Sunday, 29 September 2013

Walking in Meribel during the Winter season

The Alps are very popular for walkers during the summer months; well maintained paths, amazing scenery and plenty of delightful places to stop for a drink or bite to eat. What many people don't realise is that the same applies in the winter with a number of paths maintained and signposted for those who don't feel the need to hurtle down a slope with a plank or two attached to their feet. 

At Chalet Vache Bleue we have accommodated many groups where not everyone is keen to  get on a lift with the aim being to get down again as quickly as possible, amongst these less frantic visitors walking is probably the most popular activity. In Les Allues we are spoilt by the number of signed paths which pass through the village. From the Chalet you can head north, south, east or west to enjoy peaceful vistas but still be able to meet up with your speeding friends for lunch or a spot of apres if you wish.

Many of the footpaths around Les Allues are part of the "Poets Footpath"
network which provide poems and verses posted on the sign posts 
 Each day the lift company publish which paths have been prepared, this is available on-line and also in printed format from the Tourist Office. To enjoy the walking you do not necessarily need to use any of the lifts. The free bus links all areas and enables you to walk in different areas and walk from one area to another. To venture further there is a a Pedestrian Lift Pass available at 22 Euro per day or 66 Euro per week, alternatively if you just want to hop on one of the Gondola lifts to take in the view from the top or meet up with friends you can buy a pass per "troncon" meaning stage. For full details see the Lift Pass Guide

Preparing the footpaths to make walking easier

Whilst good walking boots will allow you to explore many of the paths a walking stick or ski pole and grips which fit on the sole of you boots will make the going easier. You can also hire Raquets de Neige which are great when the snow is deep, and throughout the season there are organised Snowshoeing activities with experienced guides who can help you see the very best the area has to offer on foot.

So if you don't ski or ride don't let that stop you from enjoying the mountain air and scenery. Bring your walking boots and chances are you will see a side of Meribel that many people miss.

Enjoy the peace and quiet of Lac Tueda on foot

Friday, 20 September 2013

Lift Tickets for the upcoming season

September view of Les Allues

It is definitely time to start talking about the snow now as Mottaret received the first light flakes this week. All evidence has gone now but it does herald lower temperatures and gives us all permission to start thinking about all things snow. Fashions come and go but the one thing most of us need to get out on the slopes is a Lift Pass so this post will be all about some opportunities to save money on Lift Passes in our area.

Last year the Tribu Pass was introduced which meant that once you had 2 friends who wanted the same type of lift pass as you did and you could organise yourselves to make one payment to the ticket office you received a discount. For a 6 day, Three Valleys pass you will save 15 Euro each which is a welcome saving. 

The Tribu pass was popular especially as many people do arrive in resort as part of a group. Having said that there are also many holidaymakers who arrive to ski or ride with one other person and this season the lift company have all that wrapped up too with the Duo pass. No prizes for working out that the Duo offers a discount of 10 Euro when 2 of you purchase the same lift pass. 

Finally we have the Family Pass where children actually save money for their parents which must be a first!  To qualify you need 2 adults and 2 or more children aged under 18. With a Family Pass, everybody pays the child tariff which has to be good news.

For the Tribu, the Duo and the Family Pass the rules are simple to remember: same lift pass type, same duration (6 days or more) one transaction. Not too hard to comply with.

For all the details and prices see the Lift Pass Guide for 2013/14.

Next time what about those in your group who don't ski/ride?

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Exciting news for American visitors to Meribel

Meribel has long been considered a "British" resort and whilst it certainly is popular with British visitors their dominance is challenged now by visitors from throughout Europe and beyond. Since opening Chalet Vache Bleue we have welcomed guests from far and wide including; Russia, USA, Holland, Ireland and of course Australia in addition to Britain.

The USA is home to a wide variety of ski resorts however the Three Valleys has been steadily gaining popularity with American Skiers and Riders and this week that received a boost with the following announcement:

"The 2013-14 Epic Season Pass from Vail Resorts recently added five free days of skiing and riding at Les 3 Vallees in France, an area that includes resorts at Courchevel, La Tania, Meribel, Brides-les-Bains, Les Menuires, Saint Martin de Belleville, Val Thorens and Orelle."

For visitors from USA the journey to Meribel is not quite the hop it is for British guests but we promise a warm welcome at Chalet Vache Bleue and like our Australian visitors the longer journey time is the ideal excuse to stay for longer than the usual one week. When we designed Chalet Vache Bleue one of the key factors we had in mind was our own experiences of "long stay" ski holidays. The result is a Chalet in which you can happily stay for more than the usual one week so we are delighted to hear about this change to the Epic Season Pass and look forward to hearing more American accents out on the slopes.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Winter is just around the corner

First day of Spring today in Sydney which means the first day of Autumn in France, winter is not far away! In Meribel the summer season is drawing to a close and although that usually means a quiet period before the winter preparation commences in ernest we do have some winter related news to share.

No new lifts for Meribel Valley this season which is hardly surprising given the huge investment over the preceding few seasons. Changes will occur to some of the runs and an improvement to facilities. Regular readers of this Blog will know I love to ski the Moon Wild Piste at the Altiport which is populated with life sized animal models and useful facts about the animals and their habitat. Great news then that even more animals will be added this season and that the start of the Piste will be changed slightly - hopefully to avoid the confusion which currently exists between the start of the Piste and the Loze chairlift.

New animals will be arriving soon

Also over at the Altiport another one of my favourites the Louveteaux Piste will become the base for an Inuit Village. This sounds like serious competition for the Indiens Piste over in Courchevel 1650!

The Doron Piste which leads to Chaudanne from the upper areas of Meribel will benefit from widening this year. It's never been a pleasant run so lets hope this eases some of the problems caused by the traffic it receives and the way the conditions seem to move from icy in the mornings to soft snow once the sun hits it.

Over on the other side we have a brand new Piste thanks to the World Cup events. Originally Grand Duc and the bottom half of Escargot this Piste is now to be known as Roc De Fer. In 2015 this will be the site of the World Cup Finals so take the opportunity to Ski/Ride it now before the experts are let loose.

Finally not a Piste change but something we have long been hoping for; the addition of a covered area where you can eat a picnic or simply wait to meet up with friends out of the elements. Situated within the Saulire Express building at Chaudanne this rest area is a great move forward and hopefully means in the future we can see more being provided throughout the Meribel Valley.

Love a picnic but a warm spot will be appreciated when the weather is not kind