LAST MINUTE IN ALPE D’HUEZ

LAST MINUTE IN ALPE D’HUEZ

The Fisher family was desperate to find a last minute deal. With school holidays due to start, what were the options? 

This year, the Fisher family ski holiday was on hold, while we waited for news on heart surgery for one of our grandparents.

Moreover with older teens on board, and the added issue of restrictions on taking children out of school, our family ski trip was soon restricted to a very narrow peak-holiday window.

So, this year we were going for a last minute holiday deal, very last minute.

NHS waiting lists had eventually given us a date of early February, with a 7-10 day recovery period, suffice to say, the op went well and we had the all clear to leave the grandparents ‘home-alone’.

Thus a hasty last minute ski booking to make.

We had been keeping an eye on availability.

Among the limited choice that was still available and within the family budget we could see a choice of two – a chalet in Grimentz, a Swiss ski resort I had skied before from the Zinal side, or a chalet in Alpe d’Huez with Zenith Holidays.

The prices were comparable, the ski areas vastly different, however it was the flights & transfers that became the deciding factor.

Grenoble flights were still available at an affordable price and with Zenith Holiday bookings, a minibus transfer was a welcome option for a small extra fee.

Via Geneva, the flight would give us just 30 minutes to catch the last ongoing Swiss train – way too stressful with 3 children in tow.

I must have stayed in Alpe d’Huez around 18 years ago and was keen to return.

Zenith still had a chalet in the old part of town available and with the flights booked, transfers confirmed…. our holiday was booked!

We had a mad dash to get the ski kit out of the loft and packed.

There were the usual hiccups in resort, where we realised, that the older teen’s ski pants were way too short and way too tight.

Thankfully, Intersport, where we rented our skis, had some reasonably priced ski pants that we bought (compared to the chic, expensive Sun Valley store opposite with ski pants starting from 275 euros).

It was difficult to know if they’d keep the boy dry if it rained, but with wall-to-wall sunshine forecast, in the end they were perfect.

Alpe d’Huez ticked all the boxes for us.

Each morning we made an effort to get out of the chalet early to avoid the peak time queues, and once on the mountain, it was easy to find the less busy sectors.

On another day we tried out the luge with the fun new VR head kits which we all loved.

Alpine coaster lugeAlpine coaster luge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
One day we challenged ourselves to ski from the highest point at 3,330m to each end of the ‘Grand Domaine’.

Our challenge started with the Sarenne.

Black SarenneBlack Sarenne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well we actually started just below the top as the youngest wasn’t quite up to the steep black section off the Pic Blanc cable car, but from the top of lift Marmottes 3 there is an easier blue which evolves in to the long winding black run.

Pic Blanc cable carPic Blanc cable car

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Spectacular views of the Grandest Rousse mountains accompany you down the 16km run ending in the Sarenne Gorge.

Then from Auris with clear views over to Les 2 Alpes, we zigzagged our way over to Vaujany and the furthest Montfrais chair and all the way back via Oz and on to the Signal sector.

Down to Villard Reculas then back up and down to the gorgeous old bubble lift at 1450m which brings you up from the original old village at Huez, almost straight to our chalet.

Old bubbles from HuezOld bubbles from Huez

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
We even managed to go night skiing to really extend the ski day!

Alpe d'Huez glowing from signal night skiAlpe d’Huez glowing from signal night ski

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That posed a little problem, but then, Zenith Holidays literally came to our rescue.

As we went back out to catch the bucket lift up to night skiing on Signal, we discovered it had just closed – and there was no sign of the nightbus.

All week the Zenith rep, Maddie, had been saying, “if you need me, just call me”.

So we did… and she came to scoop us up.

Brilliant.

It was an easy ski back to the chalet – we were so grateful for her minibus ride and not having to walk the 20 minutes up to the nightski area.

During our stay, Alpe d’Huez hosted Tomorrowland, a huge new Alps festival and the stages and marquees were going up around the village.

Tomorrowland stage under constructionTomorrowland stage under construction

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
In Alpe d’Huez some of the lifts have been upgraded.

Many older wires and 130 redundant pylons have been removed.

The mid week ESF show was spectacular and probably one of the best I have seen.

When, and if the link to Les 2 Alpes goes ahead the ski area will rival the best in the Alps.

Vanessa in Alpe d'HuezVanessa in Alpe d’Huez

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chalet Maya - Zenith HolidaysChalet Maya – Zenith Holidays

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alpe d’Huez

Zenith Holidays:

Zenith Holidays offers a week in Alpe d’Huez in Chalet Maya from £503pp chalet board.

Alpe d'Huez

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The Best Family Ski Resorts

The Best Family Ski Resorts

Vanessa added content to this post – the full details can be found at: https://www.amamaya.co.uk/the-best-family-ski-resorts

Resort Name: St Martin de Belleville

Location: In the French Alps, above Moutiers

Adult Lift Pass Costs (5 days): 235 euro (St Martin/Les Menuires ski area)

Child Lift Pass Costs (5 Days): 188 euro

Nearest Airport: Chambery

Transfer Times: Chambery 1hr 20 Geneva 2hrs 30, Lyon 2 hrs 30

What makes it so great for Families: St Martin is a small traditional village which links up to the huge 3 Valleys ski area. This quiet corner of the vast ski area is perfect for families who want to stay away from busy slopes and the louder busier villages. Lovely chalets, plenty of apartments and easy to use ski lifts in the centre of the village.

Why you need to visit: Pretty, old French farming village which offers dog sledge rides

Ski Schools: ESF, New Generation

Ski Hire: Intersport

Resort Name: Arc 1950

Location: In the French Alps, in the Tarentaise Valley, above Bourg St Maurice

Adult Lift Pass Costs (5 days): 247 euros Les Arcs area

Child Lift Pass Costs (5 Days): 198 euros

Nearest Airport: Geneva or Lyon

Transfer Times:  Geneva 2hrs 40, Lyon 2 hrs 35

What makes it so great for Families: This cocoon of a village sits at 1950m as its name suggests and all the properties are ski in-ski out. The newest village in the French Alps, it makes for a wonderful family base. There is also a special programme of activities for children – a crèche for babies & the Cariboo Club for the slightly older kids. All the buildings have access to a pool and hot tub so it’s not just about the skiing and there is a great spa in the resort too.

Why you need to visit: Safe, pretty and a unique village atmosphere

Ski Schools: Spirit 1950

Ski Hire: Precision Ski

 

France

Resort Name: La Clusaz

Location: In the Aravis mountains, France, just 30 minutes from Lake Annecy so ideal for a lakes and mountains stay or a short break.

Adult Lift Pass Costs (5 days): 175 euro

Child Lift Pass Costs (5 Days): 123.50 euro

Nearest Airport: Geneva

Transfer Times: 1 hr Geneva, 1.30 Lyon

What makes it so great for Families: This resort has the French ‘Famille Plus’ label and is a great choice for families being just a short transfer from the airports. The village is authentic France with plenty to do off the slopes as well as on. Aquacentre, bowling alley, horse and cart rides, ice drive, ice rink and more. So pretty and unspoilt. Plenty of accommodation options from self-catering apartments to luxury catered chalets and new hotels, e.g the brand new 4* Le St Alban Hotel and Spa.

Why you need to visit: Home of Reblechon cheese, easy to access ski slopes for all abilities.

Ski Schools: ESF/ESI

Ski Hire: Intersport

Resort Name: St Lary (short for Saint Lary Soulan)

Location: French Pyrenees

Adult Lift Pass Costs (5 days): 156 euro

Child Lift Pass Costs (5 Days 5-11 yrs): 136 euro

Nearest Airport: Toulouse 1 hr 45 and Tarbes-Lourdes 1 hr 5 min

What makes it so great for Families: Off the beaten track this is a great destination for families in the French Pyrenees. One bubble lift takes you from the village in the valley to the beginner area at Pla d’Adet. Stay in the town for a great relaxed vibe with Spanish and French influences as so close to the Spanish border.

Why you need to visit: Get away from the crowds and try something different, as well as having Famille Plus status and a thermal spa Sensoria which children love with its jets and caves.

Ski Schools: ESF

Ski Hire: Intersport

 

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Property of the Week: Villa Mas Peyloubet

Property of the Week: Villa Mas Peyloubet

Mas Peyloubet is an incredibly special, large property for sale in the Grasse region of France, with the Main House, which dates back to the eighteenth century, offering spectacular panoramic sea views.

The Main House has five ensuite bedrooms, a large and wonderful kitchen, sitting room, TV room and in addition, the Olive Grove Apartment having a further two bedrooms and a bathroom.

The extensive garden within 1.4 hectares of grounds, consists of a large salt water pool, outdoor summer kitchen, terrain de boules, table tennis and a flat lawn where you can play a friendly game of croquet and enjoy the sun.

Erna Low Property is selling this property for €4.8m – either as a successful guest house business or a private residence.

James Ross, Sales Director at Erna Low Property comments, “Mas Peyloubet has it in abundance, when pondering what the ultimate south of France hideaway would consist of. Not only are the views to the Mediterranean and over to Grasse spectacular, but the house with its warm living areas and ‘jump into bed and sleep forever’ bedrooms, is a haven from the outside world. The olive grove and salt water swimming pool are the icing on the cake on what can only be described as paradise on earth. We are excited to have this property for sale, it really is a dream property to own.”

Mas Peyloubet is perfectly located to take advantage of the best of the South of France:
Nice International Airport and Cannes are 30 minutes away and the closest village is Valbonne, 10 minutes away and Grasse or Mougin are both just 15 minutes away.

Further details:

Both the living room and dining room open onto the outside sitting area, shaded under arches from the hot sun with Indonesian and Moroccan furniture. The area looks out onto a lawn; steps lead off the lawn up to the swimming pool, situated on a higher level. To the left of the entrance hall is a television room and study.

The grounds are set on 1.4 hectares with sea views and are made up of terraces with old dry stone walls, lavender, roses and over 250 ancient olive trees that are harvested at the end of the year and pressed at a local mill into the most wonderful virgin cold pressed olive oil – there are also fig and orange trees where the current owner makes their own jam, chutney and marmalade.

The Belleview Apartment:
A separate outhouse for a caretaker, or additional rooms consisting of living room, kitchen, double bedroom and bathroom with its own driveway and parking. It is possible to create a gym or an office in this very usable space.

https://www.ernalowproperty.com/south-of-france/property/9199039-villa-peyloubet-cote-d-azur

0207 590 1624

ENDS

For Further information or images please contact vanessa@vanessafisher.com 07957 618525

 

Erna Low Property was established to offer customers the opportunity to purchase properties in some of the world’s most beautiful and desirable locations. Whether looking for snow or sun, Erna Low Property helps buyers to choose the perfect property for holidays, retirement or investment.

With over 80 years’ experience, Erna Low Property has a strong knowledge of the French property market at large, with a particular expertise in the French Alps. Erna Low Property specialises in leaseback properties, as well as classic freehold and bare ownership purchases.

Erna Low Property now holds a sizeable portfolio of properties from the French Alps, across Europe and beyond. With their background as a specialist, niche tour operator, Erna Low has been hugely successful in introducing many clients to both property sales and holiday rentals.

 

 

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Arc 1950 Launches Eight weeks of “Activity Wednesdays”

Arc 1950 Launches Eight weeks of “Activity Wednesdays”

Arc 1950, village resort in the French Alps, launches its Summer Season with a series of Wednesday Activity Days running throughout the summer high season.

Arc 1950 The village opens on 7th July with the first ‘activity Wednesday’ taking place on 11th July.

Focusing on a different theme every week, visitors to the village of Arc 1950 can enjoy FREE entertainment not just on these special themed Wednesdays but also throughout the week. Families with children of all ages can enjoy games, workshops, shows, watersports and more.

Activity Wednesdays during July:

Ø  11.07 – Sports week

Ø  19.07 – Bike week

Ø  25.07 – Al Andalus with Armutan Theatre Company

Activity Wednesdays during August:

Ø  1.08 – Water day

Ø  8.08 – Mountain Festival

Ø  15.08 – Climbing week

Ø  22.08 – Arc 1950 fairground

Ø  29.08 – Space Odyssey

New for Summer 2018 the ‘Outdoor Card’ for stays of over five days includes three free activities – choose from a half day guided hike,  an intro to mountain biking for 8-12 year olds,  a fitness class, intro to golf or an archery session.

Arc 1950 also launches New ‘Arc en Scene’ Thursdays, with different bands and theatre groups performing in the village every Thursday over the summer holidays.

Arc 1950 Le Village is a car-free, family-friendly resort where everything is planned to ensure that guests of all ages can make the most of their summer holiday.

Pierre & Vacances  Special Accommodation offer: Save 20% on summer stays in Arc 1950

www.arc1950.com

ENDS

For all media enquiries, and to discuss summer press visits please contact:

Vanessa Fisher, Press Relations Arc 1950 – vanessa@vanessafisher.com 07957 618525

 image c. Andy Parant

For further summer images from Arc 1950: https://tinyurl.com/y83e9ox9

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Snowy Super 3 Saas Fee Weekend

Snowy Super 3 Saas Fee Weekend

See Link to PlanetSki.eu CLICK HERE

I was last in Saas Fee in late April several years ago when the sun shone and after a day of ski touring, the apres ski was long and the memories hazy. I returned last weekend, to complete the Super 3, the series of Swiss amateur ski races in which I have been taking part in this winter.

Saas Fee hosts the Allalin-Rennen, the third in the series after the Belalp Hexe in Belalp and the Inferno Rennen in Murren.


Tagged as the highest amateur glacier ski race, for this 36th Allalin-Rennen race we headed up to try and make a recce of the course from its glacier start on the Thursday before the Friday team event. Unfortunately with limited visibility and high winds, there was no access up past the top of the Spielboden lift at 2870m.

So skiing the course blind on Friday morning was ‘interesting’ but the weather was clear.




The very top 100m was still not open, knocking around 40 seconds and 1km off the full 9km course.

Starting just below the revolving restaurant at Mittelallalin, at 3500m, in my team of four, I let the three guys take the lead spots and tried to tuck in behind. A long schuss starts the race followed by a blind steep drop with a compression at the bottom. Local Alex had told us to stay in the tuck, and with that I just held my breath and went for it. I’d lost sight of the boys so just weaved from left to right down the steeper section through the red gates, sharp left at the bottom, another steep section then in to a final right hand bend, avoiding the orange netting and in to the final long schuss to the end at the village level.

With fresh snow on the course, the pistes were in great condition and our team ‘Mallow Racing’ finished in 57th place (out of 70)



One of just two British teams, the other made up of two other super 3-ers and our local new friend Alex.

Alex suggested Waldhaus Bodmen for dinner -a 10 minute walk out of Saas Fee along a snowy, icy track and we came across this old traditional chalet, perched on the side of the mountain overlooking the lower village of Saas-Grund.

At one end of the restaurant is a huge animal pen full of rabbits, guinea pigs and chickens. I chose lamb for my main, just to save one of those little mites…altho to be fair I think they are there for entertainment value only…here’s hoping! The food is delicious, the setting stunning and the walk back an opportunity to digest the huge portions.

Individual race day and the weather had once again socked-in. With a lower start, from the Morenia restaurant, we were able to stay dry and head out just before our individual start numbers. The challenge was to stay low in the tuck, make all the gates in the tricky visibility and stay out of the netting. The fastest time was, 1min 59. My time was 3 mins 12, 6th place in my category, and winning me a basket of local cheese and sausage!


Jonas Bumann Allalin Rennen Race Director adds, “we had over 1000  racers for the 36th Allalin Rennen this weekend. It was a shame we could not start up on the glacier for Saturday’s main race but the Team event on Friday gave most skiers the chance to ski almost the full course. Next years event takes place over the 5/6 April 2019 and we hope to welcome even more skiers from around the world!”

I now have my Super 3 medal, and feel proud to be one of just 23 women to race the triple series this winter and the only British woman to take part.


Leaving on Sunday morning, the skies cleared offering stunning views of the cascading glaciers and pistes in the huge bowl and ski area above the village.

http://www.saas-fee.ch/en/allalin-rennen/    www.swisstravelsystem.co.uk

Link to Alex’s Team Allalin-Rennen https://youtu.be/ojt6Sr3i48M

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