Noel Dans L’Espace Killy

Yes, that’s right, I have now exhausted my French in its entirety. And it’s probably still inaccurate – feel free to go over to the comments section and correct me if you must. After all, it seems I get grammar corrections on there these days (thanks, Dickon!), so I may as well have language corrections too…

The Christmas ski holiday didn’t exactly go to plan, but in the spirit of not airing bad stuff on the Internet (I’m learning from this blogging lark, right?), I’m going to tell you about the good stuff, and that’s it.

We got a fantastic chalet overlooking Val D’Isere, which is in the heart of the Espace Killy, one of the best ski areas in the Alps. The chalet’s front window had views that you’d normally have to climb halfway up a hill for (photos to follow), as well as our own chalet girl. I must admit I’m the type that finds that kind of luxury a touch uncomfortable. I’ve always been the same with things like five star hotels, too (I find them almost too posh to enjoy). I mean, I can understand the appeal, and the food was fantastic (as was the lack of having to do anything at all for the entire week – result), but I just feel odd letting someone work a 16 hour day effectively waiting on you hand and foot. The food came with a limitless supply of wine, though, which allowed us to get quite substantially wrecked on a few nights, and the chalet itself was just amazing. Wood fires, swimming pool and steam room, balconies looking out over the harsh black run ‘Face’ (the perfect way to get down in the morning – only the very bottom, thankfully) and into the undisturbed, snow-coated trees.

Val D’Isere’s lovely, too. The city was still clad in all its Christmas lights, with the main street lined in ice sculptures and supermarkets like caverns, with huge cheese sections and a quite incredible assortment of wine and spirits (which, given the free wine, we absolutely didn’t need, but still…). It didn’t live up to its party reputation (Christmas being a family time, I suppose), but other than that it’s pretty much the perfect ski resort.

We got fairly good conditions, too, aside from one day I found extremely uncomfortable, skiing more difficult slopes in a blasting snow which either stuck to goggles and blocked your view or just blinded you. I stuck mainly to the easy runs, but managed to get in some reds and a couple of uncomfortable blacks, too, just to reassure myself I can still slide down a hill. My brother’s developed into a technically brilliant skier since we last skied together, which is both impressive and quite frustrating (he’s much better than me). Skiing right across from Val D’Isere to Tignes, stopping off for hot chocolate and then riding a massive furnicular railway back to the top and doing it again is pretty much what skiing holidays are all about, and though I rarely skied hard enough to ache too much (apart from nearly destroying my lower leg with a badly fitted pair of boots on the first morning), I really liked getting back on a proper French mountain after the somewhat tame Korean ones. Getting away from a commercial Christmas (which, to be honest, I’m far form a fan of) and just heading off somewhere else is definitely a great idea, too.

I really need to catch up here; to follow: OAPs and New Year.

J x

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