The other perks are that you get to pick the best room, have the final say and know you won’t end up in a rubbish resort.
Step 4 – Picking your ski holiday
Picking your chalet is the next step and it is this point when many factors will come into play such as size, price and location.
At this stage, you might find yourself with a few options. In our experience as a group leader, you will find it easier if you decide on the best couple of options and pitch it to the group.
You should also be prepared to compromise. If you are a really big group you may struggle to discover a chalet that you will all fit into so you may need to look at ski properties next door to each other.
Step 5 – Confirming your ski holiday
Getting a deposit from everyone is a big challenge and the last big hurdle. You should make sure that everyone is ready to book and can send the deposit to you immediately.
As a rule, most chalet companies will hold a chalet for a week if you are booking early. This will give you time to decide and get the deposits collected.
If you are booking near or during the season you may only get a few days.
Payment is the next step. If you don’t want to get involved in collecting money (and we wouldn’t blame you) then we can help as will collect all the individual balance payments.
Then all that is left for you to do is enjoy your holiday in the company of your friends and family.
Give us a call to find out which chalets in Meribel and La Tania would suit your group. Phone the team on 01273 466535.
Booking your ski holiday early is a good idea – Here are a few reasons why
If you enjoyed your last ski trip you probably can’t wait until the next one which is a great reason to book your next one early. But there are other benefits to sorting your ski holiday out in advance.
Meribel is a unique ski resort with a huge variety of locations and various levels of accommodation. Booking early will mean you get the best chalet in the best location for the best price.
As a result of the 2017/18 winters immense snowfall, there is a reported 34% increase in bookings for the 18/19 season.
Here are few more perks of booking your ski holiday early.
If you are a planning a ski trip at Christmas, New Year, February Half Term or Easter you should think about securing your prefered accommodation early.
These are popular dates to go skiing in Meribel and the chalets can get booked up early.
By the end of April, we are usually 65% booked with returning guest for the next season on these dates.
If there is a large group of you going skiing then getting in early will give you more chalet options to choose from and make sure your get the one you wan’t.
As the ski season gets closer chalets start to get booked and individual rooms taken up making it harder to fit large parties into one chalet.
There are always great offers on at the start of the season from free lift passes to group discounts.
Booking early doesn’t mean you have to pay upfront unlike if you wait until the season starts. We require a deposit and then the final balance is due 10 weeks before your departure.
This gives you plenty of time to save up or pay for the trip in instalments.
The best price is often offered at the end of the season for next winter as demand can often push prices up.
You should always consider where you want to fly from when booking a ski trip early.
A tour operator may have limited numbers of flights from your prefered departure point. Or if you are planning to arrange your own transport you will get better value for money by booking your flights early.
If you are planning to book your holiday to Meribel or La Tania early – Give us a call tel: +44(0) 1273 466 535 and we will find the best trip for you.
A guide to some of the best pistes in the Three Valleys – Run Recommendations
There are 321 pistes in the 3 Valleys, so choosing which runs to do can be a bit of a headache without a guide.
To help we have compiled a quick guide of pistes that have been recommended and are well worth trying out next time you are skiing in Meribel, Val Thorens or Courchevel.
All these runs have been recommended by regular skiers to the area and tested by us.
Guide to Blue Pistes in The Three Valleys
The Loze runs from the top of the chairlift of the same name. The lift starts and the run ends in the Altiport area of Meribel and starts where La Tania and Meribel meet.
The piste zigzags it way down the mountain and after several hairpins, you will find yourself in the trees before an exhilarating flatline to the bottom of the lift.
Keep your eyes peeled on the run for dragons, hammocks and activities. It definitely ranks among the more challenging blue runs in the area.
You maybe forgiven for giving this run a miss. On paper, it looks like an essential run to use if you are staying in La Tania and need to get back to your accommodation.
However, we would say that this a must to do run as it is so much fun. It is a fast run through the trees ending in the middle of La Tania. It is also a great run if it is a whiteout.
If your there at the right time grab some lunch and catch some rays outside the Ski Lodge.
You should also double this up by skiing down the equally fun and often untouched Lanches red run that feeds into the top of the Folyeres
Gelinotte & Choucas
The Gelinotte is wide and underused run that starts midway up the side of the Valley at the top of the Roc de Fer chair and comes directly back into the Chaudanne area of Meribel.
A great run for beginners who aren’t looking to stray too far from the centre of town. The downside to this piste is that the chair that serves the run is pretty slow, however, you do get a great view of the Stade de Slalom.
You can extend the run by catching a second lift, (Olympic) to the top of the mountain and enjoying the Choucas piste directly to the top of the Gelinotte.
This legendary run has recently been reclassified as a blue run but it is still truly epic. It runs from the top of the Meribel/Saint-Martin link down into Saint-Martin-de-Belleville.
From the long wide corners to the fast straight sections and the incredibly fun rollers that appear throughout, this is one of the best runs in the area.
No trip to the area is complete without a hoon down this run.
This is on many people’s list of top runs in the 3 Valleys and for a very good reason. It is a thoroughly enjoyable run.
The start is quite challenging for a blue run and it is often quite crowded but there is plenty of space and it is easy to pick your line.
As you get towards the bottom of the first section the crowds seem to disappear and you can start to pick up more speed as you go under the Creux Noir char down into the valley that divides the Courchevel ski areas up.
There is a fun compression before you pass the Chanrossa lift station and once you have passed that you can put in big carving turns all the way down the Aguille du Fruit chair.
To listen to a podcast that features all this runs click on the box below or follow the link to iTunes.
This runs down the face of the Saulire mountain underneath the Courchevel gondola and it is an incredible run. It is one of the fastest and widest runs in the 3 Valleys.
Due to its location, it is heavily used, especially in the afternoon as it is the easiest way back to Courchevel. For that reason, we recommend putting it at the beginning of your ski day while it is still groomed.
As you speed down this run take some time to enjoy the magnificent couloirs to your left and the stunning view of the valley and Mt Blanc in the distance.
If you’re staying in Meribel you must head up Mt Vallon. Firstly the vistas of the Vanoise National Park are incredible.
But primarily the runs down, Combe du Vallon and Campagnol are fun and challenging. Due to the location, they also make you feel like your actually skiing down a mountain.
Guide to Black Pistes in The Three Valleys
A secret little black run that glides past the Courchevel Altiport down into the Valley.
We like this run as very few people use it and there are some interesting features as you drop down past the tree line.
It is a challenge, but isn’t too long and makes a great place for skiers who are looking to build up their confidence on a black run that is not very busy.
This is a monster of a black run and runs from the top of the Vizelle bubble to the bottom. There are multiple routes to take down but try and stick to M.
The run is fairly steep all the way down and will work you hard, especially if it hasn’t been maintained regularly.
The challenge is rewarded by a big wide exit at the base of the run right by the cable car so you are ready to do it again.
To get to this black run you take the Creux Noir chair. At the top there are some stunning views and a choice of runs down, the red called Creux Noir will take you down to Meribel or you can take the Rocher Grises that splits into a red and black.
If you like MPV size moguls then this is the run for you. If you are an intermediate you will look down and feel overwhelmed, a little scared and ultimately pretty pleased with yourself.
Advanced skiers will relish the challenge that this steep run offers. Due to the location of the run, the snow is generally in good condition which allows you to really dig your edges in when needed.
It is worth mentioning that this is one of the areas guaranteed powder areas… which means that it is left ungroomed after fresh snow.
Another piste that is dismissed as a just a home run. Jockeys starts at the top of the Foret chair and winds its way back down to the station of Le Praz, home to the Olympic ski jump.
The run is left ungroomed after a snowfall and maintained for the rest of the time. During periods of low snowfall, the run can be a bit icey.
However, when the run is in top condition it is fast and a lot of fun.
A lot has changed in skiing over the 25 years we have been making skiing holidays in the 3 Valleys!
Alpine Action started providing catered ski holidays to the Three Valleys in 1993 and over those 25 years the world of skiing has changed a lot. We thought we would take a look at some of the things that have fallen by the wayside since Dennis welcomed our fisrts guests back in the 90’s.
1. Straight Skis
It is hard to believe but people were still predominantly using straight skis in the early 90’s and it wasn’t 1993 that carving skis were put on mass sale by Elan skis.
2. Chalet Maids
1000’s of people are employed each year across the Alps each year as chalet hosts to work in chalets and look after guests. It is hard to pin point exactly when it stopped but female staff were originally referred to as chalet maids. We are glad that it moved on.
3. Making Cow Noises in Cable Cars
Back in the late 90’s early 00’s it wasn’t uncommon for a busy ride up the Saulire cable car to be accompanied by a chorus of moo’s created by the passengers, this was sketch recreated in crowded téléfériques around the world. It seems that this comedy routine has faded and is no longer performed but like all comedy acts it could well make a comeback.
4.Rear Entry Boots
In the 90’s the design race of the ski boot was coming to an end. At one point the rear-entry boot seemed to be winning with its comfort and how easy they were to put on. In the end, performance won and we all switched to the more responsive front entry boot… well except that mate of your dad who you only ever meet on the annual family ski trip.
OK so we still see them now but they now are no longer a fashion statement and more of a sign that you are incompetent at applying sun cream.
Ski hire had a bad reputation for years. Do you remember how you feared turning up to the hire shop knowing that you would be presented with 3 year old boots and skis with zero edges? Today you can be confident that you will receive comfy fitting boots with a set of sticks that are new that season and have been serviced in-between customers.
One of skiing’s greatest losses was the unironic wearing of the all-in-one. Not only were they warm and comfy they all so came in such an array of bad designs guaranteed to offend the eyes.
9. The division between skiers and snowboarders
It could be one of the worlds most pointless feuds that for us, reached a crescendo when each party tried to blame each other for the creation of moguls. Fortunately we have moved on and share the mountain in relative harmony and leave pointless feuding to the likes of Kim Kardashian & Taylor Swift.
10. Spag Bol AKA Terrible Chalet Food
When you have been out in the mountain air all day you look forward to dinner. These days you will return to the chalet and be fed a 4-course meal designed by experienced chefs accompanied with a selection of wines. Long ago it was deemed acceptable to plonk down a pan of spaghetti bolognese and a bowl of angel delight!
11. The Lift Pass Holder
The fumble fumble of the old photo pass attached to a mini retractable washing line has been replaced by the efficient beep beep clunk of the modern electronic pass that can remain in your pocket. It has also helped reduce queuing time.
12. Novelty Hats
This may depend on your definition of novelty. We are mainly talking about the long and spikey hats made from synthetic fleece and came in a variety of horrendous colours.
13. Long Drag Lifts
There is still a place for the humble button lift. However, the place isn’t over 1ooo vertical meters of tough, steep, icy terrain. Fortunately, they have stopped being installed and most are slowly being replaced. Goodbye thigh burn.
14. Knees together
As the years have gone by the skier’s stance has got wider. At one point a requirement to become a ski instructor was to prove yourself by skiing with a hanky held between the knees. A wider more balanced stance has now been adopted.
15. Head Bands
Since we started operating another type of headwear has disappeared from the slopes, the headband. Once they were the height of fashion driven by floppy hairstyles and non-breathable clothing. Now they have been resigned to the poubelle.
16. The Jump
For 4 years this has been one of our favourite programs on TV. The show featured celebrities learning a variety of snow sports, ski jumping and generally getting injured. Recently Channel 4 announced it was resting the show and we all know what happens when we sit down.
17. UK Ski Shows
There was a time when it felt like there was a ski show in every city from Glasgow to Brighton with Birmingham in-between. This year there is just one survivor left, The London Ski Show.
18. Smoking in Bar
Of course, this isn’t just a ski thing but it always seemed that even more smoking was done in the bars of ski resorts as well as the lifts and shuttle buses.
19. The Courchevel Eggs
For a while it felt like the out dated but iconic egg looking lifts of Courchevel from Le Paraz would never be replaced. But then they were and no one has missed them since!
Seriously when was the last time you saw someone on one except in a novelty competition?
21. Lack of UK Success on snow in the Winter Olympics
In 2014 Jenny Jones took bronze in the Snowboard Slopestyle comp, securing the UK’s first Winter Olympic Medal. Since then a large amount of funding has been pumped into the GB ski and board team and there are high hopes for the 2018 games.
22. Bunny Ears
Putting skis poles to your head is over as people realise it is no longer an efficient way of attracting attention on the slopes or looking cool in holiday snaps!
23. Being Disconnected
Along with Cornwall, the mountains used to be one of the few places left in the world where a mobile phone signal was virtually impossible to get. Today people are on their phones even while skiing down the mountain.
24. Slope Side Photographers
The upside to everyone having a smart phone in their pocket is that we no longer get hassled by photographers when we get off the lift or while skiing down the easy green into the resort.
25. Slopes Without Snow
Snow wasn’t always guaranteed. With the development and investment of snow making facilities, mega resorts like The 3 Valleys can guarantee there will be snow cover on 80% of the slopes for the entire season!
To book a ski holiday with us or find more about our service got to our website.
There are some people that have never been to Méribel, there are many that just miss being there and there are the obsessed that just love Méribel so much that they can’t get enough of it. To help all these people out we have put together a virtual tour of Méribel using a collection of videos. Hopefully it will help the people that have never been want to come, those that miss it feel like they are back there and those that love Méribel can get quick top up.
You have probably heard about all the snow this season but if you haven’t here is everything you need to know about the conditions in the Three Valleys.
Since the colder months arrived the Three Valleys has officially received around 135cm of snow and there is more to come over the next few week.
UPDATE – FRIDAY 8TH DECEMEBR
Opening dates and prices
Val Thorens opened for the season on the 25th of November and due to the conditions, Courchevel opened up for a day of free skiing on Wednesday the 22nd of November.
The season truly gets underway on the 9th of December when Meribel and Courchevel start the lifts up and all the links open. La Tania opens a week later on the 16th of December in time for a white Christmas.
Lift Pass Prices
How good is good
Currently, the base level at altitude is between 80 and 100 cm which is the average for a whole season. Ski runs back into Meribel have a respectable 30cm coverage.
We have said the snowfall has been impressive this season but how impressive is it? The first snow fell on the 30th of October, since then we have received 7 more significant snow days, with the best being 40cm on the 20th of November.
Last winter 80cm of snow fell in November but crucially the temperatures were unusually high causing the snow to melt at lower altitudes which made the beginning of the season feel a bit like spring. This year the temperatures have remained low and have stayed in the minus figure since the first snow fell.
The amount of snow that has fallen places it in the top 3 best starts to a winter season since 2006, only being beaten by 2008 and 2012, but this could change over the weekend.
Looking ahead there is another 50cm of snow predicted to fall before the lifts open on Saturday and the snow won’t be stopping for most of the week with a total of 176cm set to fall on the higher slopes by Friday the 15th. The snow may continue into Christmas week as there is another half a meter appearing on the longterm forecast.
Our guide to how you can help your body recover from a day skiing or snowboarding : Get the most out of your ski trip.
Do you plan to get ski fit for your next trip only to put it off and then suddenly you’re on a plane and you haven’t done any relevant exercises? Skiing and Snowboarding works parts of your body that you don’t use in everyday life. If you aren’t “ski body” ready there are going to be parts of you that will ache after a day on the slopes. There are things that you can do during the evening in your chalet to make you feel ready for the next day on the slopes.
Stretching is one of the best ways to help your body recover after skiing, it will help you to avoid sore muscles the next day. Stretching after a day of riding helps muscles return to their original position by removing the tension. During your post ski stretching the circulation of blood will return to your muscles allowing them to recover and repair. Make sure that you focus on stretching your leg muscles, glutes and lower back.
Here is a handy warm down guide from ski expert Warren Smith.
Warming your muscles up a few hours after exercises can really help ease the pain and get your body back to it’s full potential. In many ski chalets you will find a hot tub or a sauna. Don’t mistake these for novelties that add a level of sophistication to your holiday, these are important bits of kit that can help your post ski recovery. Warming your body in a hot tub or sauna increases blood flow and allows more oxygen get to your muscles. Experts advise that you wait for several hours before hopping into a sauna or a hot tub after skiing or snowboarding and to make sure that you are thoroughly hydrated. Many sports therapists also suggest that you should wait until your a few days into your trip before indulging your muscles as the heat can also inflame your muscles and slow down the recovery.
… & in the morning
If you are an early riser or you don’t rush out onto the slopes you may want to use the time to warm up in the hot tub, sauna or shower. Warm muscles are less likely to be damaged during exercises.
A great way to make sure you are ready for the next day on the slopes is to get a sports massage that works on the soft tissues around the most worked parts of your body. A massage after skiing should focus on your lower back and knee area. Having your body looked after like this will aid your relaxation and increase your recovery.
Out of all the techniques this is probably the best at ensuring your muscles recover overnight. The chances that your chalet will have enough ice on hand to do this is unlikely but don’t worry. All you need is a bath at normal cold tap temperature, between 8°C and 10°C. The cold temperature will slow the inflammation and help get the recovery process working faster. You should go for two session of five minutes with a warm up in between. If there is a fresh dump of snow you could always jump in that.
All the above will be a waste of time if you don’t hydrate effectively at the end of the day. We all know that at altitude you lose water from your body faster than at sea level. If you are then taking part in a strenuous activity such as skiing or snowboarding you will become dehydrated even quicker. You body needs liquid to help with repairing muscles as well as to extract the nutrients from your food during the digestion process. Taking a drink directly after skiing will also lower your heart rate faster and ensure that you don’t spend the evening feeling fatigued. Please note that chalet wine is not an acceptable way to hydrate yourself!
Do you always find an excuse to not ski at Christmas?
You have probably thought about going skiing at Christmas every year but something has put you off and you have always found an excuse. We have spent many Christmases in the 3 Valleys and we can confirm it is the most wonderful time of the year. You also get an extra thrill when you suddenly realise that it’s Christmas Day and you are on the slopes and having great time.
Whatever your reason for not going in the past here are a few excuses you can use this year.
#1 You just love skiing
Maybe not an excuse and more just a fact but if you love skiing then what could be a better present to you and your family that the gift of a ski trip. It also means that you get to try out that new pair of skis that you will have been bought for Christmas.
#2 Christmas is on offer
A week skiing during Christmas has never been so reasonably priced with all tour operators offering big savings, making the cost similar to off peak weeks. Our prices are starting at £599 pp for the festive week and there are savings of up to £350 pp on our best properties. So if you have always put off a Christmas ski trip due to price now is your chance.
#3 White Christmas
Every single year Bing Crosby sings “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas”. He is right to do so. If you look at the facts you notice that the UK hasn’t had widespread snow on the ground during Christmas since 2010 and before that it was 2004. So to combat this you could head to the 3 Valleys where they pretty much can guarantee you a White Christmas.
#4 Be looked after
The demands of Christmas day for those hosting can be huge, will Aunt Janet get too drunk, will the turkey be cooked in time, have you peeled enough potatoes? Why not avoid this and go on a catered ski chalet holiday and let them look after you? All you will need to do is go skiing and relax… unless you bring Aunt Janet with you.
#5 One for the humbugs
Spending Christmas in a skiing is a great compromise as in a way it always feels a bit like Christmas in a ski resort. But at the same time it doesn’t as everything is open and everyone is either working or skiing or both. This makes it a perfect place to spend Christmas for families of mixed festive spirit.
One of the best parts of my job is being able to share my own knowledge of the ski resort, passing on tips and suggestions of which pistes to try, where to find the best conditions and how to get the most out of a week skiing in the three valleys.
As befits the largest ski area in the world, there are hundreds of kilometres of pistes to enjoy for skiers and boarders of every level. However, for experienced skiers, there is a world of fun to be had beyond the marked and bashed runs.
Before saying any more, we need to be totally clear that skiing off-piste can be extremely dangerous. It should only be considered by experienced and confident skiers. As minimum safety precautions you should always look to go in small groups – 3 or 4 is ideal – and never alone. Be aware of the published avalanche risk, but be aware that snow conditions can change rapidly. An hour in the sun can turn safe routes into an unacceptable risk in less than an hour.
Before setting off, you should ensure your insurance covers you for going off-piste and carry and know how to use the relevant safety equipment of a transceiver, shovel and probe. We would strongly recommend engaging an instructor or a guide, and it is always worth checking with the pisteurs for their views on where is safe to go. Always remember that skiing off-piste poses a risk not just to yourself, but also to those who on the mountain around you, such as other skiers on the same slopes, or the secouristes who would conduct a rescue operation if anything went wrong. If you are at all unsure, you should not go.
With the proper precautions however, off- piste skiing can be one of the great highlights of a skiing holiday in the Alps, so where are some of the best routes in Meribel?
My advice would be to head to the Vallon and Cote Brune sectors. On the Vallon gondola you will most likely see plenty of tracks underneath the lift, which can be accessed from the corner at the top of the Combe de Vallon piste. While this is one of the more recognised and accessible off-piste routes, beware of partially covered rocks.
For those looking to go further into the backcountry, head through the gap in the rock on your left as you come out of the Vallon bubble. There is another reasonably established route straight down hereto the side of the piste, but if you keep left, a small 10 minute walk and a short traverse lead you out to some powder field coming down from the ridge. Check with the pisteurs before attempting this route as the snowpack can be unstable above you, but in the right conditions the fluffy powder, comfortable gradient and spectacular views can make this route a showstopping highlight.
A final route to try is accessed from the top of the Becca lift. In the snowbank opposite the lift you will most likely see tracks leading diagonally up to the ridge line. The top offers a spectacular view both down to Les Menuires one way and across to the Mont Vallon summit the other. Be careful of the entry point here. Traverse across the slope to the centre of the chute to avoid the treacherous rocky drops immediately below where the track up reaches the ridgeline.
The descent down from here looks clear enough but boarders in particular will want to avoid keeping too far left as they will risk being caught out by a flat section right at the bottom before regaining the piste. Equally however, head too far right and you risk being blocked by another few rocky drops, or finding yourself underneath a particularly steep section of the slope where the risk of avalanche is higher. Keep to a conservative line though and you should have a fabulous descent, with the added bonus of being able to admire your track as you head back up the Cote Brune lift.
Find out what is new in the 3 Valley this winter 17/18
The winter is not very far away now! Skiers will be on the slopes of Val Thorens on the 18th of November followed by Meribel and Courchevel on the 9th of December. As always the companies behind the 3 Valleys lifts and pistes have been working hard over the summer to introduce new or improved facilities for its customers!
New Lifts in the 3 Valleys
Loupit – Rond Pont – Covered magic carpet
The beginner’s area located by the Rond Point in Meribel will have new Covered Magic carpet similar to the one found in Mottaret. The learner zone alongside it will also be developed into a safer space for skiers to master the basics away from the busier slopes.
Ariondaz Gondola – Courchevel 1650 -Moriond
Over in Courchevel 1650 the old Ariondaz gondola that takes skiers and boarder out of the resort has been replaced by an 8 seater lift that can carry double the amount of passenger up the hill.
Moraine – 10 seater Gondola – Val Thorens
€14m has been spent on installing a new gondola in Val Thorens. The 10 seater lift is 2.5 km long and carries skiers up to the foot of the Glacier de Thorens.
Roc de Tougnete – 6 seater – Meribel
For many years there has been 2 drag lifts that served this area and for that reason it often goes unexplored by many. The arrival of this new lift will change all that and make the Lagopède and Bartavelle pistes a lot more accessible.
New Pistes in the 3 Valleys
Lac de la Chambre – Meribel
Previously a red run the Lac de la Chambre that started at the Col de la Chambre has been given a new course down the mountain to make it into a easier blue. The run is a great way to get back from Val Thorens into Mottaret and Meribel.
Croix d’Antide – Val Thorens
High up above the Orelle valley there is a new blue run called the Croix d’Antide it can be found under the Peyron chair and runs parallel to a piste of the same name.
Corniche – Val Thorens
Another new blue piste in Val Thorens. This one runs from the Folie Douce and joins up with the stade to make an easy run back to the resort.
New Luge run
A new 3 km luge run has opened up in 1650 and can be accessed by the new Arinodaz lift. This means that there are now loads of sledging opportunities in the 3 Valleys to complement the original and best one in Courchevel that runs from 1850 to 1550.
4 hours ski pass
This season sees the end of the half day pass as the 3 valleys will introduce a 4-hour pass that can be used at any point during the day and will cost €54.5 . It is worth noting that it is still better value to buy a 6 day pass at €300 if you are going to ski all week!