I love skiing, even if something inside me really wants to put a hyphen in the middle of the word “skiing”. Which would be wrong, but then again, so is having the letter i twice in a row. Anyway, I haven’t blogged about it before mainly because it is more something to do than to read about doing. Ski holidays are fun though and it is, I think, hard to argue against any sport which practically begs you to eat and drink heartily afterwards. It’s also one of the appeals of cricket.
Mrs B, OMB and I spent a week in Les Deux Alpes at half term at the Hotel de la Valentin. The hotel was ideal for our little family as our room had a raised mezzanine floor with a bed for OMB which meant that we had a decent amount of space to lounge around in between finishing our exertions for the day and going down to dinner. The food was excellent – mainly French mountain cuisine like raclette and tartiflette – although a little too sophisticated for OMB. There was a children’s club option which he could have had, but we preferred to stay together rather than send him off in the evening. Breakfasts were excellent, including bacon and eggs and the option of making your own crepes which OMB couldn’t resist. However, the main focus of any ski holiday should be the skiing and on that count the hotel couldn’t have been better located, being ski-in ski-out, albeit with the need to go up a short drag lift before skiing into the central lift area and ski school meeting points.
The village itself is rather charmless but functional and there were enough bars and restaurants to offer a choice for an early evening drink or lunch. Unusually the main ski area is a single high mountain taking the best part of 40 minutes to get to the top of but then offering a lot of skiing back down. The main flaw in the layout is the lack of an easy way to ski down into the resort with the choice of a long and moderately difficult red run or an incredibly long and narrow green along a road. The latter was unsurprisingly very busy and so quite arduous to ski down while regulating speed and avoiding the large number of beginners whose only other way down was by taking the main cable car back down the mountain. It was dreary enough that a couple of times I despaired at the sign showing another 3km to go and came off to take the bottom half of the short Valentin black run down to the hotel.
The other notable feature of the resort was how very friendly everyone seemed to be. That’s not always a given in French resorts in my experience. The low point being the particularly mean-spirited ski instructor OMB had in Avoriaz last April who was so unpleasant that he dropped out of his lessons which meant that Mrs B ended up missing her lessons to take him out with her. It was a shame because Avoriaz is an attractive resort with a huge and varied range of slopes to ski and with the added bonus of a Center Parcs-style pool complex (the resort was largely built by Center Parcs’ parent company). Perhaps Les Deux Alpes wasn’t quite at the level of warmth and friendliness of the Italian resorts we’ve been to, Bormio and especially Arabba where we spent New Years 2013, but still a refreshing change. Another positive was how quick the transfer was from Grenoble. Unfortunately, on our return we also realised that Grenoble airport is not capable of coping with the number of flights you get at the end of half term – despite being there before check in opened we didn’t get on to our plan home until over an hour after it was due to take off!
Next up, OMB and I are going to try a weekend skiing in Glenshee, Scotland. Apparently they’ve had a lot of snow which hopefully won’t have melted by the time we get there!
– View from the top
– the weather alternated daily between clear blue skies and whiteouts!
– Mrs B and OMB chillaxing at the PanoBar at 2600m
– At the end of a hard day’s skiing!
– Glad I was wearing a helmet!