Val d’Isere trip
We’ve all seen them littering the nursery slopes; no, not beginner’s - nannies! Nannies with little balls of all-in-one anoraks strapped into sledges. The only thing you can see of the kid is a little snot covered nose, as their woolly hats with bear ears slip down over their eyes. Why o why would you work a season as a nanny I always asked. Until this season when after 15 years of snowboarding the globe I suddenly screamed out loud "thank god they do, thank god! "
I’ve always wanted kids, most people do if they're honest, and I’ve done very well at dodging those tie me down bullets but finally one hit me two years ago when my long time girlfriend said “I’m pregnant.”
Great I thought, and with a due date of March 08, I had a fantastic 07/08 season which finished at the end of February when along came Jacob my son. Now the 08/09 season started and off I went for a couple of weekends in December with the lads but in all honesty I wanted to be on my board but I still wanted to see the little man in the evenings. So after much trawling of the web we decided a package deal was the way forward. Now the last time I was on a ski package deal those hideous patterned coats the pros are wearing these days were in fashion for the first time, they look bad then too, and if you wanted music on the move you either had a pocket full of tapes or a ghetto blaster the size of a small house, the concept of an ipod was only then Imaginable after a long hard smoke.
So we signed up for a Mark Warner holiday to Val d’Isere and it turned out to be the best thing I’d done since, well since agreeing to have a kid. There was no messing around at Chambery airport, there was the coated reps directing us to a coach which took about 2 hours on a Sunday lunch time to reach our hotel, where a team of smiling staff took our bags to our rooms while those that needed to sorted out their hire kit before the dreaded welcome drinks.
Ben, the hotel manager, gave us all a glass of sparkly stuff introduced himself and the key members of staff, wished us a great holiday and told us about dinner. We all drank a toast and that was that. No hard sell of; fondu nights, pub crawls, torch lit decent, nothing just a plane and simple welcome to the Chalet/hotel Le Val d’Isere. This was followed by the nannies, thank god for those nannies, making a fuss of Jacob and the other kids, before we went upstairs to the top floor restaurant which has great views of the slopes and fine food and wine to boot.
The next six days ran like a dream with us having breakfast before dropping Jacob off in the creche, with Chelsea his key worker, any time after 9.00. We then had the day to ourselves for snowboarding in the sunshine. You don’t have to pick up your child until 17.30 but we used to collect Jacob for a bit of sledding before his dinner at 17.00, when we ate cake and drank coffee. After a little kick back in the room we had drinks in the cool hotel bar downstairs before we muscled our way through a three course meal every night. If you wanted to have it on the town at night you could arrange a baby sitter but that did cost extra.
So after a week of more free time from my son than I get in the UK I realised that I was a convert to the package deal with child care. It’s realistically the only way to holiday with a baby and get plenty of slope time knowing that your child’s in safe hands and that if it does go tits up your only a phone call away. So the next time you see those balls of coat with a Mark Warner nanny don’t laugh as it might not be too long before you think they're angels too.
Peter Coombs travelled with Mark Warner Holidays to the Chalet hotel Le Val d’Isere
Adults From £515 – for 1 week – based on 2 adults sharing. Kids 2 to 15yrs from £315 Under 2’s £100
Includes flights from Gatwick, transfer to resort, ski hosting, accommodation, breakfast, afternoon tea and 3 course evening meal with wine
Under 2’s £285 for 6 days
3 to 5 year olds £180 for 6 days
6 to 12 year olds £150 for 5 ½ days
Reservations 0871 703 3881 or visit Markwarner.co.uk/ski