Club Med Valmorel

Want to ski in the French Alps? Here are the best ski fields.

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They say that once you ski in France, you’re spoiled for life. ‘Spectacular’ doesn’t even come close to describing the French Alps – it’s no wonder that the Alps are one of the world’s top skiing destinations.

Apart from its incredibly beautiful powder peaks and world-class après-ski scene, the appealing thing about the French Alps is its broad range of skiing opportunities. From kids hopping on skis for the first time to advanced cross-country trails, there’s something for everyone.

So, which ski spot is perfect for your snow holiday to the French Alps? Strap on your skis and hop on – we’ve got the lowdown on this incredible part of the world.

Getting to the French Alps

While the French Alps are particularly well connected to the rest of France, it’s actually easier to get to the mountains from Geneva in Switzerland rather than Paris.

The easiest route to Geneva from Australia is via Dubai or Doha flying either Qatar Airways or Emirates. Once in Geneva, the best way to get to the ski resorts is via car or bus transfer. It’s also the most scenic and enjoyable way to witness the breathtaking countryside!

Which French Alps ski area is best for me?

With countless ski fields, it can be hard to know where to go. Below, we give you a rundown on the top picks in the area.

Espace Killy

Named after famed French skier Jean-Claude Killy, the Espace Killy is renowned as one of the best ski areas in the world and for good reason. With a ski season that lasts from November until May, over 300km of slopes and a maximum altitude of 3450m, you’ll reach the height of ski holidays here.

Number of runs: 20 green runs, 67 blue runs, 41 red runs, 26 black runs Altitude: between 1,550m and 3,450m

Ski fields in Espace Killy:

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  • Val d’Isere sits at 1850m at the foot of the slopes, and is perfect for its ski-in ski-out access to the mountain. Ideal for couples or friends, Val d’Isere has plenty of authentic chalet charm and is also home to the awesome La Folie Douce, a bar in the mountains. Download the piste map here

  • Tignes Val Claret is higher than Val d’Isere at 2,100m, and is perfect for the thrill-seeker. In addition to incredible skiing and snowboarding conditions, the enthusiastic can also take on ice-diving or climb a frozen waterfall. Download the piste map here

Paradiski 

When a ski area has the name ‘paradise’ in it, you can bet that it’s going to be a great spot for skiing. Comprised of three resorts and boasting 425km of downhill skiing, Paradiski is literally a dream for beginner and expert skiers.

Number of runs: 12 green runs, 132 blue runs, 65 red runs, 37 black runs Altitude: between 1,250m to 3,250m

Ski fields in Paradiski:

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  • Peisey-Vallandry sits at 1,600m and oozes charm, from log fireplaces to stone and wood bars. With ski-in ski-out access and incredible snow-covered pine trees, Peisey-Vallandry is literally a winter wonderland and perfect for families. For brownie points, the neighbouring Vanoise Express is also the world’s fastest cable car. Download the piste map here

  • La Plagne is perched on the mountainside, and from the slopes you can literally see the Mont-Blanc rising in the distance. At 2,100m, these high-altitude runs are the perfect answer to any skiers dream. Download the piste map here

  • Accessible from Peisey-Vallandry, Les Arcs is one of the first “mega resorts” with its large and varied network of open runs and wooded ski runs around the Peisey-Vallandry and Villaroger area. Sitting at 2,000m, Les Arcs is home to the Robert Blanc black run; plus, with 53 blue runs and 32 red runs available, intermediate skiers will fall in love with this area. Download the piste map here

Les 3 Vallees 

As the largest linked ski area in the world, Les 3 Vallees (or The Three Valleys) are home to a whopping 600km of slopes. The ski area covers eight resorts, including Meribel, Val Thorens, Orelle, Courchevel, Les Menuires, Saint Martin de Belleville, La Tania, and Brides-les-Bains.

Number of runs: 68 green runs, 104 blue runs, 110 red runs, 35 black runs Altitude: between 1,300m to 3,200m

Top ski fields in Les 3 Vallees:

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  • Val Thorens was voted the best French skiing resort and, at 2,300m, is Europe’s highest station. With a variety of open runs, Michelin-starred chefs and an incredible apres-ski scene, Val Thorens is the epitome of what skiing in France is all about. Download the piste map here

  • Meribel is known as the heart of the 3 valleys, and is the perfect place to experience French chalet culture. After a day of skiing, Meribel is the perfect town to stroll around in and soak up the French chic style.

Discover Club Med’s French Alps resorts in the video below or by clicking here!




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What Every Beginner Skier Needs to Know Before A First Ski Trip

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Do you still think ‘goofy’ is a Disney character? Don't know how to pizza down the mountain? Don't even know what to do with a lift ticket (or why you even need one)? For the uninitiated, whether you're a ski beginner or embarking on your first family ski holiday, it can all be a bit bewildering. Here's everything you need to know for your first ski trip.

The lowdown on the lingo

Club Med All Inclusive Ski Holidays

First things first, you'll need to brush up on the basics of snow lingo:

❅ Lift passes are tickets that allow you to ride the ski lifts up to the top of the mountain to ski down. There are plenty of options, from day passes to annual passes (for the super enthusiastic beginner!)

A run (or piste in Europe) is any marked trail, slope or course designed for skiing.

When snowboarding, riders use either a regular or goofy: The regular stance is with your left foot in front and goofy is with your right foot at the front.

❅ Apres-ski refers to the activities undertaken after a day of skiing, and can include swimming, massages at the spa, or an Aussie’s favourite past-time: enjoying drinks with friends.

What to bring

Club Med All Inclusive Ski Holidays

You will need to pack:

✔️ Thermals

✔️ Insulated clothing

✔️ A ski jacket and ski pants

✔️ Gloves

✔️ Beanies

✔️ Super thick socks

✔️ Warm boots

✔️ Protective eyewear.

☼ It seems silly, but you'll also need sunscreen and lip balm – sunburn and chapped lips are common gripes on the slopes.

Skiing or snowboarding?

Club Med Ski & Snow holidays

The next thing to decide on is skiing or snowboarding.

The general rule is that skiing is easier to pick up at first but harder in the long run to master; on the other hand, snowboarding can take a good couple of days to pick up, but after that you can become quite competent quickly on your snowboard.

Tips to keep in mind for your first ski trip

Club Med All Inclusive Ski Holidays

✔️ Beginners heading on a ski holiday should allow plenty of time on the slopes (at least a couple of days) – first-timers make take a while to get the hang of it.

✔️ It’s not essential, but we highly recommend you sign up for some ski lessons. Instructors will guide you through how to start and then demonstrate correct techniques – plus they’ll take you to runs on the mountain that suit your ability level. Club Med snow resorts offer snow schools with qualified instructors included in the package, and also many offer kids ski classes.

✔️ The view from the top will be steep... and intimidating for beginners. Whenever in doubt, don’t forget you can 'pizza' (point your skis together at the front to slow you down) to gradually make your way down to the bottom.

✔️ Don't forget to reward yourself after day's skiing by indulging in a sauna, Turkish bath, massage or yoga. Trust us: your muscles will thank you!

Best international ski fields for beginners

Club Med Ski Hokkaido Japan

While skiing in Australia and New Zealand are viable options, the best part about heading overseas to ski is that you can discover a completely new country and experience some of the best powder in the world. Here’s our pick for the best international ski fields:

✔️ Sahoro, Japan: The skiing mecca of Hokkaido offers soft snow perfect for beginners. Resorts in the region contain traditional Japanese rooms, indoor and outdoor hot tubs and snow gardens for the kids.

✔️ Valmorel, France: with a family-friendly atmosphere, this resort area of the French Alps offers plenty of gentle runs and a host of activities for the little ones.

✔️ Via Lattea, Italy: Nestled on the border with France, the second largest ski field in Europe is popular with families who come to relax in cosy chalets.

✔️ Aspen Snowmass, USA: spread over four mountains, this field features an amazing array of runs from beginner to advanced.

✔️ Big White, Canada: has a huge number of lifts, runs to suit all ages and a popular skiing school for kids.

And finally...

Whether you're hitting the slopes for the first time or taking the kids on their first skiing holiday, good luck, and remember…everybody had to learn once!

See you out on the slopes. ⛄ ❄️ 🎿

Learn more about Club Med’s all-inclusive ski holidays in the video below, or on the Club Med website here.

Want to discover our Facebook Snow Squad Group? Join us here!

Samantha Wills tells us about her ski trip to the French Alps

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This article was reposted from samanthawills.com. Read the original story here. All photos below are courtesy of Samantha Wills.  Samantha Wills is the driving force behind her namesake Australian jewellery brand, Samantha Wills. Here, she shares her snow holiday experience from the luxurious Club Med Valmorel Chalets in the French Alps.

Destination: French Alps

Les Chalets Club Med de Valmorel

Samantha Wills at Club Med Valmorel Chalets

I am thrilled to be partnering with Club Med again, showcasing all of my favorite things in their Exclusive Collection of Villas & Chalets, in some of the most beautiful locations in the world.

Samantha Wills at Club Med Valmorel Chalets

Last year, I showed you all my favorite things from paradise at the The Finolhu Villas in the Maldives and this year I am beyond excited to take you to a true winter wonderland at The Valmorel Chalets, in the stunning French Alps.

I grew up in a small beach town in Australia, and now living in NYC, I get to experience snow (still a novelty to me!) every winter… But nothing prepares you for the breathtaking beauty of the Alps. It. Is. Truly. Breathtaking.

Samantha Wills at Club Med Valmorel Chalets
Samantha Wills at Club Med Valmorel Chalets
Samantha Wills at Club Med Valmorel Chalets
Samantha Wills at Club Med Valmorel Chalets
Samantha Wills at Club Med Valmorel Chalets
Samantha Wills at Club Med Valmorel Chalets
Samantha Wills at Club Med Valmorel Chalets

Luxury

At Club Med Valmorel, there are accommodation options spanning all budgets. The Chalets are the ultimate luxury option & sit at the top of the property…. Annnnnnnd when you check into your Chalet, you get your very own butler. I’m not talking about a virtual-butler-app-push-a-button-to-get-room-service type of butler. I am talking about a real life butler, who will unpack your bags when you arrive so you instantly feel at home, will be upstairs in your Chalet’s kitchen when you wake up, with the open fire place roaring & cooking your whatever you would like for breakfast, and have your favorite type of Nespresso coffee steaming hot for you to enjoy before heading out for the day.

That same butler will also be back at your chalet at your specified time in the afternoon to prepare you the most delicious afternoon tea, a different delicious every day from a local patisserie, that you enjoy by your fire place after your day of alpine adventuring (or spa treatments!). Then when you are out at dinner, your chalet will be magically turned into a haven of relaxation ready for slumber, with nothing left for you to do but to slip into your turned down bed, enjoy the gourmet chocolate on your pillow, and dream away on your bed that feels like a cloud, so you are rested to do it all over again the next day. THAT type of butler.*

Samantha Wills at Club Med Valmorel Chalets

Cuisine + Cocktails

Club Med is known for its all inclusive holidays. The Chalets at Valmorel are obviously included in this, however their location on the property sits at the top of the resort, where your private balcony looks down over all the happenings. Like the butler privilege, there is also a driver on call, to whizz you back & fourth from the village, where you enjoy an open bar & all dining, inclusive in your experience. In full disclosure, the word ‘buffet’ scares me. To me, it is reminiscent of primary school birthday parties at Pizza Hut… Trays of cold pizza, wilted salad & as much soft serve ice-cream you could physically whip into your bowl….

So I am going to refrain from using the dreaded ‘B’ word, and try to explain to you the luxury that is Club Med Valmorels all inclusive dining; Imagine a collective little gourmet restaurants… Italian, Japanese, Seafood, Home Style Roast, French, a salad & juice bar… A bakery, a patisserie & a locally, hand made ice-cream parlour. Now imagine all these little gourmet restaurants where in a large room, like individual pop-up spaces, each with their own team of chefs, preparing the food there in front you, fresh fish going from grill to you plate, the cheese on the pizza’s bubbling as they are taken straight out of the oven, French baguettes at the bakery so addictive you are convinced they must contain something illegal, and a patisserie offering that is more like edible art…. And no soft serve here; choose from 8 flavors & the hand made ice-cream is served to you parlor style, by an ice cream connoisseur…. What you CAN do for yourself (I mean, word from the wise; it is VERY hard to get back into normal life after spending a week in this heavenly experience!) is scoop your own warm chocolate from the fondue fountain (it alternates between milk & white chocolate) to drizzle over your ice cream…. Me? I’m a Mint-Choc-Chip-with-warm-milk-chocolate-topping kinda gal.

Samantha Wills at Club Med Valmorel Chalets
Samantha Wills at Club Med Valmorel Chalets

So that gives you an idea of the type of luxury you will experience by checking into the Club Med Valmorel Chalets, but I have two things that I love even more that I want to share with you. If you’re like me – you have a bucket list. My current bucket list is made up of incredible experiences, Scuba dive with manta rays, wake up in one of those bungalows that stretch out over aqua waters, like the ones I had seen on pinterest a million times over, learn to snowboard, have lunch on the top of a snow covered mountain in the French Alps, with views to mountain tops in Italy….You get the drift. Sometimes you don’t know where to start with your bucket list items, and find yourself wishing you had someone just to tell you where to go, what to do, and how to do it. The experience of Club Med is that for me, and should you wish to do it in a 5 star way; Their Exclusive Collection of Villas & Chalets, allow you to do so in the utmost luxury.

Samantha Wills at Club Med Valmorel Chalets

Customer Experience

The second thing, is how truly, genuinely warm & lovely the Club Med team are. I am lucky enough to travel a lot for work & pleasure, and from all my travels, the hospitality & focus on people is incomparable to how the team at Club Med treats their guests. Bear with me as I jump out of vacation-mode & quickly defer to business mode. I have a business, I am involved in a few businesses, I love learning about business. One of my favorite areas to learn more about how other businesses do things, is in their customer engagement focus, strategy & above all, mindset. On this trip, in speaking with some of the Club Med team, I learnt that everyone who works for Club Med signs a contract that states that they will do everything they can to ensure the guests are having an awesome time, to make sure the guests are smiling. How incredible is that?

The second thing I thought was very cool, was how the company structures their reporting pyramid… From the majority of their team (and it’s a big one!), to their managers, to senior management who report into the executive manager of the entire resort….

Then at the top of the pyramid; Us. The Customers. With that focus on customer experience, in addition to having experienced 5 star luxury, having enjoyed some amazing cuisines, wine & cocktails, ticking some breath taking stuff off my bucket list (snowboarding down from over 2000ft in the French Alps!? Tick!) You leave with a full heart & new friends, both other guests at the resort, & also members the Club Med team. It’s hard to explain – But when you experience it, you will know exactly what I mean… And if you are Les Chalets Club Med de Valmorel bound, be sure to say hello to my new friends there; Laura & Thibault – Who made our stay so spectacularly incredible.

Samantha Wills at Club Med Valmorel Chalets

Bucket List

Not a skier or snowboarder…. Neither was I! But I wanted to be! Snowboarding was one of those things I’d always said I wanted to do, and what cooler place to learn the sport then in the French Alps?! So with 5 private lessons booked, the fear of god, and determination to be able to at the very least snowboard down a kiddies slope, I put my big girl snow pants on, and met my instructor Laurent (picture; a French Justin Timberlake. I know, poor me!) for him to impart his 16 years of ski / snow board instructor knowledge to me.

Samantha Wills at Club Med Valmorel Chalets

My first lesson started on the kids slope; The Piou Piou (meaning tiny bird).  There is NOTHING tiny about this bird, I am 5’10” in the shade, and if the fear on my face was not an indicator, my finger nails digging into his arm where. Laurent assured me, that in the coming days we would be up there *points to French Alps glacial sized mountain. I said he was kind to say such lies, and we got to work.

Samantha Wills at Club Med Valmorel Chalets

And guess what, by day 3 we were up 2000ft on the mountain! My dismounts from certain chair lifts required just as much work as my fledging Olympic snowboarding career, but it was INCREDIBLE! Flying (sometimes falling) down the mountain, surfing on snow, with pine tree branches with white dustings, and the world famous Mont Blanc mountain in view. It was so surreal. No words I find will do it justice.

On my last lesson on day 5, Laurent had me speeding down the mountain, and on the final run, pointed over to what now looked like a flat plateau of snow, the Piou Piou. It was an incredible feeling, to think on five days before that was my starting ground. Like all graduates of the Piou Piou, admittedly most of them where aged under 5 years old, Laurent gave me my own Piou Piou medal as a symbol of how far I had come in only a few days. I pinned on the inside of my jacket, and while going up in the lift solo the next day, I took a glance at and felt pretty damn good.

Samantha Wills at Club Med Valmorel Chalets

While I may not make the next Olympic team, I definitely will now be snowboarding at any chance I get, plus its one more thing I can tick off my bucket list. With the gratitude to Laurent for his patience, & empathy… And for not laughing (on the outside) when I stacked it off the chair lift.

Samantha Wills at Club Med Valmorel Chalets

Take the adventure

So there are my favorite things & recommendations from my time at Les Chalets Club Med de Valmorel.  If you are wanting a winter wonderland adventure, and granted there are many places in the world where snow falls, but at Club Med Valmorel you get to experience all these things in the French Alps (And as the ancient French proverb goes, Snowboard & Ski instructors in the French Alps are all French Gods of the snow (read; Really Hot).

So whether you want to tick some alpine adventuring off your bucket list, experience pure luxury by the fire place as the snow falls outside, eat gourmet cheese & the best breads you will ever taste with every meal, enjoy wine on a snowy mountain top whilst overlooking the Mont Blanc (You can do this even if you are not a skier / snowboarder), or if you simply want to road test a new treatment on the spa menu daily & have the best seat in the house to watch the final runs of the day; the outdoor Jacuzzi…. Then The Valmorel Chalets, in the stunning French Alps are waiting for you. – SWx

Samantha Wills at Club Med Valmorel Chalets

*Since publishing this post, Club Med has evolved the services offered at the Club Med Valmorel Chalets to include a 24 hour concierge service and a butler available at extra cost.

Want to discover more? Watch this video below, or jump on our website to learn more about the Club Med Valmorel Chalets. ✳ ⛄ 

Want to discover our Facebook Snow Squad Group? Join us here!

An Alpine Experience with Chic Euro Style

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This article was reposted from journalist Dan Avila’s post on justluxe.com. All photos below are courtesy of Dan Avila Photography.  Read the original story here. Dan Avilais a frequent traveler across the globe, camera in hand - shooting unique people and places. He relates below his great experience of spending a week during the snow season at Club Med in Valmorel.

To many, the Alps are the prime locations for snow sport excellence. Endless runs in pristine conditions, fabulous infrastructures and picturesque villages with a chic Euro style; it is ski heaven. The tiny Alpine town of Valmorel, set high in the French Alps, is transformed in the winter. Valmorel village may be small, but it punches above its weight in premium offerings. Some of the finest French cheese, wine and produce are from this region and the skiing is simply sublime.

Club Med Valmorel Chalets

Set above this town is Club Med Valmorel's latest resort village. No expense has been spared ($113 million was spent) to create a truly stunning alpine experience which, in addition to the main resort village, includes a few stand-alone chalets. Club Med Valmorel has direct access to over 93 miles of ski runs reaching an altitude of over 9,800 feet. From the highest ski lift, views extend across three countries and even the most committed skier must pause in appreciation of these unforgettable vistas.

Club Med Valmorel Chalets

The property’s chalets are removed from the main hotel in a secluded area above the resort village. The accommodations are built to the highest-certified environmental standards and are designed in an authentic alpine style. Exclusive to chalets are in-house meals. Each morning, breakfast is prepared by your butler who gets to know you so they can tailor the service to your exact preference. On returning to the chalet after a solid day of carving up the slopes, our butler had prepared a decadent afternoon tea including the finest local produce and a special daily pastry from Maryan, awarded as one of the finest pastry chefs in France. The chalets also have exclusive access to a range of premium features including The Welcome Lounge. The club is beautifully constructed and features a fireplace and premium wine and spirits. A chauffeur is also available any time of day for those wanting to explore the area.

Club Med Valmorel Chalets

Club Med’s holiday experience is seamless, and allows guests more time to do what they go there to do. Group ski classes are part of the package and are highly recommended. The Valmorel ski fields are so expansive that just getting familiar with the runs can take days. The nationally-accredited instructors also double as guides, as small groups of similarly skilled skiers or snow-boarders are expertly instructed and guided throughout the reaches of this expansive region. From a very beginner seeing snow for the first time to competitive experts looking to hone their off-piste ability, all skill levels are catered to with group or one-on-one lessons.

Club Med Valmorel Chalets

After a glorious morning on the slopes, ski in and kick off your skis at the exclusive chalet ski room, near the restaurant while a smiling waiter offers fresh juice or Champagne even before you step inside. The chefs ensure a luxuriant spread for lunch before satisfied guests again succumb to the call of the mountains. Being on the slopes is a great way of experiencing a view of the Alps. Low altitude flying above them is even better, and there are a couple of options to get airborne, which include parasailing or flying in a microlight at 80 mph before setting down on the slopes to ski onto the next thrill.

Club Med Valmorel Chalets

Club Med controls a substantial portion of the European Alpine vacation market and this dominance has provided opportunity to refine their craft into what has culminated into the Valmorel experience. It is a total package of carefree fun that leaves guests satisfied and yearning to return.

Club Med Valmorel Chalets
Club Med Valmorel Chalets
Club Med Valmorel Chalets
Club Med Valmorel Chalets
Club Med Valmorel Chalets
Club Med Valmorel Chalets
Club Med Valmorel Chalets

Want to discover more? Watch this video below, or hop on our website to learn more about the Club Med Valmorel Chalets.

The Best Places To Go For Christmas and January Holidays

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The weather is warming up and summer is on the horizon… and that means it’s the perfect time to start dreaming of blissful end-of-year holidays. From January school holidays to snowy Christmas holidays, we have the best spots for you.

Have a White Christmas in the French Alps

For those chasing a warm climate closer to home, you can’t go past a Singapore holiday over the Christmas break. Bring your partner or the kids and head down to Orchard Road to admire the beautiful Christmas decorations, then celebrate the New Year in style at the Marina Bay Sands.

Afterwards, recover from the festivities with a stay at Club Med Bintan Island, where sun, sand and sea are aplenty. New Year’s Resolution to treat your body and soul… Check!

The ultimate Christmas present: a trip to the Maldives

While the bright blue waters of Western Australia and white sand beaches of Jervis Bay are incredible, nothing quite compares to a Maldives holiday. With azure waters, palm trees swaying in the breeze, and fresh seafood and fruit, you’d struggle to find somewhere quite as idyllic as the Maldives.

Ring in the New Year with champagne*, and celebrate with exciting evening entertainment – then recover the next day on the balcony of your overwater suite. Paradise in 2016? Yep, it’s here.

Tip: Club Med Kani is perfect for a summer holiday with kids, while The Finolhu Villas are the ideal romantic holiday destination and couples getaway.

*only available in the Manta Lounge

Celebrate Christmas with a family holiday to Bali


Rally the troops and head off on a family holiday to Club Med Bali over the summer break! With endless festivities, a visit from Santa, and beautiful cultural discoveries including tea ceremonies and Bahasa lessons, Bali is the perfect place to relax and unwind after a year of hard work. Cheers!

Celebrate Christmas on China’s best ski slopes

club-med-beidahu

Christmas, ski… and China? Yes, you read that correctly. As hosts of the 2022 Olympics, the recent years have seen China develop their ski fields to a world-class level. Beidahu, located in the Jilin province north of Beijing, is a winter wonderland over Christmas and January holidays. Home to the 2007 Winter Olympic Games, the ski runs snake through a beautiful national forest – and in the evenings, Club Med Beidahu offers local Northern hotpot, noodle, and dim sim dining.

Plus, if you’ve ever wanted to go to China, Christmas is great: the majority of Chinese cities are bustling over the Christmas and New Year break and don’t close until Chinese New Year.