It is the ski season in Europe and last week I took advantage of it by spending the whole week in La Tania, French Alps. I did not know what to expect as I have never been to Alps before so went on the trip with an open mind and burning desire to ski.
Me and my friends pre-booked ski lessons with ESF Ski School which is located at the heart of La Tania village. 5 days of 2,5 hours morning lessons have cost us under 180 pounds each. Considering small number of people in the classes, experienced instructors and possibility to change class level anytime, it is a real bargain. Although my instructor did not have a very good level of English, he was teaching us by demonstrating new techniques himself and patiently waiting for us to display what we have learnt each day. Everyday he would give us just the right amount of challenge so we could gradually grow our confidence on the slopes.
It was extremely fascinating to see myself and my group mates progressing so quickly day by day. I went to La Tania as a beginner who have not touched the snow in the last five years and tried to gain more control over speed when on the slopes. In a weeks time, I have not only been reminded of how to stay in control on steep slopes but could confidently go down the blues and greens while being relaxed and feeling pleasure rather than fear and tension which I have experienced on my first day of the trip. During my time in La Tania, I have also tried snowshoe walking – I would describe it as a hiking with special shoes on which makes walking in the snow effortless, it was super fun activity that I highly recommend to anyone visiting mountains.
I have come to La Tania with 12 other people so we were quite a large group in the house what meant a lot of laugh, fun and adapting. Every person in the group was different and unique, from different backgrounds and even different nationalities what made this trip truly memorable and full of life lessons for all of us. The two biggest lessons I was reminded of are tolerance and strong boundaries – tolerance, in terms of accepting people for who they are and letting go of small frustrations quickly. Boundaries, in terms of staying true to myself and stepping up to show what is not okay with me, being my own best friend and treating myself with respect.
Returning to more domestic side of my time in La Tania, we have stayed in the wonderful Chalet which we rented via Ski Magic. People who looked after us were Sue and Pete, a lovely couple from the UK who have been married for 33 years and both were devoted skiers enjoying their peaceful lives in this tiny mountain village. We had a breakfast and dinner included so every morning and evening we have been served with food which was absolutely delicious – everything from beef lasagne to quinoa salad were just perfect.
During the week we have also visited Courchevel village 1650 and 1850 and Meribel. Courchevel village 1850 is a great spot for shopping if you are into high end brands and 1650 is a destination for more affordable but equally cute purchases. Also, in the middle of 1650 village there is a bakery that faces the mountains which is called Au Pain d’Antan offering the best quality food for the best price in the area, we had our lunch and coffee there and did not leave disappointed. It is a chain of the oldest bakeries in Courchevel that started back in 1950s, currently there are at least three of them within the village and its surroundings.
Meribel is known as more of a party place for skiers and snowboarders as it has quite a few apres-ski bars. We went to a place called Le Rond Point where they had a live DJ and extremely positive atmosphere, after staying there and having a little dance session in the snow, we went to Jack’s Bar which was located just around the corner from Le Round Point. The place was full of people as they were hosting live music evening so we had drinks there and continued our dancing session, this time indoors.
As much as I liked visiting bigger neighbouring mountain villages with more options in there, I truly loved experience of staying in a tiny village of La Tania, with only 3 bars in it, 1 shop and ski lifts 50 meters away from our Chalet. I am a Londoner, which means every day I have to pass by thousands of people, I can go to different bar every night, have options in everything I choose to do, very often too many options that can make life complicated at times. Do not get me wrong, I am a big fan of London as it is my favorite city but being in that tiny village with very few options and only a couple hundred of people for a week has felt like a relief and the greatest escape for such a busy big city bee as I am myself. Today I am back to my big city – recharged, grateful and ready for more adventures.
BMS Adventurer Laura