Which resort? A question we all deliberate over every Autumn. Last year we asked ourselves a different question: How many resorts?
Choosing between Europe’s biggest resorts for your winter retreat can be tough, but is it possible to visit several of them over the space of a week? Early last season, the Ski Club teamed up with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle and Spaceships Rentals to see how viable it was to visit the biggest and the best in just one week.
So, join us as we hop between some of France’s biggest and best ski areas…
Collecting our Spaceships Rentals van from their London pickup point was a doddle. We noticed on getting in the car for the first time that the van had a name: Tron. We hoped that like the vehicles that feature in the cult arcade game it would turn on a dime and ride smooth. Turns out the almost new Ford Transit was no slouch. Packing the van at the office, we easily fit a weeks’ worth of kit for three people including several sets of skis each in the boot, a definite luxury.
From the Ski Club’s Wimbledon HQ, it’s just a short blast down the mercifully clear M25-M25-M20 to Le Shuttle’s terminal in Folkestone. Once checked in we had some time to kill so had a wander around the terminal. Dinner courtesy of Leon was washed down by a complimentary hot chocolate served by one of Santa’s helpers, a nice touch that really got us in the mood for our trip!
The crossing took a mere 35 minutes from Folkestone to Calais, where we were straight through the péage and into the night. Putting in a shift each at the wheel we had booked a hotel in the Troyes area to put a good dent in the drive but allow us to not get to bed too late. After briefly hitting the hay in our motel we rose early to get going before sunrise.
The coffee certainly helped, but the main thing keeping us going was the promise of skiing later that day. The kilometres tumbled and by lunchtime, we had made it to our first stop of the trip, the heart of Les 3 Vallées, Meribel.
Parking up next to the lifts, we donned our ski boots and warm weather clothes before grabbing a quick piste-side lunch and wasting no time by jumping straight on a lift out of town.
As we only had an afternoon on the slopes, we only purchased a local area pass, which is more than enough skiing for a long weekend, never mind a few hours. Heading up towards the mighty Saulire we readied ourselves for our first ski descent of the trip. After hours of static in the car, it was time to finally let loose.
Carving our way back towards town it was smiles all round. The snow was crunchy and cold and the runs were relatively quiet. This is a big advantage of skiing on transfer day. While everyone is in transit, you have more of the mountain for yourself.
That afternoon was the opening party for the Folie Douce, nestled high above the resort. With views to the mouth of the Tarentaise, this is by far one of the most scenic venues in the infamous alpine brand’s portfolio. After having a boogie with some of our friends at OOSC in their party-starting one-pieces, we left the festivities a little early as we had a drive ahead of us to reach our base for the week, Bourg-St-Maurice.
En route to Bourg, we stopped off at a Sapaudia Brewing Co. Recently started by two Brits who now call the Tarentaise home, this craft brewery near Aime La Plagne supplies bars and holidaymakers across the Alps with delicious amber nectar. Their sharp signature beer, Signal, is named after a legendary lift in Val d’Isère – one we were hoping to check out later in the week. The boys were kind enough to give us a few cans to enjoy for the week, if you are driving through on your way to resort this season, be sure to pick some up – you won’t be disappointed!