Why would anyone not think that going to the top of a mountain and sliding down it on skis would be fun? Its a bit of a dichotomy for me. I love it but to be honest it scares me too. Either way it is kind of fun and having had a short break over to the French alps (Courchevel to be specific) I want more. My legs, however, are telling me to wait till next year so that they can recover! My arse is fine though. I was only on it twice.
As much as I like the idea of the hotels, my preference is always a chalet. Even though the single supplement (if you are lucky as some firms will just charge you double) is a bit mad, they do give value for money. Caveated by they give value for money if you like wine. Breakfast, cake when coming off the mountain and then dinner is included. Young people (chalet hosts) who can cook amazing things and generally pour as much wine as you will drink with your dinner. French wine. It is never bad!
The French Alps are breathtakingly stunning. Courchevel is part of the three valleys region so its slopes are connected to Meribel and Val Thoren. However being over in Courch meant that Val Thoren was slightly out of my reach. I am somewhere in between beginner and intermediate. Ok more beginner but I can get down a slope. Ok sometimes I need a lot of encouragement (and even strictness) to get down a slope. Probably because if you start down a slope there isn’t really any other option but to go down. Unless you can find a nice blue run (or even green) crossing it that you can divert to, you just have to keep going.
In most of my skiing trips I have had lessons. Group ones are fab but on first trip I went for a beginner group and they bumped me up on the second day to a more advanced (still beginner) one. I didn’t have the ski miles under my belt to cope with that one so went private. Private lessons where my choice for the next few trips. As long as your instructor is nice (nice looking helps too…don’t know why!) then 3 hours a day with a coffee stop is money well spent. If anything they will figure out your level and advise you on the runs around the mountains that match your level.
For this trip I didn’t get lessons as it was a pretty relaxed short break and the couple (my sister and her partner) are really accommodating with me given they are both good skiers.
The Beer (coffee / food) Stops
I remember my first holiday and was literally amazed with all the places up and over and around the mountains where you could stop for food, a vin chaud, a beer, amazing cakes or coffee. I realised quickly that you need it. In the first 2 of our skiing this year we had covered about 20k of runs. An espresso was needed.
If anyone is in Courchevel / Meribel then go to La Folie Douche. Even if you don’t like pumping music and dancing in your ski gear just go for the atmosphere. You will be warm in that base layer, mid layer and top layer…think about the dancers in their outfits! Usually great DJs and if you can afford it (I stuck with a beer or two) Champagne. If you pay enough you can even go back home in a helicopter. I haven’t seen it done but then I haven’t stayed till 5 as I can’t ski the red run down from there. Anyway, bit too extravagant for me. I was happy just dancing and having a drink.
So maybe the whole point of the post but I feel that on a skiing trip it is the whole experience. It is a million miles away from being stuck up a cold and windy Scottish Mountain. The snow is different (I think it is anyway).
For our trip it was bluechip days every day. There was no wind to speak of unless you count a little going up some of the chairlifts. The snow was so nice. I think I was on only two icy bits in the whole trip. The snow was the best I have been on.
The runs as always were pisted perfectly. The best bit. It wasn’t too busy. If you go in March you can hit into the French holidays. It gets busier but even then the slopes are great. So at the beginning of January it was perfect. There was a few race teams training. Funny thing is though that on a run whilst I was doing my easy breazy big circle turns they passed right by me. I didn’t even see them do it. Just woosh….didn’t even feel the woosh. Those guys are quick! The only reason I know they passed me is because my sister was a bit further down waiting on me and watching them.
I’m still not a great skier but I managed a couple of reds and generally felt really good on the slopes. Minus the last afternoon where my legs gave up and the narrow blue we were on was more tricky in some places than a good red. Shaking legs and the fear – I could have cried. I am sure I sniffled a few sobs at one point. But there is always the option to side slide down sideways on your skis. I had to for a bit. Soooo tempted to take of my skis. Promptly told that you NEVER take of your skis. It is true but the idea of flying down, my arse and sliding off the mountain and slap bang into the middle of the bar below appealed at that point in time. I reluctantly took the advice and made it home…eventually! To more beers, cake and then a big dinner with wine!
Header image Photo by boris misevic on Unsplash
I would have uploaded the video of the violinist at La Folie Douce doing Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello’s Señorita but I don’t have a clue how to upload my phone videos to here! If anyone does know how to do this let me know 🙂