Recently I was lucky enough to be invited on a fantastic ski educational trip hosted by Inghams to Tignes in France. The last time is skied I was in my twenties. A mere 20+ years ago I may add!
When asked which group would I like to join, the advanced or beginners, you can imagine which option I chose. Thank goodness I opted for the beginners. I had visions of me having a few Bridget Jones moments for those of you that are familiar with the film ... Me, skiing uncontrollably down the mountains!
My early morning flight to Geneva departed from Gatwick, although Bristol departures are available. We had a long 3 hour transfer when we arrived, however we passed through some stunning scenery as we meandered up through the mountains. We past Lake Anney in Haute-Savoie, the third largest lake in France. Simply breathtaking. It is known as Europe's most cleanest lake because of the environmental regulations introduced back I the 1960's. It is popular tourist destination both in the winter and summer months for swimming and water sports. You can hire chalets right on the waters edge.
Flights are also available from Exeter, Birmingham, Southampton and Gatwick into Chambery, which has a shorter transfer time of 2 1/4 hours.
For those of you that aren't familiar with Tignes, it is a world-renowned resort with Val d'Isere just in the next Valley . It has amazing runs in wide open terrain. With 300 km of piste and hundreds more off piste, there really is something for everyone.
Tignes would also be a good choice for non skiers too. Holidays in Tignes are about much more than just skiing or snowboarding.
The whole area is made of of 3 main areas. Le Lac, where you can ice skate on the lake, Lavachet and Val Claret. All resorts are interlinked by a 24 hour free bus service. Each boasting its own ski areas and sports facilities.
You can choose between ice-diving, paragliding, bungee ride , microlighting, Husky sledding, snow kiting, ice skating and not forgetting the amazing Aqua Centre at Le Lac. It has a fantastic pool with Sauna and steam rooms and jacuzzi's set in this fabulous mountain scenery. You can sit in these jacuzzi's and watch everyone skiing and snowboarding down the mountains. Very civilised. It also has squash and tennis courts and the resort also has a cinema.
We stayed in a catered chalet which I throughly recommend. Our chalet was chalet Camille which sleeps 18. Perfect if you are travelling with a group of friends. The concept of catered chalets in my opinion is the way to go!
The fully trained staff are there cooking hot breakfasts before your energetic day on the slopes, of course buffet style is also available. When you return from the slopes mid afternoon you are served afternoon tea and freshly baked cake. Believe me it is very welcome having built an appetite.
The evening meal begins with pre-dinner aperitif, followed by a 4 course dinner then coffee and chocolates. Vegetarian options available. You have a selection of complimentary wine to choose from. These are chosen especially to compliment each dish and are not house wines like you may experience with other companies. The food was delicious and plentiful. Daily house keeping is also available.
The chalets also have free wi-fi.
There are various activities to partake in at night too. A packed itinerary of events is available should you wish to venture out after your sumptuous dinner and you can tear yourself away from that cosy log fire. Such as...
- Tignes by night - exploring the thriving nightlife , visiting the best bars and a great social event!
- Meet the neighbours - A great way to get to know the sister resort of Val d'Isere .
- Quiz night - A firm favourite on the apres planner!
- Wine Tasting is a popular choice too at the brilliant L'Embuscade bar.
Chalet hotels are another option. This offers you all of the above but the space and facilities of a larger hotel. We went to visit the Hotel Curling in Val Claret which had the benefit of being just 2 minutes from the nearest ski lift. It's bar area was very popular and this hotel was in a great location surrounded by restaurants bars and the odd night should you wish to dance the night away.
Just a short ski or drive away a the world class resort of Val d'Isere. Very stylish, exciting and lively.
Inghams have quite a choice of Chalet hotels and Catered chalets. We were shown around their new fantastic 5 star Hotel - Le Savoie. If you prefer a little luxury then is for you.
New and modern with its own boot store and fitness area that you can just ski back to at the end of a long days skiing. Ditch the ski's and plunge into the pool or relax in the jacuzzi, perfect way to end your possibly gruelling day perfecting those black runs...
This hotel is beautiful.
There were several highlights on this trip. One which I have to mention. This was being taken up on the Pallafour Chair lift to the top of a mountain around 4.30pm when the light was fading fast, carrying an individual wooden toboggan, no bigger than a foot long. This mountain was 2564 meters high and yes, you got it, we had to toboggan down it. I have never been so scared in my entire life. It was petrifying. I had on several occasions on the way down wondered what a responsible mum of two was doing risking all. At times I was going so fast and to stop was impossible on the ice... To reach the bottom was exhilarating! I think I cried with relief.
The next afternoon I found myself skiing down it... It seemed a good idea at the time, but believe me tobogganing was easier! I lost count how many times I fell. We were told that it was a blue run but that evening we had an event hosted by the Tignes Tourist Board and when asked what did I do today, I pointed at the mountain and said "I skied down that one, rather disgracefully too at times as I fell so much and I found it quite scary". She looked at me and said "That is more of a red run. After 3 days you skied down there? It would be a red run in any other resort but in Tignes we like to challenge!". Never again... Well, until the next time.
Everything is pre-bookable from your Lift passes, ski and boot hire and tuition.
Inghams have great saving too especially on group travelling together. Deals such as 2 for 1 ski/snowboard hire, groups - up to 1 in 5 go free.
I thoroughly enjoyed skiing again after so many years and very grateful for the opportunity.
If you would like to find out more about this Ski Resort or perhaps have not skied before, please call me and I can help you plan your trip. There are lots of great deals around.
The snow is late this year in many of the lower resorts. This will mean skiing may well be available throughout April too. Here's hoping.