November 20, 2009
Megeve Mike Checks In
Megeve Mike has become one of my good friends through the blog over the last few years and runs a private tour / ski instruction company in the Alps. He is an American who speaks fluent French and English and because of his local hookups and knowledge, his service pays for itself. You get top notch instruction from a Level 3 US Equivalent instructor and guide and with the lodging, transportation, and food savings as well as local knowledge, he actually pays for himself. A huge benefit for foreign folks traveling to Europe to ski and for expats living in Europe now.
As a young boy growing up in Maine, all I wanted to do when I grew up was to have the chance to ski in every ski area that I could dream of. The Rocky Mountains were a must, as was Europe and especially France. During my University years, I taught skiing at the weekends in Breckenridge, and after graduating from the University of Denver, I taught in Vail for five seasons at Gold Peak and Mid Vail as a full-time, private instructor.
Skiing and working in Vail during the 70’s were some of the best days of my life. For me, skiing the back bowls in deep, ultra light powder, and with snow flakes the size of a quarter falling throughout the season, was simply out of this world. The quality of the runs, and the professionalism of the resort personnel who ensured that the slopes were maintained in a first class condition, were amongst the best in the world.
However, as we all know, things change, and today the valley is developed to the maximum. The last time I drove through, everything was lit up like a Xmas tree from the Town of Minturn to East Vail and the start of Vail Pass.
I have been now been out of Colorado for over 22 seasons, and I am currently the Director of a Private Independent Ski School in Megeve, France, and as such continuing to fulfil my boyhood dreams. With over 30 years of ski teaching and coaching in all the major areas of France and the US, my credentials include, ISIA Member, Full Certification in Professional Ski Instructors of America-RM, the prestigious French Government "National Alpine Academy" in Chamonix as a Moniteur de Ski Diplome, and a member of the first PSIA National Academy held at Mount. Hood Timberline, Oregon.
I believe myself to be extremely lucky to be based in Europe, in France, and in particular in the delightful village of Megeve in the Haute Savoie, living the uniqueness of the European experience. In a little over six and a half hours, Americans can also have this experience by flying into Geneva, driving for one hour, and suddenly finding themselves in a village a world apart from those back home.
The Village of Megeve, is over a thousand years old, has cobbled streets and even horse drawn sleighs. It boasts everything from Michelin star restaurants and luxury 5 star hotels, to Gites and a trusty McDonalds!!! Megeve has over 40 family operated farms, making some of the best cheese you have ever tasted, and has stunning views of Mont Blanc – Europe’s highest mountain.
The skiing is super and caters for all levels from beginner to expert, and even in bad weather you can still ski as there are the trees all around. This place is like a fairy tale, full of Alpine charm, and is a pleasure to ski. The slopes are perfect and extremely well groomed, the people are friendly - even if you can’t speak the language, and the food is out of this world, with restaurants dotted all over the place, catering to all tastes, and to everyone’s purse size.
From Megeve there are 6 ski areas within a 30 minute drive, offering a variety of terrains and different atmospheres. I also take clients from Megeve for day trips to ski the Italian Alps, which are only a one hour drive from Megeve through the Mont Blanc Tunnel. If you drive for another hour, you have the opportunity to ski in both the Swiss and Italian Alps, in the same day, at an altitude of some 3883 meters, returning home with wonderful pictures of the Matterhorn.
We start the season on 1 November, with our "Early Bird trips" to the Swiss, Italian and French Alps. The ski season in Megeve starts around the middle of December and finishes in the middle of April. On completion of the season in Megeve, we offer high altitude glacier skiing in the Italian and Swiss Alps at the foot of the Matterhorn.
This includes helicopter skiing for those powder hounds. Ski passes and private lessons in all these areas are much less than the current Vail prices, and out of bounds is legal here – although make sure you go with a fully certified French Ski Instructor/Guide!
I would always go back and ski with clients in the Rockies as it has undoubtedly some of the best ski areas in the US, however, over the years I have noticed that once people have skied in Europe, they inevitably come back for more!!. I look forward to welcoming you in Megeve.
Posted by Justin at 12:19 PM
October 11, 2006
More News on European Flights from Mike in Megeve
Mike sent me a new link to Easy Jet, a European short hop flight service. You can fly from London to Geneva for approximately 20 euro one way. So fly into London using BA or another major, then take the short hop to Geneva. My tickets round trip from Phoenix to London on US Airways run under $450. Add in another $100 on the short hop, and Geneva gets even less expensive.
Check the link to Easy Jet out and check out Mike's site and more links over at Ski Pros Megeve.
Posted by Justin at 12:05 PM
October 10, 2006
Ski Europe on the Cheap
I spoke to Mike at Ski Pros Megeve last night. I posted about the guided trips that he does and his private lessons and skiing packages, but last night we finally stopped trading e-mails and talked for 30 minutes or so. I did a little math. From Phoenix, I can fly into Geneva for $750 round trip. Megeve is less than 50 miles away. Mike and I were discussing what exactly he does. He is not a "tour operator", but rather a guide. He assists with setting up hotel and other reservations, but for the most part, he does little other than point out the best bargains and best deals. He focuses on the skiing.
Mike will arrange to pick you up at the airport (usually himself in a van) and get you settled into your hotel. Basically, once you are on the ground, he makes sure your trip happens as planned. He spends the entire week doing private lessons and guiding you and your group around the mountains and out of bounds areas like a local would with his friends or family when they come to visit. Helps you find the best deals, best food, best time for your group. He takes care of ground transportation and takes you from resort to resort so that you get the very best experience possible. Oh, yeah, and what kind of instructor is he? We started talking shop about instructing and he has basically every kind of PSIA (US) or French Certification possible and has been instructing for 35 years.
He straight up ambushed me with his genorosity last night. First, he wants me to spread the word about what he is doing, which is never a problem. The guys is solid and knows his stuff. I am a good judge of character and of people and he is top shelf. Second, he said, "Look, come over here for yourself. Check the place out. I have room in my studio condo for you to stay. I will pick you up and take you out with one of my groups. Tell them you are my cousin from the US."
I am doing the math on a ski vacation to Europe. All things being equal, I don't view Aspen or Vail or US resorts as worthy of spending several grand to go spend a week. But I am insanely spoiled and spend 30+ days skiing per year. If I want to ski Colorado, I drive up and spend a few days and slum it. But here, we are talking $750 per person to fly into Geneva and even if all of the other travel costs were another $2000, that is doable. If I stay with Mike, I literally need to cover food and lift tickets (and those are the same as anywhere else) and I get to spend a week skiing in Europe for the cost of an airline ticket.
I am going to put together something with several of my buddies next year and come back with information about what we want to do and see. This is a scouting trip. If you are interested in heading over with us, let me know and drop me a contact e-mail. The more people we can get the cheaper it will be. Mike said he can work prices for us and I will have more info once I get to sit down with Mike.
UPDATE: I forgot to Put in the right link to Mike's site. Go over the check it out. The link above was to my previous article.