I’ve lost count of the number of times I have been asked to recommend a ski resort, a tour operator, a chalet, a type of ski, style of jacket, goggle, sunglasses, gloves…the list is endless when it comes to skiing and ski holidays. Most people ignore my recommendations! But sometimes advice is given and received with thanks and everyone ends up happy; which is how we ended up in Courmayeur for an old friend from university’s 40th ski weekend.
I’ve been before, several times in fact, taking part in what was the City Ski Championships, now the Momentum Ski Festival so I knew it would tick the box for the après ski for a 40th.
There was a mix of ski abilities in our group and also a few people who put fashion, drinking and dancing high up on their list of agendas. I also wanted the chance to get off piste with my friend who was coming over from Chamonix, if there was any fresh snow to be sniffed out.
Flights to Geneva were already sky high (a combination of the Geneva Motor Show and peak weekend travel) so that ruled out many of the resorts in the western French Alps. I have used Milan Malpensa airport before for a ski weekend in Champoluc, it is super easy and only two hours transfer to the resorts of the Aosta Valley. With bargain flights booked and the offer of a transfer and hotel package right in the centre of Courmayeur, the birthday boy opted for this. We did look at Venice and the Dolomites but couldn’t find a hotel to suit the groups’ needs and also a return to Champoluc but with Courmayeur having boutique stores selling Versace, Armani, Gucci, Chanel and Ralph Lauren the ‘fashionistas’ amongst our group were sold on the latter!
The highlight of the weekend was our on-mountain evening meal at ‘Maison Vielle’. Their evening operation is worked out to a ‘t’. It was the easiest start for us with our hotel being literally next door to the cable car (The Domina Home, an annex of the Hotel Jumeaux). After the five minute cable car ride up, we were met by a glass of Prosecco and a ‘herd’ of Maison Vielle’s snowmobiles.
Restaurant owner Giacomo sped us up the mountain paths to the little restaurant where more Prosecco and antipasti greeted us. Drinking, eating and dancing – Maison Vielle ticked all those boxes and more, and before we knew it we had to make the snowmobile journey back down the mountain for the last cable car at 11.40pm. The night went on, of course, via Roma having plenty of bars keen to serve us into the early hours!
The Alps were experiencing a mini heat wave, the first real settled period of the winter season so we didn’t find any powder but the pistes were in fantastic shape, the mogul fields were great fun when softened by the sunshine, and there was easily enough skiing to keep everyone happy for 2.5 days. There are little snack bars and restaurants all over the mountain too so it is easy to find lots of rehydration and lunch stops – Zerotta just perfect for our group!
My OH on reflection said he’d wished he’d had one night in…but that was never on the agenda when a group of friends from university ski trip days reunite, make some NBFs (new best friends) and hang out for three days in the mountains. We might all be in our 40s but we partied like it was 1993/4 and 5!