Ski Report #3: Tignes-Val D’Isere, France

16 Feb

My co-author missed his deadline (some paltry excuse about needing to attend to business) so I’ve taken up the reviewer challenge for our week skiing based in Tignes Les Brevieres. Thirty-one years ago we honeymooned in an apartment in neighbouring Val D’Isere accompanied by my Mother, Margaret, (love you Mum!) and my youngest sister, Maria, who came from Australia to Cambridge for our wedding. I had not skiied there since.

There’s an old joke about parents who take ‘SKI vacations’, as in ‘Spending the Kids’ Inheritance’. On this occasion we did exactly that with our accommodation. Stuart splurged on a British owned and managed luxury catered chalet, Chalet De La Cloche next to the Les Brevieres church bell tower. With four enthusiastic staff plus chef the twelve guests (six couples) were barely able to lift a finger all week. It reached quite ridiculous heights at times, ‘Would you care for a glass of champagne in the outdoor hot tub?’. Turn down service, wake up tea and coffee delivered to the room, cocktails and canapes, four course gourmet meals, 24 hour all inclusive open bar, shuttle service to the pistes, it just goes on and on. I now know what the filthy rich feel like! It certainly made for a relaxed environment and long evenings of pleasant conversation with fellow guests.

Les Brevieres is the only original village remaining on the valley floor. About 52 years ago the rest of the habitations upstream were razed to create a hydropower reservoir and plant. The resorts of Tignes Val Claret, Tignes 1800, Val D’Isere and Le Fournet were all built post the power plant. This gave rise to the gag about Les Brevieres being the ‘Three second village’, as in, you’ve got three seconds to get out if the dam wall breaks. The mountain ranges here are piercingly beautiful; craggy, tawny yellow rock juts through glistening snow and huge snow bowls provide hectares of easy off piste skiing.

With all the recent snow and the prolonged cold snap the ski conditions were fantastic, albeit challenging to keep extremities warm at minus 15 to 20 celsius with wind chill. This is where the mountain restaurants came up trumps. Loyal as I am to the Three Valleys I think the choice of restaurants was even better. The Datcha is my new favourite with its large mugs of 3 euro vin chaud and sheepskin-lined booties hanging on the walls for guests to borrow as they thaw their toes.

Photo and video note: The video shows Stu in orange jacket very elegantly weaving his way down the piste. Food photos are a mixture of Chef Ruben’s cuisine and local restaurants. I think you will be able to tell the difference.

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6 Responses to “Ski Report #3: Tignes-Val D’Isere, France”

  1. Cam February 16, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

    Very, very jealous. So good to see you having such a great time. I do hope you made good use out of the open bar! And don’t worry about the inheritance, the life insurance should cover it when you both shuss off a cliff.

    • Sharon Tickle February 19, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

      Cancelled life insurance prior to this trip Cam ;-))))

  2. Charmaine February 16, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

    Love the sheepskin-lined deckchairs…………

    • Sharon Tickle February 19, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

      I know Charm! Unfortunately Stu wouldn’t let me stay there all day….

  3. Paolina February 20, 2012 at 4:04 am #

    Fantastic! Great Photos. Viva ‘La Joie de Vivre you two! 🙂

    • Sharon Tickle February 20, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

      Merci P!!! It just keeps getting better! Hope you are making your dreams come true too. Bizou, Sxx

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