At the end of January we took off to the mountain resort of Les Menuires, France for my first ever skiing holiday. Pete, an avid skier from a young age has been keen to get me on the slopes for the past 5 or 6 years, so I thought it was about time I had a try myself to see what all the fuss was about.
After packing our bags with layers upon layers of clothes, making our way to the airport, waiting for reps at the other end in Geneva and taking a 3 hour coach transfer crossing the border into France climbing up into the mountains, I was hoping the skiing would make up for the feat of a journey. As soon as I saw the snow, I became delighted at the prospect. Thick layers of untouched fluffy, white goodness all around, trees draped in curtains of sparkling snow and blue skies above.
We were really blessed to have gorgeous sunshine for the majority of our trip. The snow was crisp white, reflecting light around the Three Valleys region, the sky was blue, and the sun was bright. We stayed in Les Valmonts apartments in the resort of Les Menuires; a stone-throw away from one of the main gondolas up the mountain and close to all of the local restaurants, bars and shops. The location was perfect.
Each day it was such a privilege to be able to step out of the apartment and ski right from our front door. As I was a beginner I took to the magic carpet to find my skiing legs on the lovely beginners slope, right by our balcony. Pleasantly surprised at my ability to spend the whole of my first day on my feet, I then took to exploring more of the local area, finding another nearby beginner slope.
After a few days building up confidence, I was able to pick up a beginners ski pass that provided access to all of the chairlifts leading to beginner slopes around the Les Menuires region. The beginners area was actually quite impressive for the low cost involved and I was able to try out some basic green and blue runs, whilst admiring the beautiful scenery. I found myself building up confidence as I snaked down the mountainside, stopping along the way for silky, rich hot chocolates – something France do so well! I found skiing a daunting prospect at first (and super tiring on the legs), but slowly and surely I began to build up confidence and pushed myself to go faster.
Mid-week I took a day off from skiing and Pete and I had a relaxing day together. We went up the main gondola at the resort taking us all the way up to the top of the mountain to admire the 360 view of the Alps. What magnificent scenery surrounded us. After taking a walk around the top and making the most of the photographic opportunities, we headed back down the mountain for lunch, where we both had the delightful regional dish called Tartiflette – layers of potatoes and bacon cooked in a gooey, creamy cheese called reblochon, which was simply divine. We sat outside in the sunshine admiring Les Menuires as we ate our warming and hearty lunch surrounded by fellow skiiers and holiday makers.
Thursday night at Les Menuires was fireworks night and we were treated to a colourful display lighting up the sky and the mountainside. Alongside this, night skiiers came racing down the mountain in impressive formation; quite a sight to behold.
Friday afternoon we wrapped up our skiing adventures and enjoyed a final meal out before bidding goodbye to the mountains. I found my first skiing holiday to be a lot more fun than I was anticipating – having only fallen down 3 times and feeling like I was starting to get the hang of things towards the end of the week. Our apartment, Les Valmonts, was in the perfect location for everything we needed; close to the slopes, shops, restaurants and bus stops.
Heading back to a glum and rainy UK made me appreciate the crisp, white cold of winter that we so very rarely get to see from our Southampton home. A fond farewell to the mountains and the snow. We’ll return some day I’m sure.
If you’re thinking of going skiing in the Three Valleys, I’d highly recommend the resort of Les Menuires, especially for beginners skiing alongside intermediate/advanced friends as there are plenty of run options for everyone. The Les Valmonts apartments are perfectly situated close to both the beginner runs, the gondolas and the bars, restaurants and shops of the town. We used Crystal ski holidays to book the holiday, flying from London to Geneva.