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Should I Opt For A Self-Catering Ski Chalet?
The Top Five Glaciers For Skiing
Summer’s officially here, but that doesn’t mean you have to throw your skis to the back of the cupboard. While it’s normally considered a winter sport, many of Europe’s glaciers offer skiing all year round; perfect if you’re after some fun on the slopes in the morning and an endless list of activities to partake in after lunch.
Many visitors fail to realise that the head of the valley here is home to a massive glacier. Return during the summer months and you’ll find a totally different side to Meribel. Fancy a summer activity holiday? The dramatic landscapes make the perfect environment to go hiking, mountain biking or horse riding in the afternoon.
Les Deux Alpes, France
Just a couple of hours from Lyons, Les Deux Alpes is sandwiched between Brian?on and Grenoble with a spectacular glacier allowing you to ski up to 3570m. Up on the top, you can find the off-piste playground of La Grave. Throughout the summer months, Les Deux Alpes has a famously huge terrain park on its glacier.
Zermatt’s Theodul glacier, just falling under the shadow of Matterhorn, remains open for die-hard skiers all summer. In fact, they go so far as to offer an “absolute snow guarantee”. Pistes on the glacier are graded red and blue and, although not staggeringly steep, have the best snow in Zermatt. There is a year-round half pipe on the glacier, as well as skiing.
Particularly popular with race teams for summer training, Hintertux is a small village to the furthest side of the Tux valley. The glacier here is said to be the steepest in Austria and can be accessed via lifts which are a short walk from the village (around 15 minutes). The glacier is pretty challenging and boasts the highest World Cup half-pipe in Europe.
This is the biggest glacier in Austria, less than half an hour away from the resort of Neustift. Skiers can be prepared to ride up to a height of 3200m, relishing the breathtaking views from the top. Don’t forget your panoramic camera.
If you’re yearning for the slopes, don’t wait ‘til the winter. Book your summer ski holiday today with Alpine Infusion, the best chalet company in the Three Valleys.
How To Keep Your Kids Entertained On The Slopes
There’s nothing like a family skiing holiday; quality time with the kids, fresh air, exhilarating fun and swapping adventurous tales at the end of each day.
However, any parent knows that children aren’t the easiest people in the world to keep entertained. It’s therefore important to plan ahead; how are you going to keep them happy, safe and warm on the slopes?
First and foremost, your child must be kept warm. It’s impossible for them to have the times of their lives if they feel like their hands are going to fall off from frostbite. Make sure you invest in all the right clothing – in particular, good thermal underwear and gloves or mittens specifically designed for skiing. Ski suits can be warmer than separates, but are harder to remove if your child needs to use the toilet regularly.
If your child is old enough, book them into morning ski lessons rather than trying to teach them yourself. This will avoid tantrums (from both sides!) and means you can ‘slope off’ to improve your own skiing. You can always continue skiing with them in the afternoon or partake in other activities – energy level-depending.
If you have a baby or toddler in tow, you will really need to make use of the resort’s crèche if you want to ski at all. Check before you go that there will be English-speaking carers around. Your little ones will love spending a morning or afternoon with their new best friends.
Make sure you bring some snacks to the slopes to prevent hunger pangs in between meals. Fruit and granola bars are ideal as they will give your kids an energy boost to keep them going.
Nothing beats a good old fashioned snowball fight. Take some time out from your hardcore skiing sessions to simply spend time with your kids in the snow. Just don’t get too competitive!
If your little monkeys aren’t old enough to ski (or they just fancy a change), sledging is a great way to while away an hour (or four). There’s always good sledging to be found on the lower slopes, but be warned: while it’s highly entertaining for the kids, it’s a mighty workout for the adults when you have to keep dragging the sledge back up the slope.
Don’t forget, there’s plenty of fun to be had after the skiing day is over. From swimming and table tennis to pool and table football, your kids will never be short of things to keep them amused.
Looking to take your family to a luxury ski chalet in Meribel or Courchevel? Contact Alpine Infusion today and get the (snow)ball rolling.
3 Valleys Ski Area & Ski Lift Developments
The coming season will see a host of minor improvements to ski runs and ‘fun’ areas rather than the addition of new lifts. The main Doron piste has been widened, making access from the upper part of the resort to the main Chaudanne lift area safer and easier for all.
Whether you are a speed merchant or blue-run skier, don’t forget to try out last winter’s World Cup Downhill slope where you can compare yourself to some of the world’s top skiers. This blue run was formerly two runs: le Grand Duc and Escargot, it has now been renamed Le Roc de Fer and has been reshaped for more enjoyment. The Grand-Duc piste underwent improvements so it now has a more progressive gradient and less abrupt drops in preparation for the 2015 World Ski Cup. The improvements will also be enjoyed by those who are not champion racers!
No more picnicking in freezing weather, a new relaxation and rest area has been created at la Chaudanne in the Saulire Express building. Called “The Lounge”, this new rest area will be the ideal place to eat your picnic in peace or simply relax.
Méribel will now also offer even more entertainment for the young (and young at heart) in the various fun areas. The Moon Wild piste at the beginners’ Altiport area has been reshaped to make it more easily accessible. The themed piste also now has even more life-size animal models meaning children can have fun on skis while learning about mountain animals.
The Actimel mini-snow park has now closed but instead children will enjoy the new Inuit Village on the Louveteaux piste where they can try out various Inuit-themed games.
Over at Méribel’s Moon Park, there are even more features. You can practice freestyle with less risk of bruises thanks to the new steps, box and fun box which are made from foam rubber. Alternatively, why not indulge your competitive streak at the Moon Park Boardercross? This has been enlarged so you can now race down it in teams of four.
For even more thrills, expert skiers shouldn’t miss Méribel’s most notorious black run, the Vertical Xperience. The start of this piste is now fully completed, making it more accessible than ever before. Don’t be fooled by the easier start - this couloir is 37-degrees in places, making it the steepest run in the 3 Valleys after Couchevel’s Grand Couloir. The less daring can watch the experts tackling this impressive slope from the top of Saulire Express gondola lift.
The new Saulire Express gondola has now been completed, and the new Chaudanne departure station is of a modern, spacious and airy design. Now the ascent to the summit of Tournier couloir will take only 12 minutes, instead of the previous 22 minutes, and all in great comfort. The ESF offices and the ski lockers are still housed in this new building.
The descent to the Chaudanne via Bourbon Busset piste has also been made more accessible. This piste is now less of a challenge, especially where it merges with the bottom of the Mauduit run.
Courchevel, La Tania & Méribel-Mottaret
In Courchevel and La Tania many of the improvements have been to the ski lifts and pistes.
The new and improved Biollay 6 seater Detachable Chairlift is 1690 m long and has a 365m of vertical rise. It is also now a more powerful ski lift catering for a very busy part of the ski area, transporting 3300 people per hour instead of 2500, it has had a 32% increase in capacity. The lift has improved greatly with better comfort when loading due to a special positioning carpet and arriving at a higher altitude the lift now gives more skiing options than before.
Petit-Moriond Mini Cable Car is 145m long and has a vertical rise of 47m. It has replaced the 3 Vallées fixed chairlift, ready for the development of the surrounding land. The lift gives quick, free and easy access to the centre Courchevel-Moriond for both skiers and pedestrians, and can transport 520 people per hour.
There is also now a manmade snow on the Cruex piste, to guarantee snow cover on this much loved and appreciated red run. It now has a total of 46 snowmaking cannons across the 4.6km long piste.
The Cospillot piste also has the addition of 12 snow cannons on the 1.8km long piste. This means there will be guaranteed snow cover on the piste giving skiers access to the residential areas of Courchevel 1850.
In Meribel Mottaret the Plattières 10 Seat Telecabine now has a 60% increase in speed with a total time of 9 minutes and a 40% increase in capacity transporting 2800 people per hour instead of 2000. This powerful lift is considered to be the backbone of the 3 Vallees and guarantees more skiing thanks to the reduced transport time. The lift has a vertical rise of 734m and is 3178m long.
The new Ourson Magic Carpet replaces the old rope pull making it easier for beginners, with free access this 60m long lift has improved the area for beginners.
The Martre Piste has been reshaped to optimize the snow cover as this is piste is a vital part of the Méribel-Mottaret skiing area. The reshaping makes the return to resort easier from Les Menuires & Val Thorens for beginner and intermediate skiers.
The excellent Park AREA 43 is one of the best parks in France and has a half pipe built to European standards. The snow park is accessible for beginners, intermediates and experts alike.
After the development of the Magnestick-Kid (the back protection which «sticks» kids to the chairlifts), the success of Security Patrols (1st piste patrol in a French resort), Courchevel, Méribel-Mottaret and La Tania strengthen their leadership in security matters by the extension, to all their chairlifts, of the Magnestick-Bar (system that locks the security bar).