LET IT SNOW
THE APPEAL OF VAL D'ISERE
for yourself, or be cooked for every night. Having reached an age where a day’s skiing and a couple of après-ski drinks necessitates at least an hour sitting down drinking tea and eating a good meal before I can go out again, catered chalets are a preference, and ones where the food is something more than spaghetti bolognaise. On this visit, we stayed at the confusingly named Club Aspen, a chalet in the centre of town run by VIP Ski. It had British staff when we visited, but we wondered whether such employment arrangements would still be possible post Brexit. For our stay, their talents (when it came to cooking) and hard work (when it came to helping us locate lost skis) was invaluable.
Unless you are a regular to Val, it’s also a good idea to take some ski lessons, not least since you then have a guide to the extensive ski area, which also includes Tignes. Ski schools such as Oxygène, and innovation in teaching, mean lessons are more bespoke, with a greater focus on ensuring you enjoy yourself, so you’ll return the following year. They can also help you quickly regain lost confidence and actually improve during the course of a trip.
People choose a resort for a mixture of skiing, après-ski, restaurants, nightclubs, price, ease of access, accommodation and the previous visit’s memories. I know plenty of friends who see their annual ski trip as an excuse to pretend they are 20 years younger, and then spend the following month blaming their aches and pains on skiing, as opposed to dance injuries. For me, the attraction of Val is a combination of deep snow, excellent restaurants and people of all ages dancing to tolerable music at three in the afternoon. Perhaps next year I might join in.