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Ski guiding in Meribel France with British ski instructors
Ski guiding in Meribel France with British ski instructors
Ski guiding in Meribel France with British ski instructors
Ski guiding in Meribel France with British ski instructors

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Meribel in the Summer Months - Part One

Posted on
July 23, 2013
Meribel in the Summer Months - Part One

Last night I returned from Meribel after a two week visit in paradise. It was a change being there without wearing the Ski Instructor cap, and I have to say it was a real treat being back in the Alps after too long a break during the summers. I was there for two main reasons; firstly to photograph a wedding and secondly to have a summer holiday. 

The first morning I woke up like a very excited child. The mountains looked magnificent draped in their summer colours, the sun was out, I had a lift pass, selected lifts were open and my mountain bike was screaming at me "Get a move on and let's go". Some of you may know that I love my cycling, and recent footage on TV of the Tour de France in the high mountains fuelled my excitment even more. But you see, cycling in sleepy flat Leamington Spa is quite different to the steepness of the Alps. At the top of the Tougnete chairlift, I eased into my first descent. But up there, you can't ease into anything because it's rather steep for VTTs (as they are called in France). During that first morning I had an enormous amount of fun bouncing around here there and everywhere, skidding the back wheel like a five year old and generally not acting my age. However, I did scare myself a couple of times after coming close to hitting the deck and potentially damaging myself. And I couldn't afford to break any bones before shooting a wedding. So what was I to do?

Nosey Marmotte

At the end of each ski season I often try and find some Marmottes and photograph them. Because we had soo much snow last winter, sightings of Marmottes were very rare. So instead of whizzing around on my mountain bike, I decided to go in search of some furry animals that were difficult to find only a few months earlier. But what are Marmottes other than names of pistes, chairlifts and restaurants?

Munching Marmotte

They are the European equivalent of North American Groundhogs. In winter these creatures hibernate down in their burrows under the deep snow above the altitude of around 1,800 metres. If you ski late in the Spring, you may well catch the first glimpses of them poking their heads out of the burrows, whilst you ride up on a sunny chairlift. As the snow melts, they venture further afield from their burrows looking for food. In the summer all they seem to do is munch on flowers, lie on top of rocks, look very cute, oh and do their best to avoid annoying wildlife photographers! Quite what other hikers thought of me commando crawling around holding onto huge heavy photography kit I do not know. But hey, we all have hobbies don't we? Here are a few images I took of our lovely alpine friends, you can click on the images to enlarge them. 

Marmotte on the lookout
Marmotte still munching
Marmotte chilling on a rock
Peek a boo marmotte
Double trouble
Rain soaked Marmotte

The high mountains offer us so much. The combination of breathtaking views, the clean fresh air, the opportunity of being active all day and catching the sight of flora and fauna different to our own fine island all offer a wonderful wake up call of the senses. It was very special being back out in the Alps again, and I shall post again soon on what else I got up to. If you found this post interesting, you might like to see another article I wrote last year titled Peek-a-boo. Don't forget you can follow mh2ski on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ by clicking on the icons found on this page. Likewise if you would like to leave a comment, you can follow the easy instructions below. It's always lovely to hear from people. Live with Passion. Martin

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With our skills- based system of learning, we give you the tools to safely negotiate any demands the mountains make on you, helping you to increase your comfort zone and ski in a wider range of conditions. Whether you are a nervous novice, a blue piste cruiser or an all mountain adventurer, we tailor your ski lessons to create a perfect fit. The question is, which one are you?

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