Cold, icy winds. Cheeks stinging from the wind and snow. Falling over – a lot. These are my memories of skiing when I was younger. However, my trip to Alpe d’Huez, in the middle of March, was an entirely different experience. For the first time in almost ten years, I dug out my amateur ski gear, topped it up with some new items, and with varying degrees of confidence, set off to hit the slopes.
Just an hour and twenty minutes from Grenoble airport, the main town of Alpe d’Huez sits at 1869 metres above sea level at the centre of the Oisans region. At its highest point, the resort reaches up to 3,300m, and for 6 days straight we bathed in blue skies and sunshine on the slopes.
As a group of 15, we travelled all in with VIP Ski. After taking a flight from Manchester to Grenoble airport, from the moment we landed, everything was taken care of. Resort Manager Ben met us off the flight and sorted out our lift passes and ski hire, and within an hour and half we were relaxing in our *amazing* chalet with a cup of tea, waiting for the London lot to arrive.
Our chalet was not short of space. As well as a large kitchen/dining/living area, we had comfortable, cosy bedrooms, with en suites, on all three floors. On the ground floor, next to the boot room, we also had a jacuzzi and sauna room – exactly what my legs needed after the first day in a long time on the slopes.
We were hosted by an amazing chalet team of three, Chloe, Chloe and Harry. Every day they served the most wonderful breakfasts, afternoon tea with home baking and three course dinners. Their cooking could not be faulted. They were friendly, yet in no way overbearing, and made us feel at home. Champagne and canapés on the first and last night topped and tailed the trip, making it a truly special one.
The resort itself is a picture-perfect Alpine retreat. Our chalet was located at the top of the resort, so just a few steps and we were on the slopes. With a real mix of runs, it’s a great place for a group of skiers with a range of abilities.
After a few lessons and playing round on the red runs, I was encouraged (or frog-marched) to top of La Sarenne, the longest black run in Europe. When you get to the top, with no other way down, the only option is to ski it – all 18km.
No mean feat for someone who hasn’t skied in almost a decade – and who was never that good to begin with. Dazed and amazed, we celebrated with the world’s largest hot chocolates and some drinks at the bottom.
This brings me to our lunches and après ski – my favourite part of the trip! Pop over to my next post to find out where to eat and drink, on and off, the slopes.