January 03, 2015

CHALET CHOCOLAT, VERCHAIX; A WEEK IN THE ALPS WITH MY BEST FRIENDS

In early 2014, one of my friends invited myself and 10 others on a skiing holiday. I, myself, had never been skiing and jumped at the opportunity. We were lucky enough to book a gorgeous, 12 bedroom chalet over the New Year - a slight shock to the system for 11 students, used to living in squalor and scrounging off our student loans. The holiday was booked very early in the year, leaving months of anticipation and plenty of time to gather together some spending money!






So picture this, 11 students, tired after a day of travelling with unorganised train services, a 3 hour-delayed flight and much panic about the potential lack of snow. We get picked up at the airport by our transfer and after an hour of travel-napping we awake to see a snow-covered village in the alps, lit only by street lights. There awaited Chalet Chocolat. (I know how dramatic I am being, but you must understand that THIS WAS SO EXCITING!)

Chalet Chocolat was nothing like any of us had ever seen before. Complete with tweed blankets and cushions, panettone, a hot tub, surround sound system and underfloor heating, we were all in our element. After a quick hot chocolate and tea pick-me-up, we all jumped into bed for a 5 hour sleep, preparing for the first day on the slopes. 










The week was fantastic. We arrived to the first real 'dump' of snow that the area had seen this season and for the first day the snow just kept on coming. Chalet Chocolat was located perfectly, at the top of Verchaix, close by to ski lifts in Morillon and Samoëns. The cute little village had lots of walks surrounding it as well as cross-country skiing routes, so there really was something for everyone. This came in very handy for me given that after two days skiing I essentially gave up. 

On the first day, after one lesson back in Leeds, I attempted a green slope (said to be one of the easiest) and had a pretty big fall, which completely knocked my confidence. I had a two hour lesson the following day, but this was followed by another shady run down a green slope and a battering of my confidence once again. For the rest of the week I was able to make the most of what else the area had to offer, booking myself on snowshoeing walks and going up onto the slopes to get some glorious photographs. The views rivalled any other I've seen. My DSLR had its' skills put to use!


This wind chime made the prettiest sounds...



'Ligne Rose' took us from Verchaix to Morillons; this bus stop became our best friend. 






The views in this place...breathtaking.





Mat and I had a lovely little New Year's Day walk - it was perfect - until we realised that we didn't have time to walk back before it got dark and had to kind of jump on buses we weren't meant to...


I feel that any horse lovers out there will appreciate this. I'm allergic to horses, but can appreciate that this is so pretty.




My snowshoeing experience was ESF was one of the highlights of my week! Even though the group I walked with spoke very little english, the vin chaud we shared in an untouched valley was lovely.


Look! A mountain goat!


To spend a week in Chalet Chocolat with my best friends was incredible, even if the skiing side of things didn't go so well for me. I honestly do think that the beauty of our chalet contributed hugely to the amazing time we had. The views, the subtle but chic christmassy decor and the gorgeous jacuzzi bath tub in our room all made the experience what it was.

Have you ever been to the Alps or stayed near Morillon? Are you a good skiier and do you have any tips for my next try?

Love, Steph xxxx

2 comments:

  1. Hi Steph, Great blog (and beautiful pictures!) about one of my favourite places, to which I fully intend to return. We stayed at Chalet Chocolat (the name alone had me hooked) last Christmas and chose it because we were a mixed group of skiers and non-skiers ranging from 11 to 72 years hitting every decade inbetween. I'd skied may years ago, when I was about your age and my partner and children had never skied. My tips would be have as much tuition as you can afford and try and have it as early in the day as possible (helps build confidence before you go it alone!). We had a fantastic instructor from ESF Morillon called Sarah who as well as testing the kids on their french, was great at untangling my partner from fences, poles and skis, helping me realise what I'd been missing all these years, all whilst attempting to teach us how to do it properly! ;-)
    As you mention the chalet is gorgeous with lovely owners who make you feel very welcome. With all that who couldn't help but fall in love with the mountains and Alpine villages that are the Grand Massif.
    Bonne Année

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    1. Hi Caroline! Thank you for your lovely comment - I find it so exciting that other people had as brilliant an experience as us. I think you're absolutely right with regards to lessons, all of my friends thought I would pick it up pretty quickly so we didn't book any beforehand. Next time I am booking them well in advance for the full 6 days I think. I would love to be able to go on more skiing holidays when I am older so I think it's worth investing in. I hope you're well and having a brilliant start to the year!
      Bonne Année! xx

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