By Anne Z. Cooke
Globe Correspondent / January 16, 2005
“Most of our staff come from the ski industry — resort employees, former ski instructors, snowboarders, people like that,” said spokeswoman Martina Reichsfeld. “They’ve visited the hotels and the resorts we represent. What we’re selling is knowledge and service.”
If you look at a trail map of Mribel and its neighbors, you’ll see that the Three Valleys, connected by a network of gondolas and lifts, are pitched north to south and divided by parallel mountain ridges.
Mribel is in the middle valley, tony Courchevel is eastward, and Val Thorens and Les Menuires are to the west. You might think people have always skied here, but the resorts were built specifically for recreational skiers on holiday.
The hotels and lodges, climbing the hillsides beside the slopes, look like traditional chalets, each with chestnut-brown siding, sun-facing balconies, and gingerbread trim, though the newer hotels are built of well-disguised cement.
The ski slopes, too, were planned for holiday visitors; death drops are in plentiful supply, but here they are often found beside alternate, and easier, ways to the bottom.
Though we originally asked Alpine Adventures for their lowest prices, we soon realized that some features were worth the extra cost. Alpine’s cheapest Mribel package, for example, was about $999 per person, but was limited to the basics: air fare from East Coast airports, bus transfers, trip cancellation insurance, seven nights in a comfortable but ordinary three-star hotel, ski lockers, and breakfast…
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