I am renowned for many things – but my love of skiing is not one of them.
I blame this on not learning until I was nearly 26 – and I came to the French Alps for the Ski-llenium New Year (1999-2000, when everyone expected computers around the world to fail, and NOTHING HAPPENED……..) Well – that holiday could generate a couple of blog post topics for sure – but we’ll gloss over that for now – and just say, I’ve never really been bitten by the skiing bug!
However, my best friend from school has lived in the French Alps for almost 15 years – and we’ve visited regularly – so I have done the skiing thing a few times (although being pregnant and having a small baby were damn good excuses four times. This is not the reason I had 4 kids though (that was because the oldest 2 got old enough to realise I was nicking their Easter eggs, so I needed to have some more!!))
This year, when arranging ski lessons, I shocked aforementioned BFF by saying I would have lessons. There was an incredulous WhatsApp response – as if she didn’t believe me!! Anyway – 4 weeks before the holiday I had to have surgery, and was advised not to do anything strenuous for 6 weeks – so skiing, for me at least, had to be cancelled!!! Obviously I was gutted (not!) and planned lazing in a deckchair with my Kindle and a vin chaud…………
Now it should be said that skiing holidays are not for the faint hearted! A bit like Disney or Centerparcs you arrive home feeling like you really deserve a rest.
At this time of year EasyJet do a direct flight from BHX to GVA – so that makes life simpler. The flight was straightforward, quick and arrived early! Baggage reclaim was straightforward, and as it’s an airport we know quite well, we were quickly on our way to get our vehicle. To house the 6 of us and our fabulous nanny who came too – we needed a large vehicle – and a Citroen Jumpy it was. When we picked it up we saw it had German plates – but didn’t think much of that at the time. Until we started driving through Geneva and the Haute Savoie in France. People kept pulling out in front of us – and generally driving aggressively near us. Seems the Germans are not particularly well liked in this area. I’m not sure if putting a Union Jack in the window would have made this better or worse?!?
We stopped at a huge Carrefour to stock up on essentials – milk, bread, yoghurt, tonic (had brought our own gin from home!) and prosecco!
We made it up the mountain in one piece (this is not always a given, 9 years ago we managed to drive an Avis rental into a ditch and write it off on this same route – hence we always take out the additional insurance when hiring from Geneva airport!!) and to our fabulous apartment in St Jean d’Aulps. We’d booked through Chalet des Fleurs – who had been great throughout the whole booking process – but randomly the apartment used to be a restaurant my BFF’s parents owned, so it was slightly surreal going back to it as an apartment!
The apartment was walking distance to the telecabine (and on the first day to the ski shop to get kitted out). We’d booked private lessons through the local ESF office – who were brilliant. The little 2 had an instructor called Fanny, which caused much amusement for my husband, asking if anyone had seen Fanny (honestly, you wouldn’t believe he was 46!!). The big 2 had the instructor that I’d had back in 1999 – and they were much better behaved students than their mother, I don’t think at any point they cried, took their skis off and tried to walk back down the mountain……..
We had 3 days of skiing and lessons – the first day was GLORIOUS sunshine, with the other days not so great – but still a good time had by all. We even got to ski with our friends kids – who are AWESOME – we are very proud of them (and my husband does try to pass them off as his kids when people are impressed by their skiing / bilingual-ness!!)
A local lady had stocked our chalet with food – a tartiflette (local potato / bacon / reblochon cheese deliciousness), a Thai green chicken curry and a spag bol for the kids – along with a selection of fantastic cakes. This really helped in the evenings being able to feed everyone with minimal stress. We also managed take away pizzas from a place in the village – and ate up the slopes at a couple of different places – La Licorne being the best by far!
We were only away Monday – Friday, and this worked perfectly! 3 days of skiing for everyone, so no one was completely broken and exhausted – which seems to be the order of the day when away for a week. I would suggest that all 4 kids are probably better skiers than me now – but I’m pleased they all have this skill at a young age – before being lumbered with ‘the fear’!!
This is in no way a sponsored post – we paid for the whole trip ourselves – just wanting to share the love!!