Fresh powder, refreshing mountain air, the sun beating down on my face with un vin chaud to hand; this is a ski holiday and I’ve not even mentioned the skiing part yet.
I was invited by my friend to go skiing in Alpe d’Huez, the fifth largest ski area in France, where her parents own a luxury chalet, Chalet Namika. Tempted by this, the alps, the promise of sun, good company and for the sake of relieving my smog infested lungs from the City, I couldn’t resist. To set the record, I am not an avid skier or in the slightest bit accomplished in the sport, in fact the thought of me whizzing uncontrollably down a steep mountain more aptly sums me up. A ski accident that left me in hospital without the ability to speak for a week as a child somewhat hampered my fondness for the sport early on, and when I got over this traumatic experience and decided to embark on a ski trip with university, I once again had a visit to the emergency room after being (rather embarrassingly) skied down the mountain due to my shattered wrist, and confidence. However my spirit could not be broken, and a ski holiday in Chalet Namika followed a couple of years later where I regained my confidence and enjoyed the finer things a luxurious ski holiday has to offer. ‘Luxurious’ being the key part, which is why visiting Chalet Namika a second time made me jump for joy (even unwittingly down the mountain).
La Vie de Chalet…
Known as the ‘Isle de Soleil’ meaning ‘Island in the Sun’ makes Alpe d’Huez a great resort for sun seekers to head to. From Grenoble it’s a one hour and a half to two hour journey by bus to the Alps depending on weather conditions, and my tip would be to take a plastic bag for those vomit-inducing hair pin bends. Chalet Namika is situated in a chalet complex in a secluded area overlooking the slopes, and is about a 20 minute walk from civilisation (the town). What makes the chalet location so dreamy is that you can ski straight from the chalet to the slopes – no faffing about carrying all your ski gear on a bus! In prime position, the sun terrace catches the afternoon rays which make having your afternoon cuppa and cake the chalet girl whipped up even better.
Being a novice, ski lessons were essential. I booked 6 morning classes at ski school for just over €150 and spent the mornings in a group of approx. 10 English speaking people.
❤ Hidden Gem Tip: If your French is a tad rusty, when you arrive at the ski lesson, there’s probably going to be a lot of people there, so make the instructor aware that if the classes get divided you want to go with the English speakers. There is also the option of getting a Beginners ski pass, it’s cheaper than a normal one as it takes into account you won’t be going on the higher and harder runs.
I thoroughly enjoyed my ski lessons because I got to meet new and interesting people, I gained confidence and got to explore the resort in safe hands (no getting lost off piste and having to side step down a mountain) which I wouldn’t have been brave enough to do on my own or with my much more competent skiing friends. Hidden Gem Tips: Beginners ski pass – cheaper as doesn’t go to all the high points.
Are you a seasoned skiier or a novice like me? And are you planning any ski trips? Let me know in the comments below!