The excitement of Christmas had worn off, the chocolate and cheese weight still lingered, everything was miserable & it was starting to feel like I was stuck in a never ending grey Doncaster winter. Just one hours flight and a fifty minute taxi transfer later and I was stepping out of a people carrier onto the set of a blue-skied Christmas card for a week of cheap wine, skiing and spending some well overdue time with old friends.
Realistically I was pretty damn glad to be stepping out of the people carrier, the drive to the village of Grand Bornand had been beautiful but the sharp turns and steep drops had not given us the most relaxing journey. To get to Le Grand Bornand we had flown from Gatwick to Geneva which left us with just a fifty minute taxi transfer to bring us to our home for the week, the absolutely beautiful Chalet Lyonnais.
Chalet Lyonnais, luckily for me, is owned by the family of one of my very good friends from university. It is a genuinely stunning chalet furnished beautifully & located right next to the foot of the slopes and less than 200m from the nearest chairlift. It comfortably sleeps 16 people so our group of eleven had loads of space. With underfloor heating, comfy sofas, a beautiful balcony overlooking the valley & all the amenities of home, most days it was pretty hard actually dragging ourselves away from the chalet and onto the slopes. (That sounds very sales-persony but it is genuinely a fantastic place to stay for a peaceful and classy skiing trip and if you want more details then you can find them here.)
I’m in no way the worlds best skier, I’m pretty horrendous. I also have wimpy knees which means that after a few hours I lose the ability to stop in a timely fashion. This means its not unusual to have me hurtling towards you resignedly shouting sorry with no likelihood of stopping before I plough into you. Apart from those moments, or when I’m stuck in the snow up to my knees, I love skiing. I’m not the hurtling down black runs or feeling the air beneath my skis type but I love the feeling of sailing down a mountain, not believing how fast you’re moving or the beautiful landscape to either side of you.
Le Grand Bornand is a resort which caters to all different levels of skier, the thrill seekers and the leisurely hot chocolate seekers. Personally my favourite run was called Serpentine. A narrow slalom style green run which snakes down the side of the mountain lets you take in the stunning surroundings while also enjoying the mixture of gentle and tight twists that allow you build up some decent speed. The best bit of this run, for me because I’m a kid, is the fact that about half way down the run is a huge brass bell. The point of which is to hit with your pole and make ring out as you whizz on past. Or if you’re super bad ass, like one of the boys in my party, you can bypass the use of a pole and simply punch the bell, possibly breaking your knuckle yet most definitely asserting your masculinity.
Apres Ski in the Green Monkey Pub
As the closest and one of few bars in Le Grand Bornand, it was to the Green Monkey Pub which we dragged our ski weary legs. The Green Monkey pub was small, sold expensive and short measured beer and had a clientele mostly of French ski instructors and older Brits congregating to watch the rugby. I loved it. With its plain wood and ski themed decorations it proved once again that atmosphere beats special effects ten times out of ten. We spent a dramatic night in the Green Monkey, drinking too much, being loud & English and generally being messy.
Travelling with the Easyjet app
I just wanted to add a little footnote about his fancy little handy dandy Easyjet app. I’m fairly behind the times with technology, I recently started mobile banking purely because all of my friends were appalled that I couldn’t mess with my money without visiting my local bank. So imagine my surprise when I realised that you can now check in to your flights online and then download a boarding pass onto your phone, no paper required!
The fact that I very nearly used up all my battery showing off my exciting little technological discovery leaving me with no boarding pass at all is irrelevant. I’ll definitely be using this in the future & I’m looking forward to when all airlines use the technology and I never again have to spend the night before my flight praying to the gods of printer ink that I will just have enough black left in the cartridge to print out just one more page.
All in all it was a brilliant break, one that was sorely needed. It was lovely to see my friends again, some of whom, like Marky have been incredibly successful at avoiding me since university and had almost managed three years. Others I see slightly more frequently & some I may never have previously actually had a one on one conversation with. I’d like to thank the eternally organised Maddy ‘Mum’ Marshall for organising everything, badgering us into sorting out flights & making us all get together for what was a wonderful week. I’m already looking forward to Ski Trip 2016!
Flights: Gatwick to Geneva with Easyjet – £135
Taxi transfer – €55
5 day ski pass – €149
5 day ski rental (beginner skis & helmet) – €65