not a ski holiday

Let's go back to mid March, and a tale of two ski holiday providers.

We'd booked a package deal to Austria with Skiworld, which got cancelled a few days before we were due to go because all the resorts shut. They told us we'd get a complete refund, so we (somewhat foolishly) instead booked a package to France with Crystal, as the resorts there were all insisting they'd still be open as there weren't any outbreaks in that region.  I insisted on package deal because that meant ATOL protection should anything go wrong.  Important!

Flew out to Chambery on a plane that... continue reading »

Serre Chevalier

We enjoyed our ski trip to Serre Chevalier a couple of years ago so much that we decided to go back and stay at Pinewood again - and take a few friends with us. 

This was my first time skiing in a group (not counting skiing with new friends made in chalets, of course) and it was great fun.  Between six of us, we had abilities ranging from 'complete beginner' to 'could probably ski backwards with eyes closed' to 'not actually skiing on account of growing a baby'.  It was nice to all meet up for lunch though - and to... continue reading »

Les Deux Alpes

My ski holidays have, until now, all been booked fairly last minute.  But this time our Christmas trip got booked really early - in August!  We intended to have a quick browse of flight prices just in case of bargains, then sort the rest later - but instead found a very good package deal for a week of B&B at Hotel Serre Palas in Les Deux Alpes.

Jon is determined to properly learn to ski this winter, so our first morning was spent doing many slow laps of the nursery drag lifts.  He'd booked himself some afternoon lessons, giving me time to zoom... continue reading »

Les Gets

The holiday started well because for the first time in a while I actually managed to get the window seat - usually Jon whinges about leg room and makes me swap. I amused myself for a while admiring a glory, then took a lot of photos during our descent into Geneva, because, well, just look at it:

We arrived at our chalet in Les Gets and were immediately ushered to the table and handed tartiflette.  Delicious and well timed!

This holiday also marks my first time skiing somewhere other than France - on the Tuesday we skiied to Morzine, then slogged our... continue reading »

Christmas in the Three Valleys

I am really not a christmas person. Partly due to the whole atheism thing, but mostly because there's too much hype and expectation and it stresses me out. Bah humbug etc. This time, I avoided it all completely by spending the week playing in the snow in Courchevel.

(Though actually I think that photo was taken somewhere in between VT and Meribel)

The Three Valleys is big - the biggest linked ski resort in the world, with around 600km of piste. That's a lot, and far too much for me to cover in six days.  We got area passes but mostly stayed... continue reading »

Serre Chevalier

This winter, I seem to have mostly been skiing. Eighteen days on the snow!  That's a week in Les Deux Alpes in December, La Plagne in February, and finally Serre Chevalier in March.  Good thing I got a large payrise when I changed jobs last summer...

For once our resort choice wasn't just down to "found a cheap late deal to somewhere with enough snow". I've been to the area in summer (kayaking, three times), it gets good reviews as a reasonably quiet resort with a high treeline, and Briancon is the sort of place that might be nice to live... continue reading »

La Plagne (again)

Picture the scene - you're at Birmingham airport at a relatively sensible time in the morning, standing in a queue for 75 minutes for bag drop, because a certain airline who we will call SneezyWet have only got 2 check-in desks open, and one of those people keeps wandering off.
End result: despite arriving at the airport in plenty of time, there's barely time to grab a sandwich, let a lone have a pre-flight beer, before it's time to board. Oh, and then the plane gets delayed for an hour while you're sat on it, leaving you dangerously close to... continue reading »

Les Deux Alpes

Who needs last minute christmas shopping/preparation when you can go skiing instead?

Unfortunately the Alps have been having a bit of a snow drought during the last month, as well as it being early in the season.  We decided to go to Les Deux Alpes as it's high up, has a glacier (you can ski there in summer too) and a good selection of (open!) pistes for those of us who are still learning.

As usual, it was a bit of a last minute booking.  We couldn't find a package deal that suited (a lot were doing different days due to Christmas... continue reading »

La Plagne

Six weeks after our trip to La Rosière, I found myself on the exact same MAN-LYS flight heading out for another week of sliding down snowy mountains.

This time, La Plagne.  Big resort, lots of snow, plenty of blue runs to keep me entertained.  Most of the week was beautiful sunshine, and of course the scenery is lovely:

After boot related pain and suffering somewhat spoilt my week in La Rosière,  I invested in my own boots - and luckily for me, mid March counts as end of season sale so in theory I saved a bit of money.  They're so much... continue reading »

Skiing in La Rosière

After last year's successful first ski trip, I was very excited about getting back on the slopes this season - especially having acquired some more bits of proper ski kit (jacket and goggles) recently.

We went to La Rosière.  Again in a catered chalet, but this time not quite so last minute - booked a week and a bit in advance!

We had a few snowy days, several big dumps of fresh powder overnight, and a lot of glorious sunshine.  Oh, and plenty of vin chaud, of course!

This is where I'd love to write that it was just as amazing as last... continue reading »

learning to ski

I finally learnt to ski!

We found a last minute deal to stay in a catered chalet in Les Arcs (seriously - booked Wednesday to fly on Saturday morning), then I had a mad scramble of trying to find suitable ski clothing.  Turns out the end of March isn't an ideal time to find winter things in the shops, so I ended up borrowing stuff from various lovely friends.

As I hadn't skied before (not counting 3 painful lessons on the dry slope many years ago), I spent my mornings in ski school.  The first few days we just snowploughed, but just... continue reading »

a few days in France

I've previously mentioned that I'd been having French lessons.  Sadly this term it turned out that the 'intermediate' class was far too easy and there weren't any more advanced options, so that ended up being refunded.

French learning continues with occasional Duolingo, working through the text book, and a few days in France in mid October... Not that I really needed an excuse for a holiday, having not taken any time off work since June. oops.

I went for the "spend as little money as possible" option - flights from Bristol to Béziers were £20 each way, and I stayed in an... continue reading »

French Alps

It's June, and I've been on holiday.  Must be Alps time!  France again this year - third time lucky?

Well, sort of.  The first few days were great.  The sun shone, squiggly mountain passes were driven over, rivers were paddled (wearing shorty cags!), ice creams were eaten...

...and then we woke up on Wednesday morning to find it was cold and snowing.  Brilliant.

Snow turned to heavy rain, the rivers rose and turned interesting colours (Durance was yellow, Guil grey, and Ubaye nearly black).  This made me lose enthusiasm for paddling - faster with fewer eddies? eek.  I was never going to push... continue reading »

Les Alpes

I've been on holiday to the French Alps again! Been back a week now, but it's taken me until now to sort through the 300+ photos I took (split between 2 cameras, as I now have a little waterproof one too, which is rather cool)

Anyway, same campsite as last year, with some of the same people.  But this time, no floods and barely any rain!  So much more kayaking was done - not especially by me, as it turns out I'm not so keen on Alpine water (it's fast and continuous and scary).  Obviously I fell out of my boat... continue reading »

les légumes

I'm in Lyon at the moment, in a very posh hotel (here on business, hehe).

My French is rusty, to say the least.  But I'm making an effort, and so just about got through my entire meal last night without speaking English :)

Then the waiter appeared with a shot glass of something green and moussey looking.  I didn't really catch any of what he said, other than that I should eat it and say if I like it...

Had a few spoonfuls, but couldn't quite place the taste  So I asked.  Eventually we got as far as "comme un chou-fleur... mais le... continue reading »


Because it would take far too long to properly write up the two weeks I've just spent in the French Alps, here's a random photo and a list:

two ferries 32 hours of driving (at least) many euros one river paddled (l'Argentiere Slalom course, and a bit beyond due to missing the eddy) half of the Chateau Q via ferrata (because it started raining and got quite slippery) one glacier and ice cave one funfair two books several bottles of wine two very yummy crepes many croissants/pain au chocolat various bits of sunburn about 160 photos (using up 6 sets of batteries!!  not impressed!) large quantities of faff a general lack of sleep

I'm probably missing... continue reading »