We know La Rosière is a great choice for a family ski holiday, and so does our loyal client Mary, who has written this fantastic post all about her experience in the resort over the Christmas holidays with her family!
We chose to stay in La Rosière for our Christmas ski holiday, having happy memories of a very snowy holiday there when our youngest was only three and skiing her first turns in Club Piou Piou. Now our children were teenagers and competent skiers, we were keen to return to La Rosière to try out the new runs in the Montvalaisan area and ski over to Italy as a family.
The first excitement on our journey to the Alps was stopping at the new UK Eurotunnel Flexiplus lounge where the extensive breakfast options ranged from porridge and fruit to pastries and even chocolate yule log! Travelling out on Thursday there was very little traffic and we had an easy journey to our overnight stop at the Novotel in Dijon.
The next morning’s highlight was finding a decent latte at a motorway service station – even if it was in Starbucks! As we drove along the Tarentaise valley the temperature edged closer to freezing and by Bourg St Maurice large flakes of snow were turning the road white. What a fantastic start to the holiday! The excitement waned somewhat when we realised we would need to put snow chains on for the last few miles to the resort and we progressed slowly until the last bend, when we were overtaken by the snowplough!
Whilst Peak Retreats offers many accommodation options in La Rosière, we had no hesitation in booking an apartment in Les Cîmes Blanches, as we like the residence’s location at the foot of the slopes, in the quieter area of Les Eucherts and we were able to take advantage of an offer to arrive on Friday and stay for eight nights. Our two-bed apartment in the newest building, Chalet Anastasia, had a superb view towards L’Aiguille Rouge (Les Arcs), a wonderful sight to wake up to on Christmas morning. After skiing we made the most of the residence’s relaxation area with its good size pool and Jacuzzis, steam rooms and saunas. The Merveille massage in the spa was so relaxing that I fell asleep for most of it! The fire was lit in the main residence building each evening and there was a visit from Le Père Noël on Christmas day.
At the start of the holiday, with the link to Italy shut, we enjoyed skiing the wide, cruisy reds and blues on the La Rosière side with excellent snow conditions on all runs from resort level upwards. Our favourite lunch stop was the Antigel restaurant on the Tétras piste, with its cosy woodburner, delicious food and friendly service. We sometimes stopped for drinks at the igloo ice bar at the foot of the Plan du Repos chairlift.
As the week went on the weather improved and the views were fantastic from the Mont Valaisan area, where we enjoyed skiing the new pistes ranging from the wide gentle Lac run to the more challenging Combe which had a short narrow, steep section making it on the harder side of red. The teenagers also enjoyed whizzing round the excellent ski cross courses in the Fort area. Just above the village there was an easier fun ski trail through tunnels and under arches in the woods.
With an improved lift system on the French side, the access to the Fort for the link to Italy seemed much quicker than it had been on our previous visit ten years ago. At the top of the Fort we stood on the panoramic terrace and marvelled at the breath-taking views towards the Italian Alps. As on our last visit, this remote area above the Saint Bernard pass was an expanse of white, with the deepest snow in the ski area and an uncrowded, off the beaten track feel. We particularly liked skiing the rolling San Bernando red run (number 7) to the foot of the Fourclaz Express (as the lowest section of the run to La Thuile village was not open at the time of our visit).
On the La Thuile side there is a long wide gentle blue run, appropriately named “La promenade”! leading towards Les Suches. However, my favourite run in that area was the short steepish Gran Testa red, which had excellent snow being at high altitude and north facing. Our most successful lunch stop in La Thuile was at Maison Carrel, between pistes 6 and 30, which had friendly waiter service and reasonably priced food. It was popular and we were lucky to get a table without booking. The access back to La Rosière is still via the Chardonnet chairlift, which despite looking a little antiquated, is most enjoyable, as one has time to relax and appreciate the view as it gently climbs back up to the Fort.
We liked staying in the Les Eucherts area of La Rosière, which had a bowling alley and ice rink, where we watched some children skating beautifully to festive tracks such as “Vive le Vent”, the French version of Jingle Bells. The forest walk to the main village was magical with trees decked with Christmas lights. On Christmas Eve, children made snowmen in a clearing and toasted marshmallows on a camp fire whilst they eagerly awaited Santa’s arrival on skis.
On the final Saturday the sun was shining and we were in no rush to leave, but by now our lift passes had run out. Two members of the family bought day passes and carried on skiing, whilst my son and I decided to try some of the excellent walking trails we had observed from the chairlifts. Walking up snowy mountains in après ski boots with a couple of ski poles turned out not to be as easy as we’d imagined, particularly when my teen decided to take me on the odd icy off piste short cut! Nevertheless, we made it to the mountain restaurant for lunch and would happily do the walks again, next time wearing proper snowshoes!
Leaving the resort at 4pm we were able to reach our overnight stop in Chalon-Sur-Saône for supper. The drive home on Sunday was very straightforward on quiet roads and there were no queues at the Eurotunnel terminal. We still had plenty of time to prepare for New Year’s Eve celebrations with friends the next day.