A couple of years back the decision was made was made to head away to the slopes for our good friend Jule’s 40th. We had a great time learning at Chill Factore (see my previous post – Learning to Ski… ) but it was time to hit the real slopes (and a bit of Apres Ski – if I am totally honest)
We explored lots of options for a catered chalet as this was always going to be the best option for us all (6 adult and 6 kids). We researched in depth and came across Treeline Chalets in Morzine in the Porte du Soleil region of the alps. (I say we – it was all down to Jules really). We finally settled on the rustic charm of Chalet Beziere and it didn’t disappoint but more on that later.
As we were not booking a package with any of the tour operators we still wanted the process to be easy and Treeline were brilliant. Their website, process of booking and service were exceptional. They will organise everything including transfers, picking up your ski-passes so there is no queuing on the first day and organising a company – Ski Mobile – to come and deliver your equipment the night before. Nothing was too much trouble and we just had to get the flights booked.
So onto the day of travel – it was an early start for us and as the flights were a bargain from Liverpool to Geneva so we had to make that additional 30 minute drive but flight boarded, tablets out and we were on our way to our first ski trip. All of us a little nervous but very excited to be spending a week in the Alps and with great friends.
The transfer was efficient and then we were on our way – only just over an hour to the pretty resort of Morzine . A couple of drop offs and then we were at our Chalet. Joe and Emma our hosts for the week let us dump our bags and then we headed into the resort.
Now before I talk about the powder, greens, blues, reds and other snow stuff I should probably mention that we got to Morzine and it was 23 degrees. So we donned our T-shirts and flip flops and bagged a deck-chair outside one of the resorts more popular bars Le Tremplin at the foot of the Pleney (main lift in Morzine) and ordered a nice cold biere to toast our holiday. It was at this point we were informed that Morzine lifts were closing that night. Arrrrrhhhhhh!!!. Panic about all that money spent and no skiing started to surface. However we were reliably informed that Avoriaz was fine so another cold one to toast that outcome was required.
(It was our first trip so our expectations were not so high that we would have anything to compare it to but we did want some snow).
Anyway the nice, ice cold beer (along with some factor 30) applied liberally went down well and we settled in to holiday mode. A couple of hours later we headed back up the hill to the Chalet to meet our holiday buddies and then more fun in the sun ensued( along with a couple more cold ones in the hot tub). Our first Dinner at the Chalet went down a treat and we were ready for the next day.
We started with a breakfast of champions and then all geared up (all the gear no idea springs to mind) we jumped in the van to drop the rugrats at ski-school. Well, that was an enjoyable experience said no parent EVER!!! It was bloody bedlam, kids crying, parents shouting and crying, I was surprised the instructors weren’t crying too but they just took it in their stride and ferried the kids onto a bus and up to Avoriaz.
Nigel aptly name it the sound of abandonment. Both of us said that that every fibre of our being was saying it was wrong but with so many other parents just leaving their precious offspring with strangers in what seemed to be reminiscent of a war scene – we couldn’t all be wrong – COULD WE? Actually, after a few days we realised it was just organised chaos, but boy it tugged at the heartstrings.
So we settled into our daily routine of breakfast, morning carnage at ski-school drop off, adult skiing and then picking up the kids for lunch and then a bit of family skiing in the afternoon. We would then head back for some hot-tub action, beers, cake and then an amazing 4 course dinner with wine . It was bliss!! (Plus the kids were fed earlier than the grown ups so were tucked up in bed by the time we got to eat and so we had proper grown up time).
Joe and Emma were amazing hosts, phenomenal cooks and we felt totally spoilt. The chalet was lovely and homely and the hot-tub went down a treat with kids and adults alike every day after the slopes. Treeline really do invest in the best staff, produce and without question train their chalet staff to represent them brilliantly. However, even with all the above, it was still great to get out on their day off and try out one of the restaurants. They recommended L’ Etale. – of course when in the Alps you have to indulge in some Fondue so that was all that was on my mind. A mountain of bread and stringy cheese later I needed to get walking before I was unable to get out of the chair. Yum!!
As for the skiing – mine was a mixed bag – I think that is what must come of learning at an older age. Sometimes I felt great, sometimes I lost my nerve and felt like I was going backwards which was frustrating so if I could recommend anything it would be to get a couple of days lessons on the slopes to help with confidence. I will certainly do that next time but we everything was booked up when we were in resort. Ella though was amazing. She is of course closer to the floor and seems to like falling over as it gives her an excuse to roll around but she can just bounce back up. We saw her a few times from the lifts on her lessons and both of us were bursting with pride. Like most things she just takes it in her stride and loves anything new. So afternoons were great fun as we got to ski as a family. On the last day we sacked off her ski-school and spent the whole day on the slopes, grabbing a beverage or two whilst we caught our breath before carrying on again. It was a great day and we decided there and then we would be back again next year.
So on the last night we packed up as we had another early start, said our goodbyes to friends old and new, bid farewell to our lovely hosts and the beautiful resort of Morzine with a promise to be back. See you in 2018.