Sunday, February 03, 2013

Arriving in Saint Francois Longchamp and getting ready for wintersport

Hi, we are just back from a week-long wintersport holiday in Saint Francois Longchamp in the French Alps (Savoie, Rhone Alpes region). The ski area here is called ‘Le Grand Domaine’ with access to a few small villages in the area and the two main villages, Saint Francois Longchamp and Valmorel.

Last year, we stayed in Le Crey nearby Valmorel and were quite happy with the slopes that we elected to come back to the same ski area for our wintersport holiday this year. We however decided to stay in the other side of the mountain range this time, in Saint Francois Longchamp.

I really have wanted to blog while in the alps. There is wifi available but the access point was too far from our apartment, we could not get the internet working. Anyway, a week without internet is not the end of the world.

We rented an apartment with Goelia Apartments (see picture above) at Les Longes or otherwise known as Saint Francois Longchamp 1540m. Our apartment is on the right most corner.

Saint Francois Longchamp is in fact a set of little villages. The main village where the locals live is 1450m. The number corresponds to how high up (in metres) the village is in the alps. We stayed in Les Longes which is 1540m. The main and big ski village is 1650m where everything is located. It’s about a 10 minute walk from our apartment.

This is what we first saw when we arrived in the village last Saturday....

Below is our simple apartment in Saint Francois Longchamp. Nothing luxe, just a place to come home after a day of fun, of skiing and snowboarding in the alps.

We had a 2-bedroom apartment (which was suited for 6 persons) with a main quarter for living and dining, a kitchen, a bathroom, a separate toilet and a little balcony. We also have a ski box in the basement to store our wintersport equipment.

This is our view from our little balcony to Saint Francois Longchamp 1650, the main village located above ours. This is just a part of the village:

This is the view down to our street and the village parking below:

We drove to France and our car is only equipped with summer tires but we did braved going up on the snow-trodden village streets. Sadly our efforts were only met with disillusionment and discomfort because the car’s tires will not budge! We were also too lazy to install the snow chains, what with our last year almost 3-hour grueling fitting the snow chains experience this was definitely not an option to consider, so we decided to park the car instead in the village parking area. This meant dragging one by one all our baggage to the apartment that is uncomfortably located at the top of the street. But wait, we brought so many stuff with us!

We are so undeniably on the right track, haha. Flexing our muscles before the wintersport holiday has officially started.

After getting our house keys from the reception, going back and forth the village street, unpacking some and settling in our apartment, we proceeded to the ski shop for my rental ski equipment. I am planning to finally buy my own ski boots soon. Not sure if I want to buy my ski equipment just yet.

Moi here trying on my ski boots and posing for posterity. I need to remember that my size is the smallest adult size which is 23. Actually my ski boots size is really 22.5 but the worker in the shop does not want to give me this smaller size because all ski boots under 23 are for children. He said it is dangerous to give me these types of boots because the construction of the ski boots, and the height and weight of the user are based on child body size.

For Dutch people, I have a height like a child, but for the rest of the world, I am a grown up woman.

Dutchman always makes fun of my height (158 cm - 5 ft. 2 inches), in fact the whole Dutch population that is because they are always a foot or more taller than me. However, in France I feel like I am a normal being. French people are shorter people. Dutchman was even complaining that their beds are short. He is longer than the bed! At 182 cm, he is not the tallest Dutch person because the average Dutch male height (new generation) is 185 cm. At least I do not have problems tall people have.

Here they are measuring and fitting my ski boots into the skis. One thing we forgot was to get the length of my skis, in the event that there is a ski sale here in the Netherlands. This is not sure yet but there is a possibility that I will buy my own ski equipment sooner than later, afterall I have been skiing for many years now. Dutchman on the other hand has his own snowboard and snowboard boots so no need of renting.

Then we went to take our ski passes, for the Le Grand Domain ski area. A ski pass for a week is between 150 and 250 Euros per person.

The Le Grand Domaine has over 160 kilometres of alpine slopes. This ski pass is valid for 1-week access to the ski lifts. Here is a pdf of the slopes: Le Grand Domaine Ski Map

Wintersport for Dutchman and I are mainly alpine downhill skiing (for me) and snowboarding (for Dutchman). However, there are many other winter(sport) activities available in the village such as snowshoeing, cross country skiing, paragliding, dog sledding and even wellness.

With my ski boots and equipment ready, and our ski passes on hand, we are now ready for some skiing and snowboarding action the next day. But before that, Dutchman and I will hit up the bar in  town for some evening welcome party.

Travel Period: January-February 2013
Destination: Saint Francois Longchamp (Savoie - Rhone-Alpes), France

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