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Serre Chevalier

As much as you can eat Fish and Chips for 2€

in Food

Fish and ChipsNow that the season has ended here, there are some fishes and some chips that need eating.

The date is:

Thursday 23rd April from 6pm

The Plaice (sorry couldn’t resist that) is:

The Station, Chantemerle, Serre Chevalier

So get your Skates on to Chantemerle.

Pictured is Darren Turner of Insight Ski just about to munch into his Fish and Chips. This was actually back in 2011 so I can’t guarantee Eel be there.

See you there tomorrow, Cod willing :)

The Serre Chevalier Valley & The Best Way to Get Here

in Blog

Serre Chevalier piste map and Serre Chevalier transfersSerre Chevalier is a fantastic ski resort made up of 13 villages nestled in the wooded Guisane Valley in the southern French Alps. There is a mix of quaint traditional villages, a historic UNESCO town and more modern villages, all of which share the same immense ski area of 250km of pistes.

The quickest and cheapest way to get to the Serre Chevalier valley is by plane with either RyanAir or Easyjet, both fly to Turin and Grenoble Airports. Before you leave book your ski transfers with The Alpine Transfer Company who run regular, cost effective and safe Serre Chevalier transfers throughout the winter season, and drop you at the door of your accommodation in Serre Chevalier. You can read more info and book your transfers by following these links: Turin Airport transfers / Grenoble Airport Transfers or contact ATC direct on +33 685 687 131 / info@alpine-transfer-company.com

There is a huge selection of different styles of accommodation spread throughout all the different villages. The village of Villeneuve is a mix of 12th century traditional architecture but has all the facilities of a modern ski resort. The village of Le Monetier-les-Bains is a picturesque un-spoilt village – the highest in the valley – and boasts natural hot springs that have been used since the Roman times. Les Grand Bains de Monetier are a collection of high tech indoor and outdoor pools fed by the natural hot spring water – a must visit!

Lift passes – which can now be bought online from the tourist office include a very good ski bus service covering the whole valley, so you can make use of as much of the ski domain as you wish, without the needing to hire a car. The Grande Serre Chevalier ski pass covers the areas of Briançon, Chantemerle (1350m), Villeneuve (1400m) and Monetier les Bains (1500m). This pass also includes one day’s free skiing in Montgenevre!

There is a specialist snowboarding SnowPark at 2000m and lots of great off-piste terrain to explore. Boarders will be happy to find various quarter pipes, a 250m long snake, various half pipes, a big air 2.5m high and 10m long and boarder crosses with seven turns and vertical drops of 80-100metres!

Two-thirds of the whole valley is wooded, which creates a wonderful panorama and the mainly north facing slopes hold the snow. There is a feast of red and black runs, and there loads of wide and gentle runs too, ensuring beginners and intermediates are also entertained.

The really daring must try the famous ‘Luc Alphand’ Olympic black run, a highlight of any advanced skiers holiday! Yet another reason to come to explore the amazing winter wonderland of Serre Chevalier!

Serre Chevalier Resurrection

in Blog
Snow White resurrection

Snow White resurrection

So the last post I made here was in February 2013, why? Well it was because Google fell out of favour with me and this website. For anybody who knows about Search Engine Optimization or SEO you will probably be familiar with what happened in 2012 and 2013 with Google Penguin. Google Penguin was all about penalising sites that had unnatural back links to their site. It comes as no surprise to such people that the reason this site was always on the first page of Google for anything to do with Serre Chevalier was because I had built quite a lot of backlinks to this site in a completely unnatural fashion.

As I consequence of the Google Penguin Penalty my traffic to this site fell dramatically in 2013, which meant nobody wanted to advertise here or anything. Luckily this site was never my main source of income, so I really wasn’t too bothered. But, equally it meant that I really wasn’t that bothered about getting it back into Google, until now!

So now it is nearly July 2014 and we are about as far away from the last and the next ski season as we will ever be this year. I reckon this is going to be a good time for a Serre Chevalier Resurrection.

I’m making some videos that document how I am doing this if anyone is interested.

Guess What? More Snow!

in Weather

Col-du-Lautaret-26-02-2014This has been the strangest season weatherwise so far. One minute it seems almost springlike and then the next minute it does a bloody great big dump of snow. This is the season that where the opening was very delayed due to lack of snow and even in mid December, everyone was starting to wonder if it would ever snow. But it did and it has been pretty relentless since it started. This is brilliant news for those coming out on a ski holiday but not quite so good for those of us trying to get on with our ‘normal’ lives, but hey ho that’s what happens here in the Alps.

Today we are off to Alpe d’Huez with The Harper Brothers and as you can see from the screenshot here from inforoute05.fr the Col du Lautaret is marked as ‘circulation difficile’. This will be extra bad in our old Renault Traffic van laden down with the bands gear.

Anyway if you are in Alpe d’Huez today we will be playing an Apres Ski show at about 17:00 and a night time show at 22:30. This is in The Underground Bar which is beneath the Hotel Le Chamois. The Harper Brothers will be back to play at Le Bowling des Neiges in Chantemerle on Thursday at about 17:00. Hopefully see you there.

Lost BBC Channels in France

in Blog
FilmOn

You can watch all BBC channels online if you wish.

As much as us British here in Serre Chevalier like French things, there is a limit and for many of us watching French TV just doesn’t do it for us. It’s always nice to see how miserable the weather is in Britain, watch the BBC News and even plonk the kids in front of CBeebies or CBBC when all else fails. Since I first moved here in 2001 I have enjoyed watching British TV, not really Sky at all, just the normal free channels. Originally I used an old Sky box with a Freesat Card or expired Sky Viewing Card. Since 2009 I have used a Humax Freesat HD box which has worked fine until last weekend. I first got alerted to this by a neighbour on Facebook. Here is what has happened so far…

A few people here in Serre Chevalier have been having some problems watching BBC TV as they have migrated over to the new Astra 2E satellite. ITV and Channel 4 move over to Astra 2E tomorrow. It’s in the same part of space as the old Astra 1N satellite and even the first satellite I ever pointed a dish at, Astra 2D. Astra 2E is at 28.2° East, the satellite entered in to commercial service on February 1st, 2014. All BBC services were moved from Astra 1N to Astra 2E’s UK spotbeam during the early hours of Thursday February 6, 2014.

Now then the problem seems to be that the new beam of Astra 2E is more tightly focused on the UK, so we are suffering a bit down here in The Alps. It is of course great news for those of you in the UK as you will have a stronger signal than ever, but for all us watching BBC illegally in Serre Chevalier, it’s not so good. However, here’s what I have to report so far:

  • Saturday 8th February, 2014 I had lost all BBC Channels
  • Later on Saturday I retuned my Humax Freesat box which got all BBC channels back except the HD ones, BBC3 and BBC4.
  • On Saturday night BBC3 and BBC4 started working again
  • On Monday 10th February, 2014 I can confirm that all BBC TV and BBC Radio are working again on the new Astra 2E satellite.

I am using a Humax Freesat digibox and an 85cm dish which seems to be OK. I’ll let you know what happens with Channel 4 and Channel 5 tomorrow, but I have a feeling that if the BBC channels are OK, then Channel 4 and 5 should be OK too.

If you don’t want to get a bigger dish, watching TV online is also an option, I tried www.filmon.com this morning which seemed to work just fine. If you can stand the annoying ads then it is free. I think this is the way TV will probably go over the next few years, but really here in Serre Chevalier with a 2Mb broadband connection it’s still a long way off.

The day you have been waiting for

in News

20140206-141428.jpgThis was the view up the valley at 8:30 this morning. It had been snowing continuously for a day or so and now it had stopped. The sun was rising and the sky was very blue. I had thought it would get quite warm during the day, but it has remained bright but cold. I haven’t been up the mountain since last Friday, but I reckon conditions must be ace today.

Other news is that The Harper Brothers will be doing a show at Le Chazeley in Villeneuve this afternoon at 5pm. So if you are about, do come along.

This Serre Chevalier apartment is one of six in a building called La Claire Fontaine. It is a large 3rd floor apartment with a mezzanine in a converted traditional village house right in the centre of Chantemerle (Serre Chevalier 1350) and only a couple of minutes walk from the ski lifts. The apartment sleeps 6 people in 3 bedrooms. [click to continue…]

First Post of 2014

in Blog

20140102-092732.jpgWell here we go again, it is the second day of the year and it’s snowing like a snowy thing. I’d noticed it had done a couple of inches overnight, but come 8am and it was pretty much full on.

If you fancy a bit of afternoon après ski fun, do come along to see The Harper Brothers at the Auberge Mont Prorel in Briançon at 17:00. This is the bar at the bottom of the Prorel Gondala lift in Briançon. Jan and Jules run the place and it will be great to see them for the first time this year. Even if you are staying somewhere else in Serre Chevalier it is an easy place to get to as the free SkiBus Navette stops right outside.

I’ve met quite a few people over the Christmas and New Year period who are missing The Station bar in Chantemerle and asking if it will reopen somewhere else. Unfortunately it won’t – but the best we can do is try and recreate the same atmosphere at gigs by The Harper Brothers. So if you are in the valley today do come along this afternoon.

Happy New Year by the way, a lot of people here in Serre Chevalier seemed to have had a crappy year last year, so I reckon the only way is up now. But hey, 2014 is here now, it’s snowing and the cheap ski holiday weeks start this Saturday.

If you want any help arranging anything to do with your ski holiday, get in touch and we will get you sorted.

OK, as ever, there is a driveway to clear!

That’s more like it!

in Weather

20131220-085427.jpgIt started snowing yesterday and never really stopped. It was supposed to rain last night, but it kept on snowing. It is still snowing now and there is drive clearing to be done now, so I better go and do that rather than blogging about it.

Serre Chevalier Ski Resort opens tomorrow, the timing is good.

There’s still not much sign of snow

in Weather

20131214-154032.jpgThis is not a particularly good sign for this time of year. It hasn’t snowed for a few weeks now. There is some predicted for Thursday afternoon, so hopefully all will be fine for when the resort opens on the 21st.

Other news is that the wonderful bar ‘The Station’ in Chantemerle is no more, so I’m not really totally sure where to recommend for an après ski drink.

Meanwhile if you are here today, The Harper Brothers will be playing at Le Central tonight at about 10pm. The Harpers will also be doing their usual Sunday afternoon spot at Le Central tomorrow afternoon at about 5pm.