|Meribel, France.||Sun 5 to 12 January||View|
|Sestriere, Italy||Sun 19 to 26 January||View|
|Madonna di Campiglio, Italy||Sat 1 to 8 February||View|
|St Christoph, Austria||Sat 29 Feb to 7 March||View|
|Les Arcs, France||Sun 8 to 15 March||View|
|Tignes, France||Sun 22 to 29 March||View|
35 members made the trip including 6 first timers with the club. We had a glorious week full of sunshine save for one day when the start of the skiing for some was slightly delayed by poor visibility and a light dusting of snow. There was no significant snowfall during the week but the good base, even down to 1400m at Meribel Village, and piste grooming was sufficient to provide good conditions all week.
Once again Meribel and the Three Valleys proved an excellent resort suiting the full range of skiing ambitions and preferences within the party with almost everybody visiting all 3 valleys if not the 4th.
The pre-composed ski groups largely worked well and mostly survived the week unchanged but the Oompa-Loompas and Smurfs did beget the Munchkins towards the end of the week!
Thankfully, skiing falls and incidents were few and relatively minor, resulting in a few bruised shoulders, the most dramatic perhaps occurring when, taking a supposedly easier route back to the chalet entrance, one lady flew through the air to land on the road denting her helmet in the process!
The Chalet Alba was more comfortable than last year with the lounge extended but as a consequence of the building activity next door the spa was totally defunct. The down side of the Alba is that it’s a bus ride to Meribel Centre but there is now a piste-side music bar across the road for apres –ski activities.
There was a good and entertaining turnout for the cabaret evening with 11 acts of word and song from party members, some had even brought their ukuleles. Overall members rated it a very enjoyable trip and thought the Alba was a venue they would be pleased to go back to.
41 travellers including 3 new members booked for this Italian holiday. It was good to be back at the Hotel Du Col which has the benefit of door step skiing and quick access to the extensive slopes of the “Via Lattea”. The slopes were very quiet for most of the week.
Seven ski groups were formed for the first day and there was some movement between groups as people found a group to suit their level of ability and sense of adventure.
We had mixed weather throughout the week but the snow conditions were good.
Unfortunately, on our first day, a snowboard instructor ran into one of our members as she was having a private lesson! This ended her skiing for the week and on return to England a CT scan showed she had sustained a fractured pelvis! We wish her well for a full recovery.
All groups made the most of the sunny mid-week conditions, with the “Vagabonds” skiing as far as Claviere. However, despite being experienced skiers, 3 of them fell off chair lifts en route, although rumour has it that one of them was pushed off!
The Crystal “away day” to Mongenevre, in France was enjoyed by many of the group.
There was good skiing at Borgata, Pragelato and Sansicario and despite the uncertain weather, with swirling snow storms followed by sunny skies on Thursday everyone enjoyed the skiing.
Our traditional “Concert Party” was held on Friday night. Once again the wealth of talent was impressive. The brilliant finale to our 12 acts had every one on their feet, pelvic thrusting to the Rocky Horror Picture Show’s “Time Warp”.
Saturday, our last day, was sunny with more skiers around. The slopes at Sauze d’Oulx were popular, so much so that the “Scoundrels” couldn’t drag (!) themselves away, missing the last link back to Sestriere. They eventually came home by taxi, after being “happily stranded in Sauze d’Oulx” for a time.
The homeward journey was uneventful however a flight change meant the Glasgow folk had a frustratingly long day with a very late arrival home.
Overall the holiday was very successful. The easy access to the slopes of the Via Lattea, the uncrowded pistes which suited all abilities, and the range of coffee and lunch stops impressed us all. The Hotel Du Col, a Crystal favourite, once again came up trumps, with its comfortable accommodation, helpful staff and exceptionally good meals with free wine.
My very sincere thanks to those involved in leading ski groups for all or part of the week. Your efforts and contributions to the success of the holiday were enormous.
After a difficult start the holiday settled down and every one had a good time.
Our group of 24 comprised 22 booked with Crystal, one who organised independently from the UK and one driving from Italy.
The Gatwick flight was delayed by nearly 3 hours but this caused minimal inconvenience. However, the Manchester flight, due to depart at 13.00 was delayed by about 7 hours meaning arrival at the hotel after midnight.
On arrival at the hotel it became clear that our booking details were incorrect. Some members had been booked into rooms with three beds, the room share information was wrong and considerable confusion reigned for a period. It was all sorted out eventually and everyone was in a twin room, albeit not necessarily with the original room share, by nightfall.
Anyway the holiday improved after a troubled start. The weather was fine for the first and the last two days but very strong winds closed many lifts on Tuesday and all of them on Wednesday. The skiing area, whilst smaller than the large combined French resorts was adequate for our needs. Some of our group went on a day trip to Passo del Tonale, covered on the ski pass, and had an enjoyable time.
Madonna is a good resort but the Hotel Golf was below par. The rooms and general ambience were fine but the management, whilst friendly, were not very competent. The food varied from mostly OK, on the odd occasion good, and sometimes quite poor. Apart from our usual waiter, the service was casual and indifferent.
Also the hotel is in Campo Carlo Magno, a few kilometres from Madonna where all the bars are. I wouldn’t use this hotel again. Unfortunately the hotel used in 2018, The Alpen Hotel Vida, could not provide the rooms.
However, it was an enjoyable holiday and with no casualties.
A large party went to St Christoph with 42 travelling, including several new ARP Ski members.
The ski conditions were challenging as half a metre of snow came down during our stay, and there was limited piste bashing throughout St. Christoph and St. Anton. This resulted in numerous mogul fields.
Lech was the preferred destination for skiing with well signposted and groomed pistes. Skiing in the morning was often tricky with flat light whilst the afternoons tended to be clear. The snow conditions made for excellent skiing and although the moguls combined with flat light caused numerous falls, the snow was so soft that no injuries occurred.
The social interaction on the holiday was amazing, culminating in 8 acts for the ARP Ski show with dance, songs, monologues and comedy. A magnificent rendition of “Auld Lang Syne” was led by one of our Scottish members, of paper kilt fame, on the last night.
Just over a week after we had departed the Austrian Government closed the ski resort because of the Coronavirus.
31 of us arrived in Les Arcs to find plenty of snow, glorious sunshine and a warm welcome from the staff at the Chalet Hotel Foret.
The next morning was a very different story with grey skies and snow and, had it not been for the direct access to the piste, some may have been tempted to stay at home!
However, the skiing was excellent. Although it snowed off and on all day, the visibility was good and the light not too flat. The next day was very similar but the snow steady and unfortunately two ladies sustained injuries and didn’t ski for the rest of the week. The temperature was so high on Wednesday that the snow was very soft and slushy in places and very hard work indeed.
Thursday was also a fairly sunny day but temperatures were down and the snow conditions much better, and then, of all things, it rained heavily all evening and most of the night. The snow held up well but on Friday there was thick fog so many people had a delayed start and some didn’t go out at all, rather opting for a walk and a good lunch. In fact, providing you watched the movement of the fog you could ski all day in pretty good visibility.
On the last day the pistes were very icy first thing. One of the runs was very difficult with bodies everywhere and people hurtling past minus skis. Thankfully everyone survived and a good day’s skiing was had by all.
As usual we were thoroughly entertained for our “concert” evening. The “Rapping Skier”, musicians, singers and raconteurs were very much appreciated.
The last day is always sad, but this time it was particularly upsetting. Due to the Coronavirus the resort was closing and some staff were on their way home with us. They were all naturally upset, and so were we as we had found them friendly and helpful all week.
When we left the next morning the roads were eerily quiet and it was disconcerting to see the airport ringed by police. To everyone’s relief the planes left on time and there was a little light relief when our wheelchair user was bulldozed through the airport at top speed with the hangers on being constantly urged to “keep up”.
I would like to give a special mention to Bob R. who, against all odds, took to the slopes again this trip. He was utterly brilliant and his fortitude is an example to us all.
Hopefully we will all be on the slopes next year.
Cancelled due to the Coronavirus