This was our first trip skiing as a family and the staff did a great job in making it as easy as possible. We travelled with Family Friendly skiing. On arrival in GVA we quickly found our driver and he whisked us straight up to La Tania. We should have sorted out skis and boots that afternoon but our young children were in no mood to let us, so we abandoned midway through. Having rental in the basement meant we could sort things later and easily swap around skis all week.
Obviously a really important thing for us and the nannies did really well in keeping the children entertained. Our 1 year old was really happy with Megan and she was very inventive at using a pretty limited space to look after him. The hotel hasn't got a dedicated crèche, the nannies use part of the bar, then get the children out and about in the village and visit the other Family Friendly chalets. I met up quite regularly with the posse during the week as I skied back to meet my wife or older child and all the children were happy and did lots of activities.
Our 3 year old loved ski school and could manage Folyeres (the fairly tough blue back to the village) by the end of the week. Her instructor (Ben from Momentum) was excellent, so good my wife got some lessons from him too. The Momentum children's lessons seemed better than ESF, our daughter certainly loved them and progressed really quickly. They started on the magic carpet at the top of the La Tania bubble and progressed to skiing back down from there. There were 7 in her class, looked after by an instructor and a skiing nanny. The nannies picked her up from lessons, we were often around as my wife was finishing lessons too and the pickups were well organised every time. La Tania is really well set up for children with minimal exposure to any roads. I took my daughter out in the afternoon for some more skiing off the small tow in the village as she was so keen to practice. We then did a lot of tobogganing on the little slopes in front of the bars and shops along the front de neige in the late afternoon. Lots of the ski shops hire toboggans and I doubt our children would ever have got fed up of this.
A nanny came in and supervised our baby monitor for a couple of hours every evening while we had dinner, which was really nice. We could get hit and miss reception on certain tables in the restaurant but this service adds a bit of extra relaxation to the holiday.
The location is not bad (bear in mind I was carrying 3 pairs of skis sometimes), the road in front of the hotel has about 7 chalets on either side, so not long, then there was a (getting icier every day) path with a wooden rail around the last chalet. I was comfortable carrying multiple pairs of skis or a small child along this, but not both together! This drops you onto an easy piste at the level of the top of the button tow. You ski down through the village on a wide piste to the gondola base.
To get back from the village, there is a public lift in the big apartment complex that take you most of the way uphill, then a short walk up the road round the village.
Our room was pretty cramped for 4 with and extra cot and a teeny shower room but the water was always hot and powerful. The room was kept clean and tidy and had big doors onto a balcony, which we often had to open as the sun shone in a lot. This made afternoon naps (for the 1 year old) a bit hit and miss as it was impossible to get it dim enough. There wasn't much space to play but luckily the weather was sunny for most of the week so we spent as much time as possible outdoors. Obviously this is a downside of a hotel rather than a chalet for this sort of holiday. The upside was the evenings. Doug's cocktails were really good, the beer was good, the house red was better than acceptable, the bottles of red were better and worth the money and the company was great. The bar was quite busy before dinner most nights, with a good atmosphere.
The food was really good, hearty staples but cooked with real flair and the chefs (Skye and Dec) went out of their way to cater for us. We had no hesitation in staying put for our night 'out', especially after happy hour.
Ski hire was quite well kitted out and the staff were really helpful, swapping skis during the week and letting me try lots of different skis. Had to push them into giving small, easy skis for my wife and some big enough skis for me, but they came up with what we wanted when I asked.
Transfers were really good. A 10 minute walk though GVA and just us in the minibus on the way out. 1 pickup of 2 people 1 minute away on the way back. With 2 small children and very early starts, they could not have been smoother. GVA was very busy on the way back but we were deep into the check-in queue when they started calling us forward for our flight so despite some slight anxieties that we were a little pushed for time, it was tight but no problem. With this door to door service, transfer times are only about 100 minutes. Chambery is even closer.
Despite my best efforts at avoiding it, my wife ended up in a group that was bit too tough for her, exactly what I'd tried to avoid. I spent a day with her, trying to gently coax her down a green, then her ski school left her in Le Praz, then failed to tell her where to meet the next day. Overall not the best start. The next day she got a private lesson with our daughter's instructor, then another lesson with him shared with another guest at the hotel. Through these, her skiing and confidence came on massively, and we spent the last day of our holiday skiing round 1650 together. Cost of this adventure in cobbled-together tuition was about the same as a week of group lessons. It was worth it in the end but the first couple of days were a bit stressful. Many thanks to Ben at Momentum, truly a star.
I went on a 3-valley's experience day with New Generation. There were just a family of 3 and me with our instructor and due to the poor snow conditions he did quite a bit of teaching over the day. It was my first lesson for 20+ years and was worth it. He taught us individual useful things so we didn't cover a huge distance. If the snow had been fresher, we would have done more off-piste. I organised it in the bar of the Telemark as the reps came in for happy hour (I had done some research before travelling).
La Tania hasn't got the best terrain, the mountain is steep so the 'green' (Plan Fontaine) into the village is a narrow cat-track with 2 sections steep enough to terrify my wife (easily done). The blue (Folyeres) is tough for a blue but nothing like the infamous Santons (into Val d'Isere). From the gondola, the green down to the new Bouc Blanc chair is very straightforward. Go off here into 1850 down the green Loze Est, then take Jardin Alpin and do Bellecote. Wide and easy greens suitable for the very nervous. Getting back involves getting the bus or walk across 1850 (400m) to the Le Praz gondola. You can ski back but with some caveats: the green below the Courchevel Croisette (where gondolas leave) is very easy. Plantrey chair takes you to Arolles blue which is a little narrow but not steep, back to the La Tania bubble. Or you can take Epicea, a button lift. The 'green' across the red piste here is unfortunately not that easy but after this first section it leads to an easy blue to Le Praz gondola. Next year the new Foret chair from Le Praz will run to just above the top of the La Tania bubble so even the most nervous skier will be able to get back to La Tania without the bus.
Jockeys off the top of La Tania bubble to Le Praz is one of the best blacks in the whole 3 valleys. There is lots of off-piste off Dou des Lanches. Tetras into Meribel is rarely pisted. All these available off 1 or 2 lifts. 2 lifts will also let you ski directly into the centre of Courchevel, Meribel or Mottaret. The top of Saulire can be accessed in 3 lifts, Mont Vallon just 4. It's an excellent location for the whole trios vallees. Being north facing it can be a bit chilly.
This was actually the cheapest holiday I found. Meals, transfers, ski hire and childcare were included in the package and it was fantastic value. The staff at the hotel were exceptional and the childcare arrangements were absolutely seamless. Lessons didn't work out so well initially but the team of staff worked out how to fix things and made sure we all had a good time. The transfers were by far the best I've had in the Alps and will firmly tip the balance towards small companies like this over Mark Warner/Esprit family holidays when we go skiing again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Nestling in the trees just above the village and next to the nursery slope the Telemark offers virtually ski in ski out accommodation at its best. All 12 en suite rooms are comfortable with various rooming arrangements including twins/doubles and family/group rooms. All have balconies with exceptional mountain views. Its small friendly bar and comfy lounge make it an ideal spot to unwind after a hard day on the hill. Catered to a high standard using our chalet formula. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Telemark Hotel Courchevel