Our second week in the French Alps was spent in Méribel in the heart of Les 3 Vallées. Our hotel, Alpen Ruitor, was situated in the small village of Méribel Mottaret, just up the valley from Méribel, with 3 lifts right out our back door. With 2 lift rides, we could ski Courchevel, Méribel, or Val Thorens.

Every year, a group of friends, colleagues and former colleagues from Milliman meets up for a few days of skiing somewhere in the US or Canada. This year, the group fulfilled a long-time bucket list wish of taking the trip to Europe. We had a group of 21 from California, Colorado, Texas, Wisconsin, Connecticut, New York and Washington DC.

We got extremely lucky with over a foot of new snow falling just before the group arrived and a bit more after, and then plenty of sunshine so we could marvel at the never-ending mountain vistas. Méribel Mottaret was the perfect spot for a group to be located as it was central to all activities, and the Alpen Ruitor was the perfect hotel for a group with excellent service, outstanding views, a great fireplace room for gathering, good restaurant and a really robust breakfast buffet and egg station (always important for a bunch of hungry skiers).

My birthday fell during the week, so the never-ending 50th birthday celebrations continued, and everyone helped me ring in the next 50 years with fun and laughs and dancing and excess (everything)! A really great week.

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Shoeshoeing led us to some beautiful back country vistas.

Shoeshoeing led us to some beautiful back country vistas.



Just gorgeous.

Just gorgeous.



Most of our skiing was above the tree line.

Most of our skiing was above the tree line.



The views of the mountain tops was uninhibited this day.

The views of the mountain tops were uninhibited this day.



Snaking valley view.

Snaking valley view.



Snowy peaks forever.

Snowy peaks forever.



Tracks running back dow to the valley.

Tracks running back dow to the valley.



Tracks running everywhere.

Tracks running everywhere.



Our friends getting ready for the Super Bowl.  It looks like the guy to the left is photoshopped into the picture - not so; he just wanted to be included.

Our friends getting ready for the Super Bowl. It looks like the guy to the left is photoshopped into the picture – not so; just a well-timed photo-bomb.



The local "fire engine".

The local “fire engine”.



We posed before taking off with our group of Milliman friends.

We posed before taking off with our group of Milliman friends.



One of the highest points of Les 3 Vallées ski resort.  We had to hike up a steep incline to get here.  We could see Mont Blanc for about 30 seconds before clouds moved in.

One of the highest points of Les 3 Vallées ski resort. We had to hike up a steep incline to get here. We could see Mont Blanc for about 30 seconds before clouds moved in.



Hooray - no casualties from our hike to the high point vista.

Hooray – no casualties from our hike to the high point vista.



Stunning vistas from the top.

Stunning vistas from the top.



Our Milliman friends at a local British comedy club.

Our Milliman friends at a  British comedy club in Meribel.



Shauna and Laurent - for a small celebration in honor of Shauna's 50th B'day.

Shauna and Laurent, our fab maître d for the week – for a small celebration in honor of Shauna’s 50th B’day.



Quite a spread.

Quite a spread.



Quite the glasses.

Quite the glasses.



Quite the B'day cake.

Quite the B’day cake.



Quite the celebration.

Quite the celebration.



Quite a next day.

Quite a next day.



Huge trams were the only way to get to some of the peaks.

Huge trams were the only way to get to some of the peaks.



Talk about being built on a cliff......

Don’t step too far out the back door……



Clouds moved up the valley.

Clouds moved up the valley.



The cloud cover in the valley looked a bit surreal.

The clouds filling in the valley looked a bit surreal.



Late afternoon sun setting through a haze of clouds.

Late afternoon sun setting through a haze of clouds.



A group of our friends out showshoeing.

A group of our friends out snowshoeing.



Making way for a local sled.

Making way for a local horse-drawn carriage.



Meribel.

Meribel.



And, of course, our never-ending game of hearts...

And, of course, our never-ending game of hearts… debts payable in US dollars please.



We’ll leave you with a video from the week…. thanks Jeremy!