School holidays are underway, which is heavy during the holiday season. At noon on a beautiful day, 30 cm of fresh snow was laid on the hill, but no one was waiting in front of us for the cable car.
“Why is it so quiet?” Our confused daughter, 11-year-old Cara, said that because of the strange empty hillsides that were found while riding, our ears echoed with a dull silence.
“Peisey is usually quieter; it will be busy in Les Arcs,” I replied sacredly. “After all, this is a week of Christmas, and they have not had such a good season in ten years.”
But when we slip off the cable car, our confusion will only grow. Rather than the packed ski slopes we were supported, we were welcomed by the completely ruined slopes and untouched corduroy. “Merry Christmas!” I grinned at my husband and three children, all of us laughing, full of doubt and joy.
Yes, if you are as lucky as we are, Christmas can be the perfect week to bring your family to the ski resort. In addition to resorts that show off at gleaming holiday celebrations, going to the mountains during Christmas means avoiding taking children out of school during the semester, and the price is cheaper (if you choose a small restaurant or half-board hotel) others take care of them Christmas meal. It now appears that we can add a quiet slope to this enticing list.
This is certainly not what we expected. When we decided to book our first family Christmas at home, it was full of risks. Will there be snow? How do we find space for gifts? Is it a bit strange that Christmas is filled with strangers’ cabins? Will the Christmas crowd lead to a tight lift queue? And, most importantly, when my 7-year-old son anxiously asked: “How does Santa know that we are skiing, Mommy?”
A late letter from Lapland, which was cautious, contained our address in the French Alps and asked us to leave anything big or heavy at home to bring us back, and the smile returned to his face. Especially once his two sisters pointed out that France had advanced an hour. “So he will come to us for the first time!” he shouted happily.
There is no denying that booking a Christmas holiday at a ski resort is a risk, but we do everything we can to reduce it. First of all, we are looking for a sure place for snow. Les Arcs is connected to La Plagne and created Paradiski, one of the largest ski areas in the world. We chose to stay in the relatively dangerous Peisey (only 1600 meters) because it is more beautiful, family-oriented, we want more Christmassy. However, on the Les Arcs side there is a large amount of easy access to high terrain, up to 3,226 meters, and we believe that even if our cabin is surrounded by green grass, snow will definitely appear somewhere.
Next, we solved the faff factor, which is the focus of any family snow sports trip, but it is especially important during the intense holiday season. Family-centered Esprit (whose staff picks up children from our cottages and takes classes while singing and playing games) seems to be the obvious choice. Finally, there are some festivals to clean up. We are a small cabin (this is very attractive for the three dazzling moms during Christmas), just a stone’s throw from Vanoise Express to La Plagne and a six-person cable car to Les Arcs.
If we are lucky enough to snow, we can go back to within 50 meters of the cabin, others will worry about Turkish time, cookies and decorations. Christmas, agree, will only send socks for our Christmas at the address of Chalet Hermine in Peisey, leaving other things at home, let us return on Boxing Day. After all, Christmas is more about gifts than about mountains… I hope.
Fortunately, Snow God smiled at us, we came to Peisey and arrived at the new two meters of snow. Not only that, our first day was bright and sunny – a perfect Bluebird Day – a pattern that appeared throughout the week. This is the best Christmas condition in a decade.
Every morning, we took the youngest two people to the morning ski class. It was a very relaxing experience. Thanks to Esprit’s snow rangers for collecting them from our cabin, my husband, my eldest daughter and I finished my laid-back breakfast. Then we went to the slopes – all three of us are snowboarders – ready to make the most of the powder. After preparing for the busy hillside, we are very happy to break the assumption of the Christmas holiday. Waiting for us after the empty run, there are a few acres of raw powder on the ski slopes. The beautiful tree-lined red and blue above Peisey is just to build confidence and restore rusting snowboarding skills. Soon after, our usual cautious daughter was tempted into the piste.