Europe

A step closer to heaven in Val d’Isere, France


There is something about the mountains – I absolutely adore them. I love being at the top of the world – and I love the peace and quiet. I am a decent skier, but a ski trip for me means more than just that – for some reason, it always gives me the opportunity to clear my thoughts, catch up on my sleep and have a little bit of “me” time.

Val d'Isere in the French Alps - photo by www.vip-chalets.com

Val d’Isere in the French Alps – photo by www.vip-chalets.com

Thanks to VIP SKI, Mr. O and myself were invited to open the 2012-2013 ski season in the lovely resort of Val d’Isere. Mr. O knows the French Alps like he knows me, and was very keen to go back. We never ski in December, so were looking forward to compare and contrast.

We flew to Geneva, and had enjoyed a private transfer to Val d’Isere, which is a little bit under 3 hours away. On the way, we drove past the beautiful city of Annecy – a place I would definitely go back to and spend some time there. We have never really stopped and heard great things. And the lake.. wow!

The stunning Lac d'Annecy

The stunning Lac d’Annecy

Val d’Isere,  often referred to as ‘skiing’s peak of perfection’, is one of the greatest ski resorts in the world, with practically limitless skiing and breath-taking surroundings. L’Espace Killy which comprises Val d’Isere and neighbouring Tignes is the highest extended ski area in the world, with a well-founded reputation for excellent snowfall. Val d’Isere’s 300km of pistes include everything from green and reds to the legendary Face de Bellevarde black run and some of the most exhilarating off-piste worldwide. The 2012-2013 season started with excellent snow – if anything a bit too much, as we only saw the sun on the very last day.

The Aspen Lodge in Val d'Isere

The Aspen Lodge in Val d’Isere

As we arrived, we were greeted by our Chalet hosts, who were to look after us for the next 4 days. When we arrived at the Aspen Lodge, our address in this part of the world, we needn’t have worried – the accommodation was fantastic.

Birch Suite at Aspen Lodge

Birch Suite at Aspen Lodge

We stayed at the Birch suite, also known as the Penthouse Suite, which sleeps 10 guests, in 5 en-suite twin bedrooms. You can certainly tell by the images how lovely it was. Our package included breakfast, afternoon tea and a 3-course dinner – and I can’t tell you how much we ate!

Champagne and a log fire - good enough for Mrs O

Champagne and a log fire – good enough for Mrs O

After the first dinner, where we were treated to champagne and a log fire, it was time for a proper sleep – I am no early riser (even when skiing), and the thought of being up before 8am on a holiday always makes me a bit nervous. But I didn’t need to worry, as the rooms were indeed lovely.

Stylish but super comfortable rooms at Aspen Lodge

Stylish but super comfortable rooms at Aspen Lodge

For 2 days, we were split into groups and assigned a guide – not a “ski instructor”. I loved this concept, which is very different from normal “ski school”. Colin, who owns the business looked after us – boy, was he patient! TDC Ski is all about helping people really improve their skiing in an enjoyable, relaxed environment. Rather than pre-planned lessons and drills, their approach is based around coaching clients on their style as an individual, allowing one to really make a breakthrough in confidence and ability. Having enjoyed all the attention first hand, I can really vouch for the concept. I have never really been a fan of ski school, preferring more 1-to-1 attention.

On the first skiing day, we enjoyed a fantastic lunch with the Mayor of Val d’Isere, who kindly took some time to meet and welcome us to the lovely resort. Lunch took place at Le Signal, at over 2300 metres high. After 4 hours skiing and a hearty lunch, I needed a break. And a little sleep before my pre-booked inroom massage with Pamper off Piste, which was just what I needed, before dinner and a not so early night!

Me and the girls looking very cold!

Me and the girls looking very cold!

Day 2, and time for some more skiing – or staying in bed late, whichever we decided (I dare you to guess what I did). And obviously time for more food. This time, we headed for an incredible lunch at La Fruitière, which is located next door to La Folie Douce, right on the slopes. I loved this restaurant – the food was incredible (I will never forgive myself for not ordering the snail soup, but thankfully Mr. O shared a bit of his) and so was the wine. We were able to visit the wine and cheese cellar (yes, cheese cellar, why not?) and of course I found something I liked!

A decent sized wine bottle!

A decent sized wine bottle!

La Folie Douce

La Folie Douce

The highlight of the day? As Folie Douce was still closed (it opened on December 13th 2012), the fab Kelly treated us to an incredible live music performance over lunch. I understand that this is unlikely to happen again, so I must thank everyone again and again. It was really quite something!

A special performance by Kelly at La Fruitiere

A special performance by Kelly at La Fruitiere

As you can tell, we did have a bit of fun, but after this, it was time to go back to our chalet for the last night, where we were treated to a “pre-christmas” celebrated by our lovely chalet girls. Millie, Laura and Rachel were absolutely lovely and really looked after us. One thing I have to say – these ladies were very impressive. One thing I loved about this trip was how well “matched” they were to the type of guests that VIP usually has. Helen, the Chalet manager was also very nice and efficient and overall, the staff at VIP get 5 stars.

Our lovely VIP Ski Chalet Girls

Our lovely VIP Ski Chalet Girls

One thing I also really liked – the fact that our chalets had no keys. We all know how key cards seem to magically disappear on ski holidays, so having a 4-digit code seemed like the best idea ever. If one remembers it, of course, which can be slightly difficult after a drink or three at Dick’s Tea Bar, where we went for a final drink on our last night.

Good things come to an end, as they say – and I really enjoyed my time in Val d’Isere. I felt looked after, but also super comfortable – everything I need on a skiing holiday.

Lac de Tignes on our way back down the mountain

Lac de Tignes on our way back down the mountain

And with this, it was back to Geneva again – and no shopping this time! Which naturally means, I *simply* need to go back 🙂

xo

Mrs O

 

Disclosure: I was a guest of VIP SKI on this trip, who covered my transportation, lift passes, food and beverage, beauty treatments, ski lessons and accommodation, amongst others. Opinions, are as always, my own. I believe the experience I had is very similar to what any paying guest would, and can, without a doubt, recommend this product.

 

Fact Box:

VIP SKI has thirteen chalets to choose from in Val d’Isere. Aspen Lodge is situated at the centre of the resort and makes up four of the accommodation options in the resort. The Birch Penthouse Suite sleeps ten guests in five ensuite bedrooms and benefits from the large reception area on the ground floor along with its own concierge desk giving visitors the ultimate in location, style and comfort. With sliding glass doors that open from the high street onto a smart lounge area with open fire, giant cinema screen, high tech facilities, pool table, draft beer and coffee bar and lift access to the private accommodation suites above. The suite has its own living and dining area, featuring a south facing balcony, and a dedicated chalet host. VIP SKI prices for seven nights start from £859 per person based on 2 sharing. Included are return flights from London Gatwick, coach transfers, accommodation, catered chalet board of  breakfast, afternoon tea, three course evening meal on six nights followed by cheese board  and coffee and mints, wine, wake up drinks and canapés on the first and last evening. Complimentary ski and snowboard hosting service on three days, towels, mid-week bed linen change, toiletries and daily newspapers. For more information call VIP SKI on 0844 557 3119 or book online at www.vip-chalets.com

VIP SKI’s Platinum Service starts at £1,129 per person based on two sharing at the Aspen Lodge.  This exclusive service includes all the usual VIP SKI features plus:

  • Midweek linen and towel change
  • Valet parking in the UK
  • Private taxi to resort
  • Private chef who phones prior to the holiday to arrange a menu for the week
  • Cooked breakfast and housekeeping all 7 days
  • Canapés on 6 evenings
  • Personally selected upgrade wine
  • Port and handmade chocolates
  • Fresh flowers
  • Unlimited complimentary mini bar
  • Personal in resort chauffeur (8am – 8pm)

 

Ski pack items can be pre-booked: Lift passes for the Espace Killy area (Val d’Isere and Tignes) start from £206 with child and senior lift passes starting at £165.  Ski hire starts at £134 for boots and skis or snowboard with children’s hire starting at £61 for skis and boots.  Group ski lessons with TDC start at €220 for 9 hours of tuition spread over 3 mornings www.tdcski.com.

Check the tourist board’s website www.valdisere.com for the latest news and snow conditions.

Pamper Off Piste www.pamperoffpiste.com offer a range of massage and beauty treatments and a 30 minute massage starts at €52.

La Folie Douce represents the ultimate in Après Ski in Val d’Isère, Meribel and Val Thorens as well as a great mountain restaurant for a leisurely lunch www.lafoliedouce.com.  Also check out Dicks Tea Bar at www.dicksteabar.com with a bar in Meribel as well as Val d’Isère.

Le Signal has been known to gain accolades such as Best Restaurant in the Alps and from its position at 2330m there are commanding views of the slopes and mountains.  For more information visit www.lesignalvaldisere.com

 


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View Comments (49)

49 Comments

  1. Jack Haliday

    October 10, 2013 at 11:06 am

    What a great read!

    To say I’m excited for snow-season is an understatement!

    I’ve never been to Val Disere, but have heard many times that it is a wonderful resort. Last year I took my board to Alpbach in Austria and couldn’t recommend it more!

    I will share this article with my followers, thank you for the great read!

  2. Raul (@ilivetotravel)

    December 22, 2012 at 3:36 am

    Wow, that looks just beautiful!!! And that bottle of wine doesn’t look big enough for you 🙂 I wonder how this place compares to Vail where the bowls seemed endless -> regardless this place sounds like a must!
    Raul (@ilivetotravel) recently posted..A Year (or the World?) Ends… Either Way, I TravelMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      December 23, 2012 at 3:54 pm

      I have never skied in the States and that is one thing I would love to try!

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  4. Mrs Chris

    December 21, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Great post Ana! Looks like everything I want from a ski holiday. And yes, Annecy is a gorgeous place. Beautiful lake, lovely old town, people with real spirit. It’s aways a fun day trip for us 🙂

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      December 21, 2012 at 12:02 pm

      A day trip.. some people have all the luck 😉 Maybe we can stop by next time we are enroute to the Alps? 🙂 I would love to!

  5. Rodrigues Pereira

    December 21, 2012 at 2:07 am

    Olá Ana!
    Acabei de ler o seu “report” sobre um LHR/MIA/LHR na BA , mas sem ser aqui. honestamente, não sei como lá fui parar… Tem um site, q não este?
    Além disso, os meus parabéns pelo “negócio”: para além de dormirmos muito melhor, o preço do upgrade é equivalente a uma garrafa de Krug e 2 XO.
    Votos de Bom Natal!
    MRP

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      December 21, 2012 at 7:42 am

      Ola! O artigo saiu numa revista online nova, e como nao podia partilhar doutra forma, inclui na newsletter! O preço foi bom 😉 muito bom! Bom Natal para si tb!!

  6. Elyse a.k.a. Foodie International

    December 20, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    This post gets me so excited. It’ll be one year since I had the ligament in my knee replaced (bad, BAD Dolomites!) and I’m almost ready to hit the slopes again. While I may not be ready to hit ski off any more black-rated Italian cliffs, I’m already looking forward to my next international ski adventure, wherever it may be…hopefully somewhere with cheese.
    Elyse a.k.a. Foodie International recently posted..Foodie Cheat Sheet: LimaMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      December 21, 2012 at 7:43 am

      Somewhere with cheeese.. that sounds wonderful! Europe it has to be! Glad to hear you are recovering!

  7. Anita Mac

    December 20, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    I love being out in the snow and mountains! This place looks awesome. Nothing says winter better than a lodge in the snow! Waiting for a big snow storm here in Ottawa – I see ski chalets in the near future, but a chalet in France would be pretty sweet!
    Anita Mac recently posted..Turtle Cruise with Silver Moon…the most memorable day in BarbadosMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      December 21, 2012 at 7:44 am

      You guys are lucky to have proper snow nearby 🙂 but as you say, there is something about the Alps!

  8. lola

    December 20, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    cannot wait to get to Switzerland with you to see similar scenes of gorgeous mountains. Apres ski has my name written alllll over it 😉
    lola recently posted..a different kind of castle – Four Seasons PragueMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      December 21, 2012 at 7:44 am

      Oh I know, may have even be invented with you in mind!

  9. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures

    December 20, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Oh my goodness, it’s soooo beautiful! I wish I knew how to ski.
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..San Francisco & Napa Valley: Day 1My Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      December 20, 2012 at 2:47 pm

      Never too late to learn, Andi! But also lots to do if you don’t ski, promise!

  10. Fi Quinn

    December 20, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Such fantastic snow this early this in the season means they should have one of the best years – here’s to 2013 and lots more skiing.

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      December 20, 2012 at 1:41 pm

      Thanks, Fi! 🙂

  11. Pola (@jettingaround)

    December 20, 2012 at 8:21 am

    The photos are absolutely adorable! I am not a skier – blame it on a sprained angle in childhood – but I love mountains and hiking. I wouldn’t mind going away for a weekend to a mountain cabin, drinking hot chocolate by the fireplace (ok mulled wine wouldn’t hurt either) and reading a book. Just escape. I’m glad you had a great time!
    Pola (@jettingaround) recently posted..Photo of the Week: Boats in the San Diego HarborMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      December 20, 2012 at 8:23 am

      That’s the beauty of the Alps – especially for non skiers! And they don’t make you feel guilty either

  12. Traveling Ted (@travelingted)

    December 20, 2012 at 3:00 am

    It is supposed to snow tomorrow in Chicago. This post has got me psyched for the flaky white stuff. Val D’isere looks like a lovely place to ski and enjoy winter.
    Traveling Ted (@travelingted) recently posted..Anaconda envy in the Iwokrama Rainforest, GuyanaMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      December 20, 2012 at 8:22 am

      It is so wonderful, Ted! Almost magic 😉

  13. The World Wanderer

    December 19, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    Wow! This place looks beautiful. I haven’t been on a slope in years, but this is motivation to get back out there for sure.
    The World Wanderer recently posted..Printcopia Canvas Print Giveaway!My Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      December 20, 2012 at 8:23 am

      You should go, it’s lovely!

  14. Hogga

    December 19, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    What a beautiful place. Great pics!

  15. Kieu

    December 19, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    ‘A decent size bottle of wine’.. lol. I’d like to have a crack at that. Looks like heaven to me.
    Kieu recently posted..Tasting Hungary in BudapestMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      December 20, 2012 at 8:24 am

      I know, it was only 30 something litters. Decent sized 😉

  16. D.J. - The World of Deej

    December 18, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Obviously this more than earns my approval…what a resort! Being a Floridian, I would love to spend a weekend in a winter wonderland like this:)
    D.J. – The World of Deej recently posted..The King & Prince Resort – St. Simons IslandMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      December 18, 2012 at 3:00 pm

      You would love it..quite a contrast from sunny Florida!

  17. Tawny of Captain and Clark

    December 18, 2012 at 8:34 am

    So jealous! I’ll be dreaming of that snowy chalet tonight. I just told Chris that I’ve decided we should honeymoon there. 😉
    Tawny of Captain and Clark recently posted..A harrowing night camping under the stars in Jaisalmer, India.My Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      December 18, 2012 at 9:22 am

      That is a lovely idea! Plenty of activity and down time. And food, and nice drinks 😉 v romantic indeed!

  18. Anisha

    December 18, 2012 at 8:32 am

    The chalet looks very plush! Glad you enjoyed the experience… I’m yet to try skiing- looking forward to a lovely lodge now!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      December 18, 2012 at 9:21 am

      I think you should definitely try it 🙂 you may even like it! But the rest of the holiday, bliss!

  19. Christina

    December 17, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    I would not mind getting that bottle of wine in my stocking for Christmas!
    Christina recently posted..Our Travel MishapsMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      December 18, 2012 at 8:19 am

      Not bad, is it? 😉

  20. Sarah

    December 17, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    I too feel a deep connection with mountains. Your ski vacation sounds amazing. One of my dreams is to go skiing (or at least visit a chalet) in Switzerland!
    Sarah recently posted..Photo of the Week: Art in the Arasta BazaarMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      December 17, 2012 at 9:13 pm

      Hi Sarah, thank you so much for your kind words. It was an incredible trip and I hope you can make it one day! This holiday was in the French Alps, but looking forward to a bit of Swiss love in the new year!

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  22. Leah Travels

    December 17, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    I didn’t think I could be more excited for our Alpine adventure, but then you go ahead and publish this. Can. Not. Wait.
    Leah Travels recently posted..3 Famous Things I Didn’t See in Europe {and What I Did Instead}My Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      December 17, 2012 at 9:04 pm

      You will absolutely love it!

  23. Nathan Nehmer

    December 17, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Wow Ana, That looks absolutely amazing! I am not a fan of cold and snow, being from the state of Wisconsin and having to shovel the stuff all the time, but I do love the way snow covered mountains look during the summer months. The contrast of the nice green meadows and forest with the white snow framing it before the nice blue of the sky is simply amazing. In fact my series of blogs that I started today will be dealing with mountains and other great scenery that the beautiful state of Alaska has to offer.
    Nathan Nehmer recently posted..Alaska Wilderness by SeaMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      December 17, 2012 at 6:41 pm

      Ohhhhhhhhh now there is a place I would like to go to… Alaska! Very cool indeed! I can appreciate how the snow may not be your cup of tea – we don’t have enough of it here!

  24. the lazy travelers

    December 17, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    this looks amazing!!! definitely sad we didn’t have time to ski in verbier, but that just means we have a perfect excuse to go back.
    the lazy travelers recently posted..four days in switzerland: an ode to the swiss railMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      December 17, 2012 at 6:42 pm

      I know, what a shame! But you got to see one of the prettiest places in Switzerland – and as you say, you need to go back!

  25. Anita

    December 17, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Your VIP chalet looks like heaven 🙂 I’m really looking forward to my ski holidays in les Portes du Soleil
    Anita recently posted..Baby it’s cold outsideMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      December 17, 2012 at 3:17 pm

      It was indeed! Lovely! You will have a fab time 🙂 When are you going?

  26. Becky GlobalGrasshopper

    December 17, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Oh wow it looks gorgeous! I love the mountain photos.
    Becky GlobalGrasshopper recently posted..Iceland: land of fire, ice and cool designMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      December 17, 2012 at 3:17 pm

      It was lovely! I think I miss it already!

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