Skiing with a group of mates is great fun pretty much wherever you go – hitting the slopes together all day before seeing off a few après-ski pints, sharing stories from the day over the evening meal then heading off into town to make the most of the nightlife on offer. It’s a fantastic way to spend a week with good friends!
Vibrant destinations and bustling nightlife
Many young skiers gathering their mates and booking their trip look primarily for affordable chalets in vibrant destinations with a bustling nightlife. Whilst there are many resorts and chalets in France that meet those requirements there are a few stand-out examples of resorts and properties which work wonderfully well for young adults looking to make the most of the slopes and bars on offer.
Meribel, chalet Pheobe
Meribel sits right in the middle of the Three Valleys ski area with a staggering range of slopes to choose from – with Courchevel to the east and Val Thorens to the west, you’ve got to be pretty swift on your skis to stand a chance of covering the entire area in a week! One of the best runs in the entire valley sits above Meribel Mottaret, a red piste called Jerusalem. It’s a long and straight run with large natural rollers all the way down it that give you great air if you hit them fast enough!
For many, après-ski tends to start at the new Folie Douce bar located to the side of one of the home runs above town. At about 3pm the music cranks up with DJs and singers, the beers start flowing and people jump up on the tables to dance. Down in town a little later you can choose from a wide range of different venues to continue the party, with bars like La Taverne, Jacks and Barometer offering drinks offers and a range of different music. Dicks Tea Bar is open late for the real party animals.
Photo courtesy of Echobuzz on Flickr
Chalet Phoebe works really well for groups for a number of reasons, including good value for money and its location offers easy town and ski access. It sits a convenient 10 minute walk away from the ski lifts, bars and active nightlife scene. Despite this close proximity, the chalet also benefits from a certain element of seclusion, meaning that you can relax in comfort, and also catch the complimentary mini-bus service to the ski-lifts in the morning if you don’t quite feel up to the walk.
Val d’Isere, chalet Thovex
Val d’Isere sits in the Espace Killy ski area, over the valley from the neighbouring resort of Tignes. It’s hard to overlook Val d’Isere if you’re looking for spectacular skiing and lively nightlife, and any groups looking to hit the beers as hard as they hit the pistes need to give this iconic resort serious consideration. With such wonderfully varied terrain you can find slopes to suit all levels of skier so the resort works very well for groups, and one of the best runs in the valley is the red Aiglon piste under the Laisinant Express chair lift, which rolls and turns down the mountain wonderfully – a real highlight!
For an après-ski beer on the slopes, Val d’Isere also has a Folie Douce bar and the vibe there is very similar to the Folie in Meribel. Alternative options are plentiful though, and bars like Café Face and Saloon Bar also make for great spots to enjoy lively après ski. Later on in the evening Val d’Isere’s bars are open to all and there’s something to suit all tastes; from chic piano bars with expensive cocktail menus to scruffy seasonnaire bars with sticky floors, the range is huge!
Groups considering booking a chalet in Val d’Isere for sole occupancy can consider properties like the Thovex. This 4* property sleeps 12 and sits really close to town centre and the slopes, just 300 metres from the Solaise lift and 100 metres from the Tourist Office. Chalet Thovex has to be one of the best located properties in resort, and the prices are reasonable. Fully en suite with sauna and open plan living and dining room, the Thovex also offers Buy-1-Get-1-Half-Price offers on lift passes across dates in January, February and March 2014.
If the party scene isn’t for you
Aside from the lively resorts and boisterous bars found in France, skiers looking for something a little more sedate also have a wide range of resorts to choose from, and groups of friends looking to focus on the skiing rather than the boozing are by no means left out.
Photo courtesy of Colorado on Flickr
Les Gets, chalet Johmarons
Les Gets is one of the many resorts located inside the Portes du Soleil ski area, and sits over the mountain ridge from its nearest neighbour, Morzine. This is a resort best suited to beginner and intermediate skiers but the range of longer slopes and off-piste in the area is good so it’s a popular option for mixed-ability groups.
The Les Gets bowl is an area around the base of the Ranfoilly and Rosta chairlifts, with a number of lifts all heading up in different directions. In the bowl there are pistes for all levels of skier to enjoy but perhaps the best is the blue Campagnule run. It starts off broad and steep then half way down there’s a roller to hit before riding it out through bumpy, choppy snow to the bottom. With the change of conditions half way through, taking this run on at full speed is not recommended, but anybody who does is sure of a big rush!
Les Gets doesn’t have a big nightlife scene but there are a few good bars in the area for low key après-ski. Alternative activities to enjoy in the evenings include night-skiing on the Pleney over in Morzine, watching an ice-hockey match, a meal out in one of the area’s traditional French restaurants or simply sitting by the fire with a nice glass of red, discussing the day’s adventures on the slopes.
With regards to the selection of chalets there suitable for groups looking for sole occupancy, 8-bed chalet Johmarons is hard to beat. The Johmarons sits only 3 minutes from the slopes on the Mont Cherie side of town, and about 2 minutes from the resort centre. There’s an outdoor Jacuzzi to enjoy and a warming log fireplace too, and larger groups of 20 can book the chalet’s twin, the Ysopes, to make one big booking across both properties.
Further peaceful resort options
Aside from Les Gets, groups of skiers looking to focus on the skiing rather than the partying can look at other peaceful resorts like La Rosiere, Chatel, Vaujany, St Martin de Belleville, La Tania or Serre Chevalier. The latter is a wonderful resort spread across a number of small villages along the valley floor, and offers a wealth of skiing for all levels including fantastic off-piste potential in fresh snow. Chalet Riviere is one of many properties which work well for groups in Serre Chevalier. This 4* property sleeps 10, and has a spacious lounge area ideal for relaxing with friends over a glass of wine in the evenings.
So whether you’re looking to hit the slopes and the bars hard every night of your ski holiday or you’d rather enjoy the pistes at your own pace and save your energy in the evenings for the next full day on the snow, you’ll find France offers a most wonderful selection of resorts to meet your requirements and exceed your expectations.
Rosie Percy writes about various topics including lifestyle and travel. As a keen traveller herself, Rosie is able to provide handy tips regarding a range of different areas regarding travel to advise those looking to book their next break. Rosie likes spending her winter holidays at http://www.espacekilly.com/.