We know that sliding down mountains is not for everyone. Every family has at least one member who would rather chew off their own arm than go on a winter chalet holiday. Those hardy souls that agree to at least set foot in resort are usually left to amuse themselves in the chalet, waiting for the rest of the group to hot foot it back to the village for some lunch.
Now, don’t get us wrong, there’s a lot to be said for this approach; feet up, open fire, no distractions, the latest Lee Child on the go. Throw in someone else picking up the cooking, cleaning and childcare and you’ve got yourself a holiday and a half.
What a shame though, to spend the whole holiday ensconced in the chalet and miss out on what the mountain has to offer when you’re not strapped to a pair of planks. So, if you find yourself with the opportunity, we challenge you get yourself over to Morzine, embrace the winter wonderland, and have the holiday to end all non-skiing holidays.
This is what our first holiday in Morzine would look like, if we didn’t ski.
We arrive at the chalet, fresh from our short airport transfer, to be greeted by smiley hosts and copious amounts of tea and coffee. Bags dumped, gear on and one quick welcome chat later we’re off into town. In our opinion, one rack of skis looks very much like another, so whilst the group get kitted out we head over to the tourist office to pick up some light reading.
If there’s a good chunk of the day left it’s likely that the group will want to grab some time on the slopes. So, we set ourselves up in a bar at the foot of the Pleney, knocking back a well-earned demi/glass of wine/vin chaud indulging in a little light lunch. The rest of the afternoon is spent watching the rest of the group desperately try and locate their ‘ski-legs’. Fools.
Back to at the chalet there is just time for a cup of tea and a slice of delightful home-made cake before retiring to our room to unpack (snooze). Refreshed and raring to go from all that unpacking (snoozing), it’s time to gather round the open fire for an aperitif, before sitting down to a delicious three course meal and lashings of complementary wine.
The alarm sounds at 7.30am, just before a gentle rap on the door letting us know that our morning coffee is waiting just outside. Retrieve coffee, shower and dress, and its downstairs where we’re greeted by our cheerful chalet hosts (do they never stop smiling?) and breakfast fit for a king.
Breakfast dispatched, we jump into the chalet minibus and head into the centre of Morzine. We wave goodbye to the rest of the group as they head off on their day’s adventures. Wanting to ease ourselves into it (we’re on holiday after all), we decide to spend the morning wandering around Morzine, people watching, drinking coffee checking out the shops and generally getting our bearings. We meet the rest of the group for lunch in town.
After lunch, we take a stroll down to the Parc Des Dereches. After checking out the indoor swimming complex and spa facilities, we follow the walking path round the river Dranse. By 4.30pm we’re back at the lift to meet the weary skiers coming off the mountain. If energy levels allow, we grab a drink in one of the bars before calling the chalet minibus for a pick up. Then it’s back to the chalet for tea, cake, nap, aperitif, dinner, wine, oblivion….
We start the day with the usual coffee, shower and breakfast ritual before waving off the rest of the group. We get a slower start today as our adventure doesn’t start until later in the morning. One the advice of our chalet hosts we’ve signed up to strap some tennis racquets to our feet and hit the mountain on a snowshoeing excursion.
Sadly, they don’t really look like tennis racquets any more, but they are super lightweight and comfortable to use. We spend four hours floating above three metre deep snow, exploring areas of the mountain that most skiers don’t even get to see (as we never tire of explaining to the rest of the group over dinner). Smug? Absolutely.
To reward ourselves for all our hard work in the morning, we head back to the chalet for an afternoon of relaxing in the sunshine on the balcony, and uploading our snowshoe photos onto Facebook. Sad, but obligatory I’m afraid. Our digital boasting session is only interrupted when the rest of the group come bowling back to the chalet for tea and cake. And we know what happens from here….
A trip to Morzine wouldn’t be complete without a look round car-free Avoriaz, and we arrange to meet the rest of the group there for our final lunch. After our morning drop off in Morzine, we ponder our options. We could jump the A bus to the Prodains telecabine and get to Avoriaz that way. Or, we could hop on the Super Morzine telecabine and walk the Zore ridge into Avoriaz, just in time for lunch.
Buses, we decide, are not for hardened mountain goats like us. So, off to the Super Morzine we go. On the spur of the moment, we decide to take the Zore chairlift to the top of the ridge, rather than walking all the way from the top Super Morzine. Chairlift on foot you say? Of course, say we.
A stunning walk along the ridge and slap-up lunch in Avoriaz follows. After, a little explore around the resort before meeting back at the lunch venue for a couple of ‘farewell’ drinks. By the time we boarded the telecabine for the journey down to Prodains we’re in good spirits and ready for more ‘farewell’ drinks back at the chalet.
That’s it. We’re out of time. The journey home beckons. The familiar morning ritual of coffee brought to the room followed by a leisurely breakfast banquet takes place for the last time. No more mountain views. No more afternoon tea. No more aperitifs and three courses dinners. How will we cope with doing this all for ourselves?
Book again for next year of course.