Staying away from the crowds this winter
As a bunch, British skiers are more or less creatures of habit, we tend to go to a few big and popular resorts each year. We mostly choose, as one might expect the resorts that offer everything in one location, the shopping, the nightlife, the lifts, the entertainment & the food! The downside of this is of course that sheer weight commercial activity drives up the prices & changes the tone of what may have been a quiet & peaceful alpine town.
Outside of main resorts, often a short drive away one can find a range of villages & small towns that are largely un-specialised toward the ski tourism market & offer a different experience to it's winter visitors. The magical silence of a snow filled alpine valley is harder to appreciate with the noise of traffic & a busy town centre but when you're nestled in your own space in a small village you can really feel that sense of magic & space & silence. Local produce will be less aimed at tourism and so will be genuinely authentic & priced as the locals would expect (rather than what the tourist will pay!). You can get a real taste of rural alpine life as it has been for decades if you're willing to give up the big resorts.
Vacheresse is an excellent example, with just 777 inhabitants it sits on the doorway to the Portes Du Soleil one of the worlds largest ski areas containing some of France's top resorts like Morzine or Avoriaz in the famously beautiful Vallee d'Abondance. You can reach Vacheresse in just an hour from Geneva off the main road that would take you deep into the ski area reaching Abondance and then Chatel within 5 minutes & 20 minutes respectively.
Local chalet owner Maurice Beurskens gave us a great description of Vacheresse & why it's ideal as a peaceful alternative to the busy resorts of the Portes du Soleil, "Vacheresse is a very small town just before Abondance which makes it a great in term of location. Vacheresse is very cosy and a great starting point for long walks into the mountains in summer while in winter the access to the ski lifts are just a short drive away.
One of the reasons I like this town is that it's still has it's original character, a lot of green fields and it's not a tourist hotspot. No buses full of tourists here. The town will attract the people that look for a bit more relaxing environment while having all facilities nearby. It's just over one hour drive from Geneva airport in summer and winter. "
Families & those who need to unwind from their hectic lives are choosing to find their own space away from the main resorts but of course the trip to the ski lift must not be too much of a challenge! Many are put off by the few km between their ideal traditional town & the ski lifts however a growing number of catered chalet providers are solving that problem for their guests. Plenty of excellent holiday companies with accommodation off the beaten track are offering fantastic chalets at excellent prices and just a short bus trip away from the lifts.
At the self catered Chalet Chez Maurice you can enjoy a stylish & well equipped chalet with a free ski bus to Abondance & Chatel available from just down the road. Find out more on Chalet Chez Maurice.
Having all the mod cons indoors & an unspoilt alpine paradise outdoors is an experience unlike a central resort based holiday, it may cost a bus ride to the lifts but it'll also save you money & give you a unique & magical ski trip, time for a change?