Saturday, 31 December 2011

Something a bit different

This week we have been seeing The Three Valleys from a new angle. With our Apartments fully booked we took the opportunity to do something a bit different which finds us directly across the valley from Courchevel in a delightful place by the name of Tincave which sits in the sun (when it’s not snowing) above Bozel. 

This excellent location can make for a difficult decision for skiers – do we head straight across to Le Praz for a quick entry into Courchevel and the Three Valleys within 20 minutes or do we drive 15 minutes around the corner to Champagny en Vanoise  to access to the Paradiski ski domaine via La Plagne? For non skiers it doesn’t get any easier – a snow shoe walk in beautiful surroundings or an afternoon by the cosy open fire?

The view from the apartments across to Le Praz, Courchevel 1550 and 1650

For a larger group or just for 2 people the Apartments we stayed in are a great “out of resort” option offering more space than you will often find in a resort centre but still putting you within striking distance of the great skiing this area has on offer. Tincave is a beautiful little village, take a look at the Apartments we stayed in then go and discover it for yourself.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Christmas in Meribel

Despite the weather forecast Christmas Eve in Meribel brought even more snow and a nasty northerly wind which nearly blew us clean off the Tougnete ridge. A half day ski was enough and although the weather did break at about 4.00pm that was too late for most people who had moved on to more festive pursuits. Santa made an appearance on a horse drawn sleigh and there was singing in the square outside the Tourist Office.

Christmas is a time when many people in Meribel are here for family reasons and not everyone is keen to ski or snowboard all day. Despite being a ski resort Meribel offers many other pursuits one of the most popular being walking on well marked and well cared for routes which criss cross the resort. Most paths can be accessed from car park and bus stop areas although some require the use of a ski lift and the sight of "Pietons" on chairlifts is not unusual. A walk through the upper area of the Altiport last week showed just how deep the last snowfall was, as you can see from this picture a snow shovel would be required before any picnics could take place here.

Christmas Day brought what most people were hoping for - a beautiful bright sunny day. We took advantage of the great conditions and skied the low areas of Courchevel including La Tania and 1550. Until well into the afternoon the pistes were blissfully quiet, this shot was taken at the top of the Renard Piste in the Meribel valley. Where is everyone? Perhaps eating and drinking their way through Christmas.

Merry Christmas from Chalet Vache Bleue

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

the snow keeps falling...........

Another snowy week in Meribel, the snow depth at the top is now over 2 metres. At any point in the season this is remarkable, to occur before Christmas is well like Christmas for everyone involved in the snow business. The conditions have created much work for the Pisteurs who not only have to groom the slopes but keep skiers and boarders safe from the threat of avalanches. the current risk is 4/5 and we have woken many mornings to the sound of blasting as detonators are set off to dislodge potentially unstable slabs of snow.
As safety work is in progress linlks in and out of the Meribel valley have been closed or at best slow to open in the mornings. Not to worry there is plenty of skiing to be had in Meribel and with such amazing conditions no one is complaining. One of the advantages of these conditions is that you explore areas you may have forgotten about or usually just fly past. On our last ski day the pick of the runs was la piste des animaux which is a lovely run through the trees at the Altiport. Complete with information posts and model animals it is a fun "bendy" run which is a bit more interesting than just flying straight down the wide Altiport run. It's tricky to find, the start is alongside the Col de la Loze chair but well worth seeking out and links straight into Lapin which ends in Meribel Village.
Start of Lapin run down to Meribel Village

Meribel Village looking very picturesque

Les Allues has not escaped the snow and we are woken every morning by the sound of the snow plough passing by. This morning the heated pavement in front of the office of the Marie was struggling to remain clear against the huge snowflakes which were falling. Last night a Carol service was held in front of the Village Bread oven - which was thankfully alight. Vin Chaud and mince pies were served until the cold got too much and most retreated to the pub to thaw out.
Carol sing a long Les Allues

Monday, 12 December 2011

Snow, Sun and a Crocodile

It was a beautiful sunny day in The Three Valleys today and time for us to find our ski legs. Today was day 2 of the season and for those few people who were out it was a real treat. The trees are laden with snow which together with the sunny skies makes everywhere look as pretty as a picture. Being so early in the game not all lifts are open but enough for us to touch Meribel, have a ski through Mottaret and get over to Courchevel to check out the lovely wide pistes of 1650 and 1850.
a good sunny spot in Mottaret for a break

lovely empty Pistes

The snow is in great condition even lower down the resort and the forecast is for snow almost every day this week so much to look forward to. One interesting thing we stumbled across in Courchevel today was a Crocodile, a red one at that. What it is doing there and where it came from are yet to be discovered.
a curious addition to the scene in Courchevel

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Signing off on our building work

Today was a hive of activity at Chalet Vache Bleue, our Architects arrived for a final meeting with the Tradespeople and we signed off on the amazing work which has been done. As with most things the process is slightly different than it is in Australia so we are grateful to have patient Architects to guide us.
One of the original features of the Barn we managed to save can be seen on the main facade, a wooden structure which would have originally been used to facilitate the drying of wood or hay. Jokes have been made in the past about putting it to use to hang Architects from, no such requirement from us as we have been delighted with the work Iain Stewart from RAS Architectes and Jean-Michel Testud from Testud Thevenin Architecte have done for us and their ability to take a joke can be seen in the picture below.

In the hive of last minute activity our plans for professional photographs of the interiors have slipped by a week or so although we have identified a Photographer and now just need to line up a date suitable for everyone. In the meantime here is a shot of the Kitchen in Apartment B which is ready to welcome our first guests this weekend.

 Les Allues enjoyed the first taste of snow for this season as the pictures below which were taken today show. The lifts in Meribel will open at the weekend so we will go out for a slide around and report back on some of the new developments in the area.

View from Chalet Vache Bleue

Les Allues Centre

La Croix Jean Claude - great spot for a drink or something to eat