Eddies staff” and I was surprised by the ease at which the children went to sleep. I was unsurprised at the time they woke up in the morning. I think the last time I was up before the chalet hosts was when I was one.  I also suspect that in some parts of the resort some people were only just heading back to their chalet. But why wouldn’t you wake up early on a ski trip, going skiing is exciting!

Even though I had been awake since 4am, when the minibus arrived to take us to the ski school we weren’t quite ready. Quite means, one child undressed with ski boots on, one child fully dressed no shoes on running around in the snow, one parent not dressed still packing children’s day bag and one parent fiddling with his snowboard while wondering why no one else is ready.

Guilt

We arrived at the children’s ski school 10 minutes late. A quick glance around told us that we weren’t the only ones. My daughter who is 4 was going into ski school for the morning and was incredibly excited about her first time on skis. My son who isn’t old enough to ski was in the creche. Prior to our holiday we had talked about going skiing, watched it on the TV and role played the holiday, which with hindsight was a bit cruel as when we dropped him off at the nursery he soon realised that he wouldn’t be doing much skiing.

They say there are no friends on a powder day. Maybe there should be a saying that implies similar when referring to offspring on a ski holiday. Shortly after 9.30 am we found ourselves on the first chairlift of the day with the sun on our faces and the combined feelings of guilt and excitement. After few runs we nipped back to the nursery slopes and replaced the last few embers of guilt with pride as we saw our daughter skiing for the first time. We didn’t check on the other one.

Just before lunch we returned to collect the two children for an afternoon of sledging and hot chocolate drinking. One was over the moon that she had mastered skiing and loved every second of her time. The other was less impressed and greeted us with the opening remark  “Go skiing now?”.

Coming up in part 3 we relieve our guilt of spending the mornings skiing by attempting to do far to much stuff as a family in the afternoon.

Keep an eye on our Facebook page and the Alpine Action blog to find out how we got on during the rest of our ski holiday. To make sure you don’t miss the next instalment sign up to the Alpine Action Newsletter.


Weekly Snow Report and Events in the 3 Valleys

Wow the 3 Valleys is transformed! We have had some SERIOUS snow in the past week and been spoilt with two AMAZING blue sky days. Snow forecast readings show the rest of the week to be cold and beautifully sunny!

One word to describe the snow conditions… EPIC.

Meribel Altiport
Chalet Toubkal in La Tania, needing some snow shovelling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a way to kick off the 2017 Winter Season with an increase of 98cm of fresh snow at 2700m.

Meribel and La Tania have been kissed with a coating of glistening snow, the resorts are a real Winter paradise. There is so much snow that we reported this weekend on @AlpineActionSki Twitter Grenoble is also covered in snow.

emperatures continue to plummet with highs of minus 5 and lows of minus 16 with a wind chill of minus 20 you will be needing some very thick thermals and a buff!

The Meribel valley currently has a reading of 54cm of snow at resort level (1800m) and 170cm at Altitude (2700m).

The Courchevel valley currently has a reading of 71cm at resort level (1850m) and 126cm at Altitude (2700m).

Below are the most recent readings from SnowForecast.com and Le Meteo:

From: Snowforecast.com
From: Le Meteo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Credit to: Le Meteo 14 days forecast

We want to keep you up to date with weekly events and happenings in the 3 valleys so here are some of the best bits to get you in the winter holiday spirit…

What’s on this week in Meribel…

Monday 16th
Live Music
Jacks Bar: Sian Hayley Smith – 5pm
Evolution: Mardy Johnny Depps – 10pm

Tuesday 17th
Live Music
Jacks Bar: Daisy B – 5pm
Evolution: Hobo Chic – 10pm
Scotts: Alex Davies – 10pm
Doron Pub: The Slopes 11pm

Wednesday 18th
Ice hockey gala match: Meribel vs Chambery, 8:30pm at the Olympic centre 5euros for adults, 3 euros for children.
Live Music
Jack Bar: Wingmen ft Mardy Johnny Depps – 6pm

Thursday 19th
Himalaya by night: night sledging 5:30pm – 7:30pm
♫Live Music♫

Friday 20th
La Follie Douce: Follie Shades Draker in anticipation of the new 50 shades Darker film.

What’s on this week in La Tania…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last minute availability

We still have a few beds available in Meribel and La Tania for this weekend if you fancy a last minute ski trip we have some great deals! The Moretta Blanche piste in La Tania is covered in snow making access to our chalets Toubkal 1 & 2 and Attila fantastic – just clip in and go.  


How to Take Great Photos when skiing

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

Image courtesy of Basecamp ski and snowboard courses

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!


Wolf spotting and woodland friends with #AlbertAction

Yesterday at Alpine Action we were jumping for joy! In the early hours of the morning our Resort Manager Tom and Chalets Manager Eloise spotted a wild Wolf on the road between La Tania and Meribel Village.

Driving along the back road at 6:25am to collect our departing guests luggage in La Tania. They had just passed Le Plantin (a small housing area along the mountain road) shortly after they saw what was thought to be a Fox scurry across the road so slowed down to let it go.

Wolf statue
Wolf statue

Eloise said: “I was thinking, that’s a big Fox, O wait is it someone’s Mountain Dog, OMG OMG that is not a domestic Dog, that’s a Wolf”.

Tom said: “I wondered why Eloise has slowed down and come to a stop, I thought a Deer was in the road but then this Wolf trotted around the side of the car”. 

It trotted across the road in front of the car then went around the side enabling Tom to see it in plain sight from the vehicle behind. It was a similar size to a large Dog such as a German Shepard with a brown and grey mongrel type fur. It had a bushy tail, white fur under it’s chin, scruffy looking and skinny. After the Wolf had been startled by the vehicle headlights, it made it’s way down the bank and through the woods towards Villarnard.

Eloise said: “I am so gutted I didn’t get a picture it just all happened so fast and I was driving, I honestly thought the Wolf stories were a myth I cannot believe I’ve seen a wild one”.

Our Operations Manager Ben has been fascinated by Wolves since they were introduced to the Valley 10 years ago. They were first released in Italy but have slowly made there way across the alps. Ben has often told our team about the Wolves and potential sightings and animal remains found in the Valley. Farmers have found livestock to be killed and this Fox carcass was found by Ben before the start of the Winter season:

Fox remains
Fox remains

What is so great about this spotting is that we have been lucky enough to see a beautiful animal in their  natural habitat. Almost all woodland creatures are scared of humans and it is rare to spot them during the busy Winter Season.

#Repost #AlbertAction @se14ldn_mc

We couldn’t wait to tell everyone about our sighting. The Alpine Action mascot #AlbertAction loves nothing more than touring the 3 Valleys with his friends. We think it would be great if you took him on a woodland adventure to meet some fellow mountain animals.

#AlbertAction adventures with the Leach family staying in Chalet Bouchot

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are interested by our woodland creatures living in the 3 Valleys why not take #AlbertAction on a mountain adventure through the “Moon Wild”.

Located in the Meribel Altiport, see how many animals you can discover and learn both the French and English names – who knows you might see a real one!

Moon Wild

 

 

Access the Moon wild area via the Altiport chairlift or Saulire Epxress 1 gondola.

 


Weekly Snow Report and Events in the 3 Valleys

Dusting of snow down the Valley

We are very excited to report it has been snowing in the 3 Valleys! Waking up on Thursday morning was a delight, with a light dusting of snow lower down the valley and a heavy snowfall up top.

The 3 Valleys has had a well needed top up!

There are lots of exciting things happening in Meribel and La Tania over the next week with the build up to the French Ski Touring Championships held up in Meribel Mottaret and Russian Christmas this weekend. Expect lots of fireworks and celebrations.

Russian Christmas: credit to Merinet

Snow/weather forecast for the week…

Next week we have an awesome forecast with the temperatures continuing to plummet, lows of minus 9 and highs of minus 2! Don’t forget to pack some warm winter woollies if you are preparing for a Ski holiday.  Wind chill is forecast at minus 15! More snow is predicted for Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday with sunshine in between – fingers crossed this stays and it will be the perfect week for skiing.

The Meribel Valley currently has a reading of 7cm of snow at resort level (1450m) and 72cm at Altitude (2700m).

The Courchevel Valley currently has a reading of 14cm at resort level (1800m) and 68cm at Altitude (2700m)

Avalanche risk is 1 out of 5

Credit to: Le meteo
Credit to: snowforecast.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We want to keep you up to date with weekly events and happenings in the 3 valleys so here are some of the best bits to get you in the winter holiday spirit…

What’s on this week

Saturday 7th

Meribel:
Russian Christmas
♫Live Music♫
Evolution Bar: open mic night -10pm

Sunday 8th

Meribel:
♫Live Music♫
Doron Pub: AUDIBLE 1 DJ Set – 11pm
Evolution: WINGMEN 10pm
Jacks Bar: SHAMELESS A night of Guilty Pleasures – 10:30pm
O’ Sullivans: ALEX DAVIES 1am
The Den: ROB CROSS – 10pm

English speaking Church service at Notre-Dame des Neiges” 6pm-7pm

La Tania
Welcome drink: located inc front of the Tourism office free hot chocolate and local cheeses – 4.30-5.30pm
♫Live Music♫
La Taiga: BRING YOUR SISTERS – 10pm

Monday 9th

Meribel:
♫Live Music♫
Jacks Bar: JAY TAMKIN – 5pm
Evolution: THE MARDY JOHNNY DEPPS – 10pm

La Tania
♫Live Music♫
Chrome Bar: JRBB – 5pm

Tuesday 10th

Meribel:
♫Live Music♫
Jacks Bar: DAISY B – 5pm
Doron Pub: BUBBLE & CRISP – 11pm
Evolution: HOBO CHIC – 10pm
O’ Sullivans:  BRING YOUR SISTERS
Scotts: THE SLOPES – 10pm

La Tania
YOGA: in the Performance hall. 16 € session, Registration and payment at the Tourism office – 10.30am-12pm
♫Live Music♫
La Taïga: MUSIC FREDDY FINGERS – 10pm
The Ski Lodge: THE MARIVEAU Pub – 10pm

Wednesday 11th

Meribel:
Ice hockey gala match: Meribel vs Chamonix. 8:30pm at the Olympic centre 5euros for adults, 3 euros for children.
♫Live Music♫
Jacks Bar: THE MARDY JOHNNY DEPPS 5pm
The Rond Point: BUBBLE & CRISP – 5pm
Doron Pub: WINGMEN – 11pm

La Tania
♫Live Music♫
The Ski Lodge: KILLERBEEZ – 5pm
La Taïga: AL JONES – 10pm

Thursday 12th

Meribel:
Himalaya by night: night sledging 5:30pm – 7:30pm
♫Live Music♫
Jacks Bar: HOBO CHIC – 5pm
Duo Doron Pub: BRING YOUR SISTERS – 11pm
La Taverne: BUBBLE & CRISP – 10pm
Mountain Movers: MC AKIL MC & DJ Set – DJ Danz Support 12:30am

La Tania
♫Live Music♫
The Ski Lodge: BRING YOUR SISTERS – 5pm

Last minute availability

We still have limited spaces in our Chalets across Meribel and La Tania. If you are looking for a fabulous Chalet Holiday in the heart of the 3 Valleys, don’t hesitate to check out our last minute deals on the Alpine Action website!

 

 

 


The Alpine Bake Off: Chocolate Cake Week

One of the best things about a Chalet Holiday is coming back to your warm cosy Chalet after a day on the slopes and tucking into a freshly baked afternoon tea cake. Our guests are always asking for our recipes, so after much persuasion, our brilliant Resort Manager Tom let us in on his trade secrets and has allowed us to publish his recipes.

This week it’s a firm favourite… CHOCOLATE CAKE!

Serves 10
Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 30 to 40 minutes

Ingredients:
* 1 pot plain yoghurt

* 1 pot sugar

* 3 eggs

* ¾ pot vegetable oil

* 2 pots raising flour

* 1 pot cocoa powder

* 1 tsp raising agent

For the icing:
* 70g icing sugar, sifted

* 30g cocoa powder

* 3 tbsp warm water

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/Gas mark 4.

2. Brush a round cake tin with melted butter and dust with flour.

3. Place all ingredients in a large bowl & whisk, ensuring that the mixture is very smooth.

4. Spoon the mix into the prepared tin and bake for about 30-40 minutes in the oven.

5. Allow to cool slightly and then turn out onto a cooling rack.

6. For the icing place the coco and icing sugar add the water a little at time mixing until smooth then spread over the cake.

7. Dust with icing sugar or decorate like our fabulous Chalet Host Chloe from Chalet Chez Menor did for Christmas.

Chloe’s Snowman skiing Christmas cake
Chloe’s Christmas Day Chocolate Cake
Afternoon Tea in Chalet Chez Menor

 


Weekly Snow Report and Events in the 3 Valleys

As 2016 comes to a close we are looking ahead to the New Year and eagerly anticipating snow. The snow and weather conditions in the 3 Valleys at present are the best in the French Alps. The team looking after the pistes really are performing miracles with the aid of cold temperatures and numerous snow canons.

We have been zooming around the 3 Valleys ski area this week to get you some footage and live information on what the pistes are actually like. Yesterday we skied the new blue run “Lory” snaking its’ way down to Orelle (the 4th hidden Valley) and it was fantastic! Well maintained, plenty of snow cover and quiet, this run drops in from the top of Thorens gondola, a beautiful hidden gem for cutting the lift queues to Orelle.

New piste “Lory” – Val Thorens

Our chosen route started by dropping into the Val Thorens valley and taking the new Stade chair lift up to the top, we hung a sharp left to join “Lauzes”. At the bottom, we took the Portette chair lift up, hoped on the 3-car gondola “Thorens” and took a left down “Lory”.

The 3 Valleys zip wire also goes across this little valley and gives you the perfect view of all the dare devils zipping their way across a shear drop!

Top of Pas du lac

 

On our way, back to Meribel we stopped to take in the sunset at the top of the Pas du lac chair lift. From here you can access the Creux dropping down into Courchevel. This run is fabulous at the moment and continues down to the bottom of the Aiguille du Fruit chair lift between 1650 and 1850.

 

Snow/weather forecast for the week…

Temperatures are at a high of minus 3 degrees and lows of minus 5, winds are at a high of 10kmph making the wind chill as low as minus 9. We have clear skies until Monday, where the clouds will slowly start to move in, Le Meteo are predicting light snow from Friday the 6th.

The Meribel valley currently has a reading of 15cm of snow at 1800m and 72cm of snow at 2700m.

The Courchevel Valley currently has a reading of 11cm at 1800m and 69cm at 2700m.

Avalanche risk is still 2/5 please remain on the piste due to the thin snow coverage and rocks off piste.

Credit to: Le Meteo forecast

Credit to: Snowforecast.com

 

What’s on this week NYE count down…

Meribel

La Tania

Saturday 31st December

NYE

You’re so 2017: Follie Douce all day party

 5:30 – 7:30pm:
70th Birthday of ESF – La Chaudanne

6 pm to 7.30pm:
Meribel and Meribel Village
 Torch-light descent and firework display

 COUNT DOWN TO THE NEW YEAR!

10pm – 1.30 am: Olympic Centre Ice-Rink Disco including 3 DJs

 Live Music

10pm:
La Taverne – Bubble and Crisp
Scott’s Bar – Sian Hayley Smith

10:30pm:
Olympic Centre Ice Rink – Audible 1, DJ Danz, DJ Kaya

11pm:
Doron Pub – Wingmen, DJ Kaya
Jack’s Bar – DJ Kaya, Audible 1, DJ Danz

1:30am:
Evolution – Hobo Chic

5.20pm:

NEW YEARS EVE
Torch lit decent for children – register at the Tourism office to join in.

 

Free Vin Chaud and hot chocolate available, followed by another torch lit decent performed by the local ski instructors.

Live Music

10pm:
Le Ski Lodge – BRING YOUR SISTERS

10.30pm – 1am :
SNOW PARTY
In front of the tourist office finishing with Fireworks.

 

Sunday 1st January 2pm – 4.30pm:

Complementary Hot Chocolate at La Chaudanne

5pm:
Jack’s Bar – Twin Kill

6pm:
English speaking Church service at Notre-Dame des Neiges Mussillon

 Live Music
10pm:
Evolution – Wingmen

10:30pm:
Jack’s Bar – Shamless

11pm:
Doron Pub – DJ Kaya

4.30 – 5.30pm:
Free Beaufort cheese and hot chocolate in front of the tourist office.Live Music

10pm:
Live wire unplugged – la Taïga

Monday 2nd January 8pm – 11 pm:
Ice Hockey – Gala Match, Meribel vs USA University at the Olympic Ice-Rink.
Adult: 15 €, Child: 10 €.10pm:
Evolution – The Mardy Johnny Depps
O’Sullivans – The Slopes

Live Music

5pm:
JRBB at Chrome Bar

5pm:
Real Relish – la Taïga

Tuesday 3rd January 10am – 4pm:
Initiation to Biathlon – opportunity to try out Biathlon for free on the Altiport snow front.Live Music
5pm:
Jack’s Bar – Daisy B10pm:
Evolution – Hobo ChicScott’s Bar – Alex Davies

11pm:
Doron Pub – The Slopes

10.30am – 12pm

YOGA at the Performance hall. 16 € session.

Live Music
5pm:
Freddy Fingers – La Taïga

10pm:
The Money – Le Ski Lodge

Wednesday 4th January

9am – 5pm: Seasonaire Squad – an all day party for Seasonaires.

 5pm:
Jack’s Bar – The Mardy Johnny Depps
Rond Point – Bubble & Crisps

11pm:
Doron Pub – Wingmen

Live Music
5pm:
Le Ski Lodge – The Sean Jackson Band10pm:
La Taïga – Al Jones
Thursday 5th January Mountain Movers
AUDIBLE 15pm:
Jack’s Bar – Thrill Collins

10pm:
La Taverne – Bubble & Crisp

11pm:
Doron Pub – GARETH & WESTY

Live Music
5pm:
Bring Your Sisters
Le Ski Lodge

5:15pm:
Night Sledging – Resort centre

Last minute availability…

4 Nights in the 3 Valleys for £299pp.

Departing 3rd January 2017.


First ski holiday with children : Part 1

If you love skiing and love your family the inevitable will happen –  A family ski holiday.

I have been blogging for Alpine Action for many years and have been skiing for even longer. During the five winter seasons I did and the numerous ski holidays I have been on, I’ve been lucky enough to experience much of what the mountains have to offer. From backcountry to park, snowboarding to snowblading, I have never shied away from a challenge despite my limited ability. To be clear I am no Travis Rice or Bode Miller but I expect that even they may have met their match when it came to taking their children skiing for the first time.

I recently took my children, 2 and 4 years old, to Méribel on their first ski trip and it was probably my biggest and most rewarding ski challenge to date.

Part One : Catching a plane with children

Overnight in a hotel

I come from a place where the northern part of the county accounts for less than 0.001% of the UK population. As you can imagine we are not spoilt for choice when it comes to local flights to the Alps. We opted to drive to Gatwick Airport. As this was our first time flying as a family, and the departure time was early, we decided on an overnight stop in a hotel, just a mile from the airport. You can get a family room with 8 nights parking for less than £80.

We arrived at the airport just after 10pm, re settled the children and bedded down to an anxious night sleep. As I lay in the hotel room, semi asleep and refusing to empty my bladder in case I woke a child up, I recalled how we had traveled across Russia several times without calamity or missing a train, and safely navigated around India on public transport. However, we didn’t have 2 children when we did it.

“Can’t sleep to excited”

Getting to the car

As we were staying such a short distance from the airport we set our alarms, allowing ourselves two and a half hours to make our way to the departure lounge via the carpark, baggage drop, security checks and other airport distractions. Surely this was plenty of time.

Top tip : Shower the night before. No one knows why we all decided to shower in the morning. Possibly it was the convention of staying in a hotel room that everything must be used and evaluated. Time stolen 10 min.

Following the showers there was the predictable tantrum from a child that we still don’t really know the origin of. It could have been that she was woken up three hours earlier than normal, or that the only food we saw fit to provide was definitely not breakfast food. Time Stolen 7.5 min.

At home I know that even if the whole family only has shoes to put on before getting in the car it will still take over 5 minutes before we can leave. Somehow the reality never sunk in that room 568, the room we were in, was located at the exact furthest point away from the far corner of the car park where our vehicle was located. Time stolen 10 min.

Parking at the airport

The car had to be moved from the hotel car park to the longstay car park. Despite a short detour this part of the journey was achieved without incident. By this time we started to pay more attention to the time and realised we may not make the flight. As we pulled into the car park the shuttle bus was leaving. Time Stolen 1 min.

Frustratingly we were directed to zone X to park. We unloaded, made a note of the location and headed of to the bus stop. Panic started to set in as the time ticked on while we waited for the shuttle bus. When a bus did arrive all available space had been occupied and so it drove straight past us of to the airport. Time for an adult tantrum. 6 long minutes passed and another bus arrived and we headed to the terminal. Time lost 20 minutes.

We alighted the bus swiftly and with children on shoulders and baggage hanging from any available body part, the fast walk combined with short sprints was underway. With time ticking away the race with other passengers that I normally contain in my head became incredibly competitive and threatened to spill over into reality. During the journey to check-in one of our children presses the wrong floor on the lift, no one notices. Time lost 3 minutes.

Checking in

We had already checked in online and our e-tickets were on an app on my phone which meant that all we had to do was drop our big bag off at the bag drop. As the bag drop came into view so did the queue but that was never going to trouble us as the minute hand on the giant departures clock signaled that our check-in had closed 5 minutes ago and so ended our chance to get our bag on the plane.

The airline staff were great but there was nothing much they could do and it really was our fault that we had missed our flight. Of course we did consider abandoning a bag in an airport and making a dash for the departure gate although this course of action could have resulted in much bigger problems.

We arranged a flight for the next day and booked back into the hotel where we sat around feeling slightly embarrassed at our own incompetence. The next day we were at the airport 2 hours before check-in closed, relaxed and ready for our holiday. It also gave me a chance to research a future blog, “What to do in an airport with 2 children if you arrive 2 hours early”.

Despite all this we went on to have one of the best family holidays we have ever been on and are already planning our next family ski trip to Méribel.

READ PART TWO HERE

Keep an eye on our Facebook page and the Alpine Action blog to find out how we got on during the rest of our ski holiday. To make sure you don’t miss the next instalment sign up to the Alpine Action Newsletter.

 

 


Christmas festivities in Meribel and La Tania

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the 3 Valleys, with twinkling lights on every street and Christmas trees up in all our chalets. There really is no place more festive than the French Alps at Christmas.

Meribel Village
Meribel Village

Chalet guests are currently enjoying an Alpine Christmas, spending their days carving up the pistes, followed by a spot of Apres Ski. Then heading back to their beautiful chalet to refuel with a home cooked dinner. Evenings are spent snuggled up on the sofa next to the warmth of a roaring log fire and playing board games with their family and friends.

Resort entertainment is in full swing this time of year and we have brought you the lowdown on what events and activities are happening in and around the resorts of Meribel and La Tania.

 

Meribel

Meribel has got a huge schedule of activities so we have plucked the very best to keep you in the know…

Saturday 24th

Father Christmas will be cruising around town in his sleigh, starting at La Chaudanne from 4:30pm and finishing up in the centre of town next to the tourism office. Christmas Carols will be sung in the same location from 5:30pm onwards.

Vin Chaud: credit to Savoie Mont Blanc
Vin Chaud: credit to Savoie Mont Blanc

 

 

Free Vin Chaud and Hot Chocolate will be handed out to all who attend.

 

 

 

 

 

In the evening there will be a Christmas Mass held at the Olympic Ice Rink, doors will open from 6pm – don’t forget to wrap up warm!

If you want to boogie your way into Christmas day… Evolution bar and restaurant will be featuring “The Mardy Johnny Depps” from 10pm and Jack’s Bar will be hosting “Shameless” from 10:30pm.

Sunday 25th CHRISTMAS DAY!

From 4:30pm Father Christmas will be saying his farewells and a magical torch lit decent will light up the piste down at La Chaudanne – free hot drinks will be served to keep you warm.

Meribel Chapel: credit to Merinet.com
Meribel Chapel: credit to Merinet.com

 

 

An English speaking church service will be held at the beautiful Notre-Dame des Neiges chapel at 6pm.

 

 

 

 

If you can pull yourselves off the sofa after a fine Christmas feast, then Evolution will be hosting an open mic night at 10pm.

Doron Pub will have DJ Kaya dropping some beats for any Christmas Day ravers and O’Sullivans will be starting off Boxing day with the “Slope” from 12am.

Boxing Day

Himalaya by night, tobogganing: sledging at night up in Meribel Mottaret, 5 euros for one go or 10 euros for the evening, this is a lovely family activity.

Jack’s Bar will be hosting Monday Apres Ski with “Rob Cross” and Evolutions will be featuring “The Mardy Johnny Depps” from 10pm.


La Tania

Saturday 24th

Families can arrange for Father Christmas to visit their chalets by registering the chalet at the Tourism office in the centre of La Tania.

Father Christmas: Credit to Courchevel.com
Father Christmas: Credit to Courchevel.com

Pub Le Ski Lodge, will be celebrating Christmas Eve with live music from LES DEUX ROUES at 10pm.

Sunday 25th December

8.30-10am – Father Christmas continues his chalet visits around La Tania don’t forget to register at the Tourism Office.

5.20pm – Christmas Evening, a Children’s torch lit decent will commence down into the centre of La Tania. If your child would like to participate, head down to the Tourism Office to register.

During the evening festivities you can warm up with FREE Vin Chaud and hot chocolate in front of Tourism Office.

The evening celebrations will continue with local ski instructors performing their own torchlight descent at 6pm.

Christmas celebrations will end with some fabulous FIREWORKS to light up the resort.

Keep checking our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: @AlpineActionSki and @AlbertAction for what our staff and guests are getting up to over the holiday period – don’t forget to join in by liking our pages, following us and sharing the fun!

From all the Alpine Action team in the UK, Meribel and La Tania we wish you a VERY MERRY and (fingers crossed) SNOWY CHRISTMAS!


3 Valleys Weather Report and Resort Information – December 21st

 

Snow & Weather Report for the Three Valleys – Week 2 – December 2016

Welcome to our weekly guide to the slopes and skies of the 3 Valleys featuring up to date reports from the in-resort Alpine Action team. You will also find events listings for Méribel & La Tania.

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Snow Conditions in the Three Valleys

During the past week there has been a few flurries of snow all the way down to 1200m which had a big effect on the pistes across the area.  If you look at the webcams for the resorts you can see it doesn’t look pretty at low altitude as there is grass clearly visible but this distracts from quite how good the skiing still is once you are out of the towns and up in the mountains. If you are heading out for a week of quality piste riding then you won’t be disappointed. The slopes above 2000m are in good condition and have a decent base thanks to the huge November snow and the might of the Three Valleys snow making ability.

The 3 inches of snow that fell during the week wasn’t massive but it was enough to make the runs feel fresh. It is also encouraging for the weeks ahead as it means that the ski area can continue to use the snow cannons and ensure that the resort remains one of the best places to ski in Europe.

The way to get the best out of the mountain at the moment is to follow the sun around, hitting  Méribel’s and Courchevel’s east facing slopes in the morning and then hopping over to the west facing slopes of St Martin and Val Thorens in the Afternoon. You can still get around the whole 3 Valley area easily as the majority of links are open and 74% of lifts are currently operating.

Read our report on the Three Valleys commitment to snow making 

Snow Forecast for the Three Valleys

There is potential for snow during the week and if it does come then it will be just a few inches so you won’t need to dust the powder skis off just yet. Through the week there will be intermittent cloud cover but it will generally be sunny allowing skiers and boarders to make the most of the terrain that is open. During the days the temperature will peak at at around 3° and drop down to -5° overnight allowing many of the 2186 snow cannons to work away freshening up the slopes.

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What’s on this week in Méribel & La Tania

Week: 20th – 24th December 2016 Méribel La Tania
Tuesday ♫Live Music♫

Evolution Bar featuring:
Hobo Chic and Max Le Sax 10pm

♫Live Music♫

Ski lodge: Les Deux Roux 10pm

Wednesday Womens Alpine Ski Comp 3pm :
Featuring the French Alpine team, Chaudanne♫Live Music♫Apres Ski:

Le Rond Point featuring:
DJs Bubble and Crisp

Jacks Bar featuring:
Wingmen + The Mardy Jonny Depps

♫Live Music♫

Apres at Ski Lodge with The Slopes 5pm

La Taiga : Al Jones 10pm

Thursday ♫Live Music♫

Lodge du Village featuring:

Bring Your Sisters, 10pm

O’Sullivans featuring:
Mountain Movers event Jack Beats playing live.

♫Live Music♫

Apres with bring Your Sisters 5pm

Friday ♫Live Music♫

Scotts Bar:
Open mic night 10pm with
Daisy B and Tom

Meet Santa – Resort Center, 4.45pm

♫Live Music♫

Apres with The Shadowmen 10pm

Saturday ♫Live Music♫

Lodge du Village : Christmas Carols, 6pm

Jacks Bar : Bad Christmas Jumper Party, 10pm

 

Christmas Eve Party – Ski Lodge

Santas Grotto – Live Music – Drink promos

Late availability to Méribel and La Tania

We have a few rooms left in La Tania next week, departing on the 27th of December if you want to spend New Years Day skiing off that hangover. Prices are from £699pp.

4 day break 3rd December to Méribel from £379pp.


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.

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