What if your partner doesn’t ski, or your regular gang aren’t heading to the slopes this season? Do you stay at home and mope?
No… you head to The Ski Gathering – they can help you out. It’s an umbrella site for a group of chalets around Europe that open themselves up to solo and ‘sociable twos and threes’ over certain weeks in the year.
I decided to try this out over the Christmas week in 2018 and, in short, I had a blast. I stayed in The Alpine Loft in Les Gets, France. It’s a large chalet a few minutes’ walk from the main road in the village and was refurbished for the 2018/19 season – we were lucky enough to be the first guests. It’s the usual chalet setup – breakfast, afternoon tea and cake, an evening meal with inclusive beer and wine – with hosts on hand when you need them. As standard you’ll be sharing a room with one or more, depending on your budget, but you can pay a single supplement if you’d prefer.
Les Gets is a pretty little village just over an hour from Geneva, with around 120km of pistes. While that’s not a huge amount, the resort is part of the massive Portes du Soleil area which opens up around 650km of pistes along with the large resorts of Morzine and Avoriaz and access to Switzerland. If you’re an advanced skier it’s definitely worth going for the full Portes du Soleil lift pass so you can ski the other, higher areas and the more advanced runs. You can ski directly from Les Gets to Morzine then get the Super Morzine gondola or a 10-15 minute bus ride to Avoriaz – it’s definitely worth heading that way, especially if the snow’s a little patchy lower down.
From the chalet it’s a five minute walk to the central lift area that gives you access to the Les Gets and Morzine ski areas. On the other side of the valley, and a little further away from the chalet, is the Mont Chéry area, a nice, easy going area of wide blues and reds. There’s also a great restaurant on this side too, Restaurant La Grande Ourse, run by a Cornish family with spectacular views over the mountains to Morzine and Avoriaz.
So what’s it like staying in a chalet with a bunch of random folk?
It’s absolutely fine and nothing to be worried about – you’re there with a like-minded group of people who all want to have fun and ski (or board). There were 16 of us in the chalet, mostly independent along with a couple of couples. A varied group from the UK, Australia, South Africa and Hong Kong. The chalet setup with a big meal for everyone in the evening helps the group bond… and the inclusive wine and beer helps that too. We all split up naturally into groups and I spent the majority of the week skiing with a group of five and we met up with the other groups now and then for lunches and drinks.
The Ski Gathering make the whole booking and arranging process very easy – you book the chalet of your choice online and then you can book passes, lessons and equipment hire directly with them. They can arrange for a firm to come to the chalet with your gear on arrival day so you’ll be ready to go the following morning. The chalet hosts were lovely (thanks Emily and Ellen) and Jana and Raphael, the chalet owners, couldn’t have been more helpful (and congratulations on their new addition, born on Boxing Day!).
I had a great week’s skiing and socialising and would absolutely recommend doing it if you’re a solo traveller. Some of the group have already booked with The Ski Gathering again this season and there’s even talk of a team trip to Japan…
You can get in touch with The Ski Gathering at www.theskigathering.com or on Facebook and Instagram @theskigathering.