Not many things compare to hurtling down a mountain at 50 kph. It’s one of my favourite things to do.
The only thing better, in fact, is doing it with Ted! Well, maybe not quite 50 kph but there really is nothing better than doing something you love with someone you love.
Back in March, we went over to Valmorel Ski Resort in the French Alps. The first hurdle was getting Jen on a plane. She has a deep rooted phobia and hadn’t flown in over 4 years so this was no easy feat. None the less, she put her fears to the back of her mind and the children’s holiday at the front and got on the plane.
I’d like to just pause momentarily to say a huge thank you to her for doing that. She really did push herself to her limits.
Once we landed in Geneva the 90-minute transfer was pretty straightforward and we arrived at the luxury, La Grand aux Fees lodge. Fully equipped with a spa, swimming pool, pool table, children’s toys and breathtaking views across the mountains. Not to mention the added bonus of fresh bread & croissants being delivered each morning! That did not do my ‘dadbod’ diet any good!
La Grand aux Fees is a ‘ski in ski out’ resort, however, for both Jen & Ted being complete beginners, this wasn’t possible for us.
A short walk away (which often felt like miles when carrying 4 sets of skis, 3 pairs of boots, coats, bags and helmets…) was the ski lift up to the nursery/beginner’s slopes.
If there is one thing Valmorel has to offer, (and it actually has many), it’s that the beginner’s slopes are brilliant. By brilliant, I mean absolutely perfect. This is by far the best ski resort I have ever been to where beginners are concerned.
Jen had her first lesson, and the instructor told her that in 42 seasons of being a ski instructor, Jen was the best complete novice she’d ever taught. Damn, my wife is talented! Which I knew already, so this was no surprise to me!
Next up, it was Ted’s turn to find out what the hype is about. He put on his little ski boots, clipped into his mini ski’s and hopped on to the magic carpet with me. We gradually rose to the top of the gentle slope. I half wondered if he’d be a bit nervous at first, but… he wasn’t.
He was in between my legs, holding on and we skied down together. At the bottom of the slope, I was pleased to hear him say, “Again!”
So we did it again.
Which I guess is what skiing is… lift to the top, ski to the bottom. Repeat until sundown!
The weather whilst we were there was stunning – simply stunning. 18 degree’s in parts. Which meant that we all got horribly sunburnt but also enjoyed sitting outside with a cold beer and tasting the local cuisine. With such weather, I was pleased that I went for layers when I got my Patagonia ski wear, courtesy of Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports. Having layers meant I had far more options to control my temperature – without this, I would have boiled!
Not only was this resort wonderful for Ted & Jen as novices, it also catered brilliantly for the older children. Louis (12) had the time of his life, especially when we found the snow park!
During the trip, the guys at Peak Retreats and Valmorel really wanted to know what he thought as a 12-year-old, and so, he commandeered our social feeds for the duration of the trip. I guess it’s only fitting for him to take command once more of the keyboard, now, and share his thoughts.
When we arrived at the accommodation I was really impressed. The building looked nice and the room was very comfortable with everything you’d need for a ski trip.
It was close to the town and local shops and restaurants. It is possible to ski straight down to the lodge but only if you are good enough to do a red run and mummy & Ted couldn’t so we had to walk to the closest ski lift. It wasn’t far so this wasn’t a problem.
The swimming pool, pool table and spa was lovely. I had a massage and it was amazing. Ted enjoyed the toys and play table in the reception area. They really did welcome children.
Al enjoyed having fresh bread and croissants delivered every morning.
We loved eating out in the different restaurants and enjoyed trying new places each night. The food was excellent everywhere we ate.
There are 2 small supermarkets in the main high street where you can get everything you’d need for the week. Al kept saying how cheap it was too!
On one evening we were quite late eating out and the bars had a lot fo people dancing and having fun. I’d like to go back when I’m old enough to stay out later!
I thought the slopes were perfect for our family. Me and Al are good skiers and can do most red runs and Al can do black. But mummy and Ted had never been before so we needed slopes that meant we could all enjoy skiing. Mummy had her first lesson and the instructor said she was the best complete beginner she’d ever had so mummy was moved off the nursery slope straight away. She was a natural.
Ted enjoyed doing some skiing holding on to Al as they went down the nursery slope and I was able to do some of the blue runs nearby. It meant we could all ski in the same place and have slopes that suited our ability.
There was also a delicious restaurant next to the nursery slope. We had lunch there every day.
This resort is the best I have been to. It was perfect for our family and I really want to go back next year.
I guess that’s a huge thumbs up from this 12-year-old! In fact, Peak Retreats & Valmorel get a huge thumbs up from all of us!
The fact that this resort really does cater for all abilities meant that our holiday was entirely accessible for all of us. I was able to get off for a few hours and really see what the slopes had to offer whilst Jen was able to learn the basics quickly and easily due to the high-quality beginner slopes.
We had a truly wonderful time whether it was skiing, eating, shopping, sledding or relaxing. This resort is by far the best we’ve been to and we will certainly hope to return again soon!