Friday, 29 November 2013

Christmas In Megeve

Christmas is a wonderful time to visit Megeve!

On 7th December the Megevans celebrate the lighting of the Christmas tree.   The only time we have been there for the ceremony it was cold and an awful lot of people had to say something but there was a saxophonist and the bars are all open so it is good fun.  The huge Christmas tree dominates the medieval village square and is brilliantly lit with different coloured lights changing through the evening.  Some years it is covered in Swarovski crystals.  However they decorate it, it is spectacular.

On 23rd and 24th the ice sculptor prepares the nativity scene.  Years ago I remember watching the nativity play when all the children in Megeve must have had a part not to mention the real life ass and oxen.  It was very entertaining.  Now it's got rather more sophisticated but still very beautiful.  Father Christmas visits his grotto on the evening of 24th Dec and there is vin chaud in the village square to keep the grown ups warm!
On Christmas day there is a parade when everyone can wave goodbye to Father Christmas and his elves.   The Megeve website makes no mention of reindeer so Rudolph fans may be in for a disappointment!
Finally on New Year's Eve the ESF ski instructors do their usual torch light descent and parade through the town.  Again, they roll out the vin chaud in the square so everyone gets very jolly.  It is worth going down to the square at midnight.  Everyone turns up with bottles of champagne and you'll find yourself kissing some very attractive (if you play your cards right) strangers.  And then, back to the party.

Sadly, Stanford Skiing are fully booked for Christmas and New Year but the Christmas tree stays up all season and the town sparkles with festive lights so come for some belated Christmas cheer in January - short ski breaks or full weeks in catered chalets, self-catered apartments or hotels.  Or book early for next year!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Winter wonderland of Megeve

Check out these photos taken in wintery Megeve a couple of days ago!  

Andy and Hannah (both worked at the Sylvana last season) are refurbishing our apartment in Megeve.   They have been there for the last month and, as you can see, there has been a lot  of snow.   There should be an excellent base  up the mountain.

They have nearly finished the work and Hannah comes home today.  The internal walls have been taken down, the bathroom is now the kitchen and the bathroom has been moved to opposite the bedroom, which is larger with fitted wardrobe.  It is going to be lovely.  The other weekend Andy said hey had a troop of residents coming in to find out what they were doing.  One lot came back twice! 

Jonny, Tracey, Megan and Hannah all go out on Monday for the start of the season,  the two managers of the hotels go out the following week and the rest of us all turn up on Thursday 12th.  Not long now!

We have special offers on short ski breaks at the beginning of the week in January.  Should be a great time to head out - cheap flights, great snow and good food, what could be better!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow!

Snow is falling, all around, children playing, having fun!  Yes, snow has been falling in Megeve off and on all through November.  Very early for Megeve but great to see!

Here's some pics taken first thing this morning.  They're a bit blurry but amazing snow cover in the village.  It will mean the ground is really getting frozen and they'll be able to start building up a good base for the start of the season.  Can't wait!  The staff are heading out in the next few weeks and we'll be ready for guests from Thursday 19th Dec.

Megeve has fantastic skiing spread over a wide area through tree-lined runs with fantastic views of Mont Blanc.  It's also an extremely pretty resort with cobbled streets, horse drawn caleche and a medieval central square.  So, it's time to book that ski holiday asap before the flights get expensive!  Stanford skiing offer short ski breaks, ski weekends and longer ski holidays in superior catered ski chalet, larger chalet/hotels and self-catered apartments.

Monday, 18 November 2013

New snow cannon and reservoirs in Megeve.

The new reservoir on Mont d'Arbois, Megeve should be ready to provide water for the snow cannon on the green Mandarine piste this winter! 

When we were out in the summer they were doing landscaping around the reservoir.  You can see it from the Ideal chair on the left hand side, below the Oratoire run.  The Mandarine piste goes from the top of the Mont d'Arbois bubble to the bottom.  This will be a huge improvement and will ensure that the snow stays good on the main link back to Megeve.

There's also reservoirs servicing snow cannon on the Bettex side as well as at Rochebrune by the Petit Fontaine chair lift and at Jaillet.

As soon as it gets cold enough they start making snow and stockpiling it for repair of the pistes. Some piles are in the trees, and there is a big mound on the Grand Champs at Rochebrune.  I remember when they repaired the pistes by putting down straw!   The snow cannon are a big improvement.
The management of the pistes has become a very skilled job.   You only have to look at the big machines and the numbers that they employ to appreciate the work that goes into keeping the pistes in good condition.  In addition, they have the specialised machines to make the jumps and pipes for the snow parks.   Some pistes are deliberately  left ungroomed for those who want to try a bit of off piste, but without the risk of actually being off piste.  Thanks to the pisteurs and the hard work they put in, Megeve's pistes stay in tip top condition all through the season.

Stanford Skiiing offer short ski breaks, ski weekends and longer stays in catered chalets, self-catered apartments and hotels in the picturesque resort of Megeve, France.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Dog sledding in Megeve!

The Grande Odysee Savoie dog sledding race takes place on 17th and 18th January.   Megeve is one of the eleven stages of this dog sledding race which covers over one thousand kilometres of the Alps.  The teams come from all over the world, although primarily Europe.

The dogs arrive in the afternoon and there is a competition, the "Megeve Challenge"' which is a 5 kilometre race by the Palais de Sports.   After this you have a chance to talk to the mushers and to pat the 250 dogs.  They are all tied up in their separate teams.
The next day the dogs start from the altiport at Côte 2000 and follow the cross country ski trails round Mont d'Arbois and Livraz, returning to Cote 2000.  From there, the teams ascend the green track and the blue Pre Rosset track to the top of the Lanchettes lift.   They then cross to the Col de Very and down to Les Saisies.
You can stand by the side of the cross country  trails, but I think the best place to see the teams is the top of the Lanchettes lift.  The dogs are going slowly as it is steep (often the mushers walk beside the team)  and you get a very good, close view of the dogs and sled before they go over the top and pick up speed over the other side.
So, why not come for a short ski break and see the teams in action and cheer for your favourites!

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Wet Feet Update!

Ski Boots Tested in Megeve!

For those of you who have been keeping a close watch on my woeful tales of wet feet the news is...... My ski boots leak!    Jonny subjected them to technical tests over the summer (stood them in a bucket of water) and then poured water out of them.  He believes that the seam along the side has split.  So, it's official, I do not have sweaty feet.   I am hoping that Davide, from whom I bought them, can send them back to the manufacturers, or at least, I might get something  off a new pair.  They are about four years old and have had a bit of a bashing but I have never had boots that leaked before.  Anyway, John now knows what to get me for Christmas!

Friday, 1 November 2013

Did you know?

Jean Stanford, who started the business, won the Ladies' Downhill at Val d'Isere in 1956

John bought Stanford Skiing from her and it is now his 19th season running the business with Elizabeth & Caroline, his daughters and Kathryn, his wife. 

When we took over Stanford Skiing we had the Sylvana Hotel in the picturesque resort of Megeve which we rented.  We bought this about 16 years ago and it is a firm favorite with all our returning guests with it's welcoming and friendly ambience.

We rented our catered chalet/hotel Rond Point in the centre of Megeve for about 12 years and bought it 2 years ago.  It's great for short ski breaks and ski weekends.

Our superior chalet Les Clochettes, next door to the Sylvana, was offered to us and to two French gentlemen when the owner died.  Fortunately for us the other parties did not want to buy it.  It consisted of 8 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, none en-suite.  We renovated it to 10 en-suite bedrooms all en-suite and an apartment on top with a further two en-suite bedrooms.  It is now a very comfortable chalet in a great spot and we've run it for 6 years.  After the renovations the staff finished cleaning everything about 3 hours before the arrival of the first guests.  An exhausting start to that season!

Jonny and Tracey, our new resort manager's and their team having been working hard over the summer to redecorate everywhere.  I'm sure all our guests will appreciate the difference.

Our staff are the jewel in our crown being friendly, welcoming and helpful.  Guests often cite the friendliness of the staff alongside the specialness of Megeve, with it's cobbled streets, medieval village square and fabulous ski area as reasons for returning year after year.  

We have a super team in place for this year along with excellent chefs (all important!).  Roll on the season!