Trip Report elSpike's French SkiSki in the time of Covid - Les Trois Vallées

Kenzie

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Oh wait. You are saying it is legal here if with a parent! Good to know.
Yes, but when you get to 3Vs it's best to ask before ordering - many bar/restaurants in ski resorts play safe & have 18 minimum, but don't ask - don't get. If you can find some Brit owned establishments (shouldn't be too difficult) you'll also avoid any translation problems; given the travel ban they'll also be happy to see you - for up to date recommendations ask on here:-

 

elSpike

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On the left, on the way from Annecy to Bourg, there is a chateau on a peninsula on the left that is drop dead gorgeous. If you are driving yourself it is worth a stop.
We are outsourcing all of the driving and transport this trip. Living in Singapore we don’t have a car (we do have 2 motorcycles though ;)) so I’ve had about 20 days driving experience in the last 10 years. Not worth the stress for me. We used a mob called Skicab for the Annecy to Reberty leg and will use the same coming off the mountain to Chambray in a couple of weeks. I’ll talk more about that service in tonight’s post.

Yes, but when you get to 3Vs it's best to ask before ordering - many bar/restaurants in ski resorts play safe & have 18 minimum, but don't ask - don't get. If you can find some Brit owned establishments (shouldn't be too difficult) you'll also avoid any translation problems; given the travel ban they'll also be happy to see you - for up to date recommendations ask on here:-

Thanks. Will keep that in mind. I'm not sure he wants to drink all that much so I think it will be the odd low key wine with dinner or the like.
 
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elSpike

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Day 10 (part 1) - Annecy to Les Menuires - ski day!
1850m - 83cm - Soft

Today was the day you have all been waiting for, and old unker spikey has all the goss. Here we go.

With an 8am departure planned we were up early again. Showers were had, rubbish was taken to far away bins (we are good Airbnb guests) and more early morning pastries were acquired. All packed up we headed downstairs where after a few minutes our driver from Skicab flagged us down.

Skicab (https://www.skicab.com/) is a private transfer service in the French alps region doing point to point ferrying of people and their ski gear. It’s a pretty straightforward site, and all communications were quick and easy. We booked our connections a few months ago and received an sms and an email yesterday with a reminder of the trip and contact details of the driver.​

The driver had come on foot as the Annecy markets had precluded him from driving all the way to our apartment. We walked our gear over and loaded up his Mercedes Sprinter van and were off.

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The drive up was pretty uneventful. Great scenery. A quiet and careful driver. Total time was about 1.45 so we arrived at Ours Blanc just before 10am.

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Having arrived early I expected that we would have to just drop our luggage but after a conversation with Lauralie at reception she was able to make one of our two rooms available after a short 15 minute wait on the terrace.

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Dropping our gear we walked 10 minutes down to Absolu Sports, the hotel’s partner hire shop, to sort skis. The walk down is a little convoluted but the hotel had a small map they shared which made it pretty easy.

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Oliver from Absolu took incredibly good care of us. We’d rented skis and boots from his website about 2 months ago indicating the high proficiency of the boys. He had replied back via email saying he had just the thing.

When we arrived he paired them with brand new Black Crows Chamonix Jr skis. These are 90mm beasts that the boys had an absolute blast on. They make them work a little harder but they are super fast, playful and most importantly for a 90mm waist, catch easily and get over into the turn.

The also tested our Mindbender bindings for us and reset dins after a long two years of storage eased off.

To top it all off they delivered the skis up to our ski locker (ours too not just the rented ones) and will pick them up on our last day.

As it was now 11.30 we sat down to lunch at the restaurant next door: Au Petite Rendezvous. This immediately led to us returning to absolu sports to buy some sunglasses as we’d forgotten to pack ours!

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As is tradition for elSpike ski reports I managed to grab snaps of the menu too. Not cheap!

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The food was delicious and very large servings.

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Caution long rant ahead
After food we needed to walk down to the ticket office in Les Bruyères to sort out passes. This was an exercise of many frustrations. Firstly the first ski pass office was closed with a mildly helpful sign saying to go to the next office near Speed Mountain which is apparently one of those metal luge things about 200m further through a shops and restaurant district.

We found the counter and spoke to a First Lady about getting the Libre pass (basically a pay as you use pass that is optimal for 8-21 day stays). She was helpful in saying we needed to apply for that on the website but that if we did that she would call her boss and issue the passes on the spot, similar to how Falls does it. We then stood to the side while I filled out all the details for each of us, took selfies for the pass, and submitted all the credit card things. This took no more than 6-7 minutes, but in that time the First Lady had gone on a break and a new one had appeared. When I showed her the completed application she looked at me like I was holding up a dead rat.

I explained that the previous lady had said we could do this and she would sort it but the new lady was having none of it. She insisted that it was impossible to get same day and that I was crazy to think they could have the pass ready now. After a few rounds of back and forth she said that I was welcome to wait until 3 when the other lady would be back but that she couldn’t help me until tomorrow.

The whole time she was very rude and officious and was implying that I should know all of this and why was I bothering her. It was frustrating.

End rant

Since then we have realised that there isn’t really a way to ski down to that office from our hotel without needing to take at least one lift so we will probably have to walk down the first thing then walk all the way back up before skiing. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I’ve emailed the pass people to see if they can change the pick up location to one we can get to on skis but I don’t know if they will reply before 9 tomorrow.

That sorted (sort of) we returned to the hotel via some lovely paths.

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And an incredibly fun named store!
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They have to know right? Right?

Ill continue this post in the next post so I can add more photos.

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elSpike

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Day 10 (part 2) - Annecy to Les Menuires - ski day!
1850m - 83cm - Soft

Back at the hotel we pulled on our ski gear and trapsed down to the locker room where we found all of the ski gear exactly as Oliver had promised. Unfortunately I needed to go back to reception to get the key to the locker (forgot I hadn’t received it yet!) but on the plus side Loralie let me know our other room was ready too.

Ours Blanc is a ski in/out hotel with one path in and one path out. This is where we learned that it would have been better to have our ski passes collected from the main Les Menuires ski pass office as the path out leads right there.

We purchased a 4 hour pass to get us through the afternoon from one of the ticket vending machines. It was pretty simple but the difference between a day pass and a half day is minimal when buying from the machines.

I’ll let the picture do a lot of the talking.

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These were cool little bucket things that you stand in like a hot air balloon. It was mostly used by boarders.
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Some notes on the afternoon. Both the Les Menuires 6 chair and the Doran 4 chair stopped fairly frequently. One stoppage with us on it lasted for about 10-15 minutes. There are no announcements on what is happening when this happens. I’m not sure if it was just today or if it happens frequently but they were longer than normal “someone fell over” stops.

The snow is a little thin in places with bare ice showing through. The region hasn’t had much snow other than man made since 11 December so it’s in need. Next forecasted natural snow is Christmas Eve. That said there are snow guns everywhere here. I’m looking forward to seeing it tomorrow morning.

By 4pm the shadow of the mountains started encroaching on the valley making it more difficult to read the snow so we stopped slightly early and returned to the hotel by about 4.20ish.

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Our hotel has a heated indoor/ outdoor pool which we partook in with much delight. The spa has a couple of saunas as well which helped too.

We went down to the bar before dinner too. I’ll take more photos of the rest of the hotel over the course of our stay. It’s outstanding and each section deserves it’s own bit.

There’s a lovely fireplace in the lounge/reception bar and there are lots of christmasy touches that are so nice. Drinks are about €10-€12 each so similar to Singapore prices.
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Dinner with the half board rate we have is a buffet affair. It’s extensive and has a huge variety but I got distracted by the first dish so I forgot to take more pictures.

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Wild boar and chestnut in a crème sauce over pasta. I’m going to get very fat here.

See you all tomorrow!

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elSpike

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Oh also. If it isn’t apparent. I’m doing all these posts on my phone so I apologise for all the weird autocorrects and typos. I’ll clean them all up when we get home (or not if I’m lazy). I think you all get the gist of what I’m trying to say most of the time.

[EDIT: I am now cleaning them all up in June of 2022... So lazy is the correct word]

Here’s a bonus photo with my new sunnies for your trouble.

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Olgreg

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Gee spikie you’ve wrecked my self discipline. I’ve spent two years repressing thoughts of skiing overseas, but the thought of skiing a long run down to a terrace restaurant with a menu like that hollowed me out. I see even your elder ol’mate was smiling :) good luck to you all
 

Kash

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Wonder if this trip will be a net weight gain or loss given the amount of skiing your doing, offset by the sheer volume of pastries and amazing food you guys are putting away!

I read about the new fastest gondola in the world thats just opened and thought of you: La Masse lift in Les Menuires. 1k vert. amazing. Sure fire way to beat up the legs.
 

Tagalong

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Sounds great! I am so over the Covid restrictions. I usually ski the Dolomiti's around Sella Ronda each February.
I have been skiing for about 50 years, even tried Heli skiing (twice) in my younger years, I have skied many places all over the planet & for now I just love the Mountains in & around Alta Badia. Granted, I prefer piste skiing these days, preservation for the next 20 years left of skiing is high on my agenda. None the less on this one (1) ski lift pass one can ski over 1400 klms, the Marmolada Glacier run (32 Ks with a 1820 verticle drop) is amazing, then one can go ski Hidden Valley out of Lagazuoi, surely one of the worlds most spectacular & scenic ski run (7.5 Ks)

I have skied this vast area 3 times & if it is at all possible I plan to be there from the 20th February 2022 for 2 -4 weeks. I would welcome sharing some fun with fellow skiers.
 

Boodwah

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Wonder if this trip will be a net weight gain or loss given the amount of skiing your doing, offset by the sheer volume of pastries and amazing food you guys are putting away!

I read about the new fastest gondola in the world thats just opened and thought of you: La Masse lift in Les Menuires. 1k vert. amazing. Sure fire way to beat up the legs.
La Masse area is enormous, and views are incredible from the too but we used to avoid it bc of the dysfunctional old lifts that used to get huge Qs. So new lift is terrific.
Some of the best skiing when the snow starts to thin out is the 4th Valley of the 3Vs, Orelle, which is the highest point of the entire 3Vs.
 

CarveMan

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La Masse area is enormous, and views are incredible from the too but we used to avoid it bc of the dysfunctional old lifts that used to get huge Qs. So new lift is terrific.
Some of the best skiing when the snow starts to thin out is the 4th Valley of the 3Vs, Orelle, which is the highest point of the entire 3Vs.
I remember back in 1998 when I skied from Le Praz to Orelle and back it felt like we had been to the moon!
 

Occasional Visitor

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I remember back in 1998 when I skied from Le Praz to Orelle and back it felt like we had been to the moon!
I remember in 1987 when I skied from Courchevel 1650 to just Val T and back it it felt like we had been to the moon ! It was only possible to squeeze in just a single chair at VT before having to head back. No Cote Brune, no express chairs. But such an adventure, Nowadays you can do it all before lunch !
 

CarveMan

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I remember in 1987 when I skied from Courchevel 1650 to just Val T and back it it felt like we had been to the moon ! It was only possible to squeeze in just a single chair at VT before having to head back. No Cote Brune, no express chairs. But such an adventure, Nowadays you can do it all before lunch !
Yes I had another ski in Courchevel about 3 or 4 years ago and we did a pretty effortless lap of all the main areas in a short-ish day.
 
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Kenzie

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La Masse area is enormous, and views are incredible from the too but we used to avoid it bc of the dysfunctional old lifts that used to get huge Qs. So new lift is terrific.
Some of the best skiing when the snow starts to thin out is the 4th Valley of the 3Vs, Orelle, which is the highest point of the entire 3Vs.
Orelle - highest point in 3Vs???
 
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davekinkead

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Very.

But I subscribe to the doctrine that any snow under the planks is good snow under the planks.

Snow's gotten really sketchy over the last few days this side of the Tarentaise with the holiday influx scraping it down to ice daily.

But now you get to enjoy the fine art of French piste grooming ... I swear the pistenbully drivers here must think they are all Piscassos grooming random shapes and textures into the runs. Keeps you on your toes!
 
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elSpike

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Day 11 (part 1) - Tour de Les Menuires - ski day
1850m - 87cm - Hard as hell

Firstly an apology. This is going to be a photo heavy post. If you are on some sort of limited data plan, this post is not for you.

The view from our room at Hotel Ours Blanc is pretty great during the day. An added bonus is that we have the perfect view from our bed to watch the groomers doing their thing in the predawn light.

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The beds here are nice and firm so a decent nights sleep was had, but I woke multiple times completely parched and had to go drink a glass of water. This exacerbated the getting up early problem. Mountain air dries me out.

The half board here is outstanding. Breakfast is a buffet again with hot, cold, salad, cereal, cheese, and a large amount of breads to choose from.

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I’ll never get tired of looking at the view from the table either.

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After yesterday’s kerfuffle with the passes we really didn’t want to walk down to Speed Mountain to pick up the passes so I tried calling the ticketing line but kept getting the office closed machine. At 8.30am I tried one last time before we started walking and got through to a very nice lady who was happy to print them at the Base of the Les Menuires lift. She was even nice enough to explain where I could come to pick them up without having to line up. Score!

The locker and ski area of the hotel is pretty typical of most lodges. Boot drying facilities, cramped lockers in rows, narrow seats placed right in the way of people trying to walk past with their gear. You know. They usual.

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Two rooms = two lockers.

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Exiting the locker room you turn right to a cat track that leads straight on the Montagnette green run that ends right where our tickets were.

Montagnette is a windy flat run with infinite numbers of ski school kids and very new snow sports enthusiasts. We’ve commented that it reminds us of Wombats Ramble at Falls a couple of times now!

Pass pick up was easy and within a couple of minutes we were headed up to the top of Roc 1 gondola to explore Les Menuires.

Of note is that masks are required in all build up areas (lines, restaurants) and strongly recommended at other times too. Staff are very quick to politely ask you to pull up you mask at all times. There are also helpful reminders all over the place.
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It was the very definition of a Blue Bird day, but again as there has been no snow and -8°C temps overnight the morning runs were rock hard.

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Around 10.30ish we stopped in at Roc7 at the top of the ROC1 gondola for hot chocolates, fries and a bathroom break. They have a great outdoor bar set up in addition to the indoor restaurant.

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I didn’t grab the menu of the restaurant but the snack shack had these.

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I really am in my happy place.

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More skiing in the upper reaches of Les Menuires after that. The views didn’t stop putting on a show.

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We also found a very fun lift that shared a name with my wife (well a shortened one. No one really calls her that except me)

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And amazingly Les Menuires has a “Inevitable” campaign so we got a pick of this too.

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By lunch we had made it to the top of Col del La Chambre

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And a short ski down from there we stopped for lunch at L’alpage, a small and relatively quiet restaurant. It was quite cold in the wind there though with Mr 13 eating his omelette wearing gloves.

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I’ve hit the 20 image limit so this will continue next post.
 
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elSpike

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Day 11 (part 2)- Tour de Les Menuires - ski day
1850m - 87cm - Hard as hell

L’alpage pics…

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I’m an Oakley boy. (Mod 5 + Airbrake XL + GoPro 7 Silver

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The remainder of the afternoon was mostly skiing top to bottom from Col Dela Chambre to Les Bruyeres and back again.

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About 3pm or legs started getting tired and a few of us made some minor mistakes with some little tumbles so it was time to head in. Wombat’s Combat I mean Montagnette lived up to it’s name with tiny boarders falling left and right.

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We finished up a tile tired but very happy!

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(Outfit photo just for @Hyst ’s pleasure)

After a small lie down the adults went down to Reberty where there is a small Sherpa grocery store to grab some snacks. There is a lot of black ice in the roads and paths so caution was advised.

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It’s open at odd hours so do check before you go.

The walk back in the fading light was very pretty.

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I’ll post dinner pics later.

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elSpike

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Dinner was again outstanding.

Highlights were a rabbit stew, rare beef slices, fish with chorizo and pepper sauce, fresh prawns and home made tartare and two soups, cauliflower and courgette.

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Then back to the room to watch another episode of Witcher before bed.
 

Tanuki

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Dinner was again outstanding.

Highlights were a rabbit stew, rare beef slices, fish with chorizo and pepper sauce, fresh prawns and home made tartare and two soups, cauliflower and courgette.

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Then back to the room to watch another episode of Witcher before bed.
Superb!
 

Kenzie

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Sep 23, 2019
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elSpike,
If you are over Meribel way could I request a photo of The Ronnie (The Rond Point bar/restaurant - a short ski below the mid-station of the Rhodos lift on the Saulire side).
Just to inspire your teenagers - I worked and lived there season 96/97. A true ski in ski out location! And great fun to work there, too.

It has changed hands since my day, but the ethos seems the same:-


"Party in your ski boots Live music every day
Whether you're looking to celebrate a fantastic day on the slopes with a quiet beer or two or party in your ski boots, Meribel has some great bars to take care of all your apres-ski needs. Here are a few of our recommendations:

Jack's Bar
Jack's is a great spot for apres, just off the Chaudanne in Meribel centre it has with live music every afternoon from 5-7pm and a happy hour just beforehand to warm you up.
www.jacksbarmeribel.com

La Terrasse/Lodge Du Village
La Terrasse in Meribel Village, offers a daily happy hour, live music most days of the week, cocktails, live sport, bar snacks all day, lovely staff and we do minibus pickups from there!
www.lodgeduvillage.com

Le Rond Point "the Ronnie"
The Ronnie is one of our favourite apres venues. It is just off the piste below the mid-station of the Rhodos lift on the Saulire side and catches the sun on its terrace until late in the afternoon. You can apres here all afternoon but things really kick off when the bands or DJs start.

Folie Douce
The Folie specialises in its parties on the slopes which it does every afternoon between 3-5pm. DJs, musicians, dancers and champagne showers make it a pretty spectacular party.

La Tsaretta
Based in Les Allues, just a short walk from our chalets, apres is a fairly relaxed affair starting at 5pm."
 

elSpike

I am a Meat Popsicle
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Jul 28, 2015
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elSpike,
If you are over Meribel way could I request a photo of The Ronnie (The Rond Point bar/restaurant - a short ski below the mid-station of the Rhodos lift on the Saulire side).
Just to inspire your teenagers - I worked and lived there season 96/97. A true ski in ski out location! And great fun to work there, too.

It has changed hands since my day, but the ethos seems the same:-


"Party in your ski boots Live music every day
Whether you're looking to celebrate a fantastic day on the slopes with a quiet beer or two or party in your ski boots, Meribel has some great bars to take care of all your apres-ski needs. Here are a few of our recommendations:

Jack's Bar
Jack's is a great spot for apres, just off the Chaudanne in Meribel centre it has with live music every afternoon from 5-7pm and a happy hour just beforehand to warm you up.
www.jacksbarmeribel.com

La Terrasse/Lodge Du Village
La Terrasse in Meribel Village, offers a daily happy hour, live music most days of the week, cocktails, live sport, bar snacks all day, lovely staff and we do minibus pickups from there!
www.lodgeduvillage.com

Le Rond Point "the Ronnie"
The Ronnie is one of our favourite apres venues. It is just off the piste below the mid-station of the Rhodos lift on the Saulire side and catches the sun on its terrace until late in the afternoon. You can apres here all afternoon but things really kick off when the bands or DJs start.

Folie Douce
The Folie specialises in its parties on the slopes which it does every afternoon between 3-5pm. DJs, musicians, dancers and champagne showers make it a pretty spectacular party.

La Tsaretta
Based in Les Allues, just a short walk from our chalets, apres is a fairly relaxed affair starting at 5pm."
Absolutely brother. We are probably heading to Meribel tomorrow after a great day in Val Thorens today!
 

elSpike

I am a Meat Popsicle
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Jul 28, 2015
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Day 12 - Tour de Val Thorens - ski day
2300m - 100cm - pretty great in the sun - pretty crunchy in the shade

Team. Before we start I want to shout out to @blueandwhite and his excellent Austrian Adventure here. He’s a significantly better writer than me, but I hide that fact with more pictures :p

I can’t wait to read his next instalment!

But on to the reason you are all here. With no pressures on getting tickets or any of that nonsense we had a slightly slower start. It was nearly 7 when I finally woke properly (multiple wake ups to drink water not withstanding) to a cup of coffee from my angelic wife. Hotel Ours Blanc have a Nespresso machine in each room with a selection of off brand capsules that are replenished daily. Solid first coffee material.

I spent some time on the balcony drinking in the views. Spectacular!

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Breakfast was similar to yesterday with some slight changes. I think there is only so much variation you can make to a breakfast spread. I spent some quality time with beans and eggs if you were wondering.
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My family are plagued with a set of terrible inflictions in the form of geographic embarrassment (Wife) and apathy (teenage boys) so my role in our ski adventures, which has the excellent result in that I get to ski where I want pretty much at all times with little to no push back.

So today I decided we would head over to Val Thorens for the day.

Getting across to there is a simple affair of taking the Roc1 gondola, across to the Mont de La Chambre chair and taking a right turn. Val Thorens.

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Val Thorens village is simultaneously cute and much larger than I imagined while planning the trip.

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We essentially started inching our way east, doing a run or two on each lift.

We decided that our 10.30 hot chocolate stop would be at the top of the Funitel Peclet gondola at the unimaginatively named La Cafe Peclet.

The gondola is massive with at least 12 seats which means you cannot choose your travelling companions. We did not luck out and caught one with two separate groups of people with a lasse-faire attitude to masks. I asked one guy to pull his up because he was so close but no one else did. More alarmingly one of the kids pulled their mask down to cough heartily at one point. If we get Covid it’s that gondola ride’s fault.

Back to the story. The hot chocolates there are the standard spinning drink machine thing (like a slushy but hot) and are €5 each. It was so cold indoors that a skin started forming on the drinks within seconds.

Additionally the cafe had some very ecologically friendly toilets with signs everywhere explaining how they worked. What I took away though was if you are taller than 6’ you are shit out of luck for headroom!

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Maybe that’s part of the ecological process?

During the next session we thoroughly enjoyed the two runs off the Morraine lift. Some of the best skiing so far. Fast, well groomed, and not too busy!

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We stopped for lunch at the restaurant called “Winter” half way down on the Genepi run. They had both a sit down restaurant and a snack bar outside. We chose the snacks as they had paninis and burgers.

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The view was great too.

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Prices were reasonable with the exception of the fries. €8 for less than 150g of potato!

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I’ll do part 2 a little later as it’s dinner time here and I’m very hungry.
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elSpike

I am a Meat Popsicle
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Jul 28, 2015
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Day 12 (Part 2)- Tour de Val Thorens - ski day
2300m - 100cm - pretty great in the sun - pretty crunchy in the shade

Right as we were leaving the cafe a huge piece of ice slid off the roof and hit a guy on the table behind us. It must have been a 2-3kg shard and it clocked him right on his unhelmeted head! He was pretty dazed but seemed to shake it off pretty well. Lesson learned to keep our helmets on if we are near the eaves!

Unfortunately the Col lift was not running at the top of moraine but they had groomed it and put in a smooth path of you wanted to skin up.

Narrator: They did not…
(That one was for Kim - @Ozgirl )

For the afternoon I decided to lead us on a bit of a circuitous route back around to Menuires taking in the various lifts along the way.

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The pistes were mostly fairly empty in the higher reaches, but they got much more busy closer to each of the villages.

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So we tried to stay high as much as possible.

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We made it back to Menuires via the Cumin and Plan de L’eau runs which turned out to be our longest continuous run of the day at 8.3km.

Note: this was a genuine 8.3km rather than the overly exaggerated run at Suginohara in Myoko which is barely 6.5km as opposed to the advertised 8km! ಠ_ಠ

As we came back up the Reberty lift we were pleasantly surprised with the Sunny Express being open. This is a nice alternative to the Bruyères gondola and finishes just above our beloved Becca lift.

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At just after 3, we took one more run down from the top of Becca with the boys and dropped them off at the hotel.

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The wife and I then went all the way to the top of Roc2 to come down the back way to home. There is a lovely green run called La Viollette that comes along the valley giving great views of La Massé (no photos cause my GoPro ran out of battery)

All in we smashed the day:

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The evening was filled with drinks by the fire in the lounge with live music followed by dinner. Interestingly live music has been banned in Singapore since the beginning of covid so we haven’t actually seen anyone play in over 2 years!

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Dinner was again outstanding.

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We’ve now learned that anything prepared “Savoyard” just means it is accompanied by an embarrassing amount of cheese.

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And the dessert buffet was next level.

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One more thing… I forgot to post this one yesterday.

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My parents didn’t actually name me elSpike (lame I know). As some of you who I’ve met in person, or oddly sent socks to, know, my name is Patrick so of course I needed to pull my very best “rageing” pose on this course!

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CarveMan

Tremendous Slouch
Ski Pass
May 12, 2000
89,532
83,371
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Les Hautes Montagnes
aussieskier.com
raclette sausage... i'd be clogged for weeks.
Story time.

I was at a bar at Buller with the mum of a friend who was marrying a French man in Courchevel, she was telling me about the wedding and I said ‘we will be in France then, see ya there’.

Fast forward to the day, CG had flown in the day before but her bags were still in Geneva so we drove down from Cham to pick them up and then on to Annecy, had a lovely fondue lunch at a fancy restaurant on the lake and then headed up to Courchevel for the wedding.

We had no idea what we were heading in to, both families are relatively modest so we did not expect the 5-star extravaganza that was to follow. Davide is a Courchevel instructor and his main client owns a few hotels and restaurants and shouted them everything, we were in this amazing slope side restaurant and the food was incredible.

Anyway, dinner was, you guessed it, Fondue. 2 in a day. There were digestive and structural consequences.
 

elSpike

I am a Meat Popsicle
Ski Pass
Jul 28, 2015
1,017
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Yah yah, not only you like to flash you ski trousers, but now you have added brand new Swedish Army gloves.:thumbs:
It’s like you don’t read my posts :p

We got the Hestra gloves in Okushiga a couple of trips ago.
raclette sausage... i'd be clogged for weeks.
I have a very high cheese tolerance so things have been moving along fine in that department.

Story time.

I was at a bar at Buller with the mum of a friend who was marrying a French man in Courchevel, she was telling me about the wedding and I said ‘we will be in France then, see ya there’.

Fast forward to the day, CG had flown in the day before but her bags were still in Geneva so we drove down from Cham to pick them up and then on to Annecy, had a lovely fondue lunch at a fancy restaurant on the lake and then headed up to Courchevel for the wedding.

We had no idea what we were heading in to, both families are relatively modest so we did not expect the 5-star extravaganza that was to follow. Davide is a Courchevel instructor and his main client owns a few hotels and restaurants and shouted them everything, we were in this amazing slope side restaurant and the food was incredible.

Anyway, dinner was, you guessed it, Fondue. 2 in a day. There were digestive and structural consequences.
Ok. Maybe not that high a tolerance… I’d be more worried about the 12000cals than the smallest room consequences!
 

blueandwhite

One of Us
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May 26, 2016
1,230
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TQY
Awesome reports and photos mate, very enjoyable read. If you are writing these on your phone then that is mighty impressive! I bought my laptop!

Thanks also for the shout out, I'm not sure I can keep my writing up each day as it's really impinging on my cheese eating and beer drinking time but I felt I needed to balance my early ranty negativity out with a positive post...

Looks a bit crispier under foot and a bit busier where you are but weather looks stellar in those pictures. Keep the reports coming!
 

Hermannator

One of Us
Ski Pass
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Jul 9, 2010
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The 'Gul
Super! (As some French May say)...

I note you went down a run called ‘Genepi’... It is a flower that only grows above 3,000m in France/Italy. They make a liqueur out of it by the same name.

‘Top Gear top-tip’: Try it and bring a couple of bottles home if you like it. Difficult to get outside the alps.

And ‘La folie douce’: it’s a bit of a product, but try it too. Can then ski to ‘the Ronny’ from there.

Less than 24h until I depart for la France (destination Alpe d’Huez, Les Arcs) but still living vicariously, so keep the TRs coming!
 

elSpike

I am a Meat Popsicle
Ski Pass
Jul 28, 2015
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Day 13 (Part 1)- Meribel I think… nothing but flat light braille skiing.
1800m - 70cm - groomed “snow”

I did breakfast above so I’ll skip straight to the skiing.

Todays plan, much like Val Thorens yesterday, was to do a general touring visit to Meribel to get the lay of the land and see what’s what.

As you can see there is a bit of a walk to where the “ski in/ski out” part starts so we are definitely in need of some snow now.

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We decided to go up to the top of Mont de la Chambre to cross over at the highest point. For those of you with smaller humans in tow, there are these signs everywhere saying that you have to be accompanied if you are under 1.25m

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We’ve seen a few packs of feral kids though so it’s not strictly enforced.

Speaking of, we’ve started to see more and more groups of boarders sitting on the pistes in awkward spots. I though this was mostly a Japan thing but it turns out it’s pretty universal.

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The way up the mountain held a lot of promise. Slightly cloudy but still pretty good light, and a damp chill that promised snow layer in the day.

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The crew was pretty pumped.

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From the top we skied down towards Val Thorens a bit to get to the Lac de La Chambre run that takes you over to Meribel.

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There is a bit of a flattish section at the bottom of Lac de La Chambre so it’s best to turn into the Plan Des Mains chair to get some more altitude and get a run up for the slight traverse on to Mures Rouges.

Interestingly this chair had a sign indicating you shouldn’t wear a backpack. This was ok because I had forgotten my backpack in the room this morning. Phew.

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The whole area there is called Nature Secrete Tueda and there are wooden carvings all over the place. This coq looked very uncomfortable.

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The whole upper eastern side of Meribel was exceptionally beautiful though.

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Warning though. There is a run called Ours that says it is 5% in a triangle on map. What that means is that you will cruise along at about 1.2km/h with the occasional pole push needed. It’s achingly beautiful in the trees but man… It’s a once only run.

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10.40am meant it was time to stop for a hot chocolate. In a stunning twist, no one ordered a hot chocolate, with the boys and I getting cold drinks and my wife getting a Citron chaud (no honey with this one) from La Sittelle, which was mysteriously located at the midpoint of a run called DUN DUN DAHHH! Sittelle. (It was funny to me as I was typing it)

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We slowly crept our way further down the eastern side for the rest of the morning.

The Combes lift had a novel way of avoiding the ski scrum on approach to the gates. Nylon ropes. They were effective but made it a bit of a challenge to ensure we all stayed together on the lift.
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Just as the time went 12.30ish it started to lightly snow. More of a light frozen rain, but it was a start. But with it came a very overcast sky and a flattening of the light that made it almost impossible to see the snow ahead. I’ll show more in part two, but safe to say we had a very sketchy run down off the Tougnetts 2 chair that was more skiing by braille than anything and left my wife feeling very motion sick with the lack of clarity.
 
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MarzNC

One of Us
Ski Pass
Jun 8, 2017
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Raleigh, NC, USA
over50skifitness.blogspot.com
Speaking of, we’ve started to see more and more groups of boarders sitting on the pistes in awkward spots. I though this was mostly a Japan thing but it turns out it’s pretty universal.
Very universal. Happens all the time at American ski areas and ski resorts, especially when there is limited terrain or during school holidays when there are more beginners and intermediates on holiday together.
 

elSpike

I am a Meat Popsicle
Ski Pass
Jul 28, 2015
1,017
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Day 13 (Part 2)- Meribel I think… nothing but flat light braille skiing.
1800m - 70cm - groomed “snow”

Welcome back. We left our hero’s shaken after a challenging run in very bad light in the village Of Meribel Mottaret. Let’s pick up the story there.

After a run like that we decide it was definitely lunch time and that anywhere that had availability would be just fine with us.

Enter Chris Maran & Co Bistrot De Montaigne. This is a generic alpine pub that I’m sure has a decent apres band and half priced drinks, but for today it was a suitable place with outdoor tables, an extensive menu and close proximity to where we wanted to take off our skis.

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The menu had about 150 items on it and was at least 9 pages so I didn’t photograph it. I did, however, copy the link to the digital menu for those of you who like to look through for your particular dietary proclivities.

https://eqrcode.co/a/aGXjt5

We got a mix of sandwiches and burgers with my “American” being a very pale baguette with a hamburger patty cut in half (to make it baguette sized), a couple of pieces of lettuce and four sandwiches worth of ranch/thousand island dressing. It was sustaining but not at all delicious.

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After a sit and eat we made the decision to head back home as the light didn’t really look like it had improved.

The most direct route was to go down to Meribel proper to take the Tougnette 1&2 lifts and then cut across to Les Menuires so that’s what we did.

The green run from Mottaret to Meribel named Truite was lovely with the tree lining and gentle grade. The visibility was markedly improved as well giving us what would end up being false hope.

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As we started to climb the light flattened again.

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It progressively got worse till it was difficult to see the texture of the snow more than a meter in front of your skis.

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These images are lightly edited to give a little more clarity!

Light knees and a relaxed stance were the order of the day.

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This photo was probably the worst of it. Mr13 called out “it’s a problem when the sky and the ground are the same colour!”
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But in the end we made it back unscathed.

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I thought we might end up a little short but yet again the solidly long runs here kept our stats up.

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We’re finishing the afternoon with another couple of glasses of the local red, delivered expertly by the slightly worryingly omnipresent Nico, while we wait for what will no doubt be an exceptional dinner.

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Rumour has it, Christmas dinner will be a bit of an extravagant seafood bonanza. Fingers crossed!
 
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elSpike

I am a Meat Popsicle
Ski Pass
Jul 28, 2015
1,017
3,306
363
Very universal. Happens all the time at American ski areas and ski resorts, especially when there is limited terrain or during school holidays when there are more beginners and intermediates on holiday together.
I’m beginning to think that maybe it’s in the curriculum to pick the absolute most inconvenient spot, and then line up across the piste.
 

elSpike

I am a Meat Popsicle
Ski Pass
Jul 28, 2015
1,017
3,306
363
Tonight’s entertainment is a very mediocre magician / clown dude.

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He’s building balloon things in absolute silence. No banter at all. The kids from the various families are all looking around like “what the hell?”
 

Sbooker

One of Us
Ski Pass
Sep 28, 2015
3,938
6,284
363
Story time.

I was at a bar at Buller with the mum of a friend who was marrying a French man in Courchevel, she was telling me about the wedding and I said ‘we will be in France then, see ya there’.

Fast forward to the day, CG had flown in the day before but her bags were still in Geneva so we drove down from Cham to pick them up and then on to Annecy, had a lovely fondue lunch at a fancy restaurant on the lake and then headed up to Courchevel for the wedding.

We had no idea what we were heading in to, both families are relatively modest so we did not expect the 5-star extravaganza that was to follow. Davide is a Courchevel instructor and his main client owns a few hotels and restaurants and shouted them everything, we were in this amazing slope side restaurant and the food was incredible.

Anyway, dinner was, you guessed it, Fondue. 2 in a day. There were digestive and structural consequences.
The only problem with Euro travel. Bread ham and cheese in various combinations.
I find North America the best place to satisfy my salad heavy dietary habits.

Great trip report @elSpike
 
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