I’m sitting in our chalet at the French ski resort, Les Orres, enjoying a little quiet time while the boys are out skiing and Kinnerly is taking a nap. This week has been amazingly awesome. I admit, I was very nervous driving here – as I watched the “minutes to destination” tick down on our GPS I wondered if there would be any snow at all. We drove through a valley, along a big river and were only 30 minutes away and I kept saying “well, we can take the dog out on a lot of walks” and “at least it won’t be super cold”.
I was looking at the giant French Alps all around us and wondered where all the snow was and how was this ski resort even open!?!?
Well, we arrived, and lo and behold, there is snow! They do have a lot of artificial snow machines which work throughout the night, but there is a surprising amount of snow on the slopes. And, it is actually powdery snow too! It does get a little slushy in the afternoons, because, heck, it is almost 50 degrees by the time 2:00 rolls around – and by then, Brannan is pretty tired and we can only squeeze about two or three more runs out of him.
We found this place on the internet, and I was just so nervous that it was going to be lame, but I think that the resort is really hurting for money because they upgraded us to a room that sleeps 6 instead of the 4 that we reserved online. When you open the door there is a big mudroom so you can take off your skis and boots and hang everything up without getting the common area wet. Then you enter into the lower level that has a big dining room table, a couch and a coffee table, a tiny kitchen with a microwave, dish washer, stove and a little fridge, a bathroom and a “master” bedroom. Then, you go upstairs and you have a loft with two single beds and a separate room with two more single beds. Also, there is another bathroom and a tub room. It is so spacious, I was afraid we would be all cramped into a tiny suite for a week. This is just what we needed too since one of us is usually around the room most of the day because Kinnerly isn’t able to ski just yet. Next year though – we have high hopes for her!
So, our little chalet (which is in a complex of other chalets, so it is more like a condo I guess) is right on the ski slopes, right in the little “village”. It is so awesome to be able to put on your ski boots and walk just a little bit to the ski lifts. I have never stayed in a village before – always having to schlep everything to and from the car – and it is a true treat. I don’t think I could ever not do this again. Especially with children! When you have to carry your own skis and poles along with your children’s skis all while wearing ski boots can be super cumbersome – and tiring!
We are currently winding down to the end of our holiday and we have really maxed out Brannan, I’m afraid. At first, the skiing was a little challenging as he wasn’t able to ride the lift by himself, so, for the first day he rode up the little button lifts with either me or his Dad. Which is fine, but, I was so eager to go on the lift right next to it, I coerced him into going on with me. He was fine with the whole idea and he even got on and off without incident.
Here he is riding up all by himself!
Then, for some reason we went down the red run (which is equivalent to the blue runs in the States) and he had a really hard time with that. He ended up walking down most of it. Oh well. We went back out after a lunch break and stayed on the bunny hill after that so he could gain his confidence again. Ever since then, he has been a crazy little man! He goes fast but can slow himself down with the snow plow (or the snow cloud as he calls it) and he can turn and make his S’s down the hill. It is so awesome to watch him just taking off with it all.
B and I have been switching off going out with him. B can get some remote work done while Kinnerly sleeps, then we usually meet up for lunch all together and go out again. I rode with Brannan all day yesterday and it was awesome. I hate to admit it, but I am really happy going his speed. The first day I was getting frustrated because he was very timid, but now, he goes and he goes and he goes. Honestly, I think sometimes he can go a little too much for me. I’m no black-diamond skier by any means – green runs are super cool with me, especially if they are fun and powdery. I hope he doesn’t turn into a speed demon and I can’t keep up with him next year.
The resort in itself is very nice and on Monday night they had a “pyrotechnic spectacular” that was at 7pm on the bunny hill, so we bundled up and headed out there and couldn’t see really what was going on – some sort of show where people on stilts where dumping lit gas or oil on the snow – there was a narration but it was all in French of course, and I couldn’t even hear it, so I didn’t understand what was going on. But, the event ended with a fireworks display that was pretty cool. Tuesday night they had a ski jump show at the other side of the resort but we were tired so opted not to go to that one. There are stores and restaurants on the lower level of our building and the grocery store doesn’t even try to rip you off! I was shocked! All of their prices are pretty much the same as in the regular grocery stores. It is amazing! You can buy a bottle of water for only 40 centimes – if you were at Vail Village – forget it – that same bottle of water would cost you an arm and a leg! I don’t know why the French decided not to rip you off at the ski resorts, but I think it is pretty awesome, thank you very much.
Kinnerly and I went shopping one day for some groceries for dinner and found this GIGANTIC loaf of bread. I wonder what people do with this gigantic bread? Maybe it is for parties? Not sure but there were at least 5 other loaves there.
There is a pool here too. Of course, I forgot to pack our bathing suits, but found some at the stores for only about 10euro each. The kids were a little less even. We walk by it every time you go to the lift and you can see the steam rising off of it. I was so super eager to jump in there. Finally, two days ago, after skiing, we all donned our new swimsuits, headed over there, put our feet in the foot cleaning pool which was borderline frozen and beelined it to the pool. One foot in the pool – OMG!FREEZING!!!! This was not what I was expecting! I wanted the après ski hot tub that I could lounge around in and soothe my poor knees after snow-plowing while following a 4 year old all day. I couldn’t even get in to my knees, that was how cold it was. But – B got in there with the kids (Kinnerly only lasted a few minutes before her little lips started turning blue!).
Now, we are at home – I couldn’t post everything I wanted to because I had used up too much of my streaming minutes for the week and just decided to put it all together here.
There were so many fun things to do on the vacation. There was a huge luge that was about a 10 minute ride each time (super fun!).
There were trampolines to jump on!
Best of all, there was this HUGE snow castle built halfway up the mountain (so only skiers could see it) that you could actually go into!
It was an awesome and amazing trip! Kinnerly broke two new teeth out too so we had the fun of a teething baby! More stories to come…