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Team GB: More investment across more Ski and Snowboard sports

Posted on: December 23rd, 2018 by SkiGB No Comments

It has been announced by the British Ski & Snowboard Team that after concentrating their funds on their “Park and Pipe” programme they will be spreading future investments over more sports.

 

For the last couple of Olympics Team GB have concentrated their efforts on the park sports which have seen them securing three Olympic medals.

 

Quote:

“Our aim is to be one of the top five snowsports nations by 2030, and we need to be competitive across a range of disciplines if we are going to get there. Over the course of the next four years we’re going to see more investment across more sports, while ensuring our park and pipe programme remains right up there with the best in the world,” said Vicky Gosling, CEO of British Ski & Snowboard.

 

UK Sport have increased the funding for British Ski & Snowboard by 31% to £6.75 million. This was decided due to the successes of recent Olympics.

Is this the end of Ski Waxing?

Posted on: December 4th, 2018 by SkiGB

Could this be the end of yearly ski servicing?

Skiers that have their own pair of skis know all too well the yearly “tax” of ownership, the ski servicing. Depending on where you go and what you need to be done this can add up over the years with a standard service around £50 or nearer £70 in the resort.

So you might like to know this could be coming to an end!

A Salt Lake City based ski company have developed a new liquid ski wax that only needs to be applied once, ever!
No more having to go to your ski specialist to get your skis waxed every year – or more often if you spend lots of time in the snow.
This new technique – is a 1 time forever treatment – is called Phantom and it forms a chemical bond with the bottom of your ski and soaks into ski base, all the way to the wood core or graphite core in some cases.
The makers say Phantom will last the whole life of the ski saving a considerable amount for the ski owner as well as being green – we all know waxing isn’t exactly good for the planet.

The University of Utah helped create the product and introduced it into the market in late 2017 for testing by a select few professionals, this season however some Aspen ski companies are now starting to use it on their rental skis.
Phantom will be available to buy by many online retailers in time but at the moment we have only found one, EVO.com.

Testing by the professionals who have been putting the product through its paces are all talking it up, very positive indeed!

A big advantage with Phantom over a standard wax is that it will last all day every day and not just a few runs in the morning – we have all been there haven’t we? Staying up all night waxing the planks for it only the wax to stay on them for a few runs.

Looking for a BUT?

There is a little one, Phantom costs $99 which isn’t a small amount of money but less than a couple of services! So, in fact quite cheap.

We’re not sure how ski service rental companies will feel about this, although you will still have to get your skis edged so it’s not the end of the world.

Team GB is joined by Snowboarder from Team France

Posted on: November 23rd, 2018 by SkiGB No Comments

Should we be a little smug or should we be British and keep our upper lip stiff?

We British located on our little islands which have little snow is starting to make waves – or should that be drifts – in the snow sports events. We are now regularly picking up medals in the World Championships and Winter Olympics for pretty much all the sports we compete in.

“Shout out to team GB – well done!”

But news has broken that Charlotte Bankes has defected from the French ski team to join Team Great Britain was quite a surprise.

Obviously nothing against our squad – we love you – but to leave a very strong team that has amazing facilities and of course a stack of snow to master your sport, to join Team GB, there must have been quite a convincing argument.

Charlotte Bankes Bio

  • Charlotte Bankes is 23 years old
  • She is currently ranked 4th in the World for Snowboard Cross
  • She has won the Snowboard Cross World Cup 3 times
  • She has also been the French Champion for 3 years
  • She has competed in 2 Winter Olympic Games
  • Charlotte joins our other two Snowboard Cross team members Zoe Gillings and Maisie Potter.

She is a big deal in Snowboard Cross and quite the coup for Team GB to secure her services.

Why change teams to Team GB?

Although Charlotte grew up in France and progressed through their snowboard academy, she was actually born in England, Hemel Hempstead to be precise – she didn’t need to move to France did she with Hemel’s dry ski slope on her doorstep.

However, she did move to France at the age of 4 years old and hasn’t looked back, until now.

Charlotte has decided to return home and represent Great Britain in future events, and we are very happy to welcome her back.

So why now?

Quite simply Great Britain are now demonstrating how good we can be with a fully backed snowsports academy of our own and starting to bring back some medals.

Seeing this has made her make the jump across the channel.

Charlottes first event in our colours will be at the Europa Cup in Austria before she joins the World Cup circuit starting in Park City in February 2019.

We will be following Charlotte’s events and will report about her and the rest of our GB Snowsport (new name!) Team.

Guess the Snow Patch

Posted on: July 10th, 2018 by SkiGB

Scottish ski resort Glencoe Mountain Resort are seeing their snow disappear with all the high temperatures the UK are experiencing.

So, for a bit of fun and a chance to win a prize of a free days skiing at the resort they are playing a little guessing game.

The idea is to pick one of the 5 remaining snow patches and the date you think will be it’s last, if you choose the last patch and the correct date you win!

 

If you fancy having ago here is a link to their Facebook post where you can enter! CLICK HERE

Swansea dry ski slope to be replaced by shops

Posted on: March 18th, 2018 by SkiGB

Sad news that the proposed indoor snow dome to be built on the site of the once dry ski slope in Swansea will not be going ahead.

The once popular ski slope which opened in 1989 hasn’t been used for over a decade and is now run down.

Instead of the suggested snow dome it looks like the site will be redeveloped into shops and restaurants.

Restaurant review for La Bouitte in Saint Martin de Belleville

Posted on: February 16th, 2018 by SkiGB

A top notch hotel should boast a top notch restaurant, and when that restaurant is awarded a prestigious Michelin star you know you are staying somewhere special. So how about one that has just been awarded its third? The La Bouitte boutique hotel boasts a prime location in the beautiful enclave of Saint-Martin-de-Belleville in the Rhône-Alpes region of south-eastern France. Rather than being a hotel with an exceptional restaurant, this is an exceptional restaurant which has expanded to include a luxury hotel, and what an inspired decision that was.

A really family affair La Bouitte, which translated to ‘Little House’ in local Savoyard dialect, was created in 1976 with the purchase of a potato field. On here Rene and Marie-Louise Meilleur built their restaurant with the sole aim of creating a dining experience never before seen in the area. Their children joined them in the business in the 90’s, the restaurant expanded over the years to include guest rooms and the finally they realised their goal of building their dream chalet.

From the outside the building is a so visually appealing you cannot wait to get inside. Every inch has been designed by the family themselves and it is truly spectacular. The large, airy dining room with its use of wood and stone pillars gives way to a terrace where you can enjoy your fine dining experience al fresco style surrounded by the mountains.

The restaurant today is in the more than capable hands of René and his son Maxime, and the recently expanded dining room has been specifically designed to offer diners the best possible views of their stunning surroundings. Behind the scenes, the dynamic culinary duo are constantly creating new dishes based in their beloved Savoie cuisine with a touch of ingenuity thrown in for good measure. This results in the kind of dishes that look to good to eat, but when you do the taste manages to surpass the aesthetics.

As an introduction to La Bouitte René offers guests his surprise menu which makes the most of the local produce at the time and which gives you top quality fare with the element of surprise thrown in for good measure. The ‘initiation at LA Bouitte’ is available in either 3 or 4 courses and while ordering an unknown menu anywhere else may make you worry slightly, you certainly won’t do that here with those 3 stars as the most iron clad guarantee possible of the quality you will be served.

There is, of course, also a sublime menu to choose from, and no doubt you will peruse through this wondering what the Michelin people opted for! Superb starters, magnificent mains and delicious desserts make your time spent at La Bouitte a fine dining experience par excellence. We cannot ignore the wine list either, well, we say list that should be wine book. The choice of Champagnes alone will make astound you and if the choices of wines in this book were in an oenophile’s cellar he would be considered to be one of the world’s greatest connoisseurs on wine.

From start to finish your experience at La Bouitte is something to savour. Knowing you have a room booked for the night simply adds to the experience as you have all the time in the world to soak up the atmosphere. There aren’t many restaurants where you run out of superlatives to describe them, but La Bouitte is one of the favoured few.

 

 

Speed Mountain Toboggan on Rails

Posted on: February 16th, 2018 by SkiGB

If you think about winter sports in the world’s top ski resorts you will instantly conjure up images of skiing, snowboarding and possibly tobogganing. These are the main ones of course and what the majority of visitors flock to take part in during the relatively short winter sport season. When it comes to European resorts the savvy traveller will already know that best fun in the sun, and snow, awaits in the Trois Vallées and that area is gradually expanding to offer its guests even more activities.

Do you have the prudence of a snail or the speed and agility of a hare?

If you are lucky enough to be heading to Les Menuires in the Belleville Valley of les Trois Vallées then you have the thrill of a lifetime awaiting you and there isn’t a ski in sight. If you fancy hurtling along in a toboggan at break neck speeds without any fears of tipping over and getting too close for comfort with the cold white stuff then this is the place to come thanks to the Speed Mountain Toboggan which winds its way around the mountain on rails. New and ever more inventive adventure sports are appearing on the radar due to the ever increasing demand of thrill seekers, and this one certainly takes some beating.

As if an adrenaline rush wasn’t enough there is also a competitive edge thrown in for good measure as you will be racing against Boukty; the mascot of the Les Menuires resort. Both adults and children can take on Boukty in a run that is more than 1200m long. There are twists and turns, ascents and descents and even raised bends just like you would see in competitive tobogganing. A lot of time and effort has also been put into the surroundings as the entire length of the run has been landscaped to make your run even more enjoyable.

There are 10 signposts relating to the Boukty challenge and your goal is to beat his record. There are 3 control points will let you know how you are getting on in your quest. Do you have the prudence of a snail or the speed and agility of a hare? One thing is guaranteed; once you have been on the run you will want to get straight back on it! While there are individual toboggans for adults and older children, little ones from the age of 3 can share a toboggan with an adult so they don’t miss out on all the fun.

There are few activities in the mountains that are a real family affair and Speed Mountain is one of them. A new activity for the 2013/2014 this is fast becoming a firm favourite. There are similar attractions in other resorts but Les Menuires have created the longest run in the Alps, giving you a lot more fun for your euros. Priced per individual run or in set of 5, 10 or 20 at a reduced cost this is currently the hottest ticket in les Trois Vallées, and there is still time this year for you to hop aboard and have a truly exhilarating experience in one of the most spectacular settings.

Cave des Creux restaurant in Courchevel – Review

Posted on: February 16th, 2018 by SkiGB

There are certain things you expect when you arrive at a restaurant in a top end ski resort. Kerb appeal is the first thing, then a tangible warmth as you go through the door. Friendly staff who make your arrival a pleasure, being shown to your table quickly and the dining area surpassing all expectations are another 3 key items. Sadly, even those restaurants which have the highest rating can fall down on one, or more, of the above.

We must applaud Boris and Florian Glise

For those planning a visit to the Cave des Creux restaurant in Courchevel I am delighted to report that you have absolutely nothing to worry about. This restaurant was opened in 2013 by a couple of ski instructor brothers who heard many complaints from visitors about there being nowhere to eat actually on the mountain and the fact that they had to go right down into the village to satisfy their hunger. Once a shelter for those shepherds who roamed the mountains of the Trois Vallées with their sheep, this unique restaurants offers fine dining at altitude, and some of the most amazing views of the Courchevel Valley and Mont Blanc.

From the beginning of December through until the end of April the Cave des Creux is open daily and offers Alpine diners a refined yet simple brasserie menu to satisfy all palates. Every item on the menu is created from the finest local produce and all under the watchful eye of the head chef Daniel Thibault. Daniel hand picks the producers of every ingredient that enters his kitchen and throughout the season offers a fine selection of Savoyard specialities. The wine list is equally superb and will satisfy the needs of even the most discerning of oenophiles.

As delicious as the fare is it is well worth leaving some room for one of the many mouthwatering and home made desserts offered as a buffet. Each one looks more delicious than the last and the only complaints we heard from fellow diners was that there was too much choice! After your meal relaxing on the south facing terrace is an absolute must.

Sipping a coffee looking out over the view is akin to sitting on the Rive Gauche in Paris; you can’t really believe what’s in front of you and what you are experiencing. The outdoor fireplace ensures that even if you fancy a spot of alfresco dining you are protected from the chill in the air.

It’s positioning at 2112m on the main ski area means there are many people eating in ski suits who have stopped off for lunch before returning to the slopes and making their final run back down into the actual village itself.

Good quality, hearty fare is just what’s needed after a long day on the slopes and this restaurant delivers on every level. Its high altitude position doesn’t mean sky high prices either, and the general consensus amongst diners is that they have paid a lot more for a good meal actually in the village where there is a lot more competition. We must applaud Boris and Florian Glise for not only creating this restaurant in such a magical spot but for making it so enjoyable. A true mountain gem.

 

Val Thorens Best Piste – Tete Ronde

Posted on: February 12th, 2018 by SkiGB
Pretty much every ski resort has its jewel of a piste, whether it is particularly long or maybe known for being really tough to ski all ski resorts have them. For us in Val Thorens it has to be Tete Ronde.

 

Tete Ronde is not a long piste and being a Blue run it is not a tough one either. It is located off the top of the Telecabin de Peclet right next to the start of the famously long Toboggan (which needs to be tried if ever in resort).

 

So why is Tete Ronde the best piste in Val Thorens?

 
Quite simply because of its twists and turns. Tete Ronde starts as mentioned a little bit below the top of the Telecabin de Peclet, follow the piste to the right (when looking upwards) and it will take you through a large gap in the mountain.
The initial start of the piste is a little steeper than the rest of the run but is quite wide so there’s plenty of space to make those wide carved turns, or try again from a failed stem turn.

 

Top of Val Thorens Tete Ronde

 

Once down the first decent it flattens out a little but then it’s the start of the real fun bit, the twists and turns!

 

The first few left and right turns are quite open so you can take them at speed (safely though!!). However don’t get caught out a little later near the end if the run there are some sharper turns including the concluding corner which is a 90 degree right. Because so many do get caught out this corner gets cut up from all the skiers performing an emergency break.

 

Val Thorens Tete Ronde 90 degree right hand corner

 

Our Tip: The best way to ski this corner is to flatten the line and keep high left as you enter, then swoop in to the right. By doing this you should be skiing the same direction as the bumps and it should make the turn smoother and flatter.

 

Val Thorens Chalet la Marine

 

Then finally it is a dash to the end of the run and join the 2 Combes piste or stop off at Chalet la Marine for a drink and chat about how good this piste is!

 

A truly great run in Val Thorens and one that can be skied by most ski standards, go and give it ago you’ll love it!

 

Val Thorens’ The Secret Piste

Posted on: February 12th, 2018 by SkiGB

There are always ski areas that are not found out by holiday makers until the latter part of the week and therefore are quiet until then, Val Thorens is not any different.

At the lower part of the Val Thorens ski area there is a piste called Boismint which we think is that piste. This is why we think this.

Let’s split this down into two groups of skiers to make it easier to explain.

 

Group 1 – Holidaymakers staying in Val Thorens
Group 2 – Day skiers who drive up to Val Thorens and then leave after they have skied for the day

 

Group 1 – Val Thorens Holidaymakers tend to start the week skiing on pistes near to the resort until they find their feet. So pistes like Tete Ronde (read why we rate Tete Ronde as the best piste in Val Thorens) and use lifts like Telecabin de Peclet as it’s easy to find and near by.

 

Group 2 – Val Thorens is very popular for day skiers who come up to the resort from down the valley to enjoy the ski area for the day. The resort have spent a lot of money creating a new car park, ski lifts and piste access to get as many day skiers up to Caron (main mountain in Val Thorens) as quickly as possible. Which is great, however they don’t head towards Boismint!

 

Whether you like piste skiing or just off the piste this is a great place to ski. For the just of the piste skiers you can (with snow permitting) ski a good couple of feet of powder quite often throughout the season, just be careful of the big rocks.

 

The only negative to ski this area was the very slow chair lift that takes you back up. However this has now changed as Val Thorens have invested once again on upgrading their lift system and from 2014 there is a much quicker lift (read what is new for Val Thorens in 2014 which includes this lift). It also takes you up higher than the old lift.

 

Finally another good reason why Boismint is handy to know about is that when the cloud comes in (and it can) or when it gets windy (and it can) this area is a good replacement for the lack of trees to protect you.

 

There you have it, another Val Thorens piste recommendation, it’s up to you if you want to keep it a secret!

 

Skiing down to Val Thorens Boismint Ski Area

The Perfect Blast Piste!

Posted on: February 12th, 2018 by SkiGB

It doesn’t really matter what level of Skier or Snowboarder you are sometimes we all want to do the same thing, to scream down a piste as fast as we can! 🙂

A nicely groomed piste, whether it is freshly made corduroy motorway or hard packed with a dusting on top some days can’t be beat!

It goes without saying that you should only hit Mac 2 when the coast is clear of snaking ski schools or it is so busy it looks like the day of the sales at Snow and Rock!

So back to the job in hand, where is it good to break the speed record in Val Thorens? (obviously not including the race pistes)

Time to test your knowledge of Val Thorens!

Clues:

There are several options but we are going to recommend a piste which isn’t used as much as it’s next door neighbour.

It’s a Blue run (BLUE! Surely not steep enough?) and starts up high.

There is even a restaurant half way down to have a coffee.

Have you guessed which one yet? (Here is the latest Val Thorens piste map to help)

One last clue it starts at the bottom of the Coldest lift in Val Thorens.

 

Got it?

 

Let me tell you about Genepi the fastest blue run in town!
Twinned with its sister piste Moraine it starts at the bottom of Le Col lift. Instead of skiing down to the right (skiers right) take the left piste. So many more people for some reason ski to the right down Moraine.

Genepi is nice and wide and has a nice initial drop to get your speed started (don’t worry not a real drop like a cliff) so get into your tuck!

The first stage gets you to the big red Restaurant to get that Coffee you need. Then on to the slightly thinner section with some great corners. This section is much harder to go flat out and to do it safely. Do be responsible please and control your speed when others about!

To master you need to have a few runs on this slope, luckily though the piste ends at the bottom of the Moraine lift to take you to the top again so it is easy to loop round and have another go!

 

Val Thorens top of Genepi piste, doesn’t that look fun!

Best way to Ski into the Orelle valley

Posted on: February 12th, 2018 by SkiGB

 

If you have not picked up a 3 Valleys or Val Thorens piste map or have not read much about skiing in the 3 valleys and Val Thorens then you might not realise that there are actually 4 valleys in the 3 valleys!
Anyone in marketing is probably thinking that they have missed a trick here, after all surely 4 valleys is better than 3 valleys? Well without going into this too deep why this is as this post is not about the history of the 3 valleys, but here is a brief run down:

A long long time ago on a mountain far far away…

… a few decades ago the force was strong between the three major ski resorts in the area, Courchevel, Meribel and Val Thorens. This became too great and instead of battling it out on their own they decided to join an alliance to create a superpower of a ski area. As the three members were located in three valleys they called the alliance, The Resistance!

Sadly they couldn’t get the website name for that so they changed their minds and called it the 3 Valleys (actually 3 Vallees) instead.

Meanwhile just over the mountain a little village started to become a small ski resort in their own right called Orelle. They had access to some great powder and good slopes but didn’t have access to the vast 3 valleys. Well I say that, for many years you could actually squeeze through a gap in the mountain to ski either side, but the lifts and passes were not connected in anyway.
Fast forward several years and Orelle became part of the 3 Valleys and they made the gap in the mountain bigger and moved (replaced) the lift on Val Thorens side higher so we could and still can ski over to Orelle’s ski area.

I guess changing the name from 3 Valleys to 4 Valleys would be a lot of work, plus there is already a ski area in the world called the 4 Valleys.

ANYWAY I have got side tracked, this post is about the best way to ski into the Orelle valley.
There are two main ways to get into the valley, often people only know of one, the obvious one as mentioned above. So instead of skiing through the gap in the mountain from the Grand Fond lift head up the Cime de Caron. Take the piste off the other side of the mountain and turn left into the Orelle Valley, you need to ski down a bit of a path (sometimes depending on snow conditions) but the piste opens up. Now a little word of warning about this piste, it can get a little bumpy if skied by a lot of people but if you are skiing early on in the day you should be OK.
Skiing in from this side you should get a great view of the valley too weather permitting.

For the powder skiers/snowboards out there, which is everyone isn’t it?

This piste on a powder day is quite supreme and is a get there first thing piste, big tip!

Hope you enjoy!

The Best Ski Resort for Guaranteed Snow

Posted on: February 12th, 2018 by SkiGB

There are ski resorts, and then there are those resorts that stand head and shoulders above the rest, whether they are located up a mountain or not. These are the ski resorts that have plenty to offer all levels of skiers, are suitable for both couples and families and, the biggie, have guaranteed snow. Add into the mix the stunning setting, outstanding après ski and easy accessibility there can only be one resort we are talking about; Val Thorens.

Situated in the immense Trois Vallees ski region, Val Thorens is more an experience than a mere resort. The fact that is was named as both France’s and the world’s top ski resort speaks volumes for what visitors can expect from the moment they arrive until they depart; with guaranteed heavy hearts. The best winter sports playground you will find exudes a unique atmosphere that gives it the highest volume of return visitors of all the European ski resorts. In short; Val Thorens is attitude at altitude.

While thought of as a premier ski resort, and rightly so, Val Thorens has as much going on off piste as on it. This gives it a mass appeal as it allows mixed groups to travel together and those whose who don’t have a penchant for hurtling down mountainsides at breakneck speeds can still have an awesome holiday. From morning ’til night there is a packed entertainment and activities programme that will have you spoilt for choice.

 

 

For the past 40 years Val Thorens has not only moved with the times but led the way when it comes to changing attitudes and the increasing thirst visitors have for ski resorts that offer more than the norm. With concerts, a bowling alley, a Michelin starred restaurant, world class spa facilities and, of course, some of the best skiing conditions you will find anywhere in the world, this is one resort that will never go out of fashion.

There are also plenty of opportunities for thrill junkies to get a buzz off the slopes as Val Thorens is the last word in winter adventures. If you fancy hurtling around Europe’s highest ice track in a high powered car, paragliding over the Alps, feeling the adrenaline coursing through your veins as you jump onto giant airbags or want to experience high speed tobogganing this is the resort for you.

That said it is also a fabulous resort for families as little people are well catered for in Val Thorens. They have their own fun packed entertainment programme which guarantees you will never hear them utter the dreaded words “I’m bored”. Where better to introduce your kids to the wonderful world of winter sports than here? With a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets your kids will be looking forward more to their winter break than their summer beach holiday.

Film buffs can enjoy the unique experience of watching one of their favourite movies in the world’s highest cinema before enjoying the exemplary après ski courtesy of the many bars, restaurants and nightclubs which pepper the resorts landscape. In short, Val Thorens surpasses all expectations of its guests as to what you can expect from a premier ski resort. A trip here ensures you have a trip that will be remembered for all the right reasons, and then some.

If this has wet your appetite and would like to know more about staying in Val Thorens head over to our accommodation page for more details.

Why is it best to go to a high Ski Resort?

Posted on: February 12th, 2018 by SkiGB

To start with no, that isn’t a trick question. You could be forgiven it was however as, after all, every ski resort is high isn’t it? Well, yes and no. Obviously they have to be at altitude to offer great ski runs for their visitors but unless you have actually been at one of the highest resorts you cannot comprehend just how big those mountains actually are. Whereabouts on a mountain a resort is located plays a major part in not only the length of its runs but also a hugely important factor in the winter sports market; the snowfall.

Those resorts classed as high due to their proximity to the mountain top benefit from the greatest snowfall, common sense tells you that. This is turn makes for best ski slopes and other activities on which vast falls of snow are dependent. So how do you know amongst all the fab ski resorts out there which ones are high and will provide the perfect winter playground for your trip? We’ve made it very easy for you actually as we can recommend one of the best; Val Thorens.

This outstanding resort make up the Tres Vallees along with Meribel and Courchevel, Val Thorens is marketed as ‘a state of mind’ or attitude at altitude. It is both of these as it is one of those rare resorts that really does cater to everyone of every ability. The serious thrill seeker can hurtle for miles down the pristine slopes while those for the emphasis is very much on the ‘play’ aspect can also find everything they are looking for in a winter break.

How many times have you seen on the news that ski resorts have had to close due to a lack of snow? You can bet your bottom dollar they weren’t high resorts as this is a problem never suffered by Val Thorens. That alone makes booking a trip to a higher resort all the more worthwhile as you know that much anticipated winter break is not going to be thwarted by a shortage of the white stuff.

Located at 2300m with slopes from 1260 up to 3230m high few resorts come close to rivalling Val Thorens for its reliable and good snow cover. It is the highest ski resort in Europe and standing at the top of a slope 3200m above sea level is certainly an experience. The area includes two small glacier and combine these with the shade offered by the north facing terrain, along with the top notch snow making facilities it is easy to see why Val Thorens is one of the safest bets in Europe for an awesome winter holiday.

The length of season is also extended in the higher resorts and a season here usually lasts from November through until May. This gives skiing enthusiasts a much bigger window in which to plan their trip and this is appreciated greatly by the serious skiers who don’t want to be avoiding other skiers on overcrowded pistes or queuing forever to get on a ski lift.  So in answer to our original question; “Why is it best to go to a high ski resort?” the answer is pretty easy; because this allows you to visit Val Thorens and experience the best winter sports holiday bar none.

 

 

The History of Meribel Ski Resort in the 3 Valleys

Posted on: February 10th, 2018 by SkiGB

The History of Meribel, the Ski Resort

One of world’s finest ski resorts, Meribel has adventure and excitement from top to base, this is the history of Meribel and how it became a ski resort. Pristine snow peaks, wooden chalet-style architecture, rustic villages, a friendly atmosphere and dramatic surroundings are but a few of the things you’ll experience. In addition to the beauty of the place, the history of Meribel is very fascinating.

 

Everyone enjoying the beauty and brilliance of the Meribel ski resort owes it to the far-fetched vision of a Scotsman named Colonel Peter Lindsay. During the late 1930s when the globe was on the brink of war, the political and ideological closeness between Austria and Germany made it difficult for skiers to enjoy the white slopes of the Austrian Mountains, where many people revelled in winter sports. This is why the Scotsman Lindsay decided to find a location in France where he could design and develop a new ski resort.

 

Finding the Location, Building the Resort

 

Along with another legendary skier, Frenchman Emile Allais, Peter Lindsay found the village of Les Allues. He thought the village was the perfect location for a ski resort thanks to its altitude, climate, and orientation. Mesmerised by the place, Lindsay immediately founded the company ‘Societe Fonciere de la Vallee des Allues’ in 1938. Soon, he began buying nearby land from local farmers to build his vision. Unlike other resorts nearby such as the Three Valleys that was built using public money, Meribal was built using private funds invested by French and British developers.

 

Before the war broke out, the first lift was constructed above the village of Les Allues, and the construction of hotels and chalets also started in Meribel. The development paused during the second world war, but it wasn’t long afterwards until construction started again. Colonel Lindsay, with the help of popular architects Paul Grillo and Chirstian Durupt, built cottages and chalets that were in complete harmony with the rest of the area.

 

Nestled between Courchevel to the East and Val Thorens in the West, Meribel is one of the most popular and lift-ridden ski resorts in the world. The highest point is the Altiport at approximately 1700 meters, and bringing more people into the resort by bus and gondola are Brides les Bains, Meribel Village and Les Allues –the lower lying resorts. In addition to this, there is a satellite resort at the top of the village called Meribel Mottaret, which is connected to the rest of the neighbouring resorts with the help of the sophisticated Saulire Express. This gondola takes up to 2400 people to the top of the Saulire peak within a few minutes.

 

Little England Upon the Alps

 

Meribel ski resort is at 1,450 meters above sea level, and has become a favourite among the British—it is known as ‘Little England upon the Alps.’(Britons take up more than half of all the visitors.) One of the most interesting aspects of Meribel is that not many high-rise buildings are allowed. This gives it a distinct look of chalet-like architecture that spreads over 10 kilometres along the valley, rather than climbing up the mountain side. And down in the village, it’s very common to see skiers enjoying toffee vodka at the local bars!

 

Meribel ski resort has excellent terrain that makes it perfect for all kinds of skiers enjoying the location. It poses a challenge to expert skiers while the young beginners can try the more safer routes without too many problems.

 

Although the Meribel ski resort was founded more than 70 years ago, it is still one of the most popular places among skiers around. Skiing enthusiasts from all over the world have been flying en-masse to this snowcapped paradise. It may be old, but it has kept up with the changing times.

 

From demanding skiers and sportsmen to beginners and children, the Meribel Ski resort is perfect for all kinds of skiers. With the right dose of enthusiasm and excitement, Meribel is the perfect place for you to glide down its alpine slopes and enjoy this captivating wonderland.

Buying a Property in Meribel

Posted on: February 10th, 2018 by SkiGB

What is Involved When Buying a Property in a French Ski Resort like Meribel?

 

So you want to buy a piece of the peaks and live the ‘high’ life? These days, everyone seems to be getting the mountain-call — the charm of the snowcapped mountains with luxurious ski resorts atop have left everyone scrambling up the hills in search of a good property to buy. There are reports to suggest that the sales enquiries for ski property are experiencing a surge with the economy finally brightening up — these properties are back in high demand.

Among all the ski areas, France is still the country with the most sought-after locations for skiing — especially Meribel Ski Resort. You may be wondering what it takes to own a property in a place like that; let’s find out!

Snow-Capped Wonder

For some it is a dream come true to own a property on the snowy slopes, for others with spare money it is a fashion. Whatever your case, it’s important you understand the far-reaching implications of investing so much money to buy a property you might not use throughout the year.

One of the first questions you need to ask yourself is whether you really want to buy the property. It’s true — owning a piece of the steep snowcapped mountain sounds romantic, but is it the right decision?

There are 2 reasons why someone would buy a ski property: as a permanent residence or as a holiday-home investment. If you are an avid mountaineer and would like to live near the slopes every day, then buying a top-notch ski resort makes perfect sense. However, if you are looking to invest in a place at a renowned resort like Meribel, then you should consider a number of factors that determine the price.

Can You Get There?

One of the first decisions you need to make when trying to buy a property in a resort like Meribel is travel. Commuting from Paris, London or any other place in the world is a tough ask considering the expenses and time involved. Even if you live nearby, it may not be possible to drive up the icy paths throughout the year.

And don’t forget, travelling to the place is a waste of time when you want to be skiing down the slopes!

Year-Round Holidays

Another factor you should consider is the year-round activities. In case you are only looking to spend the summers and enjoy the snow, then choosing a high altitude site like Meribel makes sense.

Higher altitudes may mean higher prices, but there are numerous advantages as well — you can enjoy the snow for as long as you want, and the views are simply breathtaking!

With a lower altitude resort, the snow quality tends to be lower and the skiing (or snowboarding) period is shorter. However, they are easier to access and you may be able to enjoy other outdoor activities such as cycling and hiking.

However high up in the mountains you want a property, you’ll be able to use it as a tool to earn money. With thousands of tourists heading to these places each year for the snow, biking and walking, renting out your property for a tidy profit is pretty straightforward.

Meribel, a Place For All

Meribel has a lot to offer in terms of snow and summer activities for visitors; in fact, a large bulk of tourists from all over the world head to the Meribel year after year to enjoy its serene beauty.

If you decide to buy a property, you should consider the two ways to own one: Classic Freehold and Leaseback Freehold. With a Classic Freehold, you have the option of renting out your property at will, but with Leaseback Freehold you can do away with the headache of management and upkeep of the property — you no longer own it, but have the luxury to use it.

With a place like Meribel — a well-established ski resort — you and anyone who uses your property will have the luxury of the ski lifts, gliding slopes, shops nearby and the scenic wonder.

Of course buying a property in Meribel isn’t your only option to ski the area, you could visit the resort as an when you want by renting an apartment. There are plenty of great offers to be had over on our Meribel apartments page, so have a look!

Where are the best damn bars in Meribel?

Posted on: February 10th, 2018 by SkiGB

The chalets of Meribel and the enchanting countryside can force you into a kind of relaxed stupor that you never want to shake from. However, don’t let the idyllic surroundings and inviting accommodation keep you from visiting the many bars, restaurants and pubs dotted around the town. Listed here are some of the best places to go at any time of year. Some are more suited to casual afternoon drinkers, others are ideal for the younger crowd wanting to throw some beers back watching live music.

Most of the bars around Meribel are British-run. What this says about people from the little Island I don’t care to guess, but you are guaranteed a warm welcome and ice-cold beer.

La Folie Douce

If you’re coming straight in off the slopes, La Folie Douce is the place to head. This place invariably attracts a younger crowd, pounding music emanating from the DJ, a raucous atmosphere if you go at the right time, and an incredible mountainside view.

Rond Point

As Douce begins to die down at around 5pm, seasoned Meribel party-people will head over to the ‘Ronny‘, or Rond Point, as it says above the door. Happy Hour is from 4 – 5pm, although it is generally fairly priced so there’s no real need to rush from Douce. However, be sure to leave La Folie Douce before it closes at 5pm, lest you be caught in the swell that surges to the ‘Ronny’. Rond Point offers live music from 5pm, usually until around 7pm, and it is normally worth seeing. Both of these places offer an excellent lunch menu. Although the food is, in my opinion, nicer at La Folie, it is certainly more expensive, and not necessarily worth it if you are looking for a tasty, filling lunch which can easily be found at the ‘Ronny’.

Barometer

If you are more inclined to wander out for some fresh mountain air and a few looseners before dinner (or if you are still with us from Rond Point), then Barometer in the middle of town is absolutely perfect. It has a cosy, welcoming country-pub ambiance,  and it is certainly several notches quieter than La Folie Douce. It has a great array of beers and wines, and on occasion it will have some music playing, although it is in general much more sedate than the much busier places in town.

Le Poste de Secours

Le Poste de Secours is a very similar haunt; it seems to attract an exclusively older crowd, for which I am sure many of its patrons are very grateful. It has an incredibly relaxed atmosphere early on, progressing into a more lively and loud place as the night wears on and people let their inhibitions go. Both of these places are excellent for a quiet drink before dinner, or for a relaxing beer after a late lunch. It is also perfect for those wanting to avoid the pounding music that seems to permeate from most other places in town.

 

After a long day tearing it up on the slopes, nobody can blame you for wanting to tear it up on the dancefloor. If that is the case, you will not be disappointed by what Meribel has to offer. A whole host of late bars dot the town with live bands, DJs, drinks promotions, happy hours, and the ubiquitous two-for-one cocktail offer.

Jack’s Bar

If pressed to recommend one place to really let your hair down, it would have to be Jack’s Bar. Bands perform throughout the afternoon and evening at varying times, and they quite often have a stand-up comedian. You’ll find plenty of drinks promotions here, and the cocktail hour is nothing short of dangerous. Getting there at the right time, ordering one of their big jugs of cold beer and listening to some, surprisingly excellent, live music is sheer bliss. Particularly if you’re nursing aching feet from a day on the snow.

 

Regardless of your taste, Meribel’s night life has a lot to offer. Be sure to check out these places the next time you are in town and I guarantee you will not be disappointed. Depending on where you go, you may not want to arrange an early pick-up the next day!

Where is the best place to stay in Meribel

Posted on: February 10th, 2018 by SkiGB

If you are planning a trip to the Trois Vallees, and in particularly Meribel, well done for choosing one of the best ski resorts in the world. Meribel is one of those resorts that exceeds all expectations and the sheer volume of visitors who return here time and time again pays testament to its wide reaching appeal. Those struggling with finding their perfect accommodation need look no further as we have compiled this guide aimed at helping you find the best place to stay in Meribel to suit your needs.

As you would expect from a world class ski resort the accommodation options in Meribel are both plentiful and superb. This can have a downside however as you may feel as if you have too much choice to be able to make an informed decision, especially if this is your first trip here. There are hotels, residences, apartments and chalets on offer in Meribel and as they are all within easy reach of the ski lifts and apres ski activities on offer here which area you choose is very much dependent on what you want from your accommodation.

The resort is divided into 4 main geographical areas;  Mottaret is ideal for those serious skiers looking for cheaper apartment to rest their head. Lower Meribel Centre is the place to go for both party goers intent on making the most of the nightlife and also beginners as it gives the best access to the easier slopes. Meribel Village offers good value accommodation and that quintessential village atmosphere and Upper Meribel centre will appeal to beginners, sybarites and those devotees who want to be as close as possible to The Rond-Point, rated as one of the worlds best Alpine bars.

It is generally accepted that the best apartments for families or large groups in Meribel can be found on the Eastern Slopes. These are within easy walking distance to the main resort centre but quiet enough at night to ensure everyone gets a good nights rest after a day packed with snow based activities. These apartments offer a real home from home atmosphere and offer every convenience you could wish for those times when you just want to kick back and relax.

For ardent skiers who want everything on their doorstep Mottaret ticks all the boxes.  Situated at the top of the valley it offers visitors access to the best slopes in the Alps.  Those who choose to stay in Mottaret compromise on choice of evening entertainment to concentrate on their skiing. There are several and restaurants here but their obviously isn’t the choice on offer in the village centre. That said, the serious skier stays in Mottaret to satisfy their constant lust for an adrenalin buzz and want to relax at night as opposed to partying the night away.

Meribel Town extends up the side of the valley and the higher you get the more elegant and altogether more French it becomes.  This is the ultimate in irony as Upper Meribel Centre is also home to the Rond-Point, the number one meeting point for British visitors to the area. The accommodation of choice here are self catering apartments which give you the luxury of coming and going as you please and within easy crawling distance of ‘The Ronnie’ once your night has come to an end.

Restaurant Review of L’Ekrin in Meribel

Posted on: February 10th, 2018 by SkiGB

It’s certainly a big year for the Trois Vallées resort of Meribel. Not only have they been chosen as the first French ski resort to host the prestigious Alpine Ski World Cup Finals, or are set for a major revamp over the next couple of years, there is yet another event which has discerning gastronomes salivating and hitting the Internet like no there’s no tomorrow.

prepare yourself for a buffet breakfast of such quality and choice that it beggars belief

The reason behind this; Meribel’s esteemed restaurant The Ekrin, or L’Ekrin, has been awarded a new Michelin star for 2015. The in house restaurant of the luxurious La Keila hotel has become one of the premier eating establishments in Meribel, immaterial of whether you are a guest or not. Laurent Azoulay, L’Ekrin’s executive chef, has in recent times taken this restaurant to a whole new level and his reward is this esteemed star. You don’t need us to tell you what a Michelin star does for a restaurant’s reputation, yet the general consensus amongst regular patrons of L’Ekrin is that its not before time!

 

What L’Ekrin has managed to achieved where many of others have failed, is to combine comfort with fine dining. Think chic and elegant chalet and you get an idea of the vibe here. This is not one of those establishments where you are scared to move should you disturb anything. Instead, you get to relax on deep, sumptuous sofas to enjoy pre or post dining drinks in front of a roaring fire. It classes itself as a restaurant and bar, thus reducing the elitism and snobbery often associated with Michelin starred establishments, and also making it a hugely enjoyable place to visit.

If you are settled in those sofas and choose to eat there; no problem. This relaxed and easy going atmosphere is very much at odds with the calibre of the fare on offer but is as refreshing as the air in the views out of the expansive windows. Another tick in a box is that L’Ekrin doesn’t just open in the evenings, you can enjoy breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and any other hunger sating meal you might fancy after a hard day on the slopes.

The sheer choice of delights on offer here, combined with skills of the chefs and the presentation are something few of get to experience on a day to day basis. If you are guest here prepare yourself for a buffet breakfast of such quality and choice that it beggars belief. As this is carried on throughout the day and into the evening dining it is little wonder this restaurant is fully booked months in advance, and is Meribel’s hottest seat.

If the terms A la Carte and snacking seem at odds with each other then this is the place where they blend together seamlessly. Those not ready for a full, gourmet meal can give their taste buds a real treat with a snack menu that puts many restaurants to shame. You will find everything here from Foie Gras and smoked salmon to a club sandwich like no other.

Anyone who wants to add that extra special something to their stay in Meribel is advised to book a table at L’Ekrin. Once you experience the ambience, food, service and exemplary wine list you too will instantly see why it has received it’s new Michelin star, and how well deserved it is.

 

 

Chalet of the Month: Chopine, Meribel

Posted on: January 10th, 2018 by SkiGB

Chalet Chopine is the archetype of a luxurious alpine retreat. Situated in Meribel, in the heart of the Three Valleys Ski area, this chalet is breathtaking in its elegance. Having recently undergone extensive interior refurbishment works, Chalet Chopine now offers its guests a truly superior experience.

The chalet has five double or twin bedrooms, each complete with a brand new en suite bathroom. All bedrooms are beautifully furnished, and it is clear from the choice of colours, woods and fabrics that comfort has been given top priority.

 

Many chalet’s share Chopine’s commitment to luxury and taste, yet few can boast such a comfort-centered design. There is more than enough room for 10 guests in the open plan living and dining area, which somehow manages to be at once sprawling and cozy. Fur throws, warm woods and delicate lighting make the living area the perfect place to unwind after a long day on the mountains. Of course, as you would expect from a perfect alpine retreat, the living area boasts a crackling fire to warm your toes after a day in the blistering cold of the ski season.

 

 

The downstairs spa area includes a sauna, shower, hammam and a large bubbling Jacuzzi. As if this wasn’t opulent enough, the entire spa area is covered by a sound system, which can be controlled from the comfort of the Jacuzzi by a waterproof floating remote. There is no better place to seek refuge from the harsh alpine winter than in the almost decadent comfort of the Chopine spa.

The Chopine booking price includes gourmet dinners prepared nightly by a resident chef, a selection of hand-picked wines, an open spirit bar, and champagne on a daily basis. After indulging in a fantastic evening meal, guests can walk a few steps and recline on a sofa for an evening in front of the fire; or, if you would rather, in front of the wall-mounted, HD TV that flanks the fireplace. If the TV near to the fireplace is not to everyone’s taste, then some guests can while away a snowy evening in the separate cinema room.

 

It is perhaps the services that come with the chalet that set Chopine apart from other chalets that share such excellent standards of location and facilities. The winter booking price affords you tea and coffee in bed, breakfast and afternoon tea, daily newspapers to your order, a resort chauffeur, and a daily champagne reception.

It is also possible for guests to pre-arrange a number of services that may not be provided when booking less superlative chalets, including: resort transfers by taxi or helicopter (weather depending), in-chalet equipment fitting, a personal laundry service, in-chalet massage and beauty therapy, and, for those days when you need some well-deserved time to yourself, in-chalet childcare.

Chopine is an outstanding chalet. It shares a convenient location with its neighbours, and the breathtaking views that come with it. Where it surpasses its neighbours is in the perfect melding of class and homeliness; of luxury and comfort. This is our chalet of the month, but it is the embodiment of many guest’s holiday of a lifetime.