If you have never been skiiing and get the chance you should head to the French Alps, writes Arron Hendy.

Have you done any skiing before?”


“Have you put your skis on and had a try?

“No. We thought we would wait for the lesson.”

And this is how our first go on the snow in the French Alps began. We were scared but we were about to embark on an exhilarating experience that we will never forget and we now have the skiing bug for sure.

We took the short flight from Gatwick to Geneva, not much more than an hour, and it took about the same again on the transfer by minibus to the Chilly Powder chalet hotel, our home for the week in Morzine.

And a home it was, from the moment we walked into the chalet hotel and enjoyed the warm welcome we received despite our late arrival.


Chilly Powder

Chilly Powder


On our first morning we opened the curtains and looked up the mountain and across the winter wonderland. The smile on the face of our youngest, who had not seen proper snow before, was a joy to behold. We went just before Christmas so the festive vibes were going through the roof too.

After our first wonderful breakfast at the chalet, cooked, and with a buffet of pretty much everything you could wish for, we borrowed some sledges and hit the snowy hills just behind us. It was a great start to the week, flying through the air at speed, racing across the floor.

It was good preparation for the skiing too.

Our ski boots, skis, helmets and poles had been delivered and fitted by Doorstep Skis.

From our chalet in Prodains, at the foot of the mountain up to Avoriaz, we jumped on the huge ski lift and enjoyed the view. After the snow had fallen we were enjoying some sunny weather with bright blue skies. Stunning views across the snow-covered Alps.


The view was breathtaking

The view was breathtaking


We met our teacher Mark from the Avoriaz Alpine Ski School and thankfully he had a very relaxing way about him, like the best driving instructor you ever had. He was clam and reassuring, explaining how to first walk in the skis without sliding backwards. I mastered this quite quickly apart from the time I started rudely sliding away in the middle of Mark talking. Thankfully this improved and our control soon stood us in good stead for walking up to the chairlift to take us further up the mountain for our first ski.

After some more training on flat snow we were ready to take on our first green ski run. I could say I bravely fell down first to make everyone feel at ease but that may be stretching the truth. Falling was a way of advancing and building up my confidence. And it was all good fun. We were soon sliding through tunnels and riding back up to the top using the button lifts.


Enjoying the slopes at Avoriaz

Enjoying the slopes at Avoriaz


After our first two hours we enjoyed a quick look at La Folie Deuce’s apres ski party and headed back down the lift in time for afternoon tea.

Hot chocolates, coffee, cakes and savoury snacks, all delicious. Then there was enough time for a dip in the hot tub and a massage in the tent. We relaxed as the sun set, then looked up at the stars beyond the snowy mountain peaks.

The children all get to have dinner together and then the adults as a group later in the evening. With the wine flowing we made some great new friends, all happy in the glow of a day on the slopes.


The dining room at Chilly Powder

The dining room at Chilly Powder


Everyone there had been before, returning to Chilly Powder - owned by an English family - because the childcare in the daytime, with a children’s area, had been so good. Now some of the children have grown up they still go. I think the great food, big log fire and gorgeous rooms are a big reason for that, but the friendly atmosphere will be the main reason. I loved the cosy bar area too, where we heard about how the Tour De France often passes in the summer, when the area transforms into a magnet for walkers and cyclists. There’s also swimming pools at Morzine and up the mountain at Avoriaz.

The main takeaway for us was the skiing though, which we must do again or our children will never forgive us.

We had four lessons and were soon enjoying the green runs beyond the main area, through the forest and around the mountains, enjoying those breathtaking views. Then we were on to some blue runs, carefully. Avoriaz, higher up the mountain, was created as a ski resort in the 1960s and enjoys consistent snow.

It connects with slopes at Morzine and many describe getting on lifts and skiing across to Switzerland, it is so close.

It was so much fun we hope to return to do this, and complete the home runs going all the way down the mountain to Chilly Powder.

Just in time for afternoon tea of course.


Skiing at Morzine

Skiing at Morzine


Chilly Powder operates all year round, so it’s perfect whether you’re looking to hit the ski slopes or hop on your mountain bike. There are extensive winter holiday packages on offer for individuals, groups and families with winter prices starting from €995 per person per week based on two adults sharing a double or twin bedroom or €2,760 per week for two adults and two children sharing a standard family room. Prices based on a half board basis with wine included in evening meals.

Childcare is available with prices starting at €335 per week and ski school for €310 per week. The chalet also offers self-catered and B&B options in both summer and winter, and is available for weddings and events.

To learn more or to making a booking, contact Chilly Powder on info@chillypowder.com or 020 7289 6958 or visit chillypowder.com

Doorstep Skis provided an excellent expert service delivering to Chilly Powder and fitting our boots, providing skis and poles see www.doorstepskis.com

For lessons with Avoriaz Alpine Ski School visit www.avoriazalpineskischool.com