April 25, 2019 • 0 Comments
The Fully Catered 7-Day Ski Chalet Experience in Les Trois Vallées in Savoie, France
In my recent trip to France (where I shared about the Schengen visa application process), Nick and I joined his family in their annual ski trip. Nick loves to ski – whilst I had no clue what was coming. During my first ever ski trip, I was absolutely freezing, trying to figure out if the Topshop coat I brought had proper padding for warmth
(clearly not). It’s actually very cool how annual ski trips are a thing for some Western families. Growing up in the Philippines, where it is summer all year round, it was quite a shock to my system to actually immerse myself in a VERY cold climate and even more – to actually ski. Properly. So, I am sharing with you what I love about our ski trips and how, surprisingly, reasonable the costs are.
When we were at the ski resort in France, I found it so cute when I’d see little kids comfortably play in the snow, skiing down so bravely. I remember the first time I ever touched snow – after 25 years of existing. Nick and I were in Iceland and I was in our hotel room in Reykjavík when it started snowing. Little did I know – I would be experiencing the same exciting snowy experience every year with (my now husband) Nick.
If you’re planning a holiday trip and you like to ski or snowboard (or at least open to try), skiing in France is definitely something you should consider. You know when some people say Europe can actually be cheaper compared to some places in Asia? “Cheaper” or “affordable” is a relative term (I.e. what is cheap for someone, can be insanely expensive to another person.) but one thing I can guarantee you by the end of this article is that the overall cost paired with the actual 8-day experience makes it very reasonable.
Only open from December to April, Les Trois Vallées otherwise known as the 3 Vallees is the world’s largest ski area. It is huge that it actually has more than 150 ski lifts to operate. The ski area is accessible to all, from beginners all the way to seasoned winter sport enthusiasts.
How To Get There | Quick Facts
Airport: Geneva International Airport, Switzerland
Distance from Geneva International Airport to the ski resort: Around 2 hours
Modes of Transportation: The chalet we booked arranged a private van transfer but there are also shared van transfers available
Highlights: Skiing, eating and of course – the beautiful mountain resort!
Ski Chalet – Chalet Papillon in La Tania
For 3 consecutive years we have gone skiing with Nick’s family, we always make arrangements with the same company – Ski Hame. Ski Hame is a small, family-run catered ski chalet company based in the Three Valleys ski area of the French Alps. They literally take care of everything for you. The transfers, ski passes, equipment and pairing you up with chalet hosts who prepared our sumptuous meals.
Amenities in Chalet Papillon, La Tania
What You’ll Get:
4 bedrooms (sleeps 10)
2 spacious balconies – 1 with a hot tub
Chalet Papillon is perfectly located in the ski resort – just a quick 50m walk to the piste and the cozy chalet is Wi-Fi enabled.
For 3 consecutive years, we always leave with happy tummies during every trip. A big big thank you to Tom and Emma (2017), George and Sarah (2018) and Ross and Ellie (2019) of Ski Hame for preparing all the glorious meals.
Chalet Martin in Meribel
What You’ll Get:
Sun terrace and balcony
On our very first trip in 2017, we stayed in Chalet Martin in La Tania. I loved the place instantly! The chalet’s wooden structure with exposed logs and stone made it look so cozy. For the skiers, the chalet is only 150m from the telecabine which, in 7 minutes, takes you directly to the centre of the resort. The ski bus stops approximately 100m from the door. I prefer the quick 50m walk from Chalet Papillon though.
Apparently, Chalet Martin is a restored traditional Savoyard barn and 200-year-old farmhouse – how cool! The tasteful accommodation maintains its rustic charm with exposed beams and log fires.
I liked it for its lounge because it was spacious – complete with a log fire, several dangerously comfortable sofas, satellite TV, DVD and WiFi. The chalet has a separate dining room also with a log fire, sun terrace and garden.
Our Food | Fully Catered Chalet
One of the best parts of this trip is the food! We got a fully catered chalet service which means for our entire stay (7 nights), Ski Hame prepares breakfast and dinner. The hosts of course get one day off – which gives us a chance to try out the authentic french restos in the area. For the entire week, we enjoyed 6 evenings of 4-course meals. Imagine: eat, ski, sleep, repeat.
One thing I loved about these trips is that after I’d take my morning ski lesson, the family would meet up in a designated lunch spot. You’ll be enchanted by the lush mountain view covered in snow – and it’s just so perfect.
Afternoon Tea & Cakes
Every day, it is sad when skiing comes to an end but we always look forward to something in our chalet: a freshly baked cake! Our bodies feel a little tired from skiing so thinking of dipping in the hot tub and having that to come home to really puts the icing on it (hehe).
Did anyone say unlimited wine? YES – the chalet we booked actually offers unlimited red and white wine during our entire stay. The wine was very nice too and after dinner – they offer a cheese board to go with it.
Even if you are a non-skier that just wants to lounge around the whole week, the view from the chalet is incredible. Imagine a picturesque french ski resort scenery – and you even witness snowfall in the evening. I am not a skiing expert but the new layer of fresh powder makes it such a great skiing day.
What It Will Cost You for A Fully-Catered Chalet for 7 Nights
For the 7-day accommodation inclusive of food (breakfast, afternoon refreshments and dinner), it costs 550 pounds per person. This amount depends on which chalet you book but is based on Chalet Papillon from our last trip. That’s already for the week! Then it is an additional 65 pounds per person for van transfers to the airport.
If you’d like to ski (which I truly feel you should), ski passes cost about 291 Euros and for the ski equipment hire, it is an additional 140 Euros. The hire is inclusive of the skis, poles, boots and helmet. All these costs for an 7-day vacation in France (flight tickets not included) and I think its such a great deal!
YES – I got ski lessons!
Grr Nick.. To sharpen my (non-existent) skiing skills, Nick made sure I got ski lessons DAILY for 5 straight days with an ESF Instructor (Been getting lessons for 3 consecutive trips now and these alpine experts are amazing!). On the very first year of skiing, I had no clue on how to ski but I also wasn’t super eager to learn because I was terrified! I was terrified of falling, crashing or breaking bones.
Nick arranged ski lessons for me with ESF on this website. I signed up with the group lessons and surprisingly, the french coaches were so helpful and made sure we were ski-ready to enjoy the week in the resort. To book 5 group sessions of ski lessons, it costs around 200 Euros for the week.
Life After Learning How To Ski
That was 5 mornings of lessons that start at 9AM – waking up super early wasn’t exactly on my vacation plans but I am so glad I did it.
I can hear Nick saying “I told you so.” It was actually so much fun cos the lifts open early so us, the ski students, would be the first to get on it. I honestly kinda liked it because the snow on the pistes are the best (Feeling expert!). It often snowed the night before and was freshly groomed so when you plant your skis on the snow, you feel like you are gliding through butter. 9AM doesn’t seem so bad after all.
After skiing, I would meet up with Nick and the group then we’d enjoy a nice gentle ski without the hurry, the pressure – but sometimes with tears. I would ski in slopes I am unfamiliar with so a lot of falling over. Good thing falling down in the cotton-like snow doesn’t hurt – or maybe excess padding from all the holiday binge eating.
Exploring The Town
Courchevel has all the fancy shops so I highly recommend doing an afternoon stroll here. This is where we wander off and find restaurants – a big oui! to authentic French food.
If you’re thinking of doing this trip and booking a chalet, I highly suggest going with Ski Hame and booking in La Tania or Meribel.
Great place, greater company (2017-2019)
So, a huge CHEERS to exploring new places, conquering big fears and learning new things. Now, this place is something I truly look forward to visit annually with Nick and his family. Never stop learning!