Meribel (French Alps).

We left last Friday, late and arrived on Saturday afternoon after around 16 hours travel time. We had some traffic near the alps but overall the conditions were very good. We had not anticipated that the snow in Meribel would be great, and although it was a bit thin, the quality was better that last year.

We only needed to fib slightly to get Andy and Samantha into Ski Kindergarten (3-5yrs). Andy is 3 months shy of being the minimum of age of 3 and Sam is only 1 month short of being old enough for snowgarten. We then rented our equipment for the week at one of the rental offices. Andy got some really nifty red ski-boots size 5 and new skis that were painted in the design of a tiger. Andy coveted his ski boots so much that he was very unhappy when they were removed after his fitting.

We couldn’t get into our apartment until 6 in the evening so we had to wait to get settled in. We had a much nicer apartment this year with a pleasant sunny view of the piste. From about 9 onwards we could see everyone skiing by and after five o’clock or so tons of children sledded outside our balcony.

After a few days of adjustment Andy began to really enjoy his mornings with Sam at ski ‘school’. I was quite pleased with what they were teaching him as he knew how to put on his ski’s, walk around and stand properly for going down small inclines. By Thursday we would ski down to school together with Andy between my knees. After school on Friday I took Andy up on the chairlift for the first time. This lift went up above where we were staying so we could ski back to the apartment. He really loves the snow, although we had a bit of a white-out during one of our long sledding runs which shook his confidence a little. After six days of snowgarten he earned a ‘first glide’ pin which you can see him caressing in the attached picture (upper right). My biggest fear is that he will advance as quickly as our neighbor’s 6 year-old, who has long surpassed my abilities as he now only enjoys red or black bumpy runs. How will I ever be able to keep-up?

Overall we had wonderful weather with several days of sunshine as well as the addition of a few feet of snow on Wednesday and Thursday. The temperature hovered just above freezing and was really only cold above 2500 meters. After the heavy snow on Thursday the whole resort looked like a very smaltzy post card.

See the top middle of the attached picture. This is our Honda Civic after the big snow. I was able to dig the car out on Friday evening and managed to move it (with a lot of help) to an easier location for an early Saturday departure. The return trip was traffic free and speedy. We hit some heavy snow squalls when passing by Manhay in the Belgian Ardennes. The light snow covering in the forested Ardennes was quite a site and we would have liked to stay a little longer to enjoy the views. A double rainbow appeared before us and Andy cried for it to come back when it dissipated.