Monday, 27 January 2014

Moving to Meribel in France

After deciding to stop working in Verbier, Emily and I took no less than five buses to move to Meribel-Mottaret in France. Mottaret is a small village about 300m above Meribel and is superbly linked by ski runs and free shuttle buses that run all day and until around midnight. Meribel and Mottaret are part of the three valleys ski area, the largest ski area in the world. Ski runs and lifts join Meribel and Mottaret with Val Thorens, Courchevel, La Tania and a few other smaller villages, including Meribel Village, Courchevel La Praz and St Martin.

We're staying in a tiny 12m x 12m studio, which is directly next to the piste in Mottaret. It's a short 200m run down to the main centre of Mottaret where there are several different gondolas to take us wherever we need to be, or a long flat green [beginner] run straight into Meribel.

Our studio block in Mottaret

We are absolutely loving the variety of pistes that the area has to offer and have made excellent use of our three valleys lift passes, snowboarding all over the place and clocking up huge mileage! I'd highly recommend downloading the Ski Tracks app if you have a smartphone, as it tracks how many miles you have down via GPRS on your phone, along with your top speed and other statistics. At the time of writing this, I am really pleased to have boarded as fast as 38.6mph, which feels like warp speed on a board! 

The apres in Meribel and Mottaret is fantastic, we're really spoilt for choice. Our favourite places to have a few drinks after a days boarding, enjoy live music and have some tasty snack food include Jack's Bar Meribel, Rond Point [The Ronnie] in Meribel near La Chaudanne and Meribar, which is directly next to La Chaudanne. There are loads of great live bands that tour around the various apres bars in the area each week; we're trying to see as many as possible before we go! Firm favourites are Daisy B, The Elements and Bring Your Sisters

We have some friends who are working the season out here and have met some many great people, meeting up with their friends and colleagues. Some school friends also came out here on holiday recently, which was great fun and our good friend Mark also came out for the weekend, so it was really lovely to show him around. It's amazing how well we know our way around after three weeks! Emily's parents are coming out to visit us during our last week, which we're really looking forward to. Being here in January has been great as it's been very quiet, missing the Christmas and New Year mayhem and before the three week French half term period.

A couple of weeks ago we had a great day celebrating Emily's birthday. There's a photo below of our friend Aimee and I surprising Emily with a birthday cake at the top of the mountain. Sadly the candles wouldn't light, but we pretended they were and sang Happy Birthday. We also had a lovely meal out at a local pizza restaurant and had a few drinks. I also managed to combine Emily's love of snowboarding with her Hello Kitty obsession and bought her a Hello Kitty buff!

Mountain top birthday cake

Check out this video of me landing my first box in the Courchevel Family Park. I was absolutely delighted to have landed it and have made some great progress since. I definitely need to invest in some knee pads though, as I am building up quite an impressive collection of park related injuries! Nothing too serious though thankfully.

All in all, Meribel has been even better than we ever could have imagined it would be. A fantastic ski area, with equally great apres, amazing company and a lovely little studio as our base. We have two weeks left here before we return to the UK, so we'll be heading out as early and until as late as possible to make the most of it before it's time to go.

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