Another fantastic opportunity to spend a week in the French village of Méribel in massive ski domain of the Three Valleys.
A big thanks to Bruce and Gareth once again for arranging the perfect Chalet and holiday experience yet again.
Méribel Chalet is centrally located across from the Barometer Pub and just below access to the main piste.
Throughout the week, the skies were blue and the snow held up well as it froze at night and slowly softened through the day. No problem at all with coverage, all pistes were open. The only down side was the lack of fresh, although we did try a tiny bit of off-piste, mostly it was frozen hard. Days would consist of covering the miles of cruising runs that cover les Trois Valées. Each day would be split with a traditional picnic lunch of bread, cheese, meats and other goodies in a series of dramatic locations. A much better option than the overpriced mountain restaurants and with a view of our choice.
We did find a few extra curricular activities outside of the pub. On Monday we spotted the Airbag in Motterret. We all took turns and filmed each other as we jumped into the giant bag, without the fear of a hard impact that the slopes were offering. Tuesday we toured the closed pistes on snow-mobiles, cranking it up as the sun went down great fun.
Immediately after the days sliding we’d find a bar on the walk home, or freshen up and head over to Barometer. This year I opted not to sustain myself on the Mutzig Old Lager.
In the evening we’d be served up a satisfying meal by Angus at the Chalet and chat, play bar games or head out to the pub once again depending on energy levels.
After lunch some of us headed into of nice patch of trees for a hard bit of off-piste but Wednesday’s lunchtime drink wasn’t enough as we found ourselves heading towards Méribel’s La Folie Douce for an afternoon of revelry. Beers flow along with loud dance music and a good dose of hedonism amongst the crowd. The bar closes at 4:30 in the sunny afternoon. Allowing the inebriated to make their way down the tricky little red piste below. I’m surprised they don’t have ambulance and stretchers waiting at the bottom! We did however make it back to the chalet in one piece.
After this we had drinks in Barometer then dinner at Le Refuge, a nice place under the chalet and across from the bar, (we really didn’t have to go far). Dinner started with frogs legs, snails in garlic and best of all mussels in a Thai curry sauce with frites. For mains everyone went for a steak of some sort. A beautiful meal, not so sure about the snails though. I can’t be sure, but I’m sure it was this night that myself and Paul explored further afield, visiting the originally titled ‘Pub’ where we saw a band then on to Sullivan’s which was a strange place and pretty quiet for the place to be apparently. Anyway we headed home about 3:00 am. We had a day on the slopes to follow.
Thursday started hazy and cool. Hazy in my head, cool in the air. We decided to head up to the east facing slopes above Méribel which had the sun on them longest. However once at the top it was decided to try ‘Jerusalem’ a red run dropping over the back towards St. Martin de Belleville. There was a long traverse along the top and as the slope turned downhill it proved very icy, with frozen rubble to the side of icy sheets. We gathered to collect ourselves. Looking up hill we noticed Steve had fallen. He was taking a while to get back on his skis. Normally he’d be back up straight away. Oh oh! He eventually made his way towards us and immediately it was obvious he was in pain. We left Andrew with Steve while the rest of us set off to get ski patrol. Bruce was first to reach the bottom and the patrol sprung into action. Within the hour, Steve had been stretchered down three miles to town, put in an ambulance, x-rayed, diagnosed with a fractured collarbone, re-set and kicked out to wait on the pharmacy to open to get painkillers and a brace that he’d be wearing for the next five weeks. Not the best start to the day.
We had lunch while Steve was being checked out, then went to meet him, but it’s fair to say, our hearts weren’t in it for the rest of the day.
Friday the thirteenth followed, which didn’t bode well but we had to make the most of our final day on the snow. So the remaining five of us went far East towards Courchevel 1650, another box ticked and we had covered most of the Three valleys.
The week had wall to wall sunshine. Coverage of snow was great, but it was icy and not a whiff of fresh snow. Can’t be disappointed though as it was a great week with a great bunch of guys and the perfect location. Slopes behind us, bar across the road and restaurant below. It was rumoured that Méribel would be receiving some fresh snow on the Sunday after we’ve left. Not worth dwelling on. We said adieu to Angus and back to Chamberey for our return to Blighty.