Interview with Nicolas
Winner of Méribel Inspired By You
WE WERE DELIGHTED TO WELCOME TO MERIBEL NICOLAS, HIS WIFE AUDREY, MAXIME (HIS BEST FRIEND FROM ENGINEERING SCHOOL) AND HIS WIFE MARIE-PIERRE. THE SURPRISE WAS THAT THE 4 PARISIANS WERE IN FACT 6 PEOPLE – BOTH LADIES WERE EXPECTING CHILDREN, BEING 4 MONTHS AND 1 MONTH PREGNANT RESPECTIVELY !
Nicolas, WERE YOU HAPPY AT WINNING THE MIBY CONTEST ?
It was a huge surprise when I received the email; I was so happy! I replied right away and you must have noticed how enthusiastic I was. Since the site was still online, I was able to show Audrey what I had selected, because I hadn’t told her that I’d taken part. But I’d done it thoroughly, taking the time to look at the location of the accommodation and what activities there were. Some activities were obvious choices, and others were more to please the others, like the horse riding for my wife.
HOW DID YOU DISCOVER OUR CONTEST ?
Twitter ! In winter, I have a feed with all the news about skiing and in summer, news about sailing... You were in it !
YOU CHOSE TO HOLIDAY WITH FRIENDS; HAVE YOU KNOWN EACH OTHER LONG ?
Ten years ! We see each other almost every week and we usually go on holiday together. We have skied together for about the last 7 winters.
COULD YOU TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELVES ?
Audrey is a general practitioner and the rest of us are engineers. We work in telecoms and install fibre optics... Incidentally, a few years ago, we brought optical fibre to Méribel and Courchevel.
Audrey and I are from Picardy and Maxime and Marie-Pierre are from Champagne. Work brought us all to Paris. My passions are the sea and the mountains. In summer I do everything involving a board and water: wakeboarding, sailing, catamaran, kitesurfing ... and in winter I snowboard. In general, we go skiing before and after the February holidays. From mid-November I start to get the itch to ski so we try to make the most of the early season skiing in les 3 Vallées, it's good value. This year, we couldn’t get away in December and I was a getting itchy feet !
IS THIS YOUR FIRST TIME SKIING IN MERIBEL ?
Nicolas : I came for the start of the season in Méribel in December 2017, and once to Méribel Village for 4 days at a friend's house.
Marie-Pierre : For us, it was the first time ! As I am 4 months pregnant, I haven’t been able to ski but I have feasted on the breath-taking landscapes on gondola trips or from mountain restaurants, such as les Pierres Plates.
I love hiking / snowshoeing but I didn’t go too far alone. To make up for this, we are going to visit the Tuéda Nature Reserve on our last afternoon !
WHAT ACTIVITIES HAVE YOU LIKED THE MOST ?
Nicolas : Either the helicopter or the paragliding. Mainly because they’re activities we're not used to ! Paragliding was a first for me, a real discovery. But the scenery from the helicopter was magnificent too... So I can’t decide between the sporty paragliding and the awe-inspiring helicopter ride !
Audrey : It’s hard to choose a favourite... I liked everything ! The paragliding was fantastic, we felt so free with our legs dangling and the guide turned and flew wherever we wished. It felt adventurous and a thrill. We were amazed at the view of the beautiful landscapes. I also loved First Track. Being pregnant, you have to be careful when you ski and pay attention. There we were alone, I was able to let go and it was fantastic ! In addition the pistes were completely smooth... pure happiness.
Marie-Pierre : The helicopter! I was so happy and it shows in the photos. We were equipped with helmets with microphones so we could communicate between us and the pilot ... I had flown when I was little and also on my honeymoon, I love this kind of thrill. Also, it was fun because we went over the off-piste Maxime and Nicolas had done with their guide the day before.
Maxime : Nicolas recognized where we had skied and the pilot flew over the descent. For me it was the outings with guides I liked the most; the off-piste ski outing in the 3 Valleys and the full moon ski touring. It was very informative and enjoyable to be with a guide. Even if we sometimes go off-piste ourselves, we are never sure of the snowpack. Thanks to these activities, we have learned the advantages of being with a guide in order to go further afield. In addition, the snow was amazing !
I had never done any ski touring, let alone at night. We basically stayed on the pistes and there wasn’t even the shadow of a cloud, our path was lit by the full moon and the climb was facing the Great Bear... It was magic. It’s made me keen to try more of this sort of activity !
HAVE YOU ENJOYED THE MEALS YOU SELECTED ?
Marie Pierre : We loved them ! When we arrived, we were pleasantly surprised to discover we had won a stay that included half board…
Nicolas : We have eaten more than well! It was really great at the Alpen Ruitor. At teatime there were unlimited pancakes and excellent cakes. Then the meat was to die for at the Argentine evening. Finally, the Savoyard and gourmet evenings I had selected lived up to all my expectation s! As for the "End of the world Fondue" at the Adray Télébar, it was incredible. The atmosphere was super cosy with the open fire - and the best fondue that we have ever tasted in our lives.
Maxime : Don’t forget to go into the lounge before eating at the Adray, it’s incredible. We really enjoyed the journey there on snowshoes, it was a little mysterious, in the heart of the forest…
WERE YOU PLEASED WITH YOUR ACCOMMODATION ?
Nicolas : We had no regrets for having chosen the Alpen Ruitor! The hotel is great, the staff pampered us, we have been made to feel really spoiled, and not because we won this contest, they treat all their guests in the same way.
Marie Pierre : Everyone is kind and very attentive. There is a family atmosphere, we feel quite at home. It's not stuffy and yet the service is luxurious. This makes us want to try the other hotels in the same group (Brazil, Argentina etc)..
Audrey : Most of all, it makes you want to come back here !
Marie Pierre : The Anne Semonin Spa at the hotel was also very nice. They offered us "mums-to-be" treatments and we came out totally relaxed ... I think the baby liked it too, she was moving all over the place after the massage !
Audrey : I loved the spa too ! I don’t often go, but these were the best treatments I’ve ever been given. They are personalised and the masseuses adapt to your wishes.
THE CONTEST OFFERED TO EQUIP YOU IN SALOMON GEAR FROM HEAD TO TOE. ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH YOUR EQUIPMENT ?
Nicolas : Extremely satisfied ! We were already SALOMON fans because their equipment is very high quality.
Maxime : We already have all-mountain / freeride skis, so we're happy have this new, complementary equipment.
Marie-Pierre : Nicolas said to me: "Now you have all the equipment, you’ve no excuse not to ski twice a year with us"! I had never thought of buying my equipment before, so I’m delighted.
Audrey : We are delighted. Even the goggles are designed to use with glasses ! I always used to have problems and now I’m able to ski with my glasses without any worries.
WILL YOU RETURN TO MERIBEL ?
Audrey : Many times !
Nicolas : The resort is super well-placed and there is plenty of fun to have in the 3 Valleys.
Marie-Pierre : Not to mention all the additional activities! I like skiing for half a day, and I have realized there are lots of activities to do here besides ski. Since I couldn’t ski, I had time to make a list for next time. There is so much to do, we are planning to come back here, with the little ones. And Méribel is very pretty, I appreciate the landscapes, the hiking, the chalets and fir trees…
Nicolas : It’s true, it wins hands down compared to other resorts ! The architecture is very beautiful and the forests give a lovely atmosphere.
THE PURPOSE OF THE CONTEST WAS TO WIN THE HOLIDAY OF YOUR DREAMS ... HAVE WE MET YOUR EXPECTATIONS ?
Nicolas : Without a doubt. This puts the bar very high for our next holidays ! Thank you to everyone who helped make this trip happen.
Marie-Pierre : In my life, I’ve had two dream holidays: my honeymoon and this "Méribel Inspired By You" holiday. We tried more activities here than during our honeymoon !
Maxime : Thank you so much Nicolas for inviting us !