Courchevel Holiday Review
Reporter: David Hodgkinson
This year’s January ski trip saw a return to the Chalet Les Anemones in Courchevel, the playground of Russian Oligarchs and other members of the world’s jet set. The Chalet from the outside appears as a scruffy doorway and very surreally next to some of the most exclusive and presumably most expensive clothes and jewellery shops in the world. Far more importantly though, the chalet is right next to the slopes in arguably the number one spot in the resort for Piste and gondola access.
I had woken up on the Saturday of departure at a pretty painful 2.30am in my house in Surrey as one of the southern based SCoM members. I got to Gatwick fairly quickly by taxi and soon bumped into 6 other SCoM members, a new record for the southern contingent I believe. By the time we landed at Chambery Airport at would still count as a relatively civilised breakfast time the massively exciting prospect of a cheeky transfer day afternoon on the slopes started to look like a reality!
The fatigue of an early start evaporated to be replaced to be replaced with massive enthusiasm for the afternoon skiing session and within minutes of arrival at the chalet, some of us were out of the door in ski gear. We had arrived literally bang on for the start of the afternoon ski session which started at 12.30pm. 50 Euros is not cheap for half a day pass but frankly it is a lot better value than the Chill Factore!
Out on the slopes the snow was hard packed but there was no ice, the temperature was cold but the sun was out and the lifts were not crowded at all. This characterised the first few days of really great conditions and fantastic skiing. Enthusiasm for off Piste skiing seems to be growing in the club and some of the members shared some videos in the evening in the bar of their adventures. Another area of discussion in the hotel bar was comparison of stats and routes using the “ski tracks” app which brought out the competitive instincts of certain members!
For those of us who appreciate “après ski”, there was a lot of initial pessimism about the cost of the resort’s notoriously expensive bars. I remember about 15 years ago, paying the equivalent of about £10 for a bottle of beer in Courchevel. However in the end we found a couple of great bars including “L’Equipe” just 2 minutes walk from the hotel, where we got a good welcome from the bar staff.
The Chalet was OK for most, the location being the best bit. The food was generally good, my room was certainly fine and the staff very friendly. The only problem from my point of view was that the small size of the dining room meant the club members dined in two sittings which limited the amount of time available to catch up with as many people as usual. I suppose I came to think maybe this was the price to pay for the excellent location.
There is lots of excellent skiing in the 3 Valleys ski area and enough to keep anyone skiing solidly for a week without having to ski the same runs too much. One of my favourites was the “Lac Noir” black run at the far side of the valley from Les Menuires which had lovely snow. Another was the “Comb du Vallon” which is the red run off the Mont du Vallon gondola leading onto the “Ours” blue run—the former being at high altitude at 2952m leading and the latter being a lovely gentle valley run all the way down to Meribel- Motteret at 1750m.
Towards the end of the week the snow and conditions started to deteriorate a little and high winds led to some lifts being shut. However good skiing was still possible in the main and once again we can look back on an excellent January holiday. Many thanks to those in SCoM who work so hard and tirelessly to make these holidays possible.