Everyone already knows about the great instructors at SB Ski, who will inspire you to reach that next level of confidence on your skis…
But as a guest for nearly 20 years, I know there are also other vital ingredients to make it that perfect memorable holiday every time.
I have stayed at the chalet d’Antoine as a solo traveller on several occasions, and it is just so easy to get to meet people. Often there are other solo travellers like me (as we get older, so many of our friends and partners are hanging up their ski boots!). Toby arranges a table plan for dinner on the first night, so you get quickly to meet at least 7 other guests at the table. Then there’s the lessons which start the next day and you will be in a small group of other skiers of the same level. So, readily available ‘new friends’ to ski and socialise with! And each year, there are invariably guests at the chalet who I have met on previous holidays, so time to catch up.
I have organised also a large party to stay there every year in January. It is a great reunion as we are friends coming from all parts of the country; we fly from our most convenient airport to Geneva and we get to share the group discount (more money to spend in the bar!). It is so easy to arrange a group booking at chalet d’Antoine. Some of the group no longer ski, but they come for the social aspects and enjoy themselves going for walks in the mountains, meeting up for lunch, people watching from a tea-room or bar in the main square….and of course buying local Savoyard cheeses and meats at the Friday market to take home.
Whichever way, it is the super friendly and efficient chalet team and the other like-minded guests that really help to make my holiday. Lots and lots and lots of laughter. My only complaint is sometimes that my jaw aches by the end of the week!!
Then there’s that other vital ingredient to make my holiday perfect – the food!
Scrumptious 3 course dinners at the chalet (and Toby’s menu just gets even better every year), along with hearty breakfasts and mouth-watering cakes at tea-time– how can one possibly eat any more, you may ask? But I have just have to visit my favourite places on the slopes, whether it be for a ‘light’ lunch or a hot chocolate – gone are the days of skiing from first lift to last lift without a break! It’s all about the ambience of these places and the views!
On the Mont d’Arbois side , my favourite just has to be Le Gouet. Although it is a bit of a lengthy ski to get to, as it is on the way to St Nicholas (good for a Friday when there are no lessons), it is very reasonably priced, freshly cooked meals (try the Plat du Gouet!), superb service, family run…..but as they do not take reservations, we always try to arrive early. Inside is tiny, maybe only about 8 tables and a log burner. On sunny days, there is a large terrace. Great sun-trap and lovely for watching skiers whizz past.
For a quick hot chocolate stop, Le Boitet on the Bettex would be my first choice. Easy and quick place to get to straight after lessons, and there’s no beating the view of Mont Blanc right opposite! Also the snack bar on the way down Communailles on the right – great deckchairs!
For lovers of pancakes both savoury and sweet, it has to be Chez Caussette, again a tiny place so be sure to ask Izzy at breakfast time to make a reservation there for you. Same 2 ladies have been running the place for years, I wonder if they ever eat pancakes? And do make sure you visit the loo with the view!
On the day that the lessons are on Rochebrune, we always go to La Caboche. It is very easily accessible to everyone, walkers and skiers of all levels, so it is a great place to arrange to meet up. Everything is delicious, but I recommend the salads which are enormous and good to share!
My favourite day is the one when we have ski lessons on Jaillet….and the lovely Bonjournal restaurant. What a treat! Sometimes I just have to go there twice in one day…once for a refreshing drink or a hot chocolate in a deckchair overlooking the whole of the valley below…and also for lunch! There are always daily specials on the board, as well as a big menu with regional specialities and tasty soups. Inside, the restaurant is made up of lots of little rooms, so if you are a group of 6 to 8, always book and ask for a table upstairs or in the old kitchen! What a cosy and atmospheric place!
So, as you can see my perfect ski holiday is made up in great part of tasty food and hot chocolates in one of the many memorable mountain restaurants, amazing meals at the chalet and having lots of laughter with friends, old and new. In between all this eating and socialising, I do still get lots of time to ski and love the SB ski lessons with Simon’s dedicated and enthusiastic instructors.
I remember that on my first ever SB Ski holiday, I felt that I had arrived on holiday as a guest, but had gone home as a friend. No wonder there are always so many familiar faces at the chalet, but it is always such a pleasure to see new ones too.
Photo credits: Brenda Hurst
Blog: Brenda Hurst