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March in Morzine: A Family Ski Trip In The Alps!

When you learn to ski as an adult it can be hard to overcome ‘the fear’ and become a demon on the slopes.  I learnt to ski in my mid 20s in the unsnowy mountains of Borovets in Bulgaria.  I didn’t love it and I resented all the small children in ski school who would whizz passed me without a care in the world.  Therefore as soon as my youngest turns 4, we are all headed to ski school again. Until then, please enjoy Fiona’s review of a recent family ski trip to Morzine! 

Morzine - Jarman family

Its been at least 6 years since I last went skiing so it was with much excitement that we all set off to Morzine, in the French Alps, for a pre Easter ski holiday, our first as a family.  We were joining another family and as 3 of the 4 children in our party were pre-school, we decided to take advantage of huge costs savings and take our eldest out of school (she’s in Reception) for the last week of the Easter term.

Our party consisted of myself and my husband and our children Darcy (5) and Theo (3) along with our good friends George and Weenie who have Olivia (3yrs) and Charlie (20mths).  We all planned to ski apart from little Charlie, who had his first ever experience at nursery to look forward to!  George and Weenie know Morzine well so that helped enormously with planning however the fact that we were skiing with children was first for everyone.

We booked our holiday with TG Ski who specialize in Morzine (although they are looking to expand further afield in the Alps).   They currently have 5 chalets suiting all budgets, including a full on luxy pluxy chalet with all the trimmings.  Our package was competitively priced and included accommodation, food and beverage (further details to follow).   TG Ski offer discounts for children and charge only a small nominal fee for infants sharing adult rooms.   Flights, Ski passes, ski hire and transfers were all additional costs.

We booked our flights independently and travelled Easyjet Bristol to Geneva, departing at 11.50 on a Sunday, so all very civilized. We arrived into Geneva at 14.30hrs after a great flight and shortly afterwards we met our transport company at Arrivals.  The mini bus had appropriate child seats for all 4 kids and had us up the mountain and outside our chalet within 90 minutes.  We used www.mountainbuscompany.com who offered a good rate and an excellent service.

No sooner had we finished our first cup of tea and slice of freshly made cake when the ski company arrived to fit our skis, boots and helmets.  We had previously supplied foot size and skiing ability etc so they came equipped with suitable kit for all plus spares.  All 7 of us were sorted with exactly what we needed quickly and efficiently and in the comfort of our own chalet, a brilliant service provided by www.doorstepskis.com

No sooner had the ski boots been placed on the boot warmers when Rob, the chalet manager arrived with our (pre ordered) ski passes, another tick.  Ski passes can be purchased for just the Morzine/Les Gets ski area (very family friendly), the higher more advanced slopes of Avoriaz or the wider Port du Soleil area which covers Morzine, Les Gets, Avoriaz and various other resorts in France and Switzerland (285 slopes in total). For the adults, we opted for 2 Morzine/Les Gets and 2 Port de Soleil as we knew we would not all be able to ski further afield at the same time, we then swapped them round between us…by far the cheapest way of doing it.  Children between the ages of 5-15yrs qualify for a child’s ski pass and children under 5 are free.

As previously mentioned we went out with TG Ski and opted for their Chalet Roc Soleil, a traditional French chalet with plenty of character.  It had 4 bedrooms, sleeping up to 11 people in total – giving us plenty of room and options for Musical Beds (which in our family seemed to happen most nights!).  The bathrooms were not all en-suite, however with 3 bathrooms  (all with showers) there was certainly no queuing.  Our chalet host was called Harriet, a lovely English girl who couldn’t have been more helpful, polite and accommodating.

The layout of the chalet was typically open plan downstairs, with a cosy sitting area with wood burner and all important TV and DVD player, well equipped kitchen and large dining area complete with floor to ceiling French windows and panoramic views of Morzine town and the mountains, truly breath-taking.  One of the main plus points of this chalet in my book was the Outdoor Hot Tub, which was contained in a wooden hut but had bifold doors that opened up to the elements and more importantly the mountains… ahhhh.   WiFi access comes as standard and washing facilities are available if required.  All basic baby and toddler equipment can be provided on request.

Morzine - jacuzzi

All TG holidays offer a half board service for adults, including:

  • Pre-dinner nibbles with drinks (6 nights). Champagne offered on first and last night, Kir Royale on remaining nights.
  • 3 course dinner with free-flowing wine, cheese board, tea, coffee and port (6 nights).
  • Bedside wake up drinks
  • Continental and or cooked breakfast, home-made smoothies, fresh daily bread.
  • Ham, cheese, bread and cold lunch items if required (guests are not permitted to cook in the kitchen due to insurance)
  • Daily afternoon tea and a freshly baked cake
  • Morning and afternoon shuttle service to and from the slopes (really useful as 10min walk otherwise…no fun with kids AND clobber!)
  • Honesty bar

The kids menu was pre arranged according to our wishes.  We opted for the safe bets such as spaghetti, fish fingers, chicken goujons and make your own Pizzas.  We had great fun with a Raclette one night too… they didn’t eat that much but had fun dipping the bread into the cheese!

Morzine - dinner

I always find the first morning is a bit of a faff whilst you sort out how many layers to wear, which pocket the lift pass is going in, goggles or glasses etc etc!  So it was just as well we were all up and about by 6.30am as with children to now add into the mix this was no speedy operation!  Saying that, we were all fed, watered, changed and waiting for our morning shuttle by 8.15.am …no mean feat!

Morton - kids on ski slopes

First drop off of the day was little Charlie to his nursery.  He went to L’Outa in town, which is part local school and part nursery.  They offer morning or afternoon sessions or a full day. The staff spoke fluent English and were excellent with Charlie, who had never been to a nursery in his life before… the first mornings drop off definitely being harder for Mum!

It was then off to the slopes for us.  The adults were not having lessons but the kids were booked in with Sally from The Snow Institute  (TG had advised and we booked from England).  There are numerous ski schools in Morzine to suit all abilities, requirements and budgets.  We opted for a private lesson for our 3 and despite the slight age difference between Darcy and the other two, we thought we’d work it out as we went along (turned out it was all fine and they skied to a similar standard).  Sally (who is Irish) was perfect…  she had a gentle but no mess attitude with them but most importantly made it really fun and exciting to learn.   There is a perfect nursery slope for little ones, complete with magic carpet ski lift, and moving on from there is the Penguin Park, full of fun obstacles for beginners.  We had the kids booked into lessons for 2 hours every morning for the first 4 days.  Sally assured us that by day 5 they would be skiing with us on a blue run (and they were).

Morzine ski lift

Whilst the kids had their lessons, we shot off and enjoyed 2-hour childfree time and the beautiful mountains.   The snow was perfect and for the first 2 mornings we had crisp blue skies and plenty of sunshine, bliss.  We had mixed weather for the remaining week but managed to ski every day, as did the kids.  The slopes are very family friendly with plenty of blues and reds to cruise down and there are bars and cafés aplenty.

Morzine - drinks on mountain

After the initial settling and sorting day, we fell into quite a good daily routine which seemed to work for all parties… breakfast, Charlie to nursery, kids to lessons, adult ski, pick kids up, back to the chalet for DIY lunch, 2 adults go skiing and 2 stay with the kids.  While Charlie had his lunchtime nap, afternoon activities for kids usually consisted of a DVD and playtime (we took our own DVDs and a selection of sticker books and toys), followed by a quick dip in the hot tub.  Once Charlie was up we’d take a gentle walk into town (10mins) for a ride on the train that pootled around town, an ice cream and a run around at the skateboard park (we couldn’t find the playground although apparently there is one).  By this time the 2 skiers were normally down from the mountain so we’d meet for a drink and head back to the chalet for kids tea and the evening routine.

Morzine - Petit Train

Other things for non-skiers to do in town include a swimming pool and a small ice rink.  There are numerous shops and café’s although the coffee is surprisingly bad! We found the best coffee and hot chocolate at Beanies.

On the Wednesday night of our holiday our chalet girl had her standard day off so we arranged a night out in town.  We booked an English babysitter through TG Ski (we paid her 10euro/hr however the price is discretionary).  There are numerous good restaurants to choose from but we headed to Morzine favourite L’Etale.  The atmosphere was very buzzy and we had the most fabulous meal, with great service  – the restaurant is apparently a popular choice so do book ahead.

Towards the end of the week the muscle ache was kicking in so my friend and I indulged in a massage with a fabulous girl called Kerry.  She came to the chalet and set up in one of the bedrooms.  I opted for the 60min hot stone massage and even though my 5 year old insisted on watching, it was the best massage I’ve ever had and well worth the rather inflated price. www.indulgemorzine.com

Taking such young children skiing is without doubt tiring and at times frustrating but all in all it was a brilliant holiday. Times have definitely changed and we soon realized that Après Ski no longer involves live music and toffee vodka but instead a nice cup of tea and a Disney film!  But if you’re happy with that, along with a great family friendly sport and mountain air then you’re in for a treat.  TG Ski offer a brilliant package and I can’t recommend them highly enough – we certainly can’t wait to do it all over again next year.

Morzine - Fiona and kids

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