As part of our on going customer service, every client who travels with Ski Independence receives a post-holiday questionnaire. We always strive to improve the quality of our holidays and these questionnaires provide us with the opportunity to do this.
It is always a pleasure to read how much you have enjoyed your holidays and even better when we can share this information with others. Tim, from Sussex, recently returned from a trip to Les Houches, where we can confidently say he had a great time. Here’s what he had to say about his trip:
- The Skiing In Les Houches
We wanted a comfortable apartment for Christmas and skiing for 2 beginners and 2 half decent skiers. Your advice to go for Les Houches with its excellent learner area at the top of the Prarion telecabine and long runs through trees for the better skiers was perfect. More challenging skiing, as you pointed out, is available at Argentiere and Les Tours just down the road, but these areas were restricted with many runs closed through avalanche warnings so we stayed in Les Houches throughout and were fine, with fresh snow most days we were lucky but, as you had told us, snow making machines on the major runs means there is always skiing there, even if limited by weather conditions and they were blasting out even when it was snowing to ensure good coverage for the downhill race they hosted just after our stay.
For others going to the same place I would recommend the red run through the trees over the other side (towards St Gervais) which was fantastic as a warm up first thing but watch out for the rather violent pod lift at the bottom of the ‘La Cha’ blue run! Using the black and blue runs back to Prarion (there really isn’t much difference between them, so almost anyone can ski them) makes for a good long fun run but taking various little paths through the trees makes it and gets you away from the (usually British) lunatic speed merchants.
All the on mountain catering is, of course, pricey, but there is a drinks machine, loos and clean indoor eating area at the top of the Prarion lift where all the instructors seem to have their baguettes if you want to picnic. La Ferme is new, just been taken over by a very nice couple – a New Zealander and her French husband. All you can eat for 17 Euros from the buffet if you’re feeling extraordinarily hungry… the best Vin Chaud is from the Vielle Luge down a track in the middle of the trees. The owner tells of how his family own the mountain but sold the ski rights for a pittance hundreds of years ago… I suspect apocryphal, but a good story full of Gallic bitterness!
- The Accommodation
Le Hameau De Pierre Blanche is simply the best accommodation of its kind I have ever stayed in. The staff were very helpful and friendly, especially Marianne the manager and her receptionist Gwendolyn. The apartment was very tastefully furnished, well equipped and smart. More than half of them are (timeshare) owner occupied – we met a number of friendly families including being very kindly rescued by Vincent and Anne on Christmas Eve when our daughter locked us out at 11.30pm on Christmas Eve… The emergency number given is a hotel in Tignes and the receptionist there was very confused, but eventually got hold of Marianne who, although an hour and a half away herself, was able to get hold of the technician on his mobile who kindly came out from Chamonix to open up for us.
The central reception area is beautiful with a roaring fire surrounded by sofas, which no-one seems to use very much but makes for a good reading area. There is an excellent spa that everyone seems to use on a daily basis but in our stay was never crowded. Fab steam room, sauna and small gym with modern equipment and usually empty. There are massages and spa treatments also available, which looked great but unfortunately are on the expensive side.
- Eating Out In Les Houches
Les Houches is quiet and both the village and Chamonix are expensive to eat out, but the best was an English run bar/restaurant called Les Delices which isn’t cheap but for the same price as pizzas in Chamonix delivers a quality (and imaginative) menu. I would advise travellers looking for local atmosphere not to be put off by English ownership and to enjoy Katie and her staff’s warm welcome and local knowledge and advice. We went a couple of times including on Christmas Eve when we were able to cross the road for the 10pm service in the church, which was magical.
Chamonix has lots of choice, is more lively and very pretty at night. There’s a good Italian opposite the post office we were recommended to by a local living in Les Houches which was good, but being so close to the Mont Blanc tunnel (40 Euros return) meant you can also get the real thing and go into Italy for a day out – we went to Aosta and were recommended a characterful trattoria called ‘Pam Pam’ but they were fully booked so we ended up over the road at the very ordinary looking but tell tale very busy Pizzaria Ristorante Moderne. Paper table cloths, plastic covered menus but fantastic food from pizzas to steaks and gambas, and very cheap – 69 Euros for four including wine. Packed with locals but very quick and friendly.
- The Service From Ski Independence
Every aspect of your advice was spot on. You took on board what we were looking for and matched us perfectly. Your first hand knowledge of the area was extremely helpful and 100% accurate. You have responded quickly and positively to various enquiries and changes of plan – from advice on chains, to changes of crossing times and to finding us a vet for the dogs. You achieved a good price for us that seems, at the least, very competitive in comparison with booking direct with CGH and Eurotunnel. Taking a Flexi Plus crossing was also excellent advice and I would recommend the same to anyone. We were booked onto the Saturday 7am crossing but with heavy snow forecast were able to get a jump on the weather and cross on Friday night and drive through the early hours – we wouldn’t have made it otherwise. Both last year’s trip to Les Arcs (booked through Cathy) and this were superbly handled, with expert knowledge, professional efficiency and consistent good humour. THANK YOU!
We really had a terrific holiday and are, again, very grateful to you for your help and advice.
On to Les Arcs in April!!
If you’ve just returned from your ski holiday and would like to share your experience via our blog, please just email [email protected] and if you have any photos, it would be great to see them. You can also share your feedback and photos on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/SkiIndependence