NO FROSTY WELCOME AT FRENCH SKI RESORT
The French Alps
Crystal Ski: www.crystalski.co.uk
This Friday Mexican night at The Black Bull, Burton Pidsea, Two...View details
Indulge with our delicious range of specially selected Mexican dishes available from 5pm to 8:30pm this Friday 21st June. Traditional evening menu also available.
Terms: Terms: Friday the 21st June only, from 5pm to 8:30pm. Offer includes two main Mexican courses. Minimum 2 people dining.
Contact: 01964 770402
Valid until: Saturday, June 22 2013
Ski hire: www.yvestaverniersport.com
Holiday Inn: www.holidayinn.com/himchesterapt
Trudi Davidson visits Morzine
I t must be one of the friendliest ski resorts in the French Alps. The French are not always renowned for giving the British a warm welcome but in Morzine the warmth is almost enough to melt the snow.
Morzine has just 3,000 inhabitants but numbers swell to 21,000 in the ski season – not surprisingly perhaps, the French are pleased to see us.
The resort was one of the first to pioneer skiing in France almost 80 years ago but it has lost none of its original charm.
Surrounded by gentle wooded slopes, the picturesque village lies at the heart of the vast Portes du Soleil ski circuit.
Just a 75-minute bus ride from Geneva Airport, the family-friendly resort is easy to reach and tempting to return to.
Travelling with Crystal Ski, we were delivered to the door of the Beau Regard, a comfy 33-bedroom two-star hotel on the outskirts of the village.
We were greeted by the effusive patron Claire Grorod who, along with her friendly team, spoke perfect English.
Many of the guests were repeat visitors – one family had arrived for their seventh Christmas – always a good sign.
After unpacking, it was a ten-minute walk to the superb tourist office for the low-down on the week's activities, including fireworks, ice dancing and ice hockey.
Opposite the tourist office we visited Yves Tavernier Sport to get kitted out with the latest skis.
The shop is owned by an ex-ski champion, whose helpful staff, Ben and François, made sure we had the right equipment.
We opted for area lift passes to get the most out of the 650km pistes in the Portes du Soleil, which boasts 12 resorts in France and Switzerland.
The circuit, which has an average 7.5m snowfall per year, has an impressive 286 pistes including 27 blacks, 104 reds, 122 blues and 33 greens – something for all levels of skier.
Less-demanding skiers are more than happy with a local pass covering the Morzine and Les Gets areas, where the pistes wind their way through scenic snowy meadows and forests.
We skied with our friends the Ramshaws, who were staying nearby, while many fellow guests enjoyed free social skiing days led by Crystal Ski's reps.
Crystal organises activities on and off the slopes, from tobogganing to quiz nights, so there's always plenty to do.
Thanks to a huge amount of early season snow, we had plenty of the white stuff to keep us fully occupied on the slopes.
Nearby Avoriaz, a purpose-built, high-altitude resort, is a useful option if snow is thin on the ground elsewhere but we had no such worries.
There are lots of atmospheric mountain chalets for lunch but as we had generous four-course evening meals to look forward to we tried not to over-indulge.
Our visit to Morzine left us with an appetite for more, both on and off the slopes.
It is one of the easiest resorts to reach from the UK and our holiday went smoothly from the start. As we were flying with Crystal Ski from Manchester Airport we could check-in our luggage the night before – a big time-saver when you have a dawn flight.
Very conveniently, we were able to park our car opposite Terminal 2 departures – another bonus.
We had an overnight room booked at the nearby Holiday Inn Manchester Airport, so we summoned their shuttle to take us to the hotel.
The Holiday Inn was an oasis of calm and a great place to relax after our drive across the Pennines.
You can enjoy a swim or a workout at the hotel's health club but we decided to unwind with some great food and drink in the welcoming lounge bar.
We were surprised to find we could have breakfast from as early as 4am but thankfully we didn't have to rise and shine so soon, having already checked-in our luggage at the airport.
We had a great night's sleep ahead of our 6.50am flight – a dream start to our holiday.