I thought I would take a few moments to write about my skiing trip. I learnt to ski in Scotland many many years ago and, whilst I have had the odd day skiing in Europe, I have never been on a ski holiday.
We have family who spend a lot of time in the south of France, and they had discovered the ski village of Auron. It is only 90 mins drive from Nice airport and yet it still retains a very local and unspoilt feel. A colleague of mine skis in Isola, slightly closer to Nice and higher up, but he had never heard of Auron.
We had a very pleasant journey from London to Nice, and despite some issues with picking up the car, we made it up to the village in time to get skis fitted at Sport2000. They are situated directly opposite the main ticket office and cable car up to the slopes, or a 5 minute walk to the other, much quieter, ticket office and Poma lift. They were fabulous, kitting all 6 of us out in quick time. They keep all the equipment overnight, so no need to have it cluttering up your accommodation, and they will look after your shoes during the day. A word of advice: order online beforehand as they will give you a discount and, more importantly, will ensure they have the kit. There were some people who had not reserved and they were turned away as there was nothing left to hire.
The family have a routine that we were working around which involved a few runs, coffee, a few more runs and lunch. The venue for these stops was always Le Gratusier, on the side of the main beginner ski slope. Sadly, it is rated 20/23 on TripAdvisor, from one review, but I think that this is not reflective of the place. We have always had great service, the food comes quickly and is served in generous portions, and they are always willing to modify the choices to suit the tastes of the party.
Whilst I can ski, it had been long time since I had, so I was glad that we had some refresher lessons through the Ecole Ski Francais. Three of us had 2 hours on the first three days with Anouchka, who was brilliant. She quickly settled into the hybrid role of teacher and guide for both skis and snowboard. We were not interested in lessons, but needed our skills honing, and we also wanted to be shown around the pistes for routes that would be fun and exhilarating. She fulfilled this with ease, and it was sad when our lessons ended, although she promised to wave when she saw us again.
After a good day on the slopes, we headed to Le Slalom bar next door to the ski shop for a beer and coffee.
It has been a great week, and we still have a full day’s skiing tomorrow. I might take it slightly easier, given that I managed to break a pole in two this afternoon by wiping out after flying 10ft through the air following a bump in the piste that I saw too late. Luckily the only thing hurt was my pride! I also think that it will be the perfect place to come for a weekend, using a BA RFS ticket for 9000 Avios and £35, if there is space on the evening flight to Nice on the Friday and one on Sunday evening. One could have a full day on Saturday and leave the village about 4pm on the Sunday when the lifts start to close and be back in London by 10pm. If I try it, I’ll let you know how it goes!