South African DJ Rob Forbes shares why he loved skiing in Valmorel, France with Club Med.
It’s not always easy to plan a winter sport vacation if you’re from a warm country. We don’t always have the best ideas of where, or when. I know friends who have organized trips a year in advance, only to arrive somewhere and have two slopes fed by snow cannons as their ski option. This is why I have to tell you about Valmorel. Valmorel delivers.
Purpose-built in the mid 70s, Valmorel is a jewel. Many other resorts from that era are stoic, concrete hulks, low on the ground and ugly. Valmorel is beautiful. Designers stuck to traditional Savoy-style; low-rise wooden structures with pitched, slate roofs. Close your eyes and picture a ski-resort village in your head, and that thing you’re imagining is Valmorel. It’s beautiful, and at the highest point sits Club Med, peering long down the valley.
Club Med Valmorel was my first experience of a ski-in, ski-out holiday, and having had it once now, I can’t see any other way to do it from now on. Routine is simple: wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast. Your gear is in your locker downstairs, then step outside the doors and you’re on the slope. You then ski down to the lifts to make your way onto the mountain. When you’re on your final run of the day, simply ski back into the resort, pop your things in the locker and head upstairs to the fires for a drink. No taking things off, carrying them around, putting them in a car. It’s easy: just ski.
Valmorel has more than 50 lifts, leading to 165kms of piste to explore. It’s a breathtaking quantity of skiing. The majority of the slopes are blue but for more experienced riders they have everything up to off-piste black slopes if you’re keen. Included in your Club Med ski package is a week’s worth of lessons if you want them, morning and afternoon, which is brilliant. They cater to all skill levels too, so I got to work with an instructor on my parallel turns while my wife spent the week learning to carve properly. The instructors also act as guides to more experienced groups. It’s a wonderful value-add bundled in to your trip alongside your ski-pass and gear rental. If you’ve never had a pair of skis on in your life, this is literally the perfect holiday to learn on.
During the week I tackled the longest slopes I’ve ever been on, did more technical skiing than I’ve ever had to, pushed bigger slopes, went faster, and skied further than I’ve ever done. It was a magnificent ski experience, and one that I certainly will repeat at cold Club Meds in future. As usual the Club Med experience, the food, the staff, Geoff the South African (acting) Chef de Village, were excellent. Geoff even spent his day off snow-boarding with us and showing us his favourite Apres spots in town.
Back to what I said earlier – booking a decent winter-sport holiday from our hemisphere isn’t always easy. Club Med makes it so. If you want a week to ski while someone gets you from the airport to the slopes and back and you don’t need to take your wallet out of your pocket for the week you’re there, go to Valmorel. Club Med has got you.
Note: Since Rob’s visit, the Chef de Village has been appointed. Currently, the Chef de Village of Club Med Valmorel is Julien Amarger who is originally from France.