The second part of our ski special sees Wayne Ellis check in at Meribel’s Chalet Renardeaux. With snowboarding experience under his belt, can Chalet Renardeaux and the slopes of Meribel convince him to switch to two blades?
When you’ve earned the nickname ‘The Destroyer’ by day two of a skiing trip, you know you’ve made an impression. I’d always been led to believe that tearing down a mountain with separate downhill blades on each foot was easier than snowboarding – which I’ve done many times before – but judging by the number of people I nearly took out on the slopes over three days in Meribel, this is clearly a fallacy.
Fortunately, help was at hand, in the form of New Generation Ski and Snowboard School, which taught us for three hours each morning and afternoon in small groups of up to five, at most.
I organised my trip through bespoke skiing company Powder White, and the instruction transitioning me from snowboard to ski was exemplary. It also helped that conditions were fantastic throughout – glorious sun and powdery snow every day. Astoundingly, given the 49th FIS Alpine Ski World Cup was taking place there during our visit, Meribel’s pistes were quiet too.
On the cuisine front, the highlight was Le Comptoir, the restaurant in the aptly named L’Apogée Courchevel Hotel, nestled at the top of a former Olympic ski jump. The Japanese
inspired-cuisine served there is hardly your classic après-ski fare, but you won’t find fresher, more piquant culinary offerings than its sushi and wagyu.
Far more traditionally Alpine was our accommodation: Chalet Renardeaux is a capacious chalet, set over four floors, and its gorgeous open log fire makes it the perfect setting for a mulled wine-enhanced evening of relaxation.
What really struck me, as we reluctantly boarded the coach back to Geneva airport, was the importance of having regional experts such as Powder White (which offers 50 alpine chalets) ploughing through the dense logistics of organising bespoke skiing experiences.
They couldn’t do anything about my modest capabilities when it comes to sliding down a slope on two long, slender runners rather than a single short, wide one. But in fairness, they
did their best.
British Airways flies daily from Heathrow and London City airport to Geneva. Fares start from £117 return including taxes and charges. To book, visit ba.com
Chalet Renardeaux accommodation
Powder White offers seven nights at Chalet Renardeaux, Meribel from £350 per person based on a December 2015 departure. Price includes hot cooked breakfast, afternoon tea, three-course dinner with select dinner and unlimited house wine. Powder White can arrange lift passes, ski lessons and guiding and in-chalet ski fitting.
New Generation Ski and Snowboard school runs beginner lessons from €199 (£146) for a five-day (10-hour course) or €169 for a two-hour private lesson (one
or two people).
Ski Higher offers an in-chalet fitting and rental service in Meribel.