After a great sleep at Chalet Rabel in La Tania we were picked up by 3 Valleys Transfers and were driven to Courchevel 1650 where our lessons were to happen. We had a lovely sunny day skiing in our lessons.
Courchevel seemed very busy with it being half term as there were many children everywhere.
It cameacross as a very lively and bustling resort.Both we and the children skied very well and it all came back to us very quickly (our last trip was at Christmas). Our instructor from ESF remarked we looked like champions.
Champions of what we don't know!
We returned to Rabel, being met by Helen from Le Ski, had a ovely dinner and went to bed.
Woke up to a lovely
A great lesson with Maxim in the morning in the presence of Peter Hardy, the ski correspondent for the Daily Telegraph. He was a friendly and lovely chap who made us feel at ease with our skiing.
We rushed home to attend a very sophisticated dinner at Michelin star Le Farcon restaurant in La Tania. It was a very lovely and incredibly posh affair. We were particularly overwhelmed with the Parmesan lollipops and the scallops. All topped off with a dessert drenched in flaming vodka!
After another good breakfast, we had a great lesson with Maxim and saw great improvements. We attempted a daunting slope which was quite icy, but used our newfound skill of slide slipping down tricky descents rather than attempting turns.
That afternoon we took leisurely ski with the children and Peter and Manon, an ESF instructor. It was great to take it easy and see the kids skiing. Manon was a great instructor, lots of fun with the kids and great for us too with laughs a plenty.
Peter then took off with the kids for an hour while the adults unwound at the bar with a welcome drink.
When they returned Peter was very impressed with the children's skiing ability and their boundless enthusiasm.
A wonderful and much-needed spa visit at Hotel Montana followed. With bones and muscles tended to, we returned to a gorgeous dinner made by the great staff at our chalet. It was lovely to just relax and socialise with the other guests.
Today's lesson was quite intense, with a fast group. However we completed our first two red runs, hooray!!!
After lunch we had a family ski with no lessons which was fab. Children are soooo good!
We caught the bus to Courchevel 1850 and had afternoon tea at Hotel de Loze with Sarah from the Tourist Office.
After cake and hot chocolate we were cajoled into partaking in the death-defying luge run. I instantly smelt fear, but the children were keen. My fears were realised thirty seconds in as I tumbled out! Anyway, we all made it alive down to the bottom, but I'm not sure we'll try this one again...
After watching a magnificent firework display with Sarah, we had a lovely meal at La Taiga before falling into bed exhausted.
After such a late night everyone was tired. I needed a day off, but Carsten and the children enjoyed a private lesson with Michel.
Carsten told me that the kids were unbelievable, so fast and sure of themselves, even venturing into a 'Valley of Death'. He couldn't keep up with them!
They stopped off at the ESF office to get the kids' ESF medals and have their ski books stamped.
Then we all met up for lunch and had a nice pizza at Les Marmottons.
We went for a family ski together with Francois. It was extremely cold today, about minus 16C!
We had our lesson on the gentler slopes because of my knees and took it easy, Francois was quite an intensive instructor - very thorough with his instructions! However all of our techniques improved which was great.
Jasmine was too cold so she stopped, and my extremities were about to drop off too, so the boys went off together for a fast ski, which Ashley thoroughly enjoyed. He loves the speed and got a high five from Francois at the end.
The afternoon was spent in La Tania for some gentle sledging, souvenir shopping and, of course, a crepe or two.
We had a fun evening at the chalet, mixing with the other guests. It was nice to have shared the chalet with such a nice bunch of people: it made the holiday great fun.
NEXT STOP...WHO KNOWS ?
I know what to pack next time...
STILL DON'T NEED : hair straighteners (accept my hair is a disaster!)
DO NEED : new kneecaps
The Price family were hosted by Le Ski Chalet Holidays in their Chalet Rabel in La Tania. Lessons were provided by the ESF, with flights from Monarch and transfers by 3 Valley Transfers.
recent holiday to Méribel
their Easy Rider journey.
Sunday 23rd Dec 2012
The day has arrived! The whole journey to France went incredibly smoothly.
We arrived at the airport and were met by the lovely and informative Richard, from 3 Vallées Transfers (www.3vt.co.uk), who drove us smoothly to Méribel and gave us a tourist?s guide en route.
We arrived at Hotel Alba, met by the Katherine and the helpful Esprit Ski (www.espritski.co.uk) staff. This is a beautiful looking Alpine hotel sat on the mountains overlooking the picturesque valley. It sure does beat a Travelodge on the gloomy M25.
Our lovely, spacious rooms were WOW...on the 2nd floor with balconies overlooking Méribel and the whole valley.
We took a bus to Méribel centre to pick up our skis and boots. I?m worried if I can't even stand up on these things, let alone ski down a mountain!
Returned, sore legged, to welcome meeting at Hotel, had a lovely dinner and then collapsed with a mental breakdown to bed...slept well.
Monday 24th Dec
Nice breakfast at the Alba. Then dressed in our 'subtle' skiwear, I felt like an astronaut about to embark on a lunar mission! The boots felt like cement blocks on my feet and helmets muffling our ears so not able to hear a word.
Off we set, for our first ski lesson with ESF?
Travelled on the Gondola chair lift thinking we were going up a big mountain, only to arrive at a not very imposing looking nursery slope with all the mini whizzer 4 year old, tiny ninja speed freaks...... phew.... not quite the black run yet then.
We surprised ourselves at our first attempt at skiing as we were not that bad actually, myself staying upright and Carsten falling just a few times. Jasmine had zero fear and did very well. Ashley was a little more. We all clearly looked like newbies in our shiny, brand new skiwear which embarrassingly still had the tags attached which Audrey kindly removed!
We had a magical Christmas Eve watching the torchlight descent and Jasmine was thrilled to meet Santa on his sleigh. We then returned back to the Alba for a lovely dinner.
I don't think I have ever been so exhausted in my life...slept well.
Tuesday 25th Dec
Awoke bleary eyed, and still exhausted with muscles screaming in agony in an abundance of odd areas. It was strange to wake on Xmas morning to silence!! We went to the kids room to find them out cold. They awoke happy to have a white Christmas and a stocking full of presents. Santa never forgot...!
We took it easy on Xmas morning to recover our strength and to have a look around Méribel. After lunch we were back on the slopes skiing green runs on Christmas Day.
We followed Jasmine's ski group taking lots of pictures and video. She skied with such ease and confidence, she was amazing. It seemed to come very natural to her, it looked effortless. She even did a small jump but wiped out, this did not deter her, she just got up and continued.
We definitely made progress and the snowploughs seem to be getting easier and, most importantly, our confidence was growing.
Our lovely Scott (www.scott-sports.com) skiwear kept us very warm and dry, even if Carsten does look like a luminous mad banana hurtling down the slope...
Wednesday 26th Dec
We attempted some green runs in our morning lesson.
We went to the hockey final match tonight. The game was fab - violent but fab. The children managed to catch a couple of the pucks for ke
Thursday 27th Dec
Woke up refreshed after a good sleep.
We had two very successful lessons today and Carsten and I have noticed a marked improvement. We flowed very well and had a better rhythm.
We actually look like we know what we are doing and we are enjoying the amazing feeling of freedom you feel when everything goes well and we just glide down the slopes with ease and a look of style.
It makes me feel what a wonderful place the world can be. Is this the 'adrenaline' rush people keep telling me about?
Had a lovely dinner again at the Alba with our very amusing and entertaining fellow diners who most of which can talk the hind legs off a donkey and regale our table with many disturbing tales...
Friday 28th Dec
Today, we woke in less pain, so clearly our bodies are becoming more acclimatised to this exercise.
At lunchtime the four of us met the lovely Jennifer at the Chaudanne. We took the gondola up to the newly opened La Folie Douce ? an amazing restaurant that looked like a dairy with various cheeses around the walls and urns of milk on the table.
The food was delicious. There was loud music and dancers on the tables, it was all very lively and exciting, not quite like the Harvester at home !
After this meal, Jennifer kindly returned the children to the Alba and Carsten and I took the Gondola to Brides Les Bains and a most amazing place called Le Grand Spa Les Alpes.
Our tired and punished bodies were treated to the most luxurious spa treatments such as whirlpool jacuzzis, aroma steam, Turkish bath, and the highlight was bathing in our own outdoor jacuzzi in -3C degrees! My aching limbs wept with gratitude.
After our final lounge in the sauna we invigorated our limbs with handfuls of crushed ice smeared all over, that really shocked the system I can tell you?!
Benedict then took us for a lovely meal at a quaint, traditional little restaurant called La Montagne. We ate a lovely meal, my dish was a Hot Box, basically melted cheese with salad and potato and hams in a box.
After Carsten's meal he enjoyed a tot of the local Genepi - a lethal liqueur which warms cockles and most other vital organs...he had little rosy cheeks and a lovely glow!
Back at the Alba we were greeted by our 2 very excited children who proudly displayed their medals and certificates showing their advancement and weeks progress in skiing.
I did enquire where my medal was but no one knew.....ahem.
The Esprit staff had looked after them very well, taking them bowling and playing on the Wii. Esprit (www.espritski.co.uk) were great with the kids.
A truly great day, even my bruised shin looks better, almost.
Saturday 29th Dec
No ski lessons today. Family ski with the kids - At last!!
Got up late, enjoyed breakfast, no need to rush for the bus. We leisurely skied green runs, watching our children show us how good they had become.
We stopped and took photos and film of their new found skill, amazed how far they had come since Monday, when Ashley couldn't even get down a nursery slope without falling and now he skis with confidence and some style and even requesting red runs however being firmly denied by us!!
Carsten had a couple of falls today whist trying to keep up with the kids on the mini moguls. Jasmine also skis with no fear and has improved the most. She requested that she takes us off piste.
Neither of the children want to go home...
We finally spent some time doing some shopping and buying some small mementos of our wonderful week in marvellous Meribel. Carsten bought a bottle of Genepi to take home...the Devil.
We stopped for a well-deserved hot chocolate at a mountain cafe and took in the view, reflecting on our hectic week and how far we had all come.
NEXT STOP LA TANIA in February with Le Ski (www.leski.com)...we are confident that we will be a little more prepared for the next time!
Note to self. I know what to pack next time:
DO NOT NEED: four pairs of shoes, smart tops, lipstick or hair straighteners !!! (Gave up on looking semi attractive)
DO NEED: thermal Granny knickers, padded socks, ice packs and deep freeze gel.....oh and French phrase book.
It's just a few days left now until the Price family - winners of the Les 3 Vallées Easy Rider competition in the UK - head to Méribel for their first holiday.
The family - who have never skied before - will be staying with Esprit Ski in the Chalet Hotel Alba.
During the week Carsten, Hayley, Jasmine and Ashley will be given ski lessons from the ESF - on brand new skis and boots from Salomon.
The conditions out in Meribel are already excellent, but the Prices will be kept warm and dry by the kit given to them as part of their prize from Scott.
Here's a picture of them trying out their ski gear at home and getting excited about their trip to Les 3 Vallées.