Val d'Isère: Say Cheese
With the help of a handful of shots, I am going to whisk you through Les Alpes on the best skiing experience you can imagine. We'll start in the chalet, then hit the slopes, of course we'll stop for a long lunch, and it'd be rude not to get involved with a bit of Après. With a few months left in the season, all you have to do is find a week to go.
Luxury mountain lodge group Le Chardon have been providing five-star skiing experiences for the past 20 years; they know what they're doing. Our first discovery happened in 2011, and we've found it hard to ski anywhere else since. This time round we shack up in Chalet Lafitenia, and with a stellar team at the helm, this 12-person chalet feels like home from word go. The roaring log fire is constant and there's always something on ice, or in a teapot if that's your style. Day after day, Chef Jamie produces world class dishes and is responsible for the best gluten-free bread I've ever had. This is when I let the photos do the talking.
After all that hardcore indulgence, surely some skiing must happen soon? Perched at 1850m, l'Espace Killy enjoys the good white powder stuff from November until May, and with 300KM of skiing, not including off-piste, everyone is kept busy. From corduroy-groomed slopes to the deep off-piste powder, we cover significant ground, and we're even treated to some blue skies along the way.
'Coffee Breaks' & Lunches
One of my specialities on the mountain, natch. Interestingly, our mid-morning coffee breaks seldom include coffee. Rest assured, we do ski solidly from then until circa 2/2.30pm. Each day results in another bottle of Rose being added to the mix, which makes for interesting journeys from the lunch table to the Après table. Aside from hitting up old favourite La Fruitière, we branch out and fall in love with Hansel-and-Gretel-ish l'Edelweiss in Le Fornet. Grizzley's in Tignes is an experience in itself; alpine paraphernalia central, great for a wild snowy day. My last, but not least, noteworthy hideaway is L'Alpage des Chaudannes tucked on top of Tignes Le Lac. This is mountain dining at its very best.
There are no two ways about it, La Folie Douce is the only place to party on the piste. Rolling from a long lunch at next door's La Fruitière is a smooth way to roll, however on sunny days, an impromptu stop off can easily turn into a blowout few hours of dancing on tables. Another great thing about staying with the Chardon guys is that there's a chauffeur service (until 2am no less), so they'll pick you up from La Daille following a session at the Folie meaning you even make it home for a shower before dinner. In the town of Val d'Isére itself, it's all about Cafe Face, which is pretty much just an extension of the Folie Douce hysteria from the mountain.
Five Very Kerri things about Val d'Isère
- Luxury living Chardon-style
- The plethora of pistes
- Chef Jamie's gluten free specialities
- Long lunches on the mountain
- La Folie Douce