Val Thorens, France
The old cliche, "It's not the destination but the journey" was the furthest thought from our minds on this trip. After 12 hours from London to Val Thorens (which should have been less than half that), we couldn't care less about the journey as we just wanted to get there! After long queues at Gatwick, a delay of our charter flight (which had duct tape holding parts of the over-head luggage compartments together!) and a bus driver who thought taking a coach on a single-lane Swiss mountain road was a good idea, we were very happy to see Val Thorens 12 hours later.
For the first time, we had ski-in/ski-out which I have to say has spoilt me ever since. There's nothing like walking outside your apartment, strapping in and riding to your first chair of the day. As usual, we were trying to keep the budget in check so our apartment of 5 guys and Jen (poor Jen!) was rather compact. However, the major design flaw was that the toilet backed onto the kitchen - this made for some unpleasant breakfasts!
Negatives aside, this place has got some pretty amazing terrain (and if you get a pass that covers the 3 Valleys, it's massive) and we were lucky enough to have a couple of deep pow days. Trying to learn and stay with Nick, our friend who is a Scottish snowboarding guru, finally paid it's price for me on day 3 when I dislocated my shoulder. Some 700€ later (thank goodness for travel insurance!) I was back in business. I took day 4 off but I cautiously rejoined the group for another 2 uneventful days.
I'd love to visit this place again and explore the whole of the 3 Valleys now that my riding is at a more competent level so stay tuned for a future blog about this part of the world.
Riding buddies: Jen, Heals, Marty, Nick and Sean