After Y and my first ski trip to Niseko in early Feb last year, we decided to go on a ski trip with R and bunch of fun loving friends to Europe just before Christmas. The question was where in Europe?
First, we had to get all the headcount confirmed so we knew what kind of budget we could afford, as the lovely thing about Europe skiing is always staying in their ski lodges, and some can be crazy pricey – just google “luxury ski lodges europe” – and you will know what I mean. I have seen some that cost 100,000 euros a week. We put the word out and gave about 2 months for everyone to get back to us on their schedules.
So there was 9 + me on board, then it was deciding which location to go to, there were so many spots (Zermatt, Courchevel, Chamonix) but we decided on Megeve as fellow planner, YL had heard beautiful things about it from other friends that been there. She went ahead to book a beautiful lodge Chalet Chatel in Megeve with ski concierge company Oxford Ski, only to find out later from fellow traveller LH, the ski lifts weren’t gonna be operating when we were there as there may not be so much snow in the week of 14 – 20 Dec!!! Alarm bells went ringing and we frantically looked at other ski areas under Oxford Ski’s large suite of offerings and we decided to go to Val D’isere after strong recommendations from our friend AL and also guaranteed good snow conditions. It was truly a wonderful luxe ski holiday!
After discussing with YL, she selected Le Chardon Mountain Lodges – La Bergerie located around a 5 mins by car from the ski resort town of Val D’Isere. It had 6+1 rooms and was surrounded by the mountains. It was extremely well equipped with kitchen, private movie room, dining room, relaxation room and outdoor deck for BBQ and nice piping hot jacuzzi which was extremely useful to soak those aching muscles daily. We paid 13900 euros for the week.
It was great I got to meet so many fellow friends there. LH brought her bunny Wabbit with her and we hung out a bit when the rest were out skiing. And there was a brown resident teddy – Aunt Mary and her tiny Teds and Mr Sheep who was really hospitable.
The wonderful perks of booking the lodge was it was really fun just chilling out most of the time in a big space of our own, hanging out in our PJs.
We had the use of the car anytime we wanted till 10 pm daily with a group of drivers, one called Chris looked like Ryan Gosling hee hee, that’s what we told him. He and the other drivers took turns to bring us to the ski resorts and back daily as well as to town for any shopping.
Luiza and Kelly – 2 lovely ladies who took care of our breakfast with the resident Chef and also served us afternoon tea and cake daily. They also helped to arrange any restaurant bookings we wanted, in house massages with their therapists which was extremely needed for those sore muscles. We hung out a lot and R even taught Luiza how to cook using some of our classic Asian seasonings!
It’s great to eat out sometimes but after having a night of Savoyard food which Val D’Isere is famous for, most of us started to miss our Asian food and we really got pretty creative with our dinner menus, cooked by our team of men and Y contributed her hearty Chicken Soup as well. There’s some supermarkets like Spar in the heart of town which offers a good selection, but it can get very expensive, we spent quite a few hundred euros in our 2 supermarket shopping trips.
Luiza and Kelly always tucked me into bed daily, it’s really sweet of them, gonna miss such great hospitality.
Lovey’s tips on planning a ski trip to Europe, especially if it’s your first:
1. Important lesson learned here is always good to find out the snow conditions of any place you are going to before booking, to avoid cancellation charges. We were lucky Oxford Ski was pretty understanding and we could switch the location to somewhere else to avoid any penalty.
2. If you want to stay at a ski lodge like me, most of them lease the premises for a full week usually 6 nights from Sun – Sun or Sat – Sat. There are many luxury chalets that are available through ski concierges like Oxford Ski. Some other operators whom I had liased with initally for quotes and seems reliable and responsive include Scott Dunn, White Blanc Mange, Ski In Luxury.
3. Important things which the concierge operators can help with are : booking of car transfers, restaurant bookings and especially fun snow activities like husky sledding, ice driving – these need to be booked way in advance, as it can get very busy.
4. For those of us that need our Asian food – remember to bring up dried foodstuffs and important condiments – small bag of rice, instant porridge, instant noodles, soya sauce, sesame oil, mirin. These can be useful in creating that quick Thai, Japanese or Chinese dish that you so crave.
Look out for my next post on what we got up to in Val D’ Isere – skiing, a bit of shopping and eats!