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Archive for the ‘The Three Valleys’ Category

The snow is here! Are you ready for Winter 12/13?

October 30, 2012 11:56 am
posted by Sarah

There’s nothing like that moment when the first snowy pictures from the French Alps start appearing every year. Seeing the beautiful French mountains covered in fresh snow only builds the excitement for our ski holidays to France!

And this year we’ve been treated to some really fantastique pictures from some of the top ski resorts and areas, including Les 3 Vallees, Avoriaz, Espace Killy

Here are some of our favourites to whet your appetite for the upcoming winter season:

And if this has got you suitably excited to hit the pistes this season, check out our Early Bird booking offers: up to 20 per cent off accommodation [including the school holidays!] if you book before November 5!

And if you also book your equipment hire, passes and lessons through us you could save up to 45 per cent!

Happy skiing everyone! 

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Always wanted to learn how to ski?

October 8, 2012 2:02 pm
posted by Sarah

Once you’ve tried a skiing holiday, with the fresh air, amazing views, and, of course, the apres ski and amazing food…. Well once you’ve tried skiing for the first time it’s something you do again, and again and again…

But learning to ski for the first time can be a daunting experience – even though every skier has, at one time or another, had their very first ski holiday. So we’ve teamed up with our friends at the Les 3 Vallées in France, the world’s largest ski area, to give one family the chance to become experts in one season. Yes, we said one season!

The Easy Rider competition!

The fantastique ‘Easy Rider’ competition  means you could win over £30,000 worth of ski holidays, ski equipment, ski lessons and more; and the amazing experience for your family to learn and perfect your ski skills in one season. The extremely lucky family will win FIVE ski holidays to Les 3 Vallées in France between December 2012 and April 2013 including:

  • Flights from London to Grenoble
  • Transfers from Grenoble to Les 3 Vallées
  • Accommodation in five resorts in the Les 3 Vallées region
  • Season lift passes for the full Les 3 Vallées region
  • Ski equipment for all the family
  • Ski clothes for all the family
  • Ski lessons for all the family

 

For the chance to win this once in a lifetime competition, all you have to do is to tell Les 3 Vallées why you would be a great choice to win in a short video. It could be that you are really sporty, but never thought you would be able to afford skiing. Or that you are a real whiz on you blog and will tell thousands of friends about about it. Or just that your family needs a new challenge…

Whatever the reason all you need to do is post your entry to YouTube and share that video on Les 3 Vallées’  Facebook page.

For more details on the competition, its rules and the prize click here. Bonne chance everyone!

And if you’ve decided to take the plunge and try skiing for the first time this season – you won’t regret it! – here are a few of our useful guides on organising a ski trip for the first time, what you’ll need on your first ski holiday and general ski tips for beginners to get you started!

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Make the journey part of your ski holiday

February 16, 2012 1:41 pm
posted by Sarah

This week’s guest blog is courtesy of seasoned snowboarder and travel writer Daniel Elkan, who has worked as a rep and led holidays for Ski Club of Great Britain in Saas Fee, Cortina, Andorra and Davos. Daniel has also written ski features for The Guardian, Observer, Daily Mail, Sunday Times, Ski+Board, Daily Mail Ski&Snowboard and Conde Nast Traveller.

In 2009 Daniel co-founded Snowcarbon, an independent website dedicated to helping skiers and snowboarders reach ski resorts by train from the UK. And he’s visited more than 30 ski resorts by train! Here are his tips on the best French resorts to reach by train, and why you should shun the long airport queues and tedious transfers for a speedy snow train: 

‘When you first started skiing, what struck you about the French Alps?  One thing was surely how beautiful and striking the mountains are. But were you also surprised about how long it takes to reach them?

‘Door-to-door, whether you fly, drive or take the train, it always takes a while to get to the snow.

‘It was the airport queues and transfers that first prompted me to look for alternatives to flying, and along with friends I started going to resorts by train, to try to make the journey part of the holiday. We were surprised to find that daytime journeys take little longer than flying – and are so much more enjoyable.

‘In 12 years of travelling this way, we’ve had loads of fun on the train, seen great scenery, met people, bantered, played games, read, and just relaxed.  And we sometimes travel to resorts overnight on Corail sleeper trains to get extra time on the slopes.

‘Though the journeys were great, finding the travel information was always difficult – you had to look here, there and everywhere. So a couple of years back, I set up Snowcarbon to help other skiers and snowboarders find out how to travel to ski resorts by train.

Pierre & Vacances have always shown their support for rail travel to ski resorts, and it is great that so many of the resorts they feature are convenient by train.  Here are ten of the best:

Avoriaz

The resort’s car-free, ski-in-ski-out village, at the heart of the 650-km Portes du Soleil, makes a great base for families skiing and intermediates.

 Chamonix

This classic resort has always been a magnet for experiences skiers, drawn to its wondrous off-piste terrain, including the incredible Vallee Blanche, as well as a lively, authentic town.

La Clusaz

An absolute charmer of a village set amongst the stunning Aravis mountain range, with great intermediate terrain and impressive off piste, yet relatively unknown to the British. A discovery!

Les Arc

Copyright Manu Reyboz

Les Arcs’ traffic-free villages give access to the epic Paradiski area – a huge playground for intermediates with plenty of challenge and good beginner areas too.

Les Menuires

Les Menuires makes a great base for the Three Valleys, located right at the heart of this huge area. A good-value resort – ideal for families –  with great skiing.

Megève

Megeve’s traditional village is proper winter-wonderland stuff and the relatively quiet slopes – part of the 400km Evasion Mont Blanc ski area – are home to some of France’s best mountain restaurants.

Meribel

A favourite with the Brits for generations, as it has so much to offer.  A buzzing village with lots of wooden chalets,  set at the heart of the 600km Three Valleys.

Serre Chevalier

Four villages all give access to a wonderful wooded ski area in the Southern Alps. The French love it – it suits families especially – and the British are just getting to know it.

Tignes

Very snowsure and a big favourite with intermediates, as the resort has 300km of pisted terrain, graduating from gentle blues through rolling reds to challenging blacks.

Val Thorens

With a village at 2300 metres, Three Valleys’ Val Thorens is the Alp’s highest ski resorts, with snow-sure skiing, good family facilities and the Folie Douce for après on the slopes.

‘And here are some photos from my train journeys.  Happy travels!’

Snapping scenery from Eurostar Cafe bar, on way to Les Menuires

TGV cafe bar on the way to Megeve

This kid was having a great time on a journey to La Clusaz

Lunch at Gare de Lyon, Paris

A little read before bedtime, on the way to Avoriaz

Corail Lunea sleeper train in the morning

The cheese shop opposite Bourg St Maurice station, near Les Arcs. Whiffy!

Happy family on the train to Chamonix

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French ski resorts to fall in love with

January 6, 2012 12:36 pm
posted by Rebecca

The snow arrived in the nick of time for 2012, but with the dozens of options available, how do you choose which French ski resort to spend your hard earned pennies on this season?

In an attempt to match you up to a resort that you will love, channelling Cilla Black from her Blind Date heydays, we’ve put together three compelling reasons to pick our selection of cool contenders…

Alpe d’Huez – There’s no chance of getting bored in this traditional, historic and lively resort…

  1. Airboarding – A new(ish) snow sport has arrived en piste. This time on an inflatable grooved sled-like cushion. Airboarding allows you to hurtle down the mountainside head first while lying stomach-down on the board. This, of course, poses a slight hazard to fellow skiers so Alpe d’Huez hosts Airboarding and ‘snow toys’ sessions at the Poutran lift every Friday between 10am and 4.45pm.
  2. Alpe d’Huez Ice cave – Whimsical ice sculptures are carved annually in this cave gallery at 2,700 m. The Alpe d’Huez ice cave was dug into the snow by two high mountain guides, Bruno Gardent and Bernard Lambolez. It is accessible via the Grandes Rousses DMC lift. This year’s themes are ‘The Garden’ and ‘Biodiversity’.
  3. The world’s longest ski run – At 16 kms and with a vertical drop of 1,820, Sarenne is the world’s longest ski run. Once a month during the ski season you can even ski Sarenne by moonlight after a meal atop the Sarenne Glacier.

Where to stay in Alpe d’Huez:

Pierre & Vacances Residence L’Ours Blanc –  The recently refurbished Pierre & Vacances L’Ours Blanc residence is located in the centre of the resort. The pretty wood-decorated building has superb views over the valley of the Massif de l’Oisans providing direct access to ski lifts and the Olympic skating rink.

Pierre & Vacances Residence Les Bergers – Less than 100 m from the ski lifts each apartment features a balcony with views over the resort on one side and the Ecrins mountain range on the other. Facilities include a swimming pool and heated relaxation room, sauna and a restaurant.

Val d’Isère – One of the original ski resorts and still one of the best. Challenging skiing with superb nightlife.

  1. It’s high up! It’s a no-brainer really, if you’re after lovely fresh white powder, choose a resort that’s at high altitude – it’s colder up there and there’s more chance of snow. Val d’Isère’s position offers skiing from 1550m-3470m, that’s the height of more than ten Eiffel towers stacked on top of one another.
  2. Olympics standard slopes – The location of the 1993 Olympics men’s downhill race, Val d’Isère provides immediate access to 300 kms of groomed slopes in the Espace Killy ski area, with further opportunities to ski in first class off piste powder AND in neighbouring Paradiski and Three Valleys systems. There’s enough here to challenge even the most experienced skier.
  3. Dick’s Tea Bar – It’s legendary for après ski partying attracting big name DJs, and its Val d’Isère premises have just re-opened for the season with a makeover.

Residence Les Chalets de Solaise, Val d’Isere

Where to stay in Val d’Isère:

Pierre & Vacances Residence Les Chalets de Solaise – Self catered apartments with access to the outdoor heated swimming pool and wellness area and located at the heart of Val d’Isère.

Pierre & Vacances Residence Les Balcons de Bellevarde –  Typical of the Val d’Isere region with its pretty wooden and stone-clad front, ski apartments facing the slopes and balconies for all-day sunshine.

Belle Plagne – another action packed resort, in fact, if skiing is not your thing you can pack in a week’s worth of snowy fun without ever strapping on a pair of skis!

  1. Adrenaline activities – The bob experience: an exhilarating 19 bends worth of Olympic bobsleigh run, a giant zip slide high wire, an outdoor ice climbing tower, access to four free-style snow parks and snow quad biking. Yo name but a few…
  2. Child friendly – With snow kindergartens, a sledging track and crèche facilities – there’s plenty to occupy the little ones in Belle Plagne while you get on with some serious adrenaline sports.
  3. Keep on trekking – Glacial snow shoe treks, husky teams along with some superb cross country skiing opportunities will help you to explore the region and take in its beauty at a slower pace.

Where to stay in Belle Plagne:

Pierre & Vacances Residence Les Nereides – Located in the heart of the ‘Paradiski’ domain, with easy access to the slopes from the residence. These self catered ski apartments have recently been fully refurbished.

Pierre & Vacances Residence Residence Les ConstellationsSituated directly on the slope, the wooden and stone chalets blend into the snowy backdrop in this peaceful setting.

Flaine – A stylised modernist French mountain resort and the perfect choice for those with young families and ski beginners.

  1. Paradise for beginners and kids – Flaine’s wide snowy boulevards are perfect for beginners and those with less skiing experience and there’s plenty of free activities and family focused fun on offer too. Excellent ski schools are also available for anyone who is slightly less confident on two skis, and there’s even a week dedicated to children from 4-13 April 2012.
  2. Free lifts – No need for lift passes so you can ski for free!
  3. Modernist architecture and art – It’s not to everyone’s taste but if you have a penchant for Bauhaus, architect Marcel Breuer’s buildings won’t disappoint. And there’s plenty of art to see too including a sculpture park containing works by Jean Dubuffet, Pablo Picasso and Victor Vasarely. The cultural centre, Art de Flaine, also hosts exhibitions of contemporary art.

Where to stay in Flaine:

Pierre & Vacances Residence La Foret – A residence with easy access to slopes and in the heart of the resort.

Pierre & Vacances Premium Residence Les Terrasses d’EosStone and timber chalets, lit by large bay windows with a warm and elegant interior finish and nestled in a spruce forest.

 

 

 

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Pierre & Vacances at World Travel Market 2011

November 16, 2011 12:17 pm
posted by Sarah

World Travel Market – where the whole world converges [literally] under one roof in November. Where months of planning comes down to just four days of meetings, networking, parties and sore feet.

The Pierre & Vacances team on our stand at WTM

Want to know what Pierre & Vacances got up to this year? Well read on…

A spot of Après Ski

What better way to get into the winter spirit than with an après ski party? And it wasn’t hard to persuade people not to ‘slope’ off on the first day of WTM with drinks, hearty nibbles and some fantastique live music courtesy of the 101s who will be playing the Little World Festival in Meribel in 2012.

The 101s rock our après ski party!

But it wasn’t just a great excuse for a party; we also held a raffle for the excellent winter sports charity Disability Snowsport UK, here’s a short video about the fantastic work they do:

Disability Snowsport UK – Accept No Limits from John Currie on Vimeo.

And with prizes such as a ski holiday to France, Meribel Little World Festival tickets, lift passes to the 3 Valleys ski area, lift passes to the Alpe d’Huez ski area, ski hire, a limited edition Petanque set and a magazine subscription up for grabs, it’s not surprising that we raised a great amount for such a fantastic charity.

A limited edition Petanque set

So a huge thank you to Crystal Ski, Ski Set, Les 3 Vallèes, Alpe d’HuezMeribel Little World Festival and Racer Ready Magazine for their generous donations of prizes.

A glass of wine and a chunk of cheese

To celebrate WTM’s Responsible Tourism Day on Wednesday, we held a Green Wine and Cheese event on our stand – although it should be pointed out the cheese and wine weren’t actually green…

Delicious French wine and cheese

We plied people with delicious and authentic French wine and cheese from different regions in France, while our UK & Ireland Sales and Marketing Director, Cathy Rankin, presented the key elements of our sustainable approach, and the green initiatives being worked on for next year – and beyond! Interested? You can view Cathy’s presentation here!

Cathy presents Pierre & Vacances' sustainable approach

Here comes the cheese!

Plenty of cheese to go around guys...

Pierre & Vacances' Elodie dishes out French saucisson

And some green ideas

Going paper-free – To further support a sustainable message, the Pierre & Vacances’ press pack went paper-free this year! Instead of paper packs we handed out these nifty and specially designed USB sticks made from renewable materials.

A bag for [a ski] life – As French ski resorts are plastic bag free, we’ve designed an eco bag for life which can be used to lug back French delicacies from the supermarché, and is also designed to be big enough to hold a pair of ski boots as well as fit as carry-on luggage for the plane!

 

Educating the Brits – Plus front and centre of our stand this year was our Recycling in France infographic, to help UK and Irish tourists to clean up their recycling act while on holiday. There’s more about this initiative here.

Our recycling infographic taking pride of place

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