Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A fantastic week on the slopes :-)

What a fantastic time. From the planning stage to the moment we left, a superb and memorable week.
After going for the first time last year to Courcheval, we decided that a skiing trip is the first thing to go into the family calendar each year.

This year our planning started with a phone call to the agency Powder Byrne (highly recommended through a friend), and they set the tone and benchmark for everything that was to come.

Our travel coordinator, Ivana, was diligent in understanding our needs. From travelling convenience, to the age of our kids, our skiing ability, and the type of resort, amenities and activities we wanted on our holiday.

Laax and the Rocks Resort.
We were offered to go to stay in the brand new "Rocks Resort" in a relatively new resort village called Laax, a 5 minute drive from the more well known resort of Flims in Switzerland. This new modern facility met our key requirements of being "ski-in, ski-out" and offered a very comfortable 2 bedroom apartment type room.

The view from our "ski in" hotel room.

From the date of confirmation and to the weeks leading up to the trip, Ivana was in touch. Checking the flight details, sending us the information packs and even booking all our restaurants for the week we were to be away.

So off to Zurich we flew. An afternoon and an overnight, before an early start and 1.5 hour drive to Laax.

The Powder Byrne rep was ready and waiting for us, Andrea. She continued the excellent service. I am a seasoned traveller and quite used to dealing with check-ins and formalities on trips quite efficiently, but Andrea was having none of it ! She made us relax as she took care of all formalities, and short of physically holding our hands, led us to the ski rental shop and put us on the slopes a short 90 minutes after we had reached ... and our holiday had begun !
Super lady number 3 then turned up ... Susanna. Our ski instructor for the week. She was lively and friendly and we felt the kids were in super hands. On day one, she checked what goals the kids had in mind, and it was black runs and jumps by the end of the week.

Advanced skiiers !
And so the goals were set, and we all went off. Myself showing the way, but by the end of the week, I was struggling to keep pace with kids. Along the way we had our bumps and bruises. Poor Shaan was the worst off with a badly bruised shoulder, but he braved his way each day and consistently pushed for higher and higher levels with no inclination to give up. The only task he wasn't up to as a result of his injury, was the indoor ski jump training center (an outstanding facility) ... something little Tia (only 9) made the most of. I admired her going on the rudimentary training for the jumps, but I was seriously impressed when she went on and down the ski jump slope without a hesitation. There is a very special feeling to be a parent and see your kids excel.

The champion slalom team :-)

The apartment was really nice. A fully stocked and equipped kitchen kept Reena busy each morning as she looked after "the 3 kids". Andrea's daily 7am drop off of fresh baguettes and croissants was a delight to accompany the fresh ham and cheese in the fridge.

A well deserved hot chocolate break !
From the start to finish, we had an excellent time. Some great food, fondue, excellent wines, hot chocolate on the slopes, great skiing and most importantly, valuable family "down time" all together.


Lunchtime on the slopes - Reena hiked and we skiied

A serious shortage of snow !
We were slightly disappointed by the severe shortage of snow, but there was enough to manage and the snow making machines proved to be a worthwhile investment !

We are planning next year already, maybe Japan ... but Powder Byrne don't operate there :-( 

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