Monday, January 15, 2018

First Day of Skiing in Val Cenis (French Alps)

Hi - Bonjour! I am writing from the French Alps =)

It's winter and its that time again for the yearly wintersports holiday!

We arrived in the Alps Saturday afternoon. The weather was looking good but that does not say for the weather the next day. We quickly settled into our chalet aparthotel, which we liked and which I will later on blog separately.

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The nice thing about this chalet aparthotel is that it is located less than a 100 meters from a ski lift and during certain snow conditions, you can even ski back down to the chalet. This was one of the main reasons why we picked the area of Val Cenis actually -- having a chalet near the ski lift and at a good price, of course.

The Solert lift going up to 2540 meters.

From the Vieux Moulin cable car with the view down to Lanslevillard village.

Val Cenis ski and mountain resort is located in the Haute-Maurienne region of the French Alps (home to approximately 20 ski resorts) very close to the border of Italy. The area has 5 (ski) villages that offer chalet-style accommodations and a sizable lift infrastructure. It's not a very popular skiing area for foreigners though but for the local French and its (border) neighbour, Italians.

Our first skiing day was last Sunday. We started quite late, just after lunchtime, having to recover from the long drive in the wee hours of Saturday. Everything went smooth, from finding the resort, checking in to the chalet aparthotel and to getting our ski passes the next day. Our Val Cenis ski pass is valid for 6 days, thus from Sunday to Friday, a whole week of skiing and boarding.

The resort has 125 kilometers of pistes, with a great combination of blues and reds, very little black though and the longest green run in Europe for beginners. There are off-piste tracks here as well.

For more information about the skiing mountain resort please go here: Haute-Maurriene Valley - Val Cenis Domaine Skiable

Val Cenis ski resort is composed of 5 villages: Bramans, Sollières-Sardières, Lanslevillard, Lanslebourg and Termignon. Lanselevillard and Lanslebourg are very close to each other.

Our first impressions of the skiing resort are good. It is, of course, typically French, so there's really no apres ski here but a quiet late afternoon and evenings where people spend their time indoors. There's lots of spa time, self-catered dinner at the chalet or at one of the restaurants. We have gotten used to these kinds of low profile evenings, and perhaps it is the age as well that we seek a quieter winter sports holiday. We do not really miss the apres ski at all.

Last Sunday skiing and (snow)boarding went very good. We managed to go up to the highest point of the mountain (2800 meters) via the MET lift and then skiing down the Nunda piste passing the L'Ouillon de la Tomba (2665 meters). This was a nice run.

We also skied and boarded to Col du Mont-Cenis (2083 meters) where we saw an overlook point to Italy and a beautiful lake called the Lac du Mont-Cenis (Mont Cenis Lake). Many skiers and boarders stop here for a moment to enjoy the nature wonders of this part of the world. Beautiful.

This is at the highest point of the Val Cenis ski resort accessing via the MET lift, at 2800 meters above sea level.

The lookout point to Mont-Cenis lake and the Italian border. Yup, that's Italy on the other side of the mountain already.

Mont-Cenis Lake in the Val Cenis Vanoise National Park looking towards Cime du Bard mountain (3168 meters above sea level).

Escargot, the longest green piste in Europe was a relaxing run. Although not much of a challenge and a piste that most snowboarders (like the Dutchman) would avoid, it is quite nice after a long day of skiing blues and reds. You just glide down without having to work a lot on your feet, knees, and legs.

The weather was a bit grey though, but the pistes were almost perfect. Snow powder, well groomed and wide. We were quite happy as you can see. I mean, we've had really bad pistes in the past (icy and narrow), so we are happy campers and it is just the first day!

First days are usually for flexing the muscles and getting the hang of skiing and boarding, so all is well for a good start of this sportive holiday.

Having coffee and mulled wine at the end of the day at Restaurant Chalet la Fema. 

Skiing mind you is a very active sport, at the end of the first day, your whole body can be in pain. That is why a nice hot bath in a tub is very much needed, and better yet, a swim in a heated pool or a dip in a bubbling jacuzzi, followed by a eucalyptus-scented hammam or a sauna. Ah, the best ways to release the tensions of the muscles for an active holiday.

Thus, a nice and relaxing spa (a compulsory massage as well) has become a mandatory these days for many skiers and (snow)boarders.

More soon to report on this winter sports holiday!

Travel Period: January 2018
Destination: Val Cenis ski resort, Haute-Maurriene (Savoie, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes), France

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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