This Christmas holiday, my dad, brothers and I went skiing in Les Deux Alpes. We flew from Gatwick to Grenoble then got in a coach that took us to Les Deux Alpes along some very windy roads. When we got there it was too late to ski so we spent the afternoon unpacking.
The next day we woke up to a lovely breakfast, which was followed by a panicked rush when we realised we’d been eating for more than an hour. The morning wasn’t all good as I realised that my combination of yellow helmet and pink goggles didn’t look too manly. In an attempt to compensate I tried to ski down the half a green slope that lay between the hotel and the lesson meeting point as fast as I could. This didn’t look cool either as I went straight past the teacher, fell over on my bum and didn’t manage to get up – all after having just told him that I could glide down blacks!
I soon realised that I would definitely have to re-discover my skiing legs before I could go anywhere near black. My 10-year old brother Joe and I had been put into different groups for our morning lessons, with me in the top group and him one below me. Our younger bother Dan was in the beginner group. In the afternoons, Joe and I skied with our dad until about 3.30, when he’d drop us off at the hotel and pick up Dan from the glorious kids’ club. At about 7.30 we’d sit down to a dinner even nicer than the breakfast we’d stuffed our faces with earlier.
On the second day, after another really fun lesson, Dad took me and Joe up to the glacier. It was so windy up there that as soon as you stepped outside the lift station you got hit by what felt like a truck made of air. In fact it was so windy that Joe and I discovered you can ski slowly up a small slope if the wind is behind you! From the glacier to the hotel is an incredible 13km run. There is an amazing spider’s web of wonderful slopes to get down to the resort, which you can choose depending on your ability. Racing from the top to the bottom was possibly the best hour of my life.
Over the course of the week I did loads of amazing, fun things such as head-butting a tree while trying to catch up with the remainder of my group and consequently falling and getting stuck in a snowdrift; beating my brother three times in a row at pool; dropping my ski pole from a chairlift; and finding a newfound love of off-piste skiing. The list could go on and on – and the same is true for my brothers and my dad, who all enjoyed themselves just as much. So the only excuse you have for not booking a Mark Warner ski holiday is being allergic to snow…
Patrick’s Dad’s Take
The Bérangère has the slopes literally on its doorstep. It’s just a 50m gentle ski down to the starting points for ski lessons, which are run by ESF, with whom all three of my sons progressed significantly during the week. Les Deux Alpes doesn’t always get great press for beginners because getting back to the resort from the higher slopes is only (currently) possible via a sometimes busy green, winding ‘track’ or a reasonable black. Don’t let this put you off – the kilometres and kilometres of greens and blues higher up more than compensate. Plus the glacier ensures decent conditions late in the season or during winters less fortunate with snow.
Like us, most other guests had a wonderful time. Staff at the Bérangère were unfailingly polite, dedicated and enthusiastic during our stay; many are, however, relatively inexperienced and can be thrown off balance by ‘curve ball’ requests. Against this valid concern, however, the Mark Warner ‘formula’ continues to build highly loyal clients. Few would have ended our week less than delighted with their holiday.
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