If you’ve ever skied before I challenge you to take a long hard look at the picture above, and tell me all that fresh powdery snow doesn’t make your heart beat faster with excitement.
Skiing is just too addictive; this was only my first trip and I’m already trying to work out how soon I can get back there.
“Take some lessons and maybe by the end of the week you’ll be able to come with us and snowplough down some easy blues” this was the advice the girls gave us, and it seemed fair enough at the time.
So I’m not quite sure how it happened that on our third morning, we were in Switzerland standing at the top of what looked like a freefall drop into oblivion. All in all I think our first Red went pretty well: to quote Steve Coogan’s enigmatic swimming pool attendant “no-one died”.
Actually it went better than pretty well. We all went down in something definitely resembling full control. The combination of a brilliant instructor, healthy competition, and a half-metre of soft powdery snow to break our falls had meant that we’d picked things up pretty quickly, though definitely not gracefully.
I have to say the snowplough wasn’t my friend, I never really felt like i’d got the hang of using it to slow down enough to execute turns. Fortunately I took to parallel skiing much better and soon stopped bombing out of control through packs of small children (who of course could all ski perfectly).
Our week in Morzine was pretty much perfect. The whole experience is so immersive and being out in the mountains with great friends enjoying yourselves is a feeling that just can’t be beaten. I’m happy to admit that some of this was down to good luck (especially with the weather) but at the same time the good planning we’d done enabled us to make the most of any good luck that came our way.
Having a private skiing instructor for 12 hours was only possible for us because the cost was spread between the three beginners in our group, but it was definitely the best thing we could’ve done.
If you’re asking yourself the question “should I get private lessons” then the answer is most definitely yes. We were comfortably able to join our friends on any Blue run after 6 hours of lessons, and any Red after 12. Private skiing lessons are expensive, but so is everything else you’ve just paid for, and the sooner you get off the nursery slopes the better value you’re getting from your holiday.
Our ski instructor Luc from Freedom2Ski was exceptional (that’s him second left). He’s clearly one of those people who loves teaching, and his ability to judge what we needed as a group is a real skill. He’s also a great guide with an immense amount of knowledge about the area, which meant we got taken to all the best pistes, and got loads of suggestions about where to ski (and where to eat!) in our own time.
By our fourth morning we were more than confident on any steepness of red and he even drew me a map showing a tour itinerary for our whole group to follow on our last day, which was absolutely brilliant.
The apartment had a raclette machine! Amazing!
I ate so much cheese people have started to ask when my cheesebaby is due (this is us having Tartiflette on the first night). Time to get back on the sit-up regime!
Ahem. That digression aside, the accommodation we chose on the edge of Morzine was ideal, it turns out we were the first guests to have rented the property but the owner had been living in for a few weeks to make sure everything was ready. It was a 5-10 minute uphill walk out of town (which is worse than it sounds if you’re wearing ski boots) but we were just a couple of minutes walk from the bus stop that would take us direct to the Prodain Telecabine. Morzine itself is a pretty lively little town too – great fun for the Après-ski! I’ve written a bit our decision to come to Morzine and the Porte du Soleil in one of my previous posts.
The people from MoreMountain clearly know the value of good customer service: they were there to welcome us with our ski passes and show us around the apartment + they’d left wine, Yorkshire teabags, and milk all ready for our arrival. They were in frequent contact right up to our arrival, which really reassured us that we’d booked with a good company.
Ski Location – The Porte du Soleil
Obviously it helped to have a half-metre dump of snow the day we arrived, but the Porte du Soleil turned out to be a great choice. The area is so huge and the equipment really modern, so we hardly ever had to repeat a piste or queue to use a lift.
At the end of the week we were able to do a day-long tour somehow always managing to be on the sunny side of the mountains. Despite all that we still didn’t manage to visit all the areas and I’m not even sure you could with another whole week.
My ski packing list worked out well. It wasn’t that cold in the end, so I didn’t need that many layers, but everything I took got used during the week.
Our ski hire company Doorstep Skis were another good find. They brought everything to the chalet soon after we arrived, and came back a couple times in the week (without complaint) when we wanted to make some swaps. So much less fuss than walking into town, and slightly cheaper.
Disclosure: I’ve mentioned the companies we booked with in this blog because they were great, and for that reason only. I haven’t received anything in return, I just think great customer service should be celebrated.