OUR home away from home in the heart of the French Alps made for a perfect relaxing winter escape.
At Ski Beat’s hosted Chalet Laurier hideaway in La Plagne, my mate Hughie and I felt our troubles simply melt away.
A spread of homely treats, laid out for us to enjoy after an exhilarating day on the slopes, were devoured on comfy sofas by the toasty log burner.
And our rooms, left in a terrible mess in our morning rush to hit the chair lifts, were tidied and prepared, ready for another night of much-needed sleep.
Simply put, everything was taken care of.
The joy of a chalet break is you get to concentrate on the skiing — with the price you’ve paid meaning you don’t have to budget for all your food and drink.
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Canapes and the first of many tipples were served on our arrival by delightful hosts Naomi and Sam before we settled into our wood- panelled mountainside home.
That set the tone for a week of sensational service from the couple.
We were roused each morning by sounds and smells of Naomi and Sam preparing a traditional full English breakfast — complete with imported Heinz baked beans.
And if the bacon, sausage and egg combo is not for you, alternative options were laid on, including fruit, porridge, cereal, bread, yoghurt and cheese.
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Afternoon treats consisted of home-baked cakes of lemon drizzle, carrot, coffee and walnut varieties, and, of course, a classic Viccy sponge.
And the dinners . . . wow.
Starters included baked Camembert, courgette crumble and feta and goat’s cheese salads.
Then hearty mains saw chicken Provencal, parmesan-crusted salmon, pork stroganoff, roast duck and beef casserole served up.
All accompanied by mounds of fresh veg and assorted sides and sauces.
But the tartiflette was the piece de resistance by a mile.
A piping-hot pot of cheese, bacon, potato, onions, cream and white wine. Indulgence of the highest order.
Of course, I always made sure to save room for dessert.
Peach crumble, Bakewell tart, brownies and panna cotta were the highlights.
But if all that meaty and cheesy food is not for you, don’t fear because vegan Hughie was extremely well catered for.
As for the slopes, La Plagne is perfect for a mixed abilities trip.
It is challenging enough for an experienced skier like me.
And there are plenty of wide, sweeping green and blue slopes for Hughie, who had hit the snow just once before.
With 52 per cent blue runs, 44 per cent red or black, plus 18 fun zones and snow parks, a boardercross course, toboggan runs and a waterslide, you couldn’t get bored if you tried.
And with 70 per cent of runs above 2,000m and two skiable glaciers at 3,000m, we need not have worried about a lack of snow.
It was definitely worth spending the extra £30 for a full Paradiski pass which granted access to Les Arcs as well as La Plagne for 265 miles of downhill runs in one of the world’s largest ski areas.
The annoyingly charming and infuriatingly handsome Julien, Oxygene ski school’s director, took us on a tour which ensured we were clued up on the best runs and lifts and learned our way around.
Some of our group also went for daily lessons and improved rapidly, thanks to the patient, friendly and professional approach of the instructors.
La Plagne sits in the heart of the Alps and provides stunning views of Mont Blanc and breathtaking open landscapes with snowy peaks poking through the clouds.
For those, like me, who enjoy a tipple or four between runs, there are plenty of watering holes dotted about.
We drank pints aplenty but our personal favourite was “warm-up water”— Fireball cinnamon whisky.
La Folie Douce — famed for its wild après-ski parties — opened its first spot in Les Arcs in 2020 and it’s a must-do.
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As is the perfectly positioned La Bergerie bar with its DJs, live music and plenty of precarious table dancing.
The ski down to the chalet, just in time for a pre-dinner hot tub dip, always seemed a little easier after a few late looseners.
GETTING/STAYING THERE: A week’s fully hosted ski holiday in Plagne 1800 starts from £1,002pp including Gatwick flights, transfers, hosted chalet, cooked breakfast, evening meals with wine (six nights).
A week’s stay at the Chalet Laurier starts from £1,230pp.
See skibeat.co.uk or call 01273 855100.
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