The ultimate luxury ski trip in the French Alps
Want to bring an extra element of style and luxury to your next ski trip? We went on the ultimate luxury ski trip in the French Alps. Here’s how you can too.
Whether you are a beginner or a pro, winter isn’t complete without the thrill of a ski trip or two. The hardest question is where to go. Even once you’ve picked an area, it can be difficult (or just a bit boring) to stick to one resort for the whole of the holiday.
Enter luxury ski holiday provider Première Neige’s “ski safari” – a custom-made luxury ski holiday where guests can create a tailormade itinerary skiing in different resorts each day.
Guests are based in Chalet Merlo – a top-class chalet on the edge of the charming Sainte Foy, complete with a private chef, sauna, jacuzzi and stunning views over the Tarantaise Valley. The chalet also comes complete with a private driver, who transports guests to the ski resort of their choice each day – hence the “ski safari” title.
The appeal is clear. Rather than choosing one resort, ski safari guests are allowed to take their pick from the resorts surrounding the well-located Sainte Foy. Val D’Isere, La Rosiere, Tignes and Les Arcs, not forgetting Sainte Foy itself are all within striking distance of the chalet.
Each resort has its own style and pluses: Sainte Foy is all about laid-back chic, while Val D’Isere opts for a high-end clientele with apres-ski and facilities to match. La Rosiere was quiet and family friendly. Along with the different runs, one of the benefits of the ski safari was that it allowed us to explore the different restaurants and apres ski options available in each resort.
If you haven’t skied in the resorts, it can be difficult to know which ones you want to try during the safari. Prior to your trip, Première Neige provides a concierge service who can advise you on the different resorts and help you plan every aspect of your luxury ski holiday. By the time you arrive, all that’s left for you to do is enjoy the powder and spend time taking advantage of Chalet Merlo’s luxury facilities at the end of the day.
Our trip jetted between a day on Sainte Foy’s (on- and off-piste) slopes and those in the surrounding areas, including La Rosiere and Val D’Isere. Those with the required skills (unfortunately, that didn’t include me), were also able to ski over from Italy (2,000 metres of unbroken run ending in the chalet itself) after a heli ski drop on the other side of the border.
Working with consummately professional ski instructors and guides, everyone was able to improve their skiing throughout the course of the four-day trip.
Off The Pistes
Skiing in different resorts is a thrill, but not enough in itself to deserve the title of the ultimate luxury ski trip – much of that is thanks to the chalet itself.
Chalet Merlo is spacious and offers a level of luxury rarely found in ski chalets. With six bedrooms, a large lounge and dining area, sauna, gym, upstairs terrace and downstairs garden with a hot tub, the only difficulty we encountered during our stay was motivating ourselves to leave the chalet.
We would set off for the pistes after a hearty and delicious breakfast, returning in time for champagne and canapes, a spell in the jacuzzi and a post-ski massage or facial in the chalet’s private massage suite.
Skiing is always much harder than it looks, no matter how many times you do it and having a post-ski massage helped ease out the tensions and the knots to help you relax into the evening and prepare yourself for the next day.
In all honesty, for a less-than-perfect skier such as myself, returning to the plush comfort of the chalet and spending the afternoon recounting the day’s exploits, a glass of bubbly in hand, then over a perfectly-prepared three course meal was one of the real highlights of the day.
It’s not unusual for chalets to be catered, but the level of food served at Chalet Merlo would not have been amiss in any leading restaurant. Gourmet food, created from the freshest ingredients with skill and flair graced the table each dinnertime without fail. From perfectly-cooked steaks to wild mushroom and truffle risottos, followed by reblochon with cheese and honey – each meal was a gastronomic exercise.
A Luxury Experience
Together, Chalet Merlo and the ski safari create a memorable and opulent skiing experience that’s virtually unparalleled in the world of skiing. So gather your closest friends and family and get ready for your favourite ski holiday yet.
Premiere Neige (premiere-neige.com) offers Chalet Merlo (up to 12 guests) from £8,525 per week including dedicated chalet staff/chef on a half board basis. Ski and Snowshoe rental available from SkiSet in Sainte Foy (skiset.com).