Spring Skiing

Having always been skiing in January or February I was unsure what skiing in Spring would be like as the temperature rises. It is now the end of March and my verdict is that skiing in the spring is divine.IMGP1741

We have had so many days of beautiful sunshine, giving stunning views of Mont Blanc and the Alps around. What could be more relaxing than lying outside a restaurant on a deckchair, watching parapents drift around the sky? I have even seen people skiing in shorts and a T shirt!

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The snow conditions have held up well- with crisp freshly pisted runs becoming slightly softer throughout the day. Some of my favourite runs are the long, wide reds in Peisey-Vallandry like l’ours and morey, which are perfect to speed down at the end of a day in Les Arcs. I also like going up the Grand Rochette to ski down the sunny runs into Champagny, giving you a fantastic view of Courchevel.

empty pistes
We had a nice dump of snow last weekend giving us some great skiing days this week, and it should see us through to the end of the season. In the meantime, I am going to keep working on my goggle tan!

Written by Chloe Badge

Chalet Campanules Host 2013-14 Winter Season

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Last Minute Ski Deals – How to Bag a Bargain

We’re often asked by guests about the best way to bag a last minute bargain break. So, in this post we thought we would share our accummulated hints and tips to help you make the most of your holiday money.

Keep Your Eyes Open

Ice and Fire are offering 23rd – 30th March in either Chalet Genepi or Chalet Campanules for just £299 per person, fully catered.

Research Your Flights

Flights are one of the most expensive componunts of the holiday but prices vary hugely depending on dates, times and resorts. Spend some time checking all of the airports local to you for departures to all of the airports close to resort. Half an hour scanning the internet can make big savings. Or why not ask us for more information?

Think about transfers

There is no sense making some great savings on your chalet and your flights, but spending out masses for transfers. Consider  shared transfers, or one of the alpine bus services such as www.bensbus.co.uk or www.altibus.com. Sometimes spending an extra £10 getting a flight at the right time can save £100 on your transfer!

Book a Catered Chalet

Catered chalets are a great option for last minute ski deals because your food and drink, linen and cleaning are included in the price with your accommodation. Spending a little more now will reduce your costs in resort as you won’t be tempted to eat out.

Check out In Resort Deals

You don’t have to deny yourself things on holiday to keep an eye on the pennies. Shop savvy and you could find yourself with 15% off massage bookings; £££ off ski lessons or even free kids lift passes.

And finally . . . .

Don’t forget to check out the Ice and Fire special offers to bag yourself a mad march bargain.

23rd – 30th March with Ice and Fire for just £299 per person, fully catered in our last minute ski deals.

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Spring is in the air!

View to Plagne 1800

The view down to Plagne 1800 from centre

With March now well and truly upon us it feels a lot more like spring here in La Plagne, the great thing about this time of year is the blue skies, quiet slopes and no need for dozens of layers of clothing!

With many resorts it can be a bit difficult to find good quality snow in spring, not so here in Paradiski as we are blessed with not one but two glaciers and the majority of skiing above 2000m!

View from top of Verdons Sud spring 2014

The view from the top of Verdons Sud spring 2014

One of my favourite runs in the spring time is from the top of the glacier in Les Arcs down to Villaroger, with a vertical decent of over 2000m the run takes you from crisp fresh snow at the top down to warm spring snow at the bottom and as a real challenge for any skier. Top this off with some fantastic lunch at Le Ferme in Villaroger and a beer in the sun, what more could you ask for?

Quiet slopes!

Another top tip for sun worshipers is Champagny on the La Plagne side, as this area is south facing it is in the sun most of the day and is the perfect spot to top up that goggle tan! There is my personal favourite restaurant the Borselliers where you can get a hearty great value lunch and plenty of cruisy runs to work it off after!

Plagne Village spring 2014

The other great thing about spring is that there are often some fairly significant late season dumps of snow and while the powder only lasts a few days it is none the less great fun! All in all a great time of year to ski.

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My First Ski Lesson

It was a windy, overcast morning as I set out for the meeting point of my first ski lesson here in La Plagne. Despite the weather, my spirits were high with the prospect of learning the secrets that would suddenly turn me from a novice skier into a professional in just one lesson! Yes, its fair to say my expectations were a little high but its always best to air on the side of optimism :)

Reflex ski school

Reflex Ski School in La Plagne

Christophe is the name of the guy who runs the Reflex ski lessons. I met him and his merry band of instructors, and headed to the top of the Grand Rochette lift for what felt like Olympic tryouts, but what was, in reality, a short section of a blue run to ski down which determined what skier ability level you were at. I ended up taking the intermediate class despite regularly enjoying a bit of off-piste skiing and the occasional black run. This turned out to be a very wise decision…

Despite being able to get down any run put in front of me I had, until that day, never had a ski lesson before. Well, as it turns out, I seem to have a lot of technique issues which will inhibit my skiing progression. I think JC, my instructor, summed my problem up to the group rather well “Take Andy, for instance, he is a very fast and confident skier… but his technique c’est terrible!”

What was really interesting about the lesson were the exercises we were given to help our positioning when coming down the slopes. A really simple one to correct posture was to hold your ski poles together horizontally and at arms length in front of you, and ski down the mountain without them moving from this position. The exercise encourages you to keep your body facing forward and turn with your hips.

I was also really impressed with JC’s ‘no nonsense’ approach of pushing you (not
literally!) to improve and providing critical feedback. This may not be to everyone’s taste but it certainly gets results!

After my lesson, my skiing has greatly improved. I’m finding skiing less tiring
and achieving more fluidity in motion. All the specialist team of Reflex instructors have been skiing in La Plagne for between ten and thirty years, some of which have skied at Olympic level. The result of this is that their skiing is effortlessly impeccable, and that they know exactly where to take each skier in order to get the most out of a
lesson.

Its my birthday in March and to celebrate I will be treating myself to a one-to-one lesson with one of the team at Reflex, as I genuinely believe it’s money well spent!
By Andrew Brown

Chalet Host, Chalet Genepi, 2013-14 season

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What’s the weather doing?

The Alps has an incredibly diverse climate, being one of Europe’s largest mountain ranges, and stretching across eight different European countries. Since arriving in early December, we have already experienced an array of different weather conditions just within the La Plagne area, and just as weather seems to be the main topic of conversation in Britain, so it is here. In fact, rarely a day goes by without a discussion being had with guests on what the weather is doing today, or will be doing tomorrow.

Start of season
During the beginning of the season we were experiencing many of those warm, sunny days we tend to expect when skiing in France in the spring time. Whilst this was wonderful for a bit of apres-ski sun bathing, it was also a bit of a concern as some of the runs were getting a bit thin on the snow front. By the time Christmas had come, I distinctively remember looking over the mountain range and seeing some ‘green’ and ‘brown’ instead of the long-expected ‘white’! This meant that there were a number of runs still closed in the area, and some of the ones left open were icy and slushy in places, making skiing and boarding conditions tricky to say the least!

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After days of hoping and wishing, a couple of snow dances to the powers that be, and the odd sacrifice (just kidding), the colder weather finally arrived, and with it….. the snow!
Hooray! The long-awaited snow came in with the new year, and so cold beers in the sun were swapped with vin chauds by log fires watching the snow fall over the mountainside.

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However, the snow had a lot of catching up to do in order to turn the pistes from ice skating rinks into the snowy-white powder we all crave on our ski holidays. It has literally taken the whole of January to turn this around, but what a transformation it has been, even Gok Wan would be impressed!

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The mountainside is dressed in brilliant white, and on many days the sky is azure blue. The air filling your lungs is clean and fresh and the sun beats down on your face making you smile at the warmth you feel in this supposedly freezing climate. It’s a feast for the senses, fuelled with the adrenaline rush of flying (safely!) down mountains and through alpine forests with not the sound or smell of city life in sight…blissful

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Over the last two weeks we have had at least two foot of snow so the conditions out here right now are incredible… you should come and see for yourself!

By Lucy Jellicoe             Chalet Genepi Host 2013-14

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