Tag Archives: snowboarding

The future of skiing and life after Brexit

Brexit was voted for and we will have to wait to see what the exit of Britain from Europe will look like. One thing the referendum has done is make us think about the future and how skiing and snowboarding might change over the next 50 years.

Snow and Climate Change

There is a big move for ski resorts to become more responsible for sourcing their energy as it is an industry that feel the affects of climate change directly. One example is our winter home of Méribel where all the energy that powers the lifts and snow cannons are powered by hydroelectricity. Other resorts are installing wind turbines and solar powered technology. You can expect most ski resorts to be self sufficient and 100% powered by renewable energy in the near future.

Find out how green Méribel actually is.

With climate change we may well see less snow and a shift in the seasons so we predict a huge rise in snow making. All the big resorts are investing in snowmaking equipment some are even making it part of their marketing. For example the 3 Valleys is boasting about the 2189 cannons it has covering 50% of its ski area. Maybe one day it will be 100%.

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Cost

Since the the UK voted in the referendum the pound has dropped meaning that we currently get less euros to the pound. To help put into perspective the lowest cost of a € during the following winter seasons looked like this: 2013 – £1.14 : 2014 – £1.18 : 2015 – £1.26 .

FreeCurrencyRates.com



We haven’t heard of a single tour operator currently looking to increase the cost of their ski holidays based on the referendum results and as you pay in sterling your holiday won’t cost any more.

However the cost of a lift pass is likely to creep up every year as the cost of maintaining and improving ski areas becomes more costly. But there is some good news as a handful of experts believe that the cost new chairlifts are coming down so maybe the yearly lift pass price hike won’t be as much in the future.

Tech

One thing that is sure to change is ski and snowboard technology. The fundamental design of skis probably won’t change very much so it is likely that it will be the boot that sees the biggest changes with fully mouldable outers and inners. According to Mike Hatrrtup from K2 we will probably also see a change in bindings with a move to magnetic systems in a bid to save weight.

The hoverboard could ruin everything if its is invented as that is because if they did create Back to the Future type hoverboard technology it would be like cruising down a powder field!

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Quieter slopes

Currently the number of people skiing globally are decreasing and many in the industry are saying that the uptake of the younger generation is much lower and few people take it up later on in life. This could mean that ski resorts are quieter in 50 years time which is great news for people taking the sport up now.

Don’t worry about the future if going skiing or snowboarding makes you happy go to the mountains and enjoy yourself.

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4 things that we have learned about the 3 Valleys this winter

The snow making is amazing

Way back in December 2015 there wasn’t much snow. Many resorts postponed their opening dates leaving quite a few sad skiers. However, this didn’t happen in the 3 Valleys. Of course the snowfall in Méribel wasn’t any different to anywhere else in the Alps but we did benefit from the incredible investment in snow making the Three Valleys has made. Of the other European resorts that were open most were only able to open around 50% of their runs, while Méribel was boasting 76% and the runs down to 1350m in La Tania we in perfect condition. With all the great skiing to be had, despite the lack of snow, it meant that we had very happy customers and that even included a group of travel agents that we invited out at the beginning of the season before the snow arrived in time for Christmas.

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Spring skiing is outstanding again

It was as if the 2015/16 winter was reversed as heavy snow fell throughout April meaning that there was endless powder days accompanied by warm temperatures and blue skies. Much to the disappointment of many the snow even continued to fall after the lifts had shut, which wasn’t a problem for our resort director as he loves a hike. This late snowfall is something we have noticed in recent years and makes us wonder if it the amazing spring conditions are becoming a trend. Could April be the new December?

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Méribel is as popular as ever

If you read any article on top ski resorts, Méribel or the Three Valleys will feature in most. This is unsurprising as, in our biased opinion, it does have everything from amazing aprés ski to the world biggest ski area all in one of Frances prettiest resorts. Did you know that you get about 2.1km of piste per €1 spent on your lift pass in Méribel for comparison you only 1.2km per € in Val d’Isere.  It isn’t just us and the ski press that love Méribel, you do too. The resort has sat in the top 10 destination for British skiers for many years and this year Méribel was a respectable 6th.

The sleeper train is no more

One of my favourite ways to arrive in Alps is by sleeper train. Alighting in Moutiers early in the morning feeling smug that I had an extra day to ski than those who chose to fly. Of course I never remember the hassle of dragging skis through central London on a Friday night, the stressful dash across Paris and the irritating kids playing  GameBoy all night as I try to sleep in a half upright position but smug is how I still felt. No longer is this option open to me as the SNCF has decided to cancel the service due to cost.

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Minority Sport

I thought the hardest thing about trying mono-skiing was going to be finding a mono-ski and then I clipped my boots in and discovered that actually skiing on one ski with my feet next to each other was actually harder.

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After having the idea of giving this minority sport a go I set about looking for some kit. I started my quest at the usual ski hire shop. My question was met with silence and then laughter, they didn’t have one. After trying my luck at a few other shops where I was met with similar reactions I was told to try a hire shop that I had never noticed in resort before. I found it in a big apartment block located between some sort of office and a restaurant. Just by looking at you knew that it had never experienced the British onslaught of boot fitting and bad ski carrying techniques only seen on a transfer day.

Inside the shop there was a good selection of skis, certainly no snowboards, cross country equipment, snowshoe kit and two mono-skis of questionable quality. I arranged with the owner a day to hire them, filled in the paperwork and left a deposit. Next I went to inform my accomplice in this adventure who seemed surprised and mildly concerned.

Monoski

It may be worth you knowing the level of our skiing. I was average at best, having learnt skiing at a young age then abandoned it for snowboarding, something I have later come to regret not least on the upcoming “mono-ski” day. My buddy was a better skier than me however, his distinct Dad style gave away the many floors in his technique which would also hinder his mono début.

The day arrived and lucky for us it was a pleasant spring day on the mountain. In a vain attempt to distract anyone from our lack of ability, we decided to dress-up as we assumed a mono skier would dress. Our outfits involved headbands and day-glow clothing, a look that seems to repeat itself on the slopes regularly as part of a decade long fashion cycle.

I went for the turquoise and pink mono-ski the other one was purple and yellow this seemed to reinforcing our choice of attire. We headed for the lifts. Rather predictably we opted for the British approach to taking on something new which is to muddle through, invent and learn in the field. Our first challenge was the chairlift. I won’t waste your time with faux suspense at the outcome. Let us just say there were people sat on a stationary lift for some time.
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Finally we were clipped in, we stood up and pushed off. We weren’t expecting immediate success nor were we expecting it take 2 hours to get down a slope that would normally take us 5 minutes to ride down. There isn’t the forgivness on a mono that you get on two skis and the motion of planting poles is crucial to success leaving me endlessly muddled in my attempt and on the floor after most turns. My biggest mistake was trying to use my poles to push off to make the turns. This did aide my speed down the hill however, that was with my back lying on the ski, feet still clipped in, head pointing down, with poles and head gear liberally distributed down the slope.

My second mistake was telling people we were going to attempt this and choosing a run than pretty much had a lift running over it the whole length. Normally I am the one sat on a chairlift laughing at the misfortune of others, today I was being laughed at, commented on and on occasions applauded but with irony. My friend fared no better than me I am pleased to report. Possibly my third mistake was not giving up after the first run, through the course of the day my technique didn’t really improve and my biggest success was probably linking 10 turns before confusion ultimately got the better of me.

At the end of the day we felt a bit sore, quite demoralised and no better at mono-skiing. I can thoroughly recommend this as a minority sport that you don’t need to try.


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Meribel & La Tania – Three Valleys Snow report – Week 13

This week has been springtime skiing at its very best! Blue skies, sunshine and heaps of snow have brought us one of the best weeks of skiing this season and the good weather looks set to stay. If you’ve ever hesitated about booking a holiday later in the season this week has been an example of how fabulous it can be, with empty slopes to boot!

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Snow

We have got piles and piles of snow after 2 big dumps in the last couple of weeks, the snow pack is over 220cm at the top of lifts and 125cm at the bottom with more than enough snow to see us through to the end of the season. There is even still some powder to be had if you’re willing to look for it! Every lift and piste in resort is open with all 3 Valley links up and running and all of the parks and fun areas are looking in fantastic shape.

Weather

The sun is set to stay in the 3 Valleys for the next week, some impressive goggle tans are starting to form and we already spotted our first shorts n’ t shirt combo of the spring, maybe a little prematurely. We are expecting a few snowy showers overnight to top up the runs but blue skies during the day- perfect conditions!

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Forecast 

Springtime means party time in the 3 Valleys, outside enjoying the sunshine with a demi peche and some good tunes. This week we have a veritable feast of musical talent! On Monday night from 10pm we have Newton Faulkner playing in Lodge Du Village with local favourite Hobo Chic, then playing again at the Spring Party at the Chaudanne on Tuesday evening. We also have Norman Jay MBE spinning at Rond Point for Wednesday Apres, arguably the funkiest apres of the season!

There has never been a better time to come out to the three valleys, just don’t forget your sun cream!

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Meribel & La Tania – Three Valleys Snow report – Week 11

It’s one of the busiest weeks of the season in Meribel, half term! The slopes are full of snaking lines of ski schools and the pubs are a lot quieter (not a bad thing!). However we have found lovely empty runs coming down from the Tougnette 2, the amount of choice up there means if you go for the furthermost runs, Cretes and Blaireau in particular, you can really enjoy the amazing snow we have had over the last couple of weeks.

Check out all our March availability and pricing

Weather
The clouds have finally broken and the sun is shining through! For the last two weeks in Meribel and La Tania we have been under a blanket of thick cloud, snow and rain but the weather is on the move and pockets of blue sky are starting to appear! The rest of this week is looking promising with light snowy showers and sunny spells, perfect half term weather. The temperatures are set to get milder towards the weekend and the skies are going to clear completely.


Snow
The snow in the three valleys is in amazing shape! The snow pack is 2 metres at the top of the lifts and 1 metre at the bottom. The snow itself is soft and light with some icy patches as you head back into resort. Our advice would be to stick to the higher runs to get the best snow and avoid the busy lift areas and tracked out runs back into resort, and when you do descend if things are looking a bit busy consider skiing down into a quieter area such as Morel or Meribel Village and use the free bus service to get you home.

Believe it or not we are over halfway through the season, after a shaky start snow-wise it has turned out to be a great season. Fantastic snow, the sun is coming out and we have good few weeks of great skiing ahead of us!

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Meribel & La Tania – Three Valleys Snow report – Week 10

Bonjour from a windy and wild Meribel and La Tania! The snow is falling, the clouds have come in and visibility is low but we are still out there enjoying the fresh powder and a good few vin chaud stops throughout the day. In the last week we have had just about every kind of weather thrown our way; rain, snow, sleet, wind and even some blue skies poking through! The weather has changed every 5 minutes so we’ve been carrying around a whole load of extra layers just in case.

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Right now the snow is hurtling down at resort level, we have had over 20cm in the last couple of days. Up on the mountain this has resulted in a lovely fresh layer of powder to top up the mixed snow conditions from last week. Visibility has been as mixed as the weather this week, we have had moments of the clouds breaking and blue skies poking through but eventually the clouds have rolled back in and more snow is pouring down!

In the next 5 days we are expecting snow every day! Over half a metre of fresh powder is anticipated which will make for fantastic half term skiing, the heaviest snow is expected for Saturday with some breaks in the cloud on Thursday and Friday. Our best advice for low visibility skiing is to stick to the tree-lined runs, there are plenty of options around Courchevel and La Tania, and be aware of lift openings as you don’t want to end up stuck in the wrong valley with a very expensive taxi bill!

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With half term just around the corner the Meribel and La Tania are going to full of smaller skiers and there are plenty of activities for families to get up to on and off the slopes! The family friendly areas such as the Inuit piste in the Altiport sector and the Yeti Park in Meribel Mottaret have a range of fun and games including meeting huskies so stop by and check it out!


Meribel & La Tania – Three Valleys Snow report – Week 9

It has definitely been a mixed-bag of a week in Méribel and La Tania! We have gone from blue skies and springtime warmth to resort-level rain and back again in a matter of days. The weather doesn’t seem to be making its mind up anytime soon, so be prepared for all conditions out on the slopes!

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Watch our Snow Report 

Weather

Temperatures have been unseasonably mild in the last week and as the snow clouds have rolled in it’s been falling a little damper than we prefer in resort and on lower runs however we have had 30cm of fresh snow at the top of the lifts. When the clouds have cleared the weather is almost March-like with us ditching our mid-layers, and even jackets at some points!

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Snow Conditions

The snow conditions are just as mixed as the weather, we’ve got a bit of ice, a bit of slush and everything in between. Up on the higher runs the snow is still in good condition so our advice would be go high and stay there! We skied the higher runs in and out of St Martin and Les Menuires this afternoon and they were really good!

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Forecast

We are expecting a drop in temperatures and snowy showers later in the week, which should top up the mountain nicely, and then more blue skies as we head towards the weekend. Next week is looking great with fresh snow and colder temperatures so we can put out t-shirts away!


Meribel & La Tania – Three Valleys Snow report – Week 8

Bonjour from the sunny Three Valleys! This week has been non-stop sunshine and blue skies, not what you would usually expect from January but we don’t mind one bit. The conditions this week have been positively spring-like and we have been working hard on our seasonnaire goggle tans, you can find us perched on the mountain with a demi and a deckchair!

Snow Conditions

The snow conditions are still very good, there has been some icy patches to the mild temperatures (up to 10 °C in resort) and a little slushy snow down on lower pistes but the snow has held its own.  Every single lift and piste is open in Meribel and La Tania so the season is in full swing! With over 600 kilometres of ski area there really is something for everyone, and plenty to keep you busy!

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Weather Forecast

The weather is set to stay mild and sunny over the next couple of days with some welcome snowy showers expected on Sunday. We are anticipating over 20 cm of snow on Sunday which will top up the pistes nicely and cover any icy patches. We are anticipating the rest of the week to be mild, sunny and with blue skies!

With good snow, sunshine and blue skies this is not the January skiing we are used to but we couldn’t be happier!

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What Emily Sarsfield Loves About Méribel

Emily Sarsfield is the UK’s number 1 female Ski Cross athlete, has been ranked 20th on the World Cup circuit and is a member if the British Ski and Snowboard squad. For the last 10 years Emily has lived, worked and trained in Méribel and is a big fan of the Three Valleys.  Recently we had a chance to sit down with Emily and talk to her about what she loves about our Alpine home.

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Val Thorens World Cup, credit: Daniel Smye-Rumsby

Not only does Emily train in the Three Valleys she also runs a small ski school offering private lessons out of Méribel, this is obviously when she isn’t competing and is often during the school holidays. The reason she does this is because unlike many other athletes she doesn’t receive funding, so has to find ways to fund her own training and racing. As Emily bases herself in the Three Valleys and is always returning in Méribel, we started be asking her why she keeps coming back, her response was that the resort has a strong community, although she doesn’t behave like the usual seasonnaire and is likely to be found in the gym when everyone else is in the pub.

We then chatted about her missing out on the Winter Olympic Games and becoming a ski instructor but we soon ended up back on the subject of Méribel. One of the first thing Sarsfield mentioned was the fact that all of the resorts in America would fit into the Three Valleys before pulling out the usual but true clichés and declaring that Méribel is “postcard picture perfect”.

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Megeve World Cup, credit: Daniel Smye-Rumsby

In the 10 years of skiing in the Three Valleys she doesn’t think she has skied every run, which is probably very true, after all the years we have been working out there we probably haven’t either. If you live somewhere for a long time you will inevitably notice the changes, one of the big things Emily has noticed is how the access to cross the entire ski area has developed and even beginner skiers can now move from resort to resort on mainly green runs.

“There is always something different” – Emily Sarsfield on the Three Valleys

Of course one of the main reason Emily loves the Three Valleys is because of the Ski Cross park in Val Thorens, which is one of the best in Europe and regularly hosts World Cup Events. Over the years she has fallen in love with off piste skiing which the the 3Vs has plenty of when the conditions are right and Sarsfield top tip is to head up the Loze chair on a bluebird for some easy access powder.

We saved our “best” question until last, when we asked her in our serious interviewer voice, what is her favourite run in the resort and the answer was the Mauduit. The run is from the top of Saluire and goes all the way down to Méribel Center, or you can choose to head down to Méribel Village. She described the run as “long, open, well groomed and a thigh burner”.

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If you would like to keep up to date with Emily then check out her Facebook or Twitter.

To book a holiday to Méribel visit our website. 

 


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