The end of March and the start of April were once times that dedicated skiers would try and avoid the slopes. But over the last few years, these six weeks have seen an increase in big fresh dumps of snow. The snow that falls in spring may not stay around as long, but it is light, fluffy, and often accompanied by blue skies when it falls.
Outrageous tan lines
A goggle mark has always been more of a statement than a lax sunscreen application approach. But why stop at a goggle mark when there are T-shirt lines to collect on your arms, neck and rear. And the best time to get yours is during the spring months.
The sighting of Marmots
To some these are mythical creatures that only exist in souvenir shops or the name of the piste where you were meant to meet your partner after their ski lesson. To others, the appearance of these giant rodents is a sign that spring is here and summer is on its way.
The alpine festival is a growing trend. Méribel alone can boast of the Ronnie Loves Music Festival and the Folie Douce Courchevel festival. Once the posters for these start to go up, we know that we are in for a good time and spring has arrived.
Rocks are a part of the spring experience, and other than the ptex manufacturers, no one enjoys their appearance. First, the big ones that form the landscape start to appear, then slowly, smaller ones start to pop up on the lower slopes and busy intersections. By the season’s final week (if it hasn’t dumped), part of the game is to dodge the rocks.
An iconic ski resort image in spring is the sunbathing lift op. Over the years, the resorts have become more customer-focused and the role of the lift operator more responsible this sight happens less and less. But when it does, you can’t but think…. “I’d quite like that job”.
Puddles to skim
You know the drill. You spot a puddle or melted pond, point it out to your group, and watch someone effortlessly skim across it on skis. The challenge is on. One of your group heads back to the chalet early to dry off. In some resorts, this is now a major event. Don’t let your mate enter!
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 work 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 most of our 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 sessions 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.
Your 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!
As we mentioned at the start one options is to be ski fit for your trip.
Our guide to what’s across the 3 Valleys in 2018/2019.
We’ve already put together a rundown of what’s new in Méribel for 2018/19 and with the season fast approaching, anticipation and general excitement is now reaching its annual fever pitch!
The Three Valleys is more than just the largest linked ski area in the world and as always, there are lots of events taking place throughout the season that you won’t want to miss if you can help it.
We’ve put together a few dates for your diary for the 2018 / 2019 season in Méribel and The Three Valleys.
Ski Area opening day. Snow cover permitting, the Three Valleys ski area is scheduled to open from 8th December, so expect a huge buzz with lots of smiling faces and eager lift-goers jostling for space on the newly opened slopes.
The Audi FIS Ski World Cup takes place over in Courchevel over a full weekend, 21st-22nd December. Many championstake part, all keen to become the next Mikaela Shiffrin (USA), who won last year’s competition ahead of Tessa Worley (France) and Manuela Moelgg (Italy).
Also in December, catch the inaugural, Meribel stage of the Ladies Night Tour. An International women’s Alpine tour, the dual slalom event takes place at night which really ups the atmospheric stakes and is the best place to catch up with the female French skiers at the top of their game.
See in 2019 in style with the New Year celebrations, Meribel style. Expect fireworks and champagne corks and some great parties at a whole host of clubs and bars such as the Folie Douce, The Rond Point, O’Sullivans and Jacks. Be sure to check their websites beforehand as some bars and clubs are ticketed on NYE.
In January, catch The French Slopestyle Cup, held in the DC Area 43 Terrain Park. See top athletes performing simply extraordinary jumps and tricks in this spectacular competition, guaranteed ‘ohs’ and ‘ahs’ as standard.
Kicking off on the 14th and then throughout February and March, join upwards of 8,000 spectators to witness some of the most amazing firework displays you’re ever likely to see, at the International Fireworks Festival in Courchevel.
March is all about Music and sees the return of The Ronnie Loves Music Festival. Back for its seventh consecutive year, the week-long family friendly festival features top name events and a Big Air contest, all in one of the Alps’ top Apres Ski venues.
As April arrives and we start to think about the season’s end, there’s still time for the Three Valleys Enduro event which sees teams of pros, amateurs and families compete in some great challenges and events such as the Giant Slalom and Skicross.
Also in April is the Annual Three Valleys Charity Day, held in Meribel Village. The event is a firm favourite and has been running for more than 15 years now. The lineup this year includes hip-hop DJ Jaguar and perennial partiers, the Dub Pistols.
Unless you’re lucky enough to be spending the whole season in Méribel, chances are you’ll only be able to catch one or two of the events we’ve highlighted here. Handily, we’ve also got a Meribel Bucket List guide, which is all perfectly doable, even if you have just the one week in Meribel and The Three Valleys.
Skiing is all about luxury and spoiling yourself. From champaign lunches to a nighttime soak in the chalet hot tub, it is your duty to document them all and share your experience with your friends.
No mountain holiday would be compleat with the overindulgence of cheese and this comes in many forms. There is the fondue night, the tartiflette on the mountain, the after-dinner cheese board and not forgetting the stunning displays and tasters on offer at the local market.
Top Tip: Fondue tastes better than it looks especially when it a low-resolution camera in a low light restaurant after a few wines!
The Mountain View
On a clear day, it is the summits are where the Alps is at its most spectacular. With views across to other mountains, sweeping valley vistas and endless horizons. Not to mention the untouched snow full of untapped potential.
Top Tip: Never used the panorama setting on your phone? This is the moment.
The Action Shot
Possibly the hardest one to get done. Let’s be honest very few of us are amazing skiers and even few of us have a camera crew follwing us about taking 1000’s of pictures allowing us to pick the best one.
So get your mate to have a go at getting a good shot of you. You will get better results if the photos are being taken closer to the ground.
And if you get a good one it will be your profile picture for many years to come.
The Apres Ski One
This is the one even your non-ski pals will find envious. It can be hard to get right as many apres venues can be a bit dingy. But choose one like the Folie Douce in Meribel and you’re going to get a winning photo every time.
There are some exciting changes and including 2 chairlifts and a handful of runs all new in Meribel.
In a video released by Meribel Alpina, the company responsible for the lift system and pistes, details of some of the changes for this winter has been revealed.
Legends: New Chairlift
There will be a new faster 6 man detachable chairlift replacing the Plan de l’Homme and the Roc de Fer lifts called Legends. It will run from the Chaudanne area up to the top of the Elements park.
The new lift can move 3600 people an hour. It is 1650m long, carries skiers up to 2017m above sea level over 580 vertical meters. More importantly, the seats are heated and covered!
You will still be able to access the Olympic and Cherferie chair easily so access to Saint-Martin-de-Belleville will not be affected.
Cherferie: Chair Lift relocation
As previously mentioned this lift is easy to access from the Legends chair and is a great link if you want to drop down into Saint-Martin-de-Belleville. And up until now has been a drag lift that many people choose to avoid.
The lift stations won’t move but the route and the method will. When the resort opens in December there will be a brand new that will take just 4 minutes.
Mont Vallon Refurb
There will be a more comfortable journey up to Meribel’s highest peak this winter. The cars are part of the refurb and will have better seating for the long journey up.
New Runs in Meribel
Along with the changes to the lift system on the western slopes above Meribel, there are new additions to the piste map. The connections between the new lifts are improved along with the creation of two new red runs.
There is a new red piste called the Gypaete flanking the existing Choucas blue run that followed the original route of the Cherferie lift.
Close by and located just under the Olympic Express chair is the new red run called Daguet. This piste will start midway down the black Face run, cut under the chairlift and merge into the meeting point of the Gelinotte and Raffort runs that link Meribel Centre and Les Allues respectively.
Find out why is breakfast important when you go skiing or snowboarding?
OK we admit it, we put our hands up – We are feeders. We can’t help it though, food is important, it fuels us, it can affect our mood and it also brings enormous pleasure. It is for these three reasons that we make sure we put on a seriously good breakfast.
When you head out for a day’s skiing you need to be ready for action, full of energy, in a great mood and you also need to feel like you are on holiday.
A hassle-free breakfast
Before we look into the scientific benefits of having breakfast before heading out to go skiing lets quickly consider one massive benefit that goes unnoticed. Getting ready to skiing, for some reason, is the most demanding part of a ski holiday.
Where are your gloves? Have you packed your ski pass? How many layers do you need to wear? So having breakfast ready for you is helpful, but not quite as helpful as not having to clear it up.
Leaving you to worry about what colour lenses to put in your goggles. If you have children you will need little imagination to realise how big a difference only having to eat breakfast makes.
Benefits of a good breakfast are huge, especially when you are heading out for a long day of extreme sports. Food is fuel, and we need it to function. In the morning your body has slowed itself down because it hasn’t eaten for a while, so tucking into breakfast helps wake you up. It also helps you function and run better for the rest of the day.
The chances are that when you are in the Alps, you will eat a lot of bread, cheese and ham. All these will be available at breakfast time in our chalets, but we also realise that you need a balanced diet. We know that you won’t get all the energy you need from those three food items.
What we serve
That is why in the morning we offer you a selection of cereals, a cooked breakfast, lots of fruit juice and fruit. Not to mention the yogurt and endless tea and coffee.
We also understand that food can affect your mood that is why our breakfasts are full of quality produce, with enough to fill even the largest appetite. One of the worst things is heading to the slopes in a bit of a grump.
It spoils your day and the people who have to share a lift with you. So make sure you take full advantage of our selection at breakfast time. It is also proven that missing breakfast makes you grouchy for the rest of the day.
Eggs for breakfast
Another way that we can make you happy is by allowing you to be fussy. We believe that breakfast time is a very personal meal. Everyone likes it a different way, especially when it comes to eggs.
To make sure you get it how you like we let you tell us how you want them cooked. Boiled, fried, poached scrambled, we can do it however you like
What we are trying to say is that we are on hand to set you up for the fun day of skiing that you have come on holiday for. A days skiing starts around the table and that helps keep you going until lunch.
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 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.
2018 has started with over 130cm of snow falling from the sky adding to the epic December snowfall of 2017 to leave depths of up to 280cm across the 3 Valleys. This quantity of snow means that we have some of the best conditions on and off the piste in recent years.
When there is a huge amount of snow there will always be a risk and the avalanche warning levels remain high. However, the piste security has been working overtime and all the runs are now open and all the high-risk faces have been blasted.
With all this snow you would expect people to be flocking to Meribel and the 3 Valleys to ski the amazing conditions but you would be wrong. While we are 99% full, some guests have been commenting on how quiet the slopes feel? So not only are the conditions incredible the queues are short and the runs clear.
The runs down to the lower resorts such as La Tania and Le Praz are in great shape and much better than usual which means they can be enjoyed and not just treated as commuter piste!
There is some easy safe off-piste or “Sidecountry” to tackle within the resort’s boundaries but if you are planning on making the most of the deep stuff we advise you hire a guide and pack all the essential kit!
The joy of this season so far has been the bursts of snow that are followed by clear skies that reveal the pristine snow-covered landscape that excites you and hurries you out of bed for a day of non-stop skiing.
This excitement doesn’t look like it will be stopping soon. The people who predict the weather are saying that we can expect at least another meter to fall at the end of next week over a few days.
Up until Tuesday the 16th we can expect sunny skies to help us make the most of the current conditions.