You have been dreaming of the snowy peaks, the endless slopes, indulgent food and the well-deserved drink! You know what this means…those longed after flights you booked to Geneva 6 months ago are in the reachable distance and check- in is now open for your 3 days in Meribel
Destination of choice
The destination of choice is Meribel. The middle sister of the 3 valleys sandwiched between the heady heights of Val Thorens and the glitz of Courchevel. Instead, you choose the happy medium with incredible access to a world-renowned ski area, a down to earth vibe and a little rustic charm of alpine restaurants and wood-clad chalets.
After a short and sweet flight to Geneva, the transfer time is between 2 and 3 hours but its all part of the fun, building the anticipation! Local and friendly transfer companies operate all Winter but we recomend you head to Three Valley Transfersas they have a huge range of vehicles and options to suit any budget.
Where to stay in Meribel?
After your flight and transfer you are well ready to get settled, as Brits, we absolutely HAVE to get settled or we cant start our holiday. A great pick for accommodation is Chalet Pont Du Cam which is ideally located near the slopes of Meribel. You have nothing but a short walk to the slopes or to the bars and restaurants. It’s everything ski holiday accommadation should be with relaxed comfortable rooms and five star service, it even boasts its own spa and outdoor hot tub.
Day one means its best to be up bright and early to make the most of your short break, no time to be wasted lazing in bed with a slightly sore head. Kick start your first day back on the snow with Snow Limits Ski School at 9am. Ski or snowboard lessons are exempt from the rule ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’, there is nothing better than refreshing your skills and getting back those ‘ski legs’.
After working up an appetite in your lesson, lunch is now calling. Over in Courchevel 1650 is the great spot at Le Bel Air mountain restaurant. It’s a well- known gem in the area due to its location with an awesome terrace looking out onto the slopes and the impressive peaks. Its a sought after lunch spot, so a booking maybe essential at peak times but our instructors will organise that for you!!!
Apres Ski with a Twist
Heading back over to Meribel and after all this, you have most likely had an awesome first days skiing. The beauty of the 3 valleys can also be enjoyed on horseback with Coeur Equestre Des 3 Vallees. This is horseriding like you have never known it before, with snowy strolls through the forest and gallops through the powder exploring the area in a very different way.
To see off an unforgettable first day back in the mountains, dinner at Kiki restaurant in Meribel will have you indulging in classic French cuisine such as cheese fondue or duck leg. Don’t forget to wash it down with glass or two of a Cote-Du- Rhone Villages. Go on, you deserve it you have had a tough day.
Hopefully still feeling fresh and raring to go, the second day is always the day to get in those epic lines warmed by adrenaline. Your ski legs are well and truly back, so its now time to see what the 3 valleys is good for: freeride! You don’t have to look very hard to find awesome spots, dotted at the side of the pistes, under the lifts and as you venture further down the valley towards La Tania in Courchevel you can easily seek out some untouched tree lines. We will be on hand to guide you all the way.
Back up and over from La Tania you can drop into Meribel and find your lunch venue a. A cracking apres spot for the seasonnaires and infamous for its terrace parties and DJ’s. Before the crowds hit for apres, a great way to get in some well priced Kronenburg in a sharing jug and a great portion of burger and chips. A few pre-drinks down and you are ready for a boogie at La Folie Douce. Extravagance, bar topped dancing and champagne sprays, the Meribel Folie Douce is probably the best party in the alps!
Come down from your table dancing and magnum of rose and brush off your champagne soaked jacket. Dinner at Tsaretta in Les Allues is a cab ride away, but so worth it with fusion French cuisine by a well-established chef in the area. Soak up those apres drinks with baked camembert and seared tuna steak to follow. Buon Appetit!
So it’s your last day and your legs are aching from carving around the three valleys and bouncing through fresh powder. It’s time to test yourself in new ways by snowmobiling with Snow Biker. Get your helmet fastened and your protective gear on nice and tight because this isn’t just bobbling around on the pistes, this is bashing around through thick snow, getting some air and some intense speed. You will have sure earnt to soothe those aching muscles in an afternoon spa retreat at the Hotel Savoy. Sit back, relax and reminisce on the jam-packed mini break in Meribel. Not a second spare in this exciting and vibrant resort.
Check out and let the winding roads back down the valley drift you off into a content snooze.. Because tomorrow you’re back to work.
At SnowLimits Ski School we have been lucky to have some amazing children in our February half term ski lessons. So many pictures, videos, and memories, here are just a few.
This February holiday our ski instructors have been lucky enough to have adventures across the Three Valleys from Courchevel to Val Thorens, with a slide through Meribel in the middle. We’ve ripped down “Death Valley” bounced through the Family Park and bravely fought our way through the “Forest of Doom” all this accompanied by great teams of children. We love teaching half term ski lessons…….. the sun is always out, the skiing is great, the atmosphere electric and the kids are awesome!!!!
Check out a small selection of the videos and photos from this year.
February half term ski lessons Courchevel - YouTube
SnowLimits ski school is a based in the Three Valleys France, Courchevel, La Tania, Meribel, Val Thorens, Les Menuires and St Martin. We pride ourselves on offering the best instructors who can cater to your level whether that be your first steps on snow or a day deep in the off-piste, we’ve got you covered. All our ski instructors are fully qualified and native English speakers, they have over 80 years combined teaching experience. The children who attend our ski school will get a unique a SnowLimits ski school certificate, a Snowlife award badge and a neck warmer, add these to a liberal helping of Haribo, hot chocolate stops and we think you have the perfect recipe for ski school success. Our dedicated full time office team can help guide you to the services that will best suite you and your group.
We hope you are able to join us in the Three Valleys soon. Please get in touch to discuss how we can exceed your expectations and make your ski holiday complete
The Audi FIS Ladies World Cup again graced the Courchevel Stade. Now in its 9th year, this festival of Slalom and Giant Slalom is one of the holiday period highlights. The Courchevel World Cup is one of the most glamorous events on the Ladies tour and a firm favourite with both athletes and spectators alike. Here’s a rundown of everything that took place at this years Courchevel World Cup.
Courchevel World Cup Ladies Giant Slalom
Mikaela always happy to meet fans
The Ladies Giant Slalom took center stage on Friday the 21st The weather was less than perfect for World Cup skiing with flat light and snow showers however the stage was set for what was to be a great race. The crowds were expectant of a fourth consecutive win for MikaelaShiffrin.The first run did not disappoint and was incredibly exciting with less than 0.24 seconds separating the top five Ladies. Viktoria Rebensburg from Germany led with Mikaela Shiffrin and Stephanie Brunner 0.08 seconds behind. The French hopes were pinned on Tessa Worley who was lying in fourth place only 0.11 seconds off the pace. This set the race up for an exhilarating second run.
The second run with snow and poor visability
The snow began falling heavily for the second run making conditions very tricky, the start was moved further down the Courchevel World Cup stade for safety. The racing was tight only 0.93 separating the top 8 finishers. Mikaela fought very hard from top to bottom in a determined run to clinch victory from Stephanie Rebensburg. The French fans were not disappointed with Tessa Worley coming in third only 0.33 behind the winner. Shiffrin now has 789 World Cup points more than double that of Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel on 367 points.
Courchevel World Cup Ladies Slalom
Saturday the 22nd saw the day dawn with the weather much improved ready for the Slalom. The teams had been out all night preparing the snow. Mikaela has said in interviews “I didn’t get a lot of slalom training (the past few days) so I’m just going to move my feet quick and see what happens” going for her 50th World cup win the pressure was on.
Petra Vlhova, the first lady out of the start gate, laid down a great run. Wendy Holdener the second lady out could not topple her, then came Mikaela Shiffrin. She was on positive splits down the steep section at the start of the race, and it looked like she would be unable to topple Petra’s lead; however, power and quick feet across the flat allowed her to slide in front by 0.04 seconds. Only Bernadette Schild was able to get close to the first two ladies lying 0.26 seconds behind in third.
The second run of the Courchevel World Cup Slalom was set up as perfectly as the Giant Slalom the day before. With the start in reverse order, the crowds had some spectacular skiing to watch before the top 5 women would have their turn to perform. Lying in fifth Frida Hansdotter laid down a real marker for the other ladies to follow. Bernadette Schild charged out of the start gate and was laying down a great until straddling a gate on the steep section and falling. Petra Vlhova was next and put in a solid performance and what looked like a winning run and piling the pressure on her rival waiting in the start gate. Mikaela came out well and had negative splits early on some ragged skiing on the middle of the course saw her fall 0.04 behind her rival before pulling it back to win her 50th World Cup by 0.29 seconds. She is now the youngest lady ever to reach the big 50 World Cup victories.
Our whole team enjoyed being part of the Courchevel World Cup with some of our instructors even making it VIP!!
Events like these would not be possible in our resort without the commitment and hard work of all the resort team. The preparations begin months in advance moving temporary tv studios, officials huts and rest areas for the athletes onto the bottom of the Stade. From there piste preparation team take over spending weeks preparing the snow to host this event. Using the latest technology, they inject the snow with water to make the surface as hard and as consistent as possible for the racers. They install nets to ensure that this high-octane race is as safe as possible; finally, the myriad of hospitality tents are erected. All this hard work means an amazing seamless day for the spectators.
A massive thanks to everyone involved in making this a special day from the bus drivers to the lift workers it always combines to be something perfect.
The three valleys over Christmas and New Years; what a magical time! Full of skiing, fireworks and of course lots and lots of cheer. The French Alps know how to do the festivities well with their indulgent food, traditional decoration and beautiful rich Rhone Valley red wine. Keep reading for the three valleys festive fun, you will have such a jam-packed itinerary there will be barely any time for actual skiing- sorry.
Courchevel 1850 is a pretty spectacular skiing destination putting a very glamorous and fabulous twist to an adventure fuelled holiday. It’s not just about the addictively long, wide pistes that make your winter break so exciting here. On the run-up to Christmas take a rest from your long carving turns and stop at La Croisette, next to the lift station is the Festive market Place du Tremplin. It is lit up to the nines with lights and sparkle and picture postcard huts where you can refuel with a crepe or mulled wine.
The fun never stops in Courchevel for children and adults alike! Why not try a spot of night luging in Courchevel Moriond or Courchevel Village. This can be enjoyed on any day of the season however just imagine an adrenaline-fuelled luge down the windy track so the kids can work up an appetite for their Christmas dinner. Or alternatively treat yourself to a well-earned drink by the fire to dry off.
Once the merriment of Christmas is over, it is time to start thinking about bringing that New Years in with a bang. La Croisette in 1850 being the main hub for all skiing and apres ski action, it also turns into the epicentre of the New Years Dance Party! You can celebrate into the New Year with your own bottle of champagne from 10.30pm on the piste, and be stunned by an impressive fireworks display as the clock strikes 12. Stay warm into the early hours of the New Year by throwing some shapes with the live DJ’s that play all through the night.
If the glitz and glam of Courchevel isn’t your thing then hop over to the other side of the valley for the down to earth and wholesome fun of Meribel. After a thrilling day of skiing or snowboarding in the three valleys, it seems the joy will continue if you drop into Meribel centre on Christmas Eve. You can tell Santa Claus about your epic day at La Chaudanne in his Christmas wonderland. You can also polish off your vocal cords and join in the with the Meribel Choir and sing some carols at 5.30pm at the ice rink, and washing this all down with a free mulled wine or hot chocolate.
The Myth, the legend of La Folie Douce
Meribel is also one of the lucky skiing spots in France that has a Folie Douce, the apres haven for the fun and flamboyant. It is in an ideal location for apres ski and with as it is ski in ski out but also welcomes pedestrians with the bubble lift that stops just above the bar. The music and cabaret shows are always an exciting end to any day spent in the mountains but also particularly appropriate for Christmas and New Years, because when else is a better time to dance on tables and spray champagne than during the festive period.
If you are planning on spending your Christmas or New Years cruising the slopes at high altitude then you will probably be in Val Thorens at a whopping 2300m. Even at that altitude, you can join in with the cheer. You can still be sure that Santa will visit on his sleigh in the town centre from 7pm on Christmas Eve. If you stick around you will be delighted with lots of fun activities such as free sweets (because why not?- it’s free), mulled wine and hot chocolate. If you are still warm enough and have taken off your ski boots for the day, you can enjoy a magnificent torchlit descent and fireworks!
New Year’s Eve continues to be an impressive time in the Alps. If you are not tired after all the Christmas delights you can join everyone in the town on of Val Thorens at Place Caron on New Year’s Eve for live music, DJ’s and a spectacular pyrotechnics display to bring in the New Year. Not to be distracted from the reason why you visit the Alps, Val Thorens will remind you with an impressive ski and snowboard freestyle show and another torchlit descent at 6pm on the 31st.
So basically, what are you waiting for? The festive period is around the corner, get booking!
This article was written with our friends over at Ridestore.com, head over to their magazine page to read more stories like this- plus get kitted out for the Winter season.
Five tips for Beginner Snowboarders.
You’re starting snowboarding; sweet! Snowboarding is a fantastic way to experience being in the mountains, make new friends and generally have loads of fun. Our blog top 10 tips for beginners talks about a lot of what you’re going to want to know and is worth a look but this is specific to getting you going on a snowboard. So what kind of things should you be doing to make the most of it? Here are our five tips for beginner Snowboarders to get the most out of your first holiday.
1. Find out if you are regular or goofy.
Without wanting to fall into lazy stereotypes, snowboarding does have its own lingo. So, before we get into buttering, nollies and cab5s let’s start at the basics and find out if you are going to be regular or goofy when you’re shredding the gnar!
The terms regular and goofy refer to which foot you will lead with as you slide down the hill on your board. Regular being left foot forward; goofy being right foot forward. In the same way as being left or right handed there isn’t a “right” or “wrong” per se just a preference that you’ll find more comfortable. This is the first thing you’ll need to know, even before you have got hold of your board.
If you’ve done board sports before, surfing, wakeboarding, etc. you’ll probably already know, even if you’ve only messed about on a skateboard as a kid you may well remember with which foot you led. If not, it’s straightforward to find out; one way is to get someone to push you in the centre of your back and see which leg you put forward to stop the fall, that will be your forward leg on your board. Alternatively, imagine you’re boxing or pretend you’re a sprinter in the blocks the foot you lead with will be your lead leg.
Don’t worry if you “get it wrong” it’s easy to change and a conversation with an instructor will help loads.
2. Safety first.
As a beginner, there is a good chance of falling over; hands, knees, bum and maybe even your head will end up in contact with the floor on more than one occasion so it’s a good idea to wear some protection. Protective gear isn’t just about safety; it will help you learn faster.
Hands: If nothing else you will want to keep your hands toasty! In snowboarding, far more so than skiing, gloves are essential. Because you’ll be messing around with bindings, you don’t want massive boxing glove-like mittens but you do want them to be waterproof and warm. As a beginner, you will spend a lot of time pushing yourself to your feet with your hands so maybe even take a spare pair!
Wrist guards are an excellent way to avoid hurting your hands and forearms. If you’re buying wrist guards, take your gloves with you so you know they’ll fit over them.
Knees: Luckily for you snow is soft(ish) so you won’t necessarily need big knee pads like you see skaters at the XGames wearing. If you wanted to wear soft knee pads under your board pants, they would both keep your knees warmer (you can spend a lot of time on your knees to begin with) as well as giving you a bit of cushioning if you fall.
Bum: Impact shorts are a brilliant idea! Worn under your board pants, they are basically cycling shorts with padding that protect your hips, thighs, and most importantly coccyx. There’s no loss of mobility and again will both keep your bum warm and stop you getting hurt.
Head: Wearing a helmet does not make you look like you are going to be fired out of a cannon these days so don’t let fashion put you off. Protecting your head is obviously really important; wearing a helmet is a good habit to get into throughout your snowboarding life, just look at the pros. If nothing else their plastic shell means they’re waterproof so if you’re riding and it’s snowing a helmet is a much better choice than a soggy woolen bobble hat!
3. Get to know your kit.
Unlike ski boots, snowboard boots should be your best friend. They should fit well and feel firm but comfortable all around your foot and calf without any rubs or hotspots. Your toes should only just touch the front as your foot will slide back a little in the boot when you stand correctly on your board, and your heel shouldn’t lift in the back of the boot. Your feet will dictate the boot that works for you so try on a few pairs around your size in different brands and styles if possible. Footbeds/Orthotics to put in your boots are a sound investment as they support your arches and can help avoid your feet cramping.
Spend some time in the chalet or your apartment before you even get on the snow practicing strapping yourself into your snowboard bindings. Lift the tall hinged plastic bits, which are known as the high backs, up and out of the way and put your boot into the binding so the high back is against the back of the boot. Try and get into the habit of doing the big strap at the back of the binding, the heel strap, first as it will ensure your boot goes into the correct place. Be careful not get the small straps at the front of the binding, aka the toe straps, caught in the heel strap or under your foot. Use the ratchet to do them up nice and tight but not “cutting the blood off” tight. It’s easier to strap/unstrap your feet while learning sat down, so have a go at getting up from sitting with your board on in your apartment. This will get you familiar with your bindings and make the basics easier on your first day.
You may hear people talking about angles and stance width when it comes to your snowboard set up. Angles refers to the position your bindings are set in relation to the board and stance width is how far apart your feet will be. Most rental boards stance width will be neutral and centred on the board so depending on how big you are will determine the board size and therefore your stance width. Bindings will usually come with a positive angle of around 15 degrees on the front foot, with the rear being at 0 degrees or slightly “duck footed” with a slight negative angle on your back foot.
Don’t worry about this too much, rental boards are easy to adjust and a conversation in the shop or with an instructor will help clear things up and make things as comfortable as possible for you.
4. Start on the snow.
Before you put your board on remember snow is slippery! Snowboards don’t have breaks on them like skis do so if you put your board down make sure it’s upside down with the bindings in the snow. If you lay your snowboard on the base it can easily slide away; hilarious if it goes a few meters into the car park, a nightmare if it shoots off down the mountain and you lose it, or worse, it hits someone.
Now you’ve worked out whether you are regular or goofy and how to strap your feet onto the board start by just strapping your lead foot in and get a feel for snow under the board with your other foot firmly planted in one place! As you get to grips with how slidey the plank strapped to your foot is have a go at moving around. Skate in the direction your board is pointing with your back foot behind the board, start slow and make small pushes to begin with. Experiment with turning around and skating with your back foot in front of the board too.
Skating will help to get around any flat areas and getting on and off chairlifts. When using chairlifts, you’ll be riding with only one foot strapped in so practicing sliding and stopping with your back foot unstrapped will make life easier.
5. Get lessons!
A lot of people go on their first snowboard holiday with friends and/or family who can already snowboard. If you are one of them don’t, DON’T, DO NOT let them teach you, it is a fantastic opportunity to ruin your holiday. They’ll get bored of teaching you what they think they can remember as being the basics and will drag you to the top of a slope with the words, “you’ll be fine.” You won’t! If you don’t hurt yourself, you’ll probably be so freaked out by the experience you probably won’t want to go back on the hill.
Having spent all the time effort and energy of getting yourself to the mountains to enjoy snowboarding, don’t skimp on learning how! The best way to learn to snowboard is to book yourself lessons with a school like SnowLimits. An experienced, patient and fun instructor can help you enjoy your first snowboard holiday.
The ideal option is to have private lessons. Booking private lessons guarantees the focus is on you, the learner. With 100% attention from your instructor, you gain 100% of learning time which will speed up the learning process and allow you to get the most out of your first time. Group lessons offer incredible value for money, however, do check on the numbers that will be in the group. SnowLimits keep group sizes to a minimum to guarantee that you get the maximum. Because of the small groups the focus can be on each and every person throughout the week, improve confidence and meet individual needs, while still ensuring that everyone gets the most from their lessons.
SnowLimits Ski School have received an award for the best
Extreme Activity of the Year in Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes
SnowLimits Ski School were delighted to receive the award for the best Extreme Activity covering the whole of the French Alps for 2018, awarded by The Travel and Hospitality Awards.
“Travel and Hospitality is an exclusive resource for the discerning traveller. We serve as the business community’s a leading source for the latest travel, lifestyle and hospitality sector news, and provide objective insight into the latest trends in travel.
Travel and Hospitality is an annual celebration of excellence across all sectors of high-end travel. Our travel experts, along with a panel of trusted judges, have travelled the globe in order to introduce our readers to the best hotels, spas, restaurants and tour operators”
At SnowLimits we pride ourselves on exceeding our client’s expectations. This begins from your first contact with our dedicated office team who will guide you through the booking process so you can get the most from your ski lessons. They are always willing to help you and can pass on information over and above ski lessons, our office team have an unrivaled knowledge of the Three Valleys.
We have tried to tailor our products to suit any level of skier whether this be your first ski holiday or a seasoned pro we promise you will have the best time possible while improving your skiing. For winter 2018/19 we have some new and exciting offerings ranging from Adaptive Snowsports lessons to Off Piste Heli-Skiing adventures all based from Courchevel, Meribel, and La Tania.
On the mountain, our Ski and Snowboard Instructors are all fully BASI qualified and insured to teach in France. They are a hand-picked team who compliment each other and bring almost 90 seasons of ski teaching experience with them. This makes for one of the strongest teams in the Three Valleys.
2017/18 saw us maintain our 5-star reviews on Trip Advisor and our number one ski school status, we are very grateful to all our clients for helping us with this. We also built on our 5-star google reviews. It goes to show what a brilliant service our team offers, we will continue this for the 2018/19 season.
See you soon in the Three Valleys
Our goals- To consistently rank as the best ski school the Alps have to offer. Giving our clients a superior service throughout their experience with us and creating a positive, rewarding work culture for our team
It’s dumped all night, the holy grail of skiing has arrived- A powder day. So many of us live for this moment the feeling of our skis weightless floating in a powdery bliss!We’ve all seen the videos of godlike skiers flying through the trees up to their waists and we want some of that!!! For many though the first forays into the deep stuff can be a daunting prospect with some giving up altogether. They will hear and read a million different things to help them there are as many articles as snowflakes in the sky.
To make it simple here’s 5 tips to make your first powder days successful!
1 Mental attitude
It’s like anything new it can be scary as well as exciting. When people say you have to have a good mental attitude it always conjours up the image of determined and slightly aggressive. So lets say a relaxed mental attitude- You have to stay relaxed and alert to be really successful in powder snow. Being aggressive will only unbalance you and lead to downwards spiral of failure and frustration. This is only a sport and the more relaxed you are the more fun it will be, remember the good turns and the positive feeling of floating don’t dwell on the bad. You are going to fall things are going to go wrong it happens to all of us embrace it and move on.
Take away: CHILL AND ENJOY
I hear it every day on the mountain when groups of friends are skiing powder and trying to help each other “You just have to lean back in this snow”
Don’t lean back- STAY CENTERED. Leaning back will lock out all the joints in you legs and stop them from moving which in turn puts huge strain on you muscles shortening your skiing day, no matter how hard you’ve trained
If you STAY CENTERED your body can make the adjustments to the terrain under foot. A great thing to try at home is to balance on a door frame- Place the balls of your feet on the door frame you should be able to lean back or forwards using your knees, hips and ankles without falling off. If you fall try flexing your joints more, the balance comes from your legs not from your body.
Take away: STAY CENTERED!
3 Stay Active
Skiing is a dynamic sport there is no one “position” it’s a blend of continually changing movements, reactions and actions to gain our desired outcome(turn). The simplest way to describe this set of movements for your first few forays into powder snow is POP and SMEAR. To initiate the turn we need a little POP to bring your skis towards the surface then SMEAR the skis round the turn. Keep these movements smooth and subtle imagine you’re skiing on eggs. Keep these movements gradual in the powder less is more, if you make massive jerky movements the outcome will be jerky.
Take away: SMOOTH, POP AND SMEAR
4 Line and Rhythm
Lets deal with Line first, when we talk about line we mean the route you will take down the mountain. Pick your line before you set off, plan where you want to stop and then look at everything in between. Visualize where your turns will happen and look for any changes in terrain. Although it can be tempting to stay in someone else’s tracks try and pick your own line- its more fun. RHYTHM- try and keep an upbeat rhythm imagine a chilled yet upbeat song in your head ( Bob Marley Buffalo Soldier works for me) ski to that song. Some people find counting the turns or saying “Turn” out loud helps them. Keeping a good rhythm will allow your skiing to flow and make your POP and SMEAR easier
Take away BOB MARLEY
Get straight down your local hire shop and get a pair of skis suitable to the conditions. Yes a good skier should be able to float down the powder on a pair of World cup slalom skis. Why make it harder than it has to be? Conversly don’t go for the fattest Freeride skis. A pair of all mountain skis with an off-piste bias will help you the most. For the tech geeks amongst you the width of the ski underfoot should be between 95mm and 110mm. That said the ski technician in your hire shop or ski instructor will be able to advise you. A pair of rockered skis will also help immensely, rocker refers to the shape. This means that the ski will float in the snow with ease. Most skis designed for off-piste will have some rocker in the design. Take a look at our article on skis here for a deeper understanding.
Take away GET THE RIGHT GEAR
The bonus tip
Its well worth investing in a high quality lesson. You will get the feedback you need to become more successful.
Stick with these tips and you will be on your way to some great adventures
So, you have done a workout, got the kit and are ready to go! But there are still a few things to consider. Check out part two of our top ten tips on how to get the most of your snow sport holiday!
6. Food and drink
Skiing or snowboarding can burn up to 3,000 calories a day, about 1,000 or so more than the average person with a desk job would burn at home. The best time to fuel yourself is first thing in the morning so skipping breakfast is not a good idea. Eating fat and protein in the same meal will slow down the release of energy, ensuring you have enough to get through the day. If you normally avoid carbs, you can get away with eating them at breakfast in the mountains as you’ll be doing sport all day so your body will need the fuel. Porridge with honey, granola and fruit, whole-grain toast or bagels and poached or boiled eggs, avocado on toast are all good choices.
Keep snacks in your pockets or backpack, especially if you have children with you. The best snacks are cereal bars, flapjacks, trail mix, and dried fruit all of which are filling and tasty but release energy slowly.
If you intend to go back on the piste in the afternoon, don’t over-indulge at lunchtime or you’ll feel lethargic as your body tries to digest the meal. Good lunch choices include soup and bread, salad with nuts, goats cheese and/or fish and meats with pulses or beans. You can always pack your own picnic and if the weather is poor there are plenty of picnic rooms on the hill across Les 3 Vallees. You could bring anything from a sandwich to a full-blown rucksack meal to heat in one of the microwaves provided.
As tempting as it is to enjoy everything the chef conjures up at dinner; as you would at home, keep portion sizes sensible and try not to demolish the entire cheese board every night. It’s important to eat protein while skiing to help repair muscles, wisest choices are fish and chicken, with plenty of green veg and not too many potatoes, pasta, or rice.
Most people are dehydrated in their everyday lives, so combine altitude, exercise and salty foods (fondue!) with alcohol and you’re looking at a recipe for disaster. Dehydration causes your heart to work harder and will affect your attention and performance on the piste, so drink plenty of water. Drink a large glass of water when you first get up, and again after breakfast just before you head out. Take a water bottle or hydration-pack onto the slopes with you and if you’re working hard (or have a hangover) add a little powdered sports drink. Try to drink little and often and importantly, don’t not drink to avoid loo stops!
Alcohol is often a big part of your holiday but as a beginner try and save your drinking until après rather than on the slopes. If you’ve had a big session, drink plenty of water to rehydrate in the morning, Coconut water is an excellent natural hydrator too.
To help you find the best places to eat on and off the mountain we have shared some of our favourite restaurants in The Three Valleys
7.Wear sun cream!
“But it’s cold, why do I need sun cream?” It may be colder in the mountains, but the sun is stronger than it is at sea level. This is because the atmosphere is thinner so less ultra-violet (UV) radiation is filtered out before it hits you, also the snow reflects sunlight back up at you, giving a double dose of UV even on cloudy days. Late in the season, the weather can be as warm as a summer in the UK and the sun is out for longer so wearing sun cream is even more important. Bright red and white sunglasses lines and pealing noses are not a good look in the bars and on sun terraces at après-ski!
8. Don’t let your friends or family try to teach you.
A lot of people go on holidays organised by friends and/or family who can already ski or snowboard. If you are one of them don’t, DON’T, DO NOT let them teach you, it is a fantastic opportunity to ruin your holiday. Very quickly, they’ll become bored of teaching you what they think they can remember as being the basics and will drag you to the top of a slope with the words, “you’ll be fine”. You won’t! If you don’t hurt yourself, you’ll probably be so freaked out by the experience you probably won’t want to go back on the hill.
Having spent all the time effort and energy of getting yourself to the mountains to enjoy learning a new sport, don’t skimp on learning that new sport! It takes years of effort and dedication to pass all the training and examination to become a fully qualified instructor, capable of delivering high quality instruction and keeping people safe in an ever-changing mountain environment. If the instructors you see on the hill make teaching look easy that’s because of all those years of training and experience.
9. Get lessons!
The best way to learn to ski or snowboard is to book yourself lessons with a ski school like SnowLimits. An experienced, patient and fun instructor can help you enjoy your first snow sport holiday, whether you are skiing or snowboarding.
The ideal option is to have private lessons. Booking a private lessons guarantees the focus is on you, the learner. With 100% attention from your instructor, you gain 100% of learning time which will speed up the learning process and allow you to get the most out of your first time.
Group lessons offer incredible value for money, however do check on the numbers that will be in the group. SnowLimits keep group sizes to a minimum to guarantee that you get the maximum. Because of the small groups the can focus on each and every person throughout the week, improve confidence and meet individual needs, while still ensuring that everyone gets the most from their lessons.
10. Have Fun!
We look forward to seeing you out here soon
So you’ve committed to taking up a snow sport!? Fantastic! Regardless of how old you are, how fit you are or who you think should be skiing or snowboarding this could be one of the best decisions you will ever make. Skiing and snowboarding are great fun and a fantastic way to experience being in the mountains, which is a truly magical place.
However, as a novice what do you need to know? What kind of things should you be doing to make the most of it? Here is part 1 of our top 10 tips to get the most out of your first ski or snowboard holiday.
1. Pick your sport
Who are you!? Are you a skier? A snowboarder? A telemarker!?!? While you might have already decided what you want to do it’s worth considering the other options. All snow sports are basically just sliding about on snow, however they all have their pros and cons, so consider what you want out of your holiday before you commit.
Skiing will allow the quickest way for you to get off the nursery slopes and begin to get around the mountain. With lessons, you should be able to ski on all the green runs in Les 3 Vallees by the end of your first week and in many cases the blues too! The downside, if there is one, is that skis can seem a little heavy and clumsy to carry around and the boots can sometimes feel a little awkward until you get the hang of it after a few days. However, as anything it just takes a little practice for it to start to feel easier and more natural.
While we all have different fitness levels, the first few days of learning to snowboard are physically harder work than skiing. It is trickier to balance on one edge rather than two, so getting the basics of snowboarding may take a little longer. Until you are comfortable balancing on that one edge at speed, long flat areas can be tricky to negotiate without the convenience of ski poles. With the blending of fashions and the rise of people like Candide Thovex and James “Woodsy” Woods throwing down and going viral it’s getting harder to say that snowboarding is cooler than skiing. The good news is a board is lighter and more convenient to carry around the resort and the boots are generally more comfortable (like a big pair of slippers). Therefore, should you venture to the bar straight from the slopes snowboard boots are also far easier to dance on the tables in!
2. Try it out
The sooner you can get from a wobbly legged start and become familiar with your equipment, the more fun you will have on holiday. One of the best ways to speed up the process is to visit one of indoor real snow centres in the UK before you go.
These giant fridges make their own snow, and provide a good surface on which to make your first turns. The slopes might be short and the view won’t be as good, but on your first few days in resort you won’t be on anything much bigger. The more time you can get on snow the better, so think about booking a one day course or a set of lessons. Most centres provide all the equipment too, including clothes.
3. Get fit
Snow sports are exactly that; sports! Skiing and snowboarding use muscles you probably don’t use in everyday life, no matter how sporty you are. Prep for a summer holiday might be to go on a diet and get a spray tan to look good by the pool on day one. Prep for spending a week doing sport should be a little different. The last thing you want is to go on a ski holiday, only to find you are too tired to get out of bed on day 2. The best way to make sure you have the energy to enjoy your experience is to try and get in shape before you hit the slopes.
Non gym-bunnies, don’t panic. There are lots of ways to get your heart rate up and strengthen those leg muscles in your everyday routine; take the stairs instead of a lift, or cycle to work instead of driving for instance. Your holiday won’t be a fitness boot camp but getting your body ready to be more active will allow you to enjoy yourself for longer.
4. Wear the right clothes
“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes.” Kinda; if you wear the right clothing, you’ll be able to stay safe and comfortable in almost any weather. As you plan for your first experience in the mountains, make sure you pack the right stuff.
A layer system is often the best. Start with a base layer that’s designed to keep you dry by wicking sweat away from your body. The mid layers are designed to keep you warm by regulating your body temperature. The outer layer should be waterproof and windproof to keep the cold out and the warm in. For your first trip getting everything you need can seem eye wateringly expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.
Base layers are pretty much any wicking layer. The wicking technology in the top you wear to the gym for instance will work just as well doing sport on a mountain. The same goes for your mid layers, sweat shirts, hoodies and fleeces you already have will be fine. Jackets and snow pants of high end, big name, snow sport brands can be bought cheaply(ish) online and in discount chains such as TKMaxx. Another way to save is to avoid the big brand names altogether and shop in somewhere like Decathlon or buy out of season and in the sales. If you can, try and borrow things from friends which will help keep the costs down too. Don’t skimp on socks, there’s no need to spend £150 on a pair of heated ski socks (yes they exist), but using an old pair of football socks won’t cut it. You want good fitting socks with minimal seems and re-enforced areas on the shin, heel and toe, this will minimise rubs, hotspots and blisters from boots.
5 Rent your kit.
When you’re excited about a new thing, it can be tempting to rush out and buy the latest shiny kit; try to resist this! No matter what anyone tells you, rent equipment for at least your first time. It is very possible that you could end up buying inappropriate or poorly sized kit and have the added hassle and cost of getting it to resort.
The benefit of renting equipment is three-fold. Firstly, it gives you a chance to try before you buy and you can get a feel for what you do and don’t like about certain equipment. Secondly, most rental shops have new equipment each season which means that you won’t get stuck with outdated kit. Thirdly, as you improve, you can rent higher performance equipment. You don’t learn to drive in a Ferrari, similarly you don’t want to learn to ski or snowboard on super stiff, high performance equipment.
Keep an eye out for Part Deux coming up soon……………………………………….
Why You Should Head to Courchevel This Winter?
ARTICLE BY ALPS2ALPS TRANSFER COMPANY
If you’re looking to spoil yourself this ski season, this area of the French Alps is the ideal location.
Whether you’re looking to brush up your skiing skills, spend time with family and friends or relax and unwind with some of the best après-ski in Europe, Courchevel has it all. Still not sure? Well, we’re here to tell you why you should head to Courchevel this winter.
Let’s start with the most deciding factor when picking a ski resort – the snow! When looking for snow reliability, Courchevel guarantees it. It helps that over 80% of the ski area is located above 1800m and the majority of runs are north facing. But on top of that, there are 600 snow cannons across the ski area, covering 60% of the runs, with more being added every winter!
Resting in the French Alps as part of the Three Valleys, Courchevel is the largest ski resort in the world linking five villages. Easily accessible by ski transfer! But what makes this destination such a hot spot for ski enthusiasts like us?Courchevel has a lot to offer with exhilarating runs of 2,738 meters, at the highest point Saulire there’s an expansive space to both excite skilled skiers and to help beginners find their feet. The resort is also renowned for its famous lift system to get guests to the highest peaks of the area, fewer waiting times and more fun! Taking a step back from the location, let’s go deeper on why you should come join us here this winter…
Of course, the main activity to this stunning resort is the skiing, stated by ‘Inghams’ travel agency as the ‘Sahara of the snow.
Courchevel is the most extensive and varied sector of the whole Three Valleys, with everything from long gentle greens to steep couloirs, to suit all skiers. Must-ski runs in the Courchevel valley are racy Rochers in Moriond, the wide black Suisse, curvaceous blue Biollay and La Tania’s very own Folyères! The Family Park in Courchevel is perfect for children looking for a little air. It has small, medium, and large kickers, jumps, and even an airbag to test out your new tricks!
Courchevel is one of the most exclusive ski areas in the world and this reflects throughout the price of accommodation. In the whole of France, eight hotels have been awarded the incredibly rare six-star rating – two of which are located in Courchevel. On top of this, there’s an exciting range of luxury chalets to choose from.Don’t be surprised if you see some celebrities hanging around too!
While skiing is the main attraction, the restaurants are what really completes the experience. Courchevel is known for their fine dining and Michelin star rated eateries, more than any other ski resorts. There are more than 70 restaurants in total and 7 Michelin starred, 3 of which have been awarded two Michelin stars. So, you know you’re in good hands!
Our favourite restaurant is the Le Bel Air, located on the pistes of Courchevel 1650, celebrating French culinary culture. Franco-Savoie food, a Chalet Alpage atmosphere mixed with great service make this a firm favourite with new guests and returning visitors alike. Don’t just take our word for it, you can find glowing reviews for this scrumptious restaurant on TripAdvisor.