New Year fun in the French Alps
Rhonda Carrier’s three young Mancunian boys, deflated by yet another distinctly non-white Christmas, couldn’t have been more excited by the prospect of some icy fun.
Mark Warner’s Chalethotel Aiguille Percée in the super-family-friendly resort of Tignes was the perfect choice for a first family ski holiday of all beginners. We were delighted by our pristine top-floor apartment-style family suite over two floors, with a private balcony with plum views over the nursery slopes and the mountains beyond them, and a luxurious bathroom. The renovation also included the addition of a ground-floor spa where you can luxuriate in the small swimming pool, sauna and steam room as you gaze out at the snowy surrounds.
Mark Warner’s first choice for ski lessons in Tignes is Evolution 2, and we couldn’t have been more happy with the tuition we received from them. Although private family lessons can be arranged, we thought the kids would get on a better in a specialist children’s group and signed them up for half days in ‘Petit Yetis’. Their teacher, Olivier, had the world’s biggest smile and most laidback temperament, and we felt totally at ease letting him take the boys off on adventures around the Tignes valley. All four kids in the group made stunning progress, tackling a blue on their second morning and a red by the end of the week.
Meanwhile, my husband and I were in the more than capable hands of the charmingly laconic Claude, with a handful of other adults. Most of us made much slower progress than the kids, but the group split into two mid-week so that the faster learners weren’t held back. The top group was competent enough to ski down into the neighbouring resort of Val d’Isère by the end of the week, while the slower group went up into the natural bowl above Tignes, where plenty of greens allow you to build up your confidence.
The resort itself has plenty to keep families occupied when they’re not skiing – we had fun on the many toboganning slopes, on the natural ice-rink on part of the lake and in the indoor waterworld, Le Lagon, with its racing slides. For those who like something more extreme, Evolution 2 offers ice-diving and ski-paragliding, and there are also husky sleigh-rides.
Having experienced Mark Warner beach holidays, we were unsurprised by the standards at the hotel in terms of childcare and dining. Breakfasts featured plenty of choice including cooked food both from a buffet and to order; the afternoon teas included excellent home-made cakes and cookies; and the children’s tea allowed them to choose from a buffet or to order individual dishes. Best of all was the three-course dinner with wine every evening – the level of cooking and the choice there was always very good indeed, whether you wanted upmarket comfort food (more great puds!) or something lighter and healthier.
On a couple of evenings we had this later dinner with the kids; on other nights, they chose to eat at the children’s high tea and then watch an evening movie in the kids’ club. The beauty of a Mark Warner holiday is that you have the flexibility to do either and can go with the flow of how you and the kids feel – ours were generally exhausted, in the best way possible, after their morning on the slopes and their afternoon snow and ice play, and wanted nothing more than to snuggle up in their PJs with the other kids while we grabbed a rare spot of grown-up time…
Read more about family ski holidays with Mark Warner.