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Easter Drive Down - chit chat

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@snowymum, Thanks for that explanation, you are a star!!!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Gilly28, Blush Have a great holiday. The snow conditions look amazing (particularly compared with last Easter!)
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@snowymum, food bags?

@Gilly28, We're also with Erna Low, and we're overheight (roofbox) and have the flexiplus.. nobody has said anything to us! Yet..
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@sparklies, In the flexi-plus lounge you are given Eurotunnel branded bags to fill with sandwiches, yoghurt drink etc. Basically enough for breakfast or whatever meal you are on. You can also pick up hot drinks and a newspaper. All included in the ticket cost. Also best to use the loo there rather than the one on the train. It is definitely worth stopping at the kiosk as if you were to buy the same goods at a service station it would probably come to about £30 each way (per family).

We booked the flexi plus through Peak Retreats but if you have paid for flexi plus it will be the same service whichever operator it is booked through.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@snowymum, oh wow, I'd never have known! Thank you for the tip - we'll have to dash out and grab some!

Is there normally a longish wait at this stage? Do you have any idea of how long you're likely to have?
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We are driving from Ireland via Holyhead and tunnel...12 day trip. We will be rounding M25 at about 9pm Thurs night to get train at around midnight. Is the traffic likely to be manageable at that time?...just wondering is there likely to be much extra traffic in advance of folk heading to tunnel for easter, or do most head on the Friday trains?
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
My experience is most folk will go Friday. Weirdly many people are t even skiing but will be heading to coast Puzzled
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Kagallag wrote:
We are driving from Ireland via Holyhead and tunnel...12 day trip. We will be rounding M25 at about 9pm Thurs night to get train at around midnight. Is the traffic likely to be manageable at that time?...just wondering is there likely to be much extra traffic in advance of folk heading to tunnel for easter, or do most head on the Friday trains?


Wow, that's a long drive!
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Arrived in Montalbert after an uneventful drive down - usual 30 minute delay to our booked time on the tunnel, why they bother with a timetable now is beyond me.
Loads of snow in the village, I certainly haven't seen this much at Easter before and more is forecast this week...
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sparklies wrote:
Is there normally a longish wait at this stage? Do you have any idea of how long you're likely to have?

No waiting (unless you want to).
It's usually a quick trip to the loo, then fill the food bags, back in the car and straight on to the next train. You filter in near the head of the boarding queue.
There are screens in the lounge showing time until next train, and the one after that.

If you're in a hurry, detail the kids to grab coffees (because they take the time), while you fill the bags. Very Happy


@Kagallag Wow. Shocked Long journey. Agree with Boris, M25 should be ok at 9pm on the Thurs, but it does mean you'll be heading round Brum at busy time.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@boredsurfin, agreed - we tend to take the view that we're in the system and we will be on a train which will be Booked Time with variation of -30 mins (if lucky) + 40ish usually or + 90-mins average!

I would say they need to sort it out before they lose customers, however it's that or the ferry and sometimes train is just easier. Mind you we have booked ferry for summer hols as was substantially cheaper
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Kagallag, Maundy Thursday is widely accepted to be the worst traffic day in the year, you're a brave man/woman/family! By 9pm things should have calmed down to just 'busy' around the M25 but keep an eye/ear out for traffic updates about any accidents or incidents throughout the drive - one bad smash could really disrupt your journey. Good luck - Done that London/Holyhead drive several times, love the bit through Snowdonia & North Wales - the rest of it not-so-much!
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Drove back to UK yesterday. Tunnel very quiet and departed on time. Same outbound.

We've driven down after work on Maundy Thursday to Folkestone, for a Friday morning tunnel, and missed all the traffic as we don't get to M25 until around 10ish.


@Boris, my crossing for EOSB was particularly expensive this time. I've no Frequent traveller tickets left, so used my Tesco boost vouchers, but it seemed very expensive.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
It seems to have got a lot more expensive generally, @Hells Bells, even at times of low demand.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Hells Bells, @pam w, Maybe they're saving up to buy some new trains - goodness knows some of their rolling stock is looking the worse for wear
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
£211 return is what I paid, seems ok.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Boris wrote:
@Hells Bells, @pam w, Maybe they're saving up to buy some new trains - goodness knows some of their rolling stock is looking the worse for wear


We were saying that as well, some of the safety related stuff is looking tatty now, the door seals for instance, no longer seal completely...Our carriage was manufactured in 1993 and doesn't look although it has had any maintenance / re furbishment since.

Regarding the timetable, if you add back the now customary 30 minute plus delay the boast that tunnel is quicker than ferry simply isn't true any longer
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Good shout starting the thread @Boris.

So after our half term escapade, a few days ago we decided to book for Easter. The school have kindly thrown an inset day on Thursday and they finish early at 1.30pm on Wednesday so we're going early and getting a circa 4pm train on Wednesday. We booked at the end of last week and our return crossing was £190. Previously at Easter when we've booked more in advance we've paid around £160-170 return.

We had one minor hiccup last week, decided to do it, so logged into Tesco to promptly convert clubcard points to Eurotunnel credit, but when I called to book we couldn't use them as you can't make clubcard booking less than 14 days before travel. Ooops. Anyway a quick call to Tesco and they reversed the transaction back to our clubcard account and we paid in full for the tunnel. C'est la vie.

We're overnighting in Troyes on Wednesday night and on to resort Thursday for 8 nights, so I'm hoping traffic wise we'll be well ahead of the crowds We ski 8 days fri-fri inclusive, before an evening drive back to Troyes Friday night and home again on a Saturday lunchtime train.

As snow levels are still so good we thought we'd take a punt and veer away from our usual 3v/Courchevel and try somewhere new. So we're going to Les Sybelles, staying in Le Corbier. Whilst Le Corbier itself looks like a concrete monstrosity the ski area looks extensive albeit not massively challenging (which is fine, we'll be cruising with the kids mostly). Surprisingly its actually the forth biggest in France in terms of piste km! The big plus is the lift pass prices. From Saturday they are giving away free kids pass with each 6 or 7 day adult pass, so our 7 day area pass for the 4 of us will be just EUR 486 (plus 6 euro for hands free). We have to pay full single day price for our first day as we arrive a day before the promo starts so that adds a bit, but its still markedly cheaper the usual EUR 1100 or so we pay for a 7 day 3v. Our apartment rental is also less than half the price of Courchevel was at half term, despite the 8th night. Anyway enough to tempt us to try somewhere new, so we'll see.

I can feel the excitement building already. Toofy Grin
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I still don't think I'd risk a ferry crossing in Dec-Feb - I am not a good sailor and these are the times they suffer weather cancellations. However have used the ferry a few times in last couple of years and will be using it again in summer - tunnel is no longer my default choice for crossing.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Gazzza wrote:
We had one minor hiccup last week, decided to do it, so logged into Tesco to promptly convert clubcard points to Eurotunnel credit, but when I called to book we couldn't use them as you can't make clubcard booking less than 14 days before travel.

Using clubcard points for the ferry is even worse, you need to book 28 days in advance for P&O.
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@Gazzza
That sounds amazing. I can’t find the link to free loft passes for kids- where did you find iT?
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Gazzza, I like Le Corbier, the architecture looks fine to me close up. There used to be a good ice cream shop in the main corridor.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Gazzza, for a deal that good, I think I might even overcome my vow not to return to Le Corbier (I really didn't warm to the brutalist concrete). Especially given the amount of snow this year.

There is a lot of skiing there. And if you do want a change, it is easy enough to drive over to the base lift for Orelle.


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Mon 26-03-18 16:38; edited 1 time in total
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@Snowysarah,Off the Le Corbier website :

https://en.le-corbier.com/winter/skipass-rates.html
Then scroll down and click the "Good Deals" box, then "click the Spring Skiing in Family" box.

Takes you to this page : https://www.sybelles.ski/en/skiing/ski-pass/good-deals/spring-skiing-in-family/

"FROM 31 MARCH 2018
IN THE SPRING, CHILDREN SKI FOR FREE
From 31 March 2018, spring skiing is affordable for young ones. For every adult pass purchased, Les Sybelles is giving away a child pass free (5 to 12 year olds) for an identical duration. Wonderful spring days to be shared in the sun with the family and make the moist of the mild temperatures with good levels of snow. Offer valid for 6-7 day Les Sybelles passes. Purchase at till points and online"


Valmorel/St Francois Longchamp area also had a similar deal,
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From looking last year La Clusaz usually has some sort of end of season deal too. That was also on my target list.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@boredsurfin, you might want to make sure your new doggy isn't travel sick before booking a ferry. As you have to leave them in the car and can't easily check on them, there may be a hell of a mess to clean up.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Boris wrote:
I still don't think I'd risk a ferry crossing in Dec-Feb - I am not a good sailor and these are the times they suffer weather cancellations. However have used the ferry a few times in last couple of years and will be using it again in summer - tunnel is no longer my default choice for crossing.


We have used the Portsmouth Caen crossing in December and the sea was completely calm. It is actually more enjoyable than doing the same crossing in the summer as the ferries aren't full so the loading and unloading is quick and the service is excellent on board as all the staff have time to look after you. It is more fun for the kids. The return crossing via Brittany Ferries was also about the same price as Eurotunnel (with a TO rate on the ferry). The drawback is that the journey from Caen to the Alps is a bit more longwinded unless one braves the drive round Paris. It is also expensive to book if you don't book it through a TO or BF as part of a ferry plus accommodation package.

The reason we tend to use Eurotunnel more for skiing is because it is the quickest self drive option particularly with flexi plus (through a TO package). There is also no additional charge for overheight vehicles.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
We'll leave central London early hours of Friday morning to get to Zermatt the same day. I underestimated how much clobber we'd end up taking (most of our stuff is already in our apartment) and so had to change to having a roof box on. The only way I could do that was to upgrade to Flexiplus so that was a costly mistake! For the fist time ever we'll have a dog with us. Not even our dog - our son and daughter in law's who are coming back with us but not driving out with us. Does anyone have experience of how much extra hassle you get from having a dog (particularly someone else's) when going through Eurotunnel? We have the dog passport and a letter from son authorising us to be transporting their dog.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@JohnMo, Dog on the way out - nothing to do.

Dog on the way back - You will need to visit the Vet to get the dog wormed < 5 days before travel back to the UK. On arrival at Calais the FIRST thing you have to do is to go to Pet Reception. Once you've done that you go through check in. Which for Flexiplus involves going sideways across all the check-in lanes! The danger is that you are so focused on looking for the Flexiplus signs that you miss the Pet Reception one...........(And if you were behind me that time when I jammed up Flexiplus check in doing that I apologise)
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@JohnMo, and the trip to the vet and having the pet passport stamped has to be at least 24 hours before the tunnel trip and no more than 5 days. But as @Matt1959, says there is absolutely nothing done on the way out.
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Poster: A snowHead
@JohnMo, if you look to the right as soon as you come off the sliproad before the check-in booths, you will see the Pet Reception centre, and large yellow signs directing you there. You will need your booking reference when you take the dog into the centre. Takes about 5 minutes usually. I assume son will be organising the vets visit?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Couple of local Eurotunnel tips for you lucky travellers. Looking at the conditions I wish I was going too. Sad

If there are queues off the M20 either come off at Junction 11 and take the A20. After a couple of miles you will come to a roundabout (2nd one) go round this and onto the Eurotunnel slip road, missing the queues of lorries on the M20. If you are travelling on Thursday, it's generally a bad lorry day at the tunnel.

Alternatively go past the tunnel, come off at J12 and take first left on A20 follow for 1 mile, over roundabout and head down Eurotunnel slip road.

If a pee break is needed when you arrive, jump off the M20 at J11 to Stop 24 services. No need to wait in queues at the terminal. BTW don't fill up here or the cost of your trip will double Very Happy

If M20 is busy through Maidstone and the variable limits are in force obey them. 2/3 very active Hadec cameras on this stretch.

If I think of anything else I'll post again, and feel free to ask. I'll respond if I can.

Have great trips, KK
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
rjs wrote:
@Gazzza, I like Le Corbier, the architecture looks fine to me close up. There used to be a good ice cream shop in the main corridor.


tomj wrote:
@Gazzza, for a deal that good, I think I might even overcome my vow not to return to Le Corbier (I really didn't warm to the brutalist concrete). Especially given the amount of snow this year.

There is a lot of skiing there. And if you do want a change, it is easy enough to drive over to the base lift for Orelle.



Cheers both. Any decent restaurant recommendations for lunch on the mountain around the Les Sybelles area or for an early evening dinner with kids in Le Corbier itself. And by decent I don't mean michellin starred decent, but rather reasonable classic mountain fayre (tartiflette, steak frites, raclette, confit duck, croziflette etc) type stuff, you know the score, decent plat du jour and pichet of wine for a reasonable price ??

Cheers
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@gazzza. Brill thanks! We maybsee you there ..
Any idea what the snow is like there?we have friends in Val Thorens that week so may try and go up via Orelle for a day. My youngest is 5 and on her 4th trip- she is confident on blues and has some down a red a few weeks ago. Any idea what the skiing is like to get to VT from Orelle? Wondering if she will manage
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Gazzza, sorry it was a few years ago and no restaurants are springing to mind. I just remember that inside the 'front de neige' was a bit redolent of concrete underpasses and we joked about 'A Clockwork Orange'. The skiing was fine enough, though.
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We have a 10.30 crossing on Thursday night, stopping at Calais for the night and then heading down to Dijon for one night in an aire. Of to Venosc the next day for a 5 day ski hol in Les Deux Alpes, staying at Champ du Moulin . For the first time in 6 years the temps are very low with snow in the village still. We have bought snow chains but hopefully won’t have to use them as the campsite is only at 900m. Ironically last year we got sunburnt at the campsite and wore shorts and tshirts in the daytime. Downside was the lower slopes in Les Deux were a bit pants...not so much this year. Starting to get the van packed. Smile


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Mon 26-03-18 21:21; edited 1 time in total
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@knackered knees, shhhhh that back route into Eurotunnel is on need to know basis
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
936am tunnel for us on Friday morning 😀
As tunnel is fully booked I’m expecting a bunfight 😠
Friday night hotel in Moutiers before hanging around outside our apartment in Meribel Village on Sat am begging the cleaners to hurry up so we can get in!
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@Roger C, think we're booked on that one, just relax and accept you'll be on one eventually. The drive throughFrance will be fine.

Generally we've always got into apartments early, even is just to dump stuff
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@Snowysarah,

Snow is great pretty much everywhere at the minute from what I can see. When I looked yesterday Corbier had 2.8m up top and 1.4m in resort and temperatures mostly staying below freezing. There's forecast of a bit of rain at resort level Weds pm then hoofing it down with snow overnight, snowing Thursday and then hoofing it down more snow Friday and Saturday with temperatures way below zero. Thats if forecasters can be beleived Toofy Grin Either way there's bags of snow so a spot of sunshine next week wouldn't go amiss!

The red from VT back to Orelle is mostly ok but with (from memory) two solid steep sections. There's also a blue. So if she's confident on blues you should be fine. However I have known the blue to be closed due to avvy risk and the only way back at the end of the day was the red, which duly got mogulled to oblivion and back as it towards closing time. It was a comedy of carnage as everyone from beginners to experts had to head back down it to the 3v express. Having said that, people who didn't fancy it (including my wife who was on her first week) were bum sliding down at the edge of the piste. Normally its fine though as the blue is open. Weirdly once they can ski, kids seem to manage big bumps better than their parents Toofy Grin
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