Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Get Fit for the Slopes

Ensure You Are In Good Shape On And Off The Mountain To Get The Most Out Of Your Chalet Holiday

Article authored by of Fit for the Slopes.

There are many benefits to embarking on a fitness programme before a luxury chalet holiday. Not only will it ensure you can ski all day but you will be in a favorable position to enjoy both the delicious gastronomy on offer and the wonderful surroundings of your chalet.

Laura May Williams SkiingFat loss

Both your metabolic response to exercise and the way you ski play a large part in determining how many calories you burn on the mountain, but often the calorific intake can be greater than the calories burned.

By ensuring you trim down before you go, will help off-set any potential weight gain from the delicious mountain cuisine which for many is as vital to the chalet holiday as the skiing!


Rate of recovery is a major component of fitness. The fitter you are, the longer you can ski for; both on a single run and in terms of total hours on the snow. Intrinsically linked is how quickly you can recover between runs and from day to day.
Ensuring you are fit for the slopes will help ensure you’re not too tried to enjoy the luxury of your chalet in the evening as well as increasing your chances of feeling fresh in the morning.

Performance gains

Another advantage of having a good level of fitness is to maximize gains in performance. Mental and physical fatigue can be a distinct limiting factor in improving your ski technique.

Injury prevention

There are numerous reasons as to why being physically prepared can reduce the chances of injury: if you are flexible you will be less likely to pull a muscle if you are thrown off balance; by having good co-ordination, agility, balance and being able to stave off fatigue means you’ll be less likely to fall; and a weight loading fitness programme will ensure that your ligaments, tendons and bones are strong making you better equipped to deal with an impact.

Total ski fitness

Your specific fitness needs will vary slightly depending on your skiing level. For example as a beginner, you will need good core and upper body strength to hoist yourself up from falls. Moving into intermediate level, it’s likely that you’ll be spending more time upright, but sitting back in your skis - so quad strength is key. As you become more advanced and you’re skiing more dynamically, plyometric (explosive) power becomes more important.

To cover all bases and keep you strong and safe on the mountain it’s best to work on all five key elements that combine together to make total ski fitness: balance, agility and coordination; muscular strength and endurance; cardiovascular fitness; plyometrics and flexibility training.

Top exercises

There are an infinite number of effective exercises and activities you can do but top exercises in the gym would include heavy squats, deadlifts and weighted step-ups to strengthen the legs and hips and anti-rotation core work (since the core keeps very still when you ski).

And don’t forget that the comfort of your chalet will provide a perfect environment for a post ski stretch session!

Laura is a personal trainer and BASI qualified ski instructor specialising in ski fitness, providing one to one sessions (London based) and on-line programmes for training at home or in the gym. For further information or to sign up see

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Reflections on Meribel & Website News

As a resort, Meribel is rich and diverse, and every luxury chalet holiday in Meribel will be as unique as the individuals who visit this great resort. For some, Meribel offers a peaceful haven within the cosy confines of an opulent chalet, where evenings breeze by at the relaxed pace of a rejuvenating break well earned. Refill your partner's vin chaud and let tomorrow's memories take shape. 

For others, Meribel is a fun-filled party town where the night-time distractions of the resort's legendary apres ski are as much a reason to visit as the world-class skiing of the slopes above. During daytime and at night, there is no shortage of reasons to take off your skis and join the fun.

Whichever kind of holiday our guests are looking for, we're always happy to recommend the best places to visit.  For the staff night off, we recently posted a piece about the best local restaurants in Meribel - a subject we have researched very thoroughly and with well-practiced discernment.  So, if you're booking a ski chalet holiday with us this year, don't be afraid to mine us for local insights and tips.

Throughout this blog, and across the pages of our website, we try to offer as broad a representation as possible of this amazing ski resort. It's our favourite place on earth, and we try to get this across in our writing, as well as in the service we offer our guests before, during and after their stay with us in Chalet la Chouette. Whether it's the amazing food and wine, the unrivalled skiing, the good company, or the general joie de vivre which pervades this unique location, we try to put across the passion of Meribel in everything we do.  

Recently, we've been adding more content to our website to reflect all of this, and we thought we should probably let you - our dear blog readers - know about the latest content.  In particular, recognising that we are pretty biased towards Meribel, we've put together a page about what the press has to say about our town.  Have a look at this page to find out what the travel writers think about Meribel.

Other new pages:
Article by

Saturday, 9 November 2013

The snow forecast this winter for Meribel

Hello there to all you snow hounds, ski lovers, board riders and winter bunnies ! 
Our latest installment on the blog is all about SNOW....
Does snow feature in the most commonly asked questions by visitors to Meribel? Yes, of course it does! In no particular order, these are the questions on everyone's lips....
1. Will there be snow?  - Yes!
2. What is the snow like? -  Cold, good
3. How cold is it at the top? -  Colder than it is here!  The temperature       drops approximately 6.5C for every 1000 metres of elevation.
4. How many layers should I wear?Errrrr?!
Snow -  it is one of the most important things about your holiday (apart from staying in our fabulous catered chalet and enjoying delicious food, wine and great service). You've come to ski or board in Meribel and the Three Valleys with blue skies and fluffy powder and/or beautifully groomed pistes.  In an ideal world we'd have snowy nights followed by sunny days throughout winter and we'd all be very happy.  However, this crucial element to your ski holiday is completely out of our hands.

Panorama of Three Valleys Piste
Click to see full image
The recent snowfall last week (see picture below for what the resort is currently looking like) and predictions for more over this weekend has certainly spurred many people into booking a ski holiday. We've had many enquiries as a result thanks to the amount of neige falling from the sky.

The Pistes near Meribel

So what are the long term predictions for snow this coming winter in Meribel?
The actual answer is anyone's guess in my opinion.  Various experts predict contradicting long range forecasts for this winter. From cold and dry to warm and wet - I've read it all.  I'd say the local elders studying the fauna and wildlife for 'signs' probably have more of an accurate idea and they are saying snowy which is great news.  We know one way to guarantee a great dump is if our good friend Andy comes to stay with us.  He definitely has some deal with the snow gods and a two week visit from him is always very exciting for that reason!  By the way, his dates this year are mid March ;-)

The Weatherman in Snow

You'd do well to bear in mind that 85% of the ski area in the Three Valleys is above 1800 meters, making it very snow sure. In addition, there are just over 2000 snow canons, ensuring that even in the event of scant snow cover, you will still be able to enjoy the pistes.
During the build up to winter, and during the winter season, we are obsessively checking the forecasts to see what conditions are going to be like.  There are two forecast sites we use and I share them with you below. Whereas I tend to prefer the forecast with the most snow, Stu spends a but more time looking at the pressures, fronts and storm cycles, especially over the North Atlantic. He is looking for accuracy and validity.  Be warned - you might get a very complicated answer if you ask him what the forecast is.
Something else you could do is look up the historical data for Meribel. 
The Ski Club holds some interesting data about the depth of snow on the pistes
As does myweather2
Historical data can really only be a guide, the ever changing weather patterns are pretty unpredictable.  A cold and snowy New Year week one year can easily followed the following year by milder and sunny the next.
Whenever you decide to come and for whatever reason,  you can be sure of a very warm welcome from us, Delicious Mountain, in our luxury catered chalet. 
Just leaves me to say, à la neige et à la saison!  Lou