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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.

Here is a link to his

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 November 20, 2009 12:19 PM