As I mentioned in Part 1 of this series, relocating to London translates into more life experience than just dwelling in a new London apartmentand city. Among the infinite variety of options to explore with the UK as your base, skiing is one recreational activity that Europeans are crazy about. It seems no one here doesn’t ski…except lame ol’ me, of course. So, while in my previous post I spoke to what makes Alpine skiing such a rush for expert skiers like my husband, today I want to share how such trips make for a desirable getaway for even those who don’t ski.
Ski Trips for the Non-Skier
Now even as a non-skier, I have willingly and excitedly accompanied my husband on two of his ski trips (this last one to Val d’Isère included) as it can still be a wonderful experience at the bottom of the slopes, too. Simply strolling around town and taking in the fresh mountain air, charming Alpine architecture, and dynamic scenery and is sheer bliss for a gal like me. I can only imagine how phenomenal the view is from the top of one of those peaks, but it sure is still perdy from where I usually stand in lower altitude.
If I were more of a shopper, I’d probably love the apparel and jewelry shops all over these ski towns. As it is, I prefer the bookstores or supermarche, epicerie, boucherie, boulangerie, et patisserie for purchasing food items like regional wine, sausages, breads, and pastries for snacking on in the comforts of wherever we’re lodging (this last weekend was a rented condo shared with friends). For eating out, during the day I happily parked myself at a salon de thé of choice for savory crèpes while I read and wrote at my perfect, peaceful leisure.
And just because you don’t ski doesn’t mean you can’t partake in après-ski!! What more fun could it possibly be after a relaxing day of solitude to then join the ski crowd for cocktails when they’re feeling their most jubilant (and exhausted) after surviving a satisfying day on the slopes? Getting to be a part of the grand après-ski tradition of ski culture is a fun way to not feel left out, and, after that, there’s still amazing dinner to be had! In the last few days, we have eaten more bread and cheese than this bread-and-cheese-lovin’ gal could have ever dreamed of…when traveling anywhere in Europe, it is essential to try the regional cuisine, and, in this case, fondue and raclette were the menu items du jour! These ridiculously delicious dishes are a heart-attack-and-a-half of gooey, melted cheese. Raclette itself can be served in a couple different ways, either via a fondue-like tabletop grill on which potatoes are boiled and within which slices of cheese are melted (mixed with rich, sliced meats) or what we had—another type of tabletop grill on which a quarter wheel of cheese was mounted and melted, leaving it to cascade onto our awaiting plates to join our meat and potatoes. I had fondue and raclette on either side of me at the dinner table, which heated me to sweating…and then the fondue burner set our tablecloth on fire! Dinner has never been so exciting.
A Note on Traveling From London, UK
The abundance of flight options on discount airlines makes travel to these continental Europe ski towns quite easy. However, airports in more major cities nearby may still be quite a few kilometers from your destination resort, so unless you’re going to go by helicopter from there (hey, it’s not like isn’t an actual option!), you’ll want to arrange a rental car or take a bus. In the case of Val d’Isère, flying in from London can leave you with two options: flying through Geneva, Switzerland or Chambéry, France. Chambéry is your closest option (about a couple hours’ drive), though will offer less choice in flights. Geneva can be closer to three hours, which still isn’t too bad at all.
For our purposes, we ended up flying EasyJet from London’s Gatwick Airport to Geneva, Switzerland, meeting friends there who we then drove with in a rental car to Val d’Isère. We then drove to Chambéry Airport yesterday to catch a return flight on British Airways (way nicer plane! So spacious and comfortable, and checking in and getting to the gate was a cinch given the tiny airport), which flew into London City Airport. Logistically, it’s what worked best for us, so keep in mind when you make your plans that it’s always worthwhile to explore all options and mix-n-match them as necessary to save money, time, or whatever your needs.
Learn to Ski in London!
And here’s a quick tip for my fellow non-skiers out there: If you’re keen to learn how to ski, you don’t even have to wait for a ski trip to take lessons! Just over an hour outside of town is Xscape in Milton Keynes, which houses three indoor ski slopes, one which is used for skiing lessons. Just one of the many fun possibilities to ponder as you prepare to relocate to London!