Monday, April 14, 2014

La Plagne Family Holiday

In March, I went on a skiing/ snowboarding holiday with my family. I often go with my brothers and various family friends, but this time my parents came for the first time in years, and my sister-in-law and nephew came for the first time ever.

We went to La Plagne 1800, and stayed in a very nice catered chalet. [Gossip: Boris Johnson had stayed in the same chalet two weeks earlier.] The ski lifts and slopes were a short walk away and the snow was in good condition. The food at the chalet was OK - not unpleasant but far from very good. Other chalet guests really enjoyed it so maybe we're too fussy (discerning). The box wine was also OK.

The trip was my nephew's first experience of snow, which of course he loved. One major problem, though, was that he fell ill with a 24 hour stomach upset, undoubtedly picked up from the crèche. The bug then swept through the entire chalet over the course of the week, and almost everyone fell ill and had to have a day in bed. That includes people that were not in our family group, so we felt quite guilty that little Laith had infected everyone on their holiday. What can you do?

View from our chalet at sunset

Most of the patients fell ill on the chalet hosts' night off, i.e. the evening we had been anticipating with the most excitement, as we could go to a restaurant and eat vast quantities of fondue, raclette and the trimmings. So, 1/3 of our family stayed home in bed and 2/3 went to Le Refuge in Plagne Centre. 1/2 of those who went to the restaurant (me and my mum) couldn't eat much. My mum had a couple of mouthfuls of vegetable soup and I didn't order anything as I felt like I might throw up at any second, but nicked some of my dad's and brother's fondue and salad. Others in the chalet fell ill directly after they had enjoyed whole fondues and raclettes, and said they have been put off the dishes for life. Heavy cheese + sick bug = worst combination.

Le Refuge restaurant is highly recommended in online reviews. My brothers had been there last year and enjoyed it. The décor and ambience are 'luxe Alpine' and the food is good; better than the standard mountain tourist fare. We felt a bit smug not going to the restaurant recommended by the chalet hosts, who may have received backhanders for bookings, as Le Refuge was clearly much better in every way.

The Green Team - my bros at the summit

Apart from the bug ruining the gastronomic highlight of the trip, we all had a great holiday, the skiing was fantastic, and it was really special all being together. One or other of us is usually abroad, and my brother, his wife and their baby live in Tunisia.

And after a decade of boarding (badly), I have gone back to skiing. It's a big relief, as I was so anxious if conditions weren't right for boarding that I couldn't turn or do anything and it ruined things for everyone. I couldn't board if the snow was icy or hard or flat or narrow, like in a chemin, or if I was tired. Now I'm only going to board after powder dumps, and am free to roam the mountains on skies for the rest of the time.

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