Anneri, our Club Med specialist, based in our Somerset Mall store, recently went skiing with Club Med to experience one of their skiing resorts first-hand. This is what she had to say on her return:
10 strangers meeting at JNB airport and bracing for a 24 hour trip with 99% of us never having skied before, what can go wrong? (thankfully Club Med skiing packages include travel insurance :-))
Upon arrival at Geneva Airport we were met by a representative from Club Med to embark on a 3-hour coach journey to the French Alps.
Getting to Val Thornes you can already feel the energetic vibe of the staff as we were greeted with friendly smiles from people across the world. We settled in for a late lunch/early dinner at the Buffet restaurant with something to satisfy everyone’s fancy and straight off to the ski rooms to get our ski’s and boots fitted and to sign up for ski lessons and to be divided into different ski groups. Once that was done we all went to our rooms with the most beautiful views of the mountains or ski slopes and got ready for pre-drinks and our first themed event.
Something very unique to Club Med is that they have different themes every night and concerts which the G.O’s (Gentil Organisateur – Kind Organiser) put on. After the show the dancefloor was opened to dance the night away. The themes ranged from Pink to black & white, to elegant to Lumo evenings.
First day ski lessons: Here we were thinking that lesson one would be how to put on the boots etc, but they had us on our skis and going down beginner slopes in no time even jumping while going down and skiing on one leg.
Ski lessons are in the morning with a break for lunch. When you reach the resort, you can hear the music from a mile away and the vibe is contagious. After lunch you return for the afternoon ski lessons again. The rest of the afternoon we went to the bar for Après-ski (social activity following a day’s skiing) and met up with the rest of our group.
On day 3 when we were started to get the hang of the skiing we started to go up the T-bar lifts to higher and more difficult slopes and skiing down, stopping midway at one of the many bars/restaurants on the slopes while other skiers just ski by. One of the highlights was taking a t-bar lift, gondola lift for 8 passengers and a 3rd bigger gondola lift up to the 2nd highest point in Europe and climbing up to 3195m above sea level where you can also find a restaurant/bar.
Friday is the last day of ski lessons and by Saturday you are free to ski in your own group or with new friends or have the day at leisure as there is a Rock climbing wall, Spa, Gym & Workout classes which is at the resort.
On the Saturday we went to the end of Season party at La Folie Douce where they had dj’s and a show up on the slopes and part of the fun is skiing / walking back down the slopes after the closing.
The town of Val Thorens is a quaint little town with mostly shops with ski gear and the odd superette, pharmacy, souvenir shops, cheese & liquor stores, bars and a night club and all within walking distance from the resorts. There are also busses that run from certain ski areas back to the resorts which you can just hop on and off (easier said that done when your lugging around ski gear 🙂
I can highly recommend an All inclusive ski package as it is such a relief to not have to convert from EUR to ZAR for every drink/snack/meal you purchase. You know that ski lessons, ski equipment rental, ski Pass (at EUR 400), food and drinks (excluding premium brands) are included with only a few activities (spa etc.) not being included. It really does make a difference.