Exploring the superstar French ski resort of Avoriaz where there’s enough piste to last a lifetime, dramatic cliff faces and world-class snowparks
What first – the good news or the bad?Let’s get the bad out of the way and then concentrate on the good times, uninterrupted.So what’s bothering me? Well, I’m in a ski chalet in the superstar French resort of Avoriaz and my dreams of waking up to a stunning view each morning have been dashed – because I’m in a room with no view. Whatsoever.
Ted recounts his trip to the superstar resort of Avoriaz in France with VIP Ski
It is Ted’s sixth trip to the resort. Pictured is the view from his chalet one very cold and crispy morning
Ted is disappointed that his room – snug and comfy though it is – has no view, especially given that Avoriaz is set in stunning sceneryThe six-room cabin – Chalet Poudreuse – is run by VIP Ski and in general, it delivers on its branding.
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But at this particular chalet, in matters of mountain vistas from my lair, I don’t feel like a VIP.I should have known, really, because the VIP website describes the room as ‘lower ground floor’.That’s the basement, then.But allow me to unleash the good tidings about this Alpine operation.
Chalet Poudreuse is in a superb position in the resort, just yards from the runs and very handy for the local bars, restaurants and shops
There are no roads within the resort, so visitors walk, ski, snowboard – or take a horse and sleigh, pictured
This is the snowpark by the main resort in Avoriaz, with enough bumps to keep beginners and the more adventurous happyFirstly, anyone booking a ‘ground floor room’ – there are three, and three ‘lower ground floor’ options – will be able to gaze at a stunning mountain landscape the moment they’ve rubbed the sleep out of their eyes.The chalet is in a prime ski-in/ski-out spot in the resort and only a handful of buildings and a chairlift muscle their way into the view.And I’m able to take it all in from the living room and dining area of the chalet anyway.
The gigantic L-shaped sofa in the living room of Chalet Poudreuse
Guests can gaze out of the living room at the stunning surrounding sceneryFrom this huge space guests are able to look out at the mountains through huge patio doors – and there’s an enticing option of sitting on a long balcony to take it all in, too.It’s a splendid place to relax, with a quite enormous horseshoe-shaped sofa, flat-screen TV, log fire and long wooden dining table.My bedroom, then, serves the purpose of cosy crash pad.It’s not big, but it’s very clean, very comfortable, has a wonderfully powerful shower, and proves to be a supremely great place in which to get snug and watch movies after a day of piste roaming.Super-fast and glitch-free Wi-Fi and a plug point on a shelf at the pillow end of the bed means that I can watch films on my device uninterrupted as my legs recover.It’s total bliss.VIP gets plenty of other things, right, too.This is my third VIP holiday and for the third time I find the staff to be absolutely first-rate.
Super-fast and glitch-free Wi-Fi is an added bonus at Chalet Poudreuse
One of the chalet’s bathrooms, which feature super-powerful showers
Avoriaz has 400 miles of pistes, if you include every station the lift pass gives you access to. There are also high-speed cable cars that bring visitors up and over a dramatic cliff face that sits on one side of the resort, picturedOur hosts – Miles, Jacob and Charlie – are friendly, attentive and chatty and rustle up fine fare for breakfast and dinner.Duck with lentils and cherry sauce is a highlight – along with a banoffee pie/Eaton mess crossover they concoct.I’m also a big fan of the prosecco, champagne and nibbles served each night before dinner.I doff my bright orange bobble hat, too, to the wine list.This is a no-plonk zone. We’re served a red wine at dinner – Percheron, from South Africa – that I’ve knocked back at one of London’s most critically acclaimed wine bars, Vagabond.This is quaffing heaven.The reason is that VIP has – very sensibly in my opinion – brought in the services of master sommelier Xavier Rousset, formerly head sommelier at five-star Oxfordshire country retreat Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons for Raymond Blanc, to assemble its wine list.Pay extra and guests can ramp up the quality to even finer wine – such as a Chateau Mont-Redon, Chateauneuf-du Pape 2007 (£30).
The runs at Avoriaz spread out in a starburst, through woods, along ridges and up and over to Switzerland and across the valley to Morzine (Ted pictured above there) and Les GetsYou may want to do just that – if only to toast just how wonderful the resort of Avoriaz is.This is my sixth trip here and it still thrills me.The runs here spread out in a starburst from Avoriaz, through woods, along ridges and up and over to Switzerland and across the valley to Morzine and Les Gets.Collectively it’s known as Portes du Soleil and there’s enough piste to last a lifetime – over 400 miles in total – plus plenty of superbly designed jump parks to keep those awash with derring-do grinning from dawn to dusk.And the resort itself is about as charming as you can hope for these days. It has a few boring apartment blocks but it’s car-free, which means that skiing, walking and riding around in a horse-drawn sleigh are the only modes of permissible transport.I leave Avoriaz knowing that there is almost certainly going to be a seventh visit and, basement or not, I’d be more than happy if it’s at Chalet Poudreuse. TRAVEL FACTS Rooms cost from £879 to £2,559. Prices are per person based on two sharing, unless stated including flights from Gatwick, coach transfers and catered accommodation. Visit VIP Ski for more information.