Tag Archives: ski hire

How to get your non ski friends to ski

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Convert your non-skiing friends! Send this post to them!

Skiing. It’s not a closed-group thing, quite the opposite actually, but if you’re a non skier it can be a little off putting coming into conversation with a bunch of regular skiers or snowboarders. “You’ve never been skiing? What do you mean you’ve never been skiing?!!” You end up either with the opinion that skiers are a bunch of incredulous idiots, or that skiing is actually worth a bash… perhaps you’ll get round to it one day…

But there are many good reasons for this wall of disbelief! Skiing is a joy, a buzz, a real thrill, and these days it’s nowhere near as pricey as it once was. So what do you mean you’ve never been skiing?!

1. Skiing is a wonderfully challenging and rewarding sport to undertake

Whether you’re a complete beginner mastering the intricacies of the snowplough turn or a seasoned expert well used to high speeds and big air jumps, there’s always somewhere to push yourself to improve. In Europe, for instance, the pistes are divided up into four colours representing their gradient; green, blue, red and black. The sense of satisfaction you experience when graduating to steeper terrain as you progress in the sport is fantastic, and really spurs you on to improve further. Equally for more advanced skiers, the buzz of landing a new jump or discovering and nailing a fresh powder field never really wears off.

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2. The Great Outdoors!

The special blend of clean, fresh air and magnificent Alpine peaks is a massive draw. Ski resorts today are mountain playgrounds and it’s easy to forget how remote you actually are. But stop and think – two thousand metres up with crisp white snow all around – these are scenes of rare beauty! Drink it in!

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3. Wonderfully hobby

Gathering a group of like minded friends for a week of challenging skiing, boozy après ski and lively banter is what some of the best memories are made of! It’s the joy of shared experiences… amazing fun with a group of mates. It’s also a great way to widen the social circle, because organising a large group of skiers almost invariably involves fresh introductions at the start of the week. Before you know it, you’re enjoying banter and laughs with friends old and new over a few refreshing après ski beers… joy!

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4. Great travel opportunities 

It’s an easily overlooked point, but skiing is also a great way to see parts of the world you’d never otherwise get to visit. Despite the British bars and boozy après ski which prevails in many resorts it’s perfectly possible to step off the beaten track, make an effort with the lingo and enjoy genuine cultural enrichment. Of course, such experiences are perhaps more fulfilling in the smaller, traditional ski resorts… Woe betide the poor sap who tries to order une grande biere s’il vous plait in Jack’s Bar. But there are myriad chocolatiers, patissiers and the like in resorts across Europe who would welcome your efforts. And quite apart from any linguistic foray you may make, exploring ski resorts in different countries is also a great way to try new cuisine. Savoyarde specialities such as tartiflette and foldue are well known classics, but there are plenty more where they came from.

In short, not only is skiing a fantastically challenging and rewarding pursuit, but it’s also amazing fun! Push your boundaries and test your mettle in spectacular scenery, live to tell the tale then gather the gang, save a few quid up and do it all again next winter!

Click here to look at our ski holidays to Meribel & La Tania

 


Boot Room Etiquette

Boot Room Etiquettealpine action chalet holiday boot room

Boot Rooms can be a confusing place and it is hard to know what the rules are. To help you here is our guide to using a boot room and not making a fool of yourself.

  1. Always put your skis back in the same slot. This is super helpful if you have identical hire skis.
  2. Keep a pair of indoor shows in the boot room. At the end of the day the floor can get a bit wet and enjoying your afternoon tea cake is no fun if your socks are wet.
  3. Make space. if you are dressed and have all your kit on make a move outside if possible.
  4. Don’t leave your coats in the boot room hang them up in the cloakroom.
  5. If trays are provided for your equipment then pop them in. It will keep the floor dryer and help with number 2.
  6. Make sure you take advantage of the boot warmer and if you are staying in a chalet without a diligent host then make sure you turn it on to avoid the disappointment in the morning.
  7. The boot warmer is for boots, not gloves.
  8. Leave your poles with your skis. There is nothing worse than getting to the top of the hill with a childs set of sticks.
  9. Before entering the boot room check you have your ski pass. Scenario one is you have to take your boots of an go back in for it, scenario two means making your freinds wait at the bottom of the lift as you go back to the chalet, take off your boots and get it.
  10. Don’t sleep in the boot room if you can’t remember the code to get in, it is the coldest place in the chalet.

To book a chalet with a great boot room take a look at our chalets in Meribel and LaTania.


Ski Schools in the Three Valleys

Ski Schools in the Three Valleys.

The French ski area of les Trois Vallées, or the Three Valleys as it’s known to its many British visitors, is quite simply one of the finest, largest and most varied ski areas in the world. With terrain suitable for all levels and some of the finest parks and off-piste in France, it can come as no surprise that it’s the destination of choice for so many skiers and snowboarders winter in, winter out.

The quality of the area’s ski schools, too, is no exception and visitors to the Three Valleys can count on expert tuition for beginners learning the basics right through to experts keen to sharpen their mogul, back country or big air skills. High volumes of skiers mean the demand for tuition is very high, and competition between the different schools is strong. For learners and improvers, this means only the good ski schools survive and the standard of tuition remains high.

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An international clientèle requires international tuition, and the instructors you’ll find across the Three Valleys generally have three or even four languages to conversation level under their belts. For learners of any age, understanding your instructor and knowing exactly what’s expected of you during the lessons brings enormous peace of mind.

When it comes to the terrain available to learners in the Three Valleys, visitors are spoiled for choice. In Val Thorens the nursery slopes sit below the town within easy reach of a good range of further gentle runs. In les Menuires it’s a similar story, and access to the ski school meeting points is also wonderfully easy. Meribel’s Altiport area is very popular amongst the resort’s different ski schools and for learners it couldn’t be more ideally suited! The undulating green-level piste enjoys shelter from the surrounding pines, and is well serviced by a swift chairlift able to handle a large volume of skier traffic. There’s also a great range of gentle terrain around the base of la Tania, and with Courchevel 1850 in such easy reach that part of the Three Valleys is also perfect for learners.

Whilst the ski schools in operation across the Three Valleys are many and varied, a few have been in operation for years now and have earned a reputation for really world class tuition.

In Meribel, for example, Parallel Lines is the resort’s largest ski school with no fewer than 14 instructors comprehensively covering all the ski and snowboard tuition of learners across the board. They pride themselves on providing fully qualified British instructors and all of their team members have spent many seasons in the area teaching and working. Adult and children ski and snowboard classes are Parallel Lines’ bread and butter, but their private clinics are also excellent.

The British Alpine Ski School is another large Meribel ski school. BASS are another ski school catering largely to Meribel’s many British visitors, and their sizeable team of instructors are perfectly geared to helping learners make the most of their time on the snow. From private lessons, group lessons and children’s courses to advanced off piste clinics and even corporate events, BASS have many bases covered and are an excellent ski school.

Meribel’s smaller and more compact neighbour, la Tania, these days packs more of a punch on the tuition front than ever before. Highlights in this part of the valley include Magic in Motion and New Generation, who also run out of other resorts in the area and provide a similarly exceptional level of tuition as Meribel’s Parallel Lines and BASS. Magic, as it’s known, has a pedigree going back to 1992 and employs staff from Europe and further afield for their enthusiasm, motivated attitude and of course advanced teaching experience.

Smaller schools operating in the la Tania valley worthy of note include The Development Centre, Snow Limits and Momentum Snowsports. These ski schools may not have the staff rota of the larger schools but when it comes to one-on-one tuition and groups of skiers and boarders keen to make serious progression, they are a hard act to follow.


The Morris Family Holiday – Part Four, The Lift Pass Office

The Morris Family Holiday – Part Four, The Lift Pass Office

Regular readers of this adventure may be aware that at the end of part one there was a literary cliff-hanger. You may also be aware that it has not been resolved for 3 months now. Well good news readers this is the part where it gets resolved.

For the benefit of those too lazy to here is a quick recap. I pre order lift passes online. I put them in my ski coat pocket. I have a disagreement about fashion with my son. He repacks my old ski jacket for revenge. We get to resort. I discover the jacket switch. And that brings you up to where we are about to pick up from.

It is hard to have the usual shouting match about something this momentous in chalet with people you don’t know. So I decide to keep my rage for a later date. I explain the situation to my wife and how much the passes cost. She has no qualms about anyone overhearing our situation and precedes to give my son a very loud piece of her mind.

I make my way down for breakfast.
“I hear you have lost your ski passes” the chalet host says.
“Who told you that?” I ask.
“No one”.
I am the first at the table and I start eating quickly in the hope that I miss everyone else.
“Good Morning, I hear you are having a spot of bother with your pre booked lift pass” says the man staying in the room two floors up from us.
“Did my wife tell you that?”
“Sort of”.

As the chalet host delivers my cooked breakfast she tells me that she has called the Rep and she is on her way to help deal with my issue. This is very kind of her but really ads to the embarrassment. For me a resort Rep is there to help with simple things such as showing me where the coach is or booking a restaurant. Or help with extreme problems such as medical emergencies or server weather affecting our flight. Not a family prank that has escalated. I thank the chalet host and wait for the Rep.

I retire to the lounge with a mug of coffee and a newspaper that was dropped off by another member of the resort staff. I expect that on his application for the position he pit that he was looking to work in the news industry, as the paper was delivered with some resort news that a family had booked there lift passes online and left them back in the UK. “That’s €800 down the toilet” was probably the comment in the editorial comments.

I was joined in the lounge by a ski instructor who had turned up to collect some guest. He looked at me and said “never have I witnessed this happening before. When I heard I called my girlfriend up and told her all about it. She works in the Lift Pass office”
“Can she offer any advice?” I ask.
“Yes, she said that you should always double check your packing”. I was starting to feel as if I was in a sitcom. Enter stage right the resort rep.
“This hasn’t happened before”.

When I was informed that the Resort Manager had been called I hoped that the sitcom I was in wasn’t about to turn into a holiday to a hotel in Torquay. Fortunately the manager had been employed based on his experience and knowledge and not on his likeness to John Cleese. Somehow the rest of my family had carried on as if there was nothing wrong and that no one had heard the yelling earlier.

It was decided that we would go to the lift pass office to straighten out the situation. That is all of us. The manager was coming to sort it out, the Rep was coming to learn how to sort it out, the host came to collect as she needed some more piste maps anyway, my wife came to see how badly I got on and to remind me not to do this next year, the children came as they were hoping to see me get shouted at by their mother and the ski instructor came too. I assume the instructor was keen to see his girlfriend and in no way planned on finding amusement in our misfortune.

We all squeezed in to a small office and waited for a person of authority on lift passes to appear. I was preparing to lose “€800 down the toilet” as well as this public humiliation continuing. The authority appears and to my delight utters the words “this happens all the time”. I left the lift pass office feeling slightly less stupid than when I went in and temporally €800 worse off, until I get back to the UK and prove that we didn’t use the lift passes. I think the ski instructor was more disappointed than me.

We thanked all involved, which was similar to an Oscars speech with less crying, and get ready to go skiing. We had a great day on the slopes and I forgot all about the morning. At the end of the day as we headed to a bar for a beer I was handed a leaflet.
“Save Time, Pre book your lift pass on line”


The Morris family holiday – Part Three, Arriving

The Morris family holiday – Part Three, Arriving

We all sat on the airplane without talking to each other, based on the events up to this point we thought it best to keep a low profile on the flight. A small part of me was pleased about this as it meant that I could read my book with no distractions. When the hostess trolley came by I decided to deny myself a mini can of lager mainly because it feels like the entire crew is watching us. They have been warned.

We land at Grenoble airport and sail through passport control. The whole family is relieved to leave the reputation we earned so quickly when we arrived at the airport in England. I instantly feel more relaxed and settle into my ‘I am on holiday’ mode. This generally involves me giving up all responsibility for myself and entrusting my actions on to strangers.
“Excuse me, where is carrousel B?” I am stood next to carrousel A which is next to B.
“Excuse me, my skis haven’t come off the plane” They are in the oversized area with everyone else’s skis just like every year.
“Excuse me, I am on holiday do you know what chalet I am staying in?” “No I don’t know what company I am on holiday with, my wife booked it?”
“Excuse me, do you know where my wife is?”
“Excuse me, which coach is going to Meribel?” It has taken me so long to get to the stage where I am ready to get on the coach it is the only one in the car park.

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Fortunately my ‘holiday mode’ allows me to board the coach, and, with big smiles I fail to notice the steely stares of the other guests. Later on my wife tells me about the embarrassment of sitting on the coach listening to comments such as “there is always one idiot who gets lost”. I repeat this incident when we stop halfway for a toilet break.

This year none of our friends wanted to come on holiday with us. I expect that they are busy or may not be able to afford it this year. My wife has a different theory based on the incident last year that happened in our chalet that involved me sleep walking and the chalets host. I put it down to my wife’s insistence on calling the chalet hosts, chalet maids. One was called Ben. This lack of friends meant that we were sharing a chalet with unknowns.

We were booked into a twelve bed chalet, therefore we make up one third of the occupants. To my wife’s delight the other guests are already there, so know little about my inability to board a coach. They comprise of two other families with children of similar age. The other two families have known each other for approximately two hours more than we have known them. I am keen to get the families equipment sorted at the hire shop. I am always paranoid that they will run out of boots. The other guests insist that we all share a welcome glass of wine before going. They had already got theirs, I manage to hide my impatience.

As I have my own kit, this makes me the family expert. Throughout our time in the hire shop I am always on hand to offer my opinion and override any advice the shop staff have that I disagree with. My youngest is fussy when it comes to choosing boots. Last year we had to return to the shop eleven times. We were the last people in the shop, even the rest of our family had gone back to the chalet. I assume this was so they could constantly text me that dinner time was fast approaching. My Son finally chooses the first pair of boots that he tried, I knew that we would be back at the hire shop before the week was over.

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Back at the chalet dinner had been postponed by forty minutes. Fortunately when we arrive back the wine had been flowing and everyone was in high spirits. I make our apologies and pour myself a glass of wine.  Dinner is served. As we all are strangers dinner starts with small talk and the conversation flows well enough.  The starters are cleared and long silence falls over the dinner table. Suddenly it is broken by one of the other guests.
“Did you hear about the man who got lost at the airport and held his coach up for over an hour?”

 


Tip of the week #3

Pre-book your ski hire online for Meribel or La Tania, when staying in one of our chalets and you can get up to 30% discount. Delivery service offered by all the companies we use. Please feel free to ask for more information.

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