Club Holiday To Val d'Isère January 2004
by John Weatherell
"And on the 6th Day God Made Heaven"
Grand Marnier rules
On a bright and cold Saturday morning Club members new and old all gathered at Manchester airport for a 7.00 am flight to Geneva. Check in seemed to pass ok with only too few desks for the large number of passengers causing problems.
The flight was short and untroubled except for the breakfast, which was typically uninspiring. On arrival at Geneva baggage and passport control and onto the coach went smoothly until it was discovered that part of David and Vanessa's luggage was missing. This delayed the onward journey for an hour or so but ended happily the following day when the missing items were delivered to the Hotel intact.
On arrival in Val d'Isère, part of the group went to the Chalet Masala while the remainder arrived at the Chalet Hotel Duc de Savoy. After a quick unpack and recce we were all reunited in the "Duc" for Dinner. The food certainly did not disappoint and all week we feasted on an excellent menu. With the likes of Kangaroo, Ostrich meat and Seafood Tagliatelle the menu was varied. There was a choice of two starters, two main courses and three choices of sweet, with cheese and biscuits to follow the accompanying large glass of wine. On a personal note I would class the food as the best, on holiday, I have had.
Sunday morning dawned to falling snow and flat light, but this did not deter the various groups who set out in all directions to enjoy the best snow the resort has had for several years. The snow fell virtually all week with the temperature dropping and the wind rising.
At times, especially Wednesday, it felt like last years holiday in Cervina. The temp dropped to -18deg + wind chill. It resulted on Thursday with most of the lifts closed due to high winds and very low temperatures. As is usual this did not deter the ScoM as during the day many escaped the Hotel, and especially The Grand Marnier Bar, to ski for varying periods over the course of the day.
The Grand Marnier Bar became a regular haunt for many members after a days skiing with "Vin Chaud + hot and flaming Grand Marnier" a firm favourite, with a Grand Marnier Crepe to aid digestion. This allowed one member to lose 13 hours of his life as he got up to what he thought was dinner and it was in fact breakfast! Whilst some ladies felt tired and retired early for the night blaming the fresh mountain air as the cause!
During the week there were several birthdays celebrated, one being that of Jonquil Lewis who, with our Chairman Barry, now resides in Val d`Isere for the season. She invited all Club members to their "little Château" for a drinks and nibbles party, and very nice it was too.
The social scene in Val is mainly bars with the "young" in mind, but this did not deter the fun seekers - the Pacific Bar, for multi screen sports football and rugby, leading the way. Café Fat was found by the Bolton Wanderers fans to be very good, but did not have Champagne to celebrate the win over Aston Villa, much to the disgust of yours truly who had been promised a bottle if Bolton won.
Dick's Tea Bar was like a ghost town before midnight, except for the rock and rolling of some of our more mature members who tried to liven up the place. Also at Dick's was the unusual practise of removing all chairs and stools at 10.30pm even if you were occupying them! The most visited establishment was the Moris Bar with happy hour, live music and live bands on most nights. Although very noisy at these times, dancing by our enthusiastic members was greeted by standing ovations from the younger customers. By the end of the week the regular and hardier members were getting local prices in the bar.
On Friday after snow falls (approx 75 cms) but poor visibility for most of the week we came down to breakfast to see clear blue skies, excellent visibility and brilliant snow. There is a God and he made heaven for us all on the 6th day. These conditions are certainly what make a day to remember and everybody made the most of a fabulous day.
At the end of a long and memorable day a large number retired to The Grand Marnier Bar for the last time to celebrate a good holiday and to buy their souvenir Grande bottles of Grand Marnier.
A very early start saw us all return to Geneva and then onto Manchester on an uneventful flight with the only problem being approximately 25 people finding no skis at the baggage collection as they had been left in Geneva owing to weight restrictions on the plane. Nobody informed us of this as we waited for over an hour before any enquires found out the truth. Fortunately they were delivered to our homes the following day.
All had a good time,
Val d'Isère at its best,
The resort was a little on the expensive side,
Hotel Duc de Savoy excellent,
First Choice ski and boot hire very good, upgrade to test skis 5E a day,
Snow unbelievably excellent,
Lift pass 181E (full area).