Tag Archives: family skiing

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!


Is the Ski Show a good place to take the family?

We took our family to the ski show

– by Jim Duncombe

In preparation for our first family ski holiday we thought a good warm up would be to take them to the precursor to the ski season the Telegraph Ski and Snowboard show in Battersea. As the show was being held during the Autumn half term the show was promising plenty for young ones to do  my children are 2 and 4 years old so I was still unsure how entertained they would be while I looked around. Spoiler Alert: My children were more than entertained for the time we were there but not for the reason you would expect.

The show, which goes on until Sunday the 30th of October, has made an effort to attract families and make sure it is good value for money, a family ticket is £40 and under 11’s are free.  They have also put on a few activities that will appeal to the younger generation.

Ice Skating

This year they have installed a real ice rink that is free to have a go on and all you need to do is book a time online or when you arrive. I am no John Curry but that didn’t stop me attempting to teach my 4 year old how to skate. For me it was like a 20 minute weight lifting session as she held on to my arm while doing her best to look as she had been to the Acme Loony Toons ice skating school.  We walked away uninjured and very entertained.

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KidZania

Normally KidZania can be found in the London Westerfield and is a giant role-play city for kids. A small section of this was transported to the back of the ski show and we had a go at being pro golfers and surgeons which everyone taking part looked like they were really enjoying it. Our 2 year old got giveen a hat for taking part in the golf tournment, which as you will find out opened the flood gates for free stuff. 20161027_133956

 


 



Christmas Ski Deal to the 3 Valleys from £549pp


 


 

Skiing and boarding

Despite all the ski chat that goes on in our house my children have never seen real life ski people. During the demos on the kicker and RailJam area they were totally engrossed and it could well be the moment that they start to develop an interest for the mountain lifestyle. Which I hope they do as a family ski holiday is a holiday that spans the generations and continues even when other holidays have been abandons or snubed… athough I may soon learn that this is because “mum and dad are paying”.

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Talking & Shopping

Normally the show is about chatting and catching up with people. Not this year. If you want to research, shop and relax  don’t take two under 4’s they aren’t interested. I managed one full conversation with Andrew an inventor who had designed the PolePod, an adaptor that turns your ski pole into a selfie stick, and can be found in the innovation area. An area where I would have liked to spent a bit more time.

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Free Stuff

As it is Halloween week, on the way in we were given a bag of sweets for the children which set a precedent for what was to come. It has always been a tradition of trade shows to give away free marketing stuff, as an adult I have learn’t that I don’t need 100’s of ski resort stickers, out of date ski pass holders or badly made pens. A 2 year old, hyper on jelly beans, has yet to learn this. Once he had been gifted a hat and the initial shyness had subsided it was assumed that everything on any stand was fair game. I had to put a lot of things back. 20161027_154134

A glimpse of the future

We had a good time. We didn’t learn much new about the development of the sport. We did find out what it will be like taking our family unit skiing. If your in a similar situation to us and at the ski show then I suggest that you head to the photo booth, tell everyone to get kitted up with ski gear and have their photo taken… this may give you an insight into what it would be like with all that kit and all those children in a ski resort.

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Meribel & La Tania Holidays

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

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