Report On The Non-Club Ski Holiday To Val d'Isère Christmas 2004

By Ray West

(Ray's report on their 2004 Christmas non club holiday and details of how to join them for 2005)

Once again, disappointed that the Club was not organising a Christmas ski holiday, three members set about arranging their own privately run trip to Val d'Isère.

We first booked three seats on EasyJet from Liverpool as we anticipated that seats would be difficult to obtain during Christmas week. This cost £366.94 for the group of three. Using the Internet I booked a week's parking at Liverpool airport for one Peugeot Estate in the long stay car park for £32.94.

Next we needed to find accommodation in Val d'Isère over Christmas week. Fortunately the French stay at home over Christmas. Meanwhile, while seeking advice from Barry Lewis on ski guides, he introduced me to David Varah, a mountain guide also specialising in obtaining self-catering accommodation for British skiers. We opted for the Solaise apartments which are situated in the town centre on the 4th floor giving us a bird's eye view of the main street. It was also very convenient.

The last piece of the jigsaw was how to get from Geneva to the resort. This was solved by contacting via the Internet. Using our long-forgotten French, David and I booked three return tickets for 265.50 Euros. The bus runs every hour to the resort at peak times. If your flight is late, you will automatically be booked on the next bus.

We arrived in the resort to a shortage of snow, soon cured by a big fall of powder ready for our first day of skiing.

During our stay in Val we skied for 7 days (6 nights accommodation). I made contact with Barry Lewis's son, Giles, who is a qualified French ski instructor and now runs his own ski school, The Development Centre. Naturally two of us booked some off-piste lessons and on Christmas Day we were skiing the off-piste routes in the Fornet sector with Colin, our instructor. I recommend this ski school without reservation. There is a 10% genuine discount for SCoM members. On another day we were taken to La Rosiere by David Varah and guided to La Thuile in Italy where we wined and dined Italian style, such that we almost missed the last lift back to France. Food and eating out can be expensive, but we have discovered where the locals eat - The Brasserie du Grand Cocor, which is opposite the Grande Marnier bar.

This was an excellent holiday only marred by a two hour delay on the flight home - due to snow in Liverpool, and a frozen Peugeot in the car park! I must thank my two companions David Shepherd and John Asthurst for putting up with me and my tablets. We will be repeating this holiday at Christmas 2005. See below.

Privately run Non-Club Christmas Holiday to Val d'Isère 2006 - Sunday 18th to Sunday 26th Dec.

By the time you read this, David Shepherd and myself (Ray West) will have booked flights, accommodation and transfers. Any members who would like to join us should contact either myself on 0161 439 7650 or David on 0161 881 7825 and leave your name and telephone number on our answering machines. The chosen resort is high and gives access to glaciers. For a number of years I have skied at Christmas and had a very enjoyable time often with good snow conditions.

Breakdown of costs for one person as follows:
Airfares: Liverpool to Geneva £52.99, return.
Accommodation £230 per person. Book through David Varah 01536 771517.
Bus from Geneva: £62 - 4 hours transfer. Very efficient service.
Parking at Liverpool £33.93.
Food: Less expensive than expected, we went where the locals eat.
Total: £427.91 plus food.

P.S. Val d'Isère offers a loyalty discount on lift passes - bring old lift passes to receive this discount.