How to have a great ski holiday – the Cooksister way!
1. Pick a village that is both picturesque and has access to great lifts and a large variety of ski runs. Like, say… Morzine.
2. Make sure you book your ski chalet through Inside Edge. These guys set out to provide the sort of luxury catered ski holidays that they themselves always struggled to find – and damn, they are good at it. To this end, you will discover that their chalets tend to be new, they tend to have hot tubs, the catering is of a very high standard, and their chalet staff make you feel as if nothing is too much trouble. We fell instantly in love with Chalet La Roche – and that's not only because there were sparkling glasses of champagne and fluffy robes waiting for us in anticipation of our first foray into the hot tub!
3. Rent your skis and boots from Doorstep Skis. Remember that horrendous queue at the ski rental place as every man, woman and child who arrived on the Thomas Cook/Thomson Tours/Inghams busses all descend en masse to rent their kit? Well, you won't see it if you use these guys who come to yuor chalet with your boots and skis and fit them in the comfort of your own place! And if something breaks or isn't right, just call them for a replacement. Just look at the pretty skis they rented to us…
4. Make sure you have fabulous chalet hosts. Chris and Becci arrived as our chalet hosts, but by the time we left they were our friends. These guys were SO organised, so much fun, such great ski guides, and such astonishing cooks! And Chris could solve the Rubik's cube
5. Take friends who are of a similar level of ski proficiency as yourself. While Nick, Claire and Rory zoomed up to the top of the mountains and found the nearest black run down, Gill, Lisa and I were perfectly happy to potter up the Avoriaz cable car every morning, have a good faff with our boots and bindings, and then set off for ski school. Yes, I joined the beginner's class again after the first day. No, I am not remotely embarrassed by being a serial beginner. Yes, I made real progress!!
6. Find a restaurant where you can feel like a local. Lisa, Gill and I found Le Yeti and stuck with it. The waitress remembered us after our first visit, the hot chocolate and vin chaud were delicious, and the potato croquettes hit the spot every time when you came off the slopes cold and hungry. And the yeti on the menu bore a striking resemblance to Rolf Harris. What more could you ask for in a ski restaurant??
7. Make time to relax in the hot tub every day. There is absolutely nothing that will ease your sore muscles after skiing better than 45 minutes or so in an outdoor hot tub. And combined with a glass of Champagne that's been chilling on the windowsill all day, there can be no greater indulgence.
8. Resolve only to ski in sunny weather, then change your mind when it snows for 48 straight hours and ski in almost no visibility at all… and enjoy it. In fact, discover that huge powdery bumps on the runs are a whole lot less terrifying if the visibility is so bad that you can't see them coming
9. On the last day, ski down the blue run that scared your friend on the first day, and that has been looming like an insurmountable obatacle in your mind all week, with its icy narrow bits and its steep, bumpy bits. Get to the bottom without falling once and feel as if you have just conquered the world
10. But above all, spend as much time as you can laughing with your funny, clever, gorgeous friends!
Coming up next: Morzine ski trip II – the food. For more photos of our fab trip, check out my Flickr album.