The Ski Club team: An insight into our Christmas ski trips
First of all – welcome to 2016! Like many of you, the gang here at Ski Club HQ have been busy spending their Christmas holidays out in the mountains and have kindly agreed to give us a little insight to their trips…
Beth Begg – PR/Partnerships Manager
“I was out in La Clusaz in the French Alps for a long weekend over the Christmas period. Sadly, the snow conditions were pretty poor and there were only really man-made snow runs available – but they had done well to keep what they had open. The highest mountain, La Balme, had good snow covering at the top but the bottom runs were really suffering. I’ve been going out to this resort for the past 25 years running so it’s safe to say that I know it inside-out. But for me, it’s always just a lovely treat to be out in the mountains. We did take a trip down to Annecy, a beautiful French town with a stunning lake which, although we had been there before, was a nice day trip. We also visited La Braise which is a wine shop/bar in the centre of town where you can just pick a bottle off the shelf and drink it – a must for wine-lovers!”
Photo Credit: noahhoffman.com
Eddie Granville – Snow Reporter
“I went to the small French village resort of Val Cenis over the New Year period. The Southern Alps had suffered during the early part of the season, and this was compounded with only around a third of the mountain open for skiing. This changed the emphasis of the holiday dramatically and we found ourselves spending more time in the bar than we did on the slopes. After a failed attempt at ski touring (due largely to the poor snow and equipment malfunctions – but also to some disgraceful hangovers), we decided to switch tact and instead spent our last day doing a via ferrata further down the valley. This particular climb saw us hanging in some rather uncomfortable positions on a high, exposed face, before ending by climbing in through the window of an abandoned fort. Not your average ski holiday but with the help of a great bunch of mates, it was certainly one of the best I’ve had.”
Nicole Wiedemann – Art Director
“I was out in Racines in Italy over the New Year period. We only had artificial snow but it was great to go skiing anyway and we met loads of lovely people – mainly Brits! I found that there was a really festive atmosphere in resort and that everyone was always partying and in such high spirits. Our hotel – the Berghotel – was lovely and only 3 minutes’ walk from the piste. It was actually the second time that we’d stayed there as we had enjoyed our stay so much the first time – especially the 8 course evening meals and spa/pool facilities. Our hotel also had a massive firework display at midnight on New Year’s Eve which was a great way to see in 2016.
We also attended the New Year Ski Show – a huge event in Racines – which is organised by the Racines Ski School. They had a ‘Snowdisco’ during the day then later in the afternoon the show started – it was a mélange of professional dancers with torches, stunt and jump show and skiing with neon lights. Amazing.”
Hannah Goddard – Digital Communications Assistant
“I spent Christmas out in Saint-Martin de Belleville with my family. It was the first time that we’d been out to the Three Valleys, so it was a shame that the snow conditions were so poor for our first visit. Nevertheless, we did manage to get a lot of skiing in – despite it mostly being artificial snow – and we even managed to go over to Val Thorens to jump on the Folie Douce bandwagon on Christmas Day – my most unconventional Christmas Day to date. The ski resort had a lovely traditional feel and a warm atmosphere despite not being the most buzzing resort in the Alps. We stayed in the Alp’Hotel which was just at the foot of the (grassy) slopes. It was a charming place and had the most fantastic, varied menus. Overall a top notch resort and holiday.”
Chris Madoc-Jones – Memberships Executive
“Despite some of the doom and gloom in the run up to Christmas, I had a remarkably good few days of skiing in Murren over the festive period. Arriving into an almost snowless Murren at 10pm on Christmas Eve to temperatures miles above freezing was not the ideal start, but with the highest altitude skiing in the region I wasn’t too worried. Yes the lower slopes were mostly closed and the Bob-Run back into town was a strip of artificial snow, but up high the Schilthorn was in perfect condition and the Engetal was also in really good shape. This was mostly thanks to the pisteurs who were tirelessly shovelling snow on to bare spots and also helicoptering in snow to the areas that were suffering. They were even out on for hours on Christmas Day which was a pretty impressive effort!
The sun shone every day which meant that long lunches and only a little skiing in the afternoon was by far the best plan. It seemed like most of the Swiss had adopted this model too, “retiring” from skiing at midday and soaking up the rays on the numerous restaurant terraces around town. People then flocked to the ice rink which was heaving late in the day and watching people try (and mostly fail) to learn curling was a highlight. The tobogganing route was also open and was great fun as always, but perhaps was made even better by some huge bumps and a few very slick icy sections.
So whilst the skiing was limited, what was available was very good and the holiday went to prove once again that Murren offers so much more than the skiing.”