It isn’t everyday that you get asked to jet off on a last minute holiday to the French Alps, and it certainly was not something I had imagined myself doing half way through my final term at college. But hey, who would say no to such an awesome offer?!
Around three weeks before my boyfriend James’ family were due to head over to Flaine, I was lucky enough to be asked along as a plus one. Leaving his house early afternoon to head off to work, it was brought up as a joke at first. A week later my flight was booked, and a week after that I was constantly checking the ski report while trying to contain my excitement.
My dad’s side of the family are, mostly, keen skiers and/or boarders. Dad always tells us how he learnt to ski in the fields next to his childhood home in the country on giant wooden ‘sticks’. So, obviously, as soon as my siblings and myself were old enough we were launched into the world of skiing. As far as I know we all learned to ski in the wonderful Scottish resorts, Aviemore, Glenshee and the Lecht. If you are from Scotland and have never been skiing here, it is a must! Sure, the temperatures are freeze yer tits aff cold, and it is often hard to see more than a metre in front of you, but I personally have had some great days up at Glenshee.
For the last 10 or so years my family have travelled to France, Italy and more recently Austria annually for our family skiing trip. In fact, I was in St Johann, Austria, in January this year. So being invited on another skiing trip seems too good to be true!
The three weeks before passed quickly, and like any holiday, it itself passed incredibly quickly. Far too quickly in fact. Regardless the week was brilliant, fun and exciting. Although I have travelled without my family before, it was a new adventure to travel with James, his family and friends.
Coincidentally, before leaving, my parents informed me that Flaine was the first place we ever went skiing as a family. Saying this, I can not really say I was very involved, as I was only 6 weeks old. Nevertheless I was excited to see what the village and skiing was like. More importantly this time I would actually be able to ski in Flaine.
The resort itself, for me, was incredible and never-ending! Most of the resorts my family visit in Austria are relatively small, and to get the full use of your ski pass you have to get multiple busses/trains to get to different area’s. Flaine, however, was the opposite. The village lies in the centre of a large bowl of ski runs. Essentially, everything you can see is skiable, plus a wealth of runs over one side of the bowl. From a variety of off piste, to bumpy blacks and long blue’s we found ourself adventuring to a different part of the resort everyday. This itself was a pleasant change for me, as I normally find myself repeating the same runs over and over.
Much like described by my parents, Flaine is a concrete jungle. It makes living in Aberdeen; the greyest and ugliest city in Scotland, seem like an architectural dream world. Everything was bland, concrete, square, aged and…just plain ugly. Regardless, I found the architecture strangely photogenic, and with a brief aimed at abstract buildings I grabbed my chance I take something a little ‘different’.
Our apartments were not actually within Flaine, so we were treated to a traditional styled chalet looking exterior and a modern and practical interior. To add to the beautiful accommodation, it was ski in ski out. Every skier or boarders dream! No faff, no trudging around in ski boots lugging your heavy equipment with you to then stand on a bus full of smelly people on the same boat. Pop your ski’s on at the door and your off for the day.
And then there was the hot tub and sauna. Unfortunately I never actually got a photo of the hot tub, but it was outside looking into the bowl. On a sunny day it was a lovely place to relax and rest your achey legs.
We ventured out four nights out of the 7, each night enjoying tasty food and, sometimes interesting cocktails. I use the term interesting loosely. They were pretty crap! But that didn’t dampen the mood. The bar in the centre of the town had a great live DJ and some rather excited locals who had obviously come straight from the slopes. And I mean LITERALLY, as in they hadn’t even taken their ski’s off. Not what you normally see in a bar, but it was mildly entertaining watching them stomp around having clearly had maybe a tiny bit too much to drink.
The majority of our days were sunny, blue skies and warm. This again was a change from my usual skiing trips. In Austria we have to wear at least three layers, in Flaine we were skiing in t-shirts and hoodies (and obviously trousers!).
On a whole, the trip, the experience and the company was next to none. The perfect way to break up my term and have a little bit of fun in-between all the hard work.