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TR - La Rosiere 23 March 2014

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
After receiving much useful advice and wisdom from this site I planned to return the favours and post a TR of my own, so other people in the position of choosing the resort and TO for their first family ski trip can benefit. Basically we wanted a catered chalet, with a shortish transfer, not too big a resort, fairly high as we’d be going later in the season: bring on La Rosiere with Esprit.

Transport stuff
Departing Stansted at 7.30 arriving at Chambery 10.30 local time. A short flight, no problems at Chambery – through the airport very quickly. But we had to wait for other flight to land before eventually finding correct coach. Bit of a tense moment when I thought perhaps we’d missed the coach and I had visions of having to wait for later flights. Rain/sleet at Chambery, and a lot chiller than of late. This seemed to bode well for the week ahead. Fairly empty transfer coach and we had to change at Moutiers onto another coach before heading up to La Ros.
The kids luckily fell asleep on the transfer, waking up as we neared the town and emerged into falling snow and winter!

Accommodation
In the chalet we were shown our room (the kids loved the cosy bunk bed with curtains!) and then a quick cup of tea, slice of cake and a short walk to Arpin Sports to collect the hire kit. Back at the chalet all kit was left in the downstairs garage with boots on the heated racks. Plenty of room to sit down and wrestle with one’s boots, I noted.

As the chalet was not full this week, the only other family soon arrived and thank goodness they weren’t of the braying stock as witnessed on the flight and at the airport. It made me realise that the other guests can make or break a chalet holiday and to date, we’ve been very lucky.

Day 1 (and 2 – 6)
As our kids are 6 and 4, to have used Esprit’s ski lessons (via Evolution2) would have meant having the eldest in morning lessons and the youngest in afternoon lessons. For us, a family holiday involves spending time together so this setup didn’t suit.

Sweaty Daddy
Instead we booked them into ESF (Ourson and Piou Piou) so they would both be in morning lessons at the same time and then we opted for the lunchtime club at Les Gallopins, in La Ros. The risk of being the lone English children was one we took, and as it happened, they were the only English children in their classes. Getting them to the ski lesson was a bit of a mission but I had anticipated this and mentally broke the task down into manageable chunks: suited and booted, short walk to the piste, haul skis and poles up the piste (and optionally carry one child), sweat profusely, climb the stairs to access the ESF area.

Whilst the chalet was perfectly located, I cannot stress how much effort it took to get the kids to their lessons on time, and this is where Esprit really score some points. They take all the children booked into lessons off your hands at 8.30, then escort them to the piste where they sing and goof around for a warm up before the lesson. Their skis are all transported by staff. This routine impressed me greatly and the staff took it on with great gusto and enthusiasm.

So, kids installed into ski school (not sure they knew what had hit them), and Mrs B at the bottom of the Roches Noir chair for her 3 day improver sessions with Evo2 (3 x 2.5 hrs) – all was good. As I stood up and breathed in the cool winter air, the rep came over and alerted me that Mrs B had forgotten her lift pass! No problem, as I handed over mine for her to use and then began the trek back to the chalet to get her pass for me. Mind you, I nearly passed out with exhaustion as I entered our chalet and contemplated a bit of a lie down! One glitch in the whole morning routine was a bit of a result I thought and I was on the Roches Noir chair by 9.30.

Tears and tantrums
Visibility was a bit cack so I limited myself to the runs above La Ros and it took a few runs to get my ski legs back. During the morning, as I was not far from the ESF area, I thought I’d pop down and try to spot the children to see what they were up to. I spent a good few minutes spotting them and then suddenly there they were – shuffling around on skis! Unfortunately the youngest spotted me and I heard him shout “there’s my Daddy!” and then I heard a few tears too. Gulp. The ESF instructor looked up and said “William you are crying” and then she hastily waved me away. I took my hint and left, feeling really bad. All too soon though, it was 11.30 and time to meet Mrs B from her lesson. She really enthused about Pedro from Evo2 and the lessons over the 3 days were great in getting her some confidence back after a 20 year break from skiing (albeit with some snowboarding inbetween). We did a few runs together, dumped our kit at the chalet, then walked to the nursery where the ESF do their lunch club.

They seemed happy enough but it soon transpired that they were the only English children attending and also the only English children in the ski lesson, which was not what I had hoped. Again, Esprit lessons were exclusively English children and so another plus point for them. Next year the kids will be older and the morning/afternoon split will not be an issue.
By now the sun was out and the snow had stopped so we grabbed a quick lunch ourselves and hot chocolates all around, before wandering back to the chalet to ditch their skis and change into snow boots, before attacking the sledging area. Skis were later brought out though as the slopes proved irresistible and our eldest in particular enjoyed the thrill as I held her tightly and between my skis and whizzed down the Manessier slope.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/7849414@N05/13588472265/in/photostream/


Sustenance
Back to the chalet for tea and cake and then children’s high tea at 5.30. This was superbly run and was probably a lot easier given there were just 4 children in the chalet to cater for. I was a bit concerned about this bit actually but I needn’t have worried as Jim and Ed did a superb job in making sure food was eaten and they kept the kids interested all through dinner. The food for them was excellent. This was a useful time for the parents to shower and have a cheeky beer to dampen the pain from the ski boots.

Dinner for the adults was canapés and aperitif followed by 3 courses with wine. The food was of a pretty high standard and was delicious, the wine was fine too. Hannah and Michaela did a great job in keeping us fed and watered all week. The company over dinner was terrific and any worries about sharing dinner with 2 strangers quickly dissipated!

On the chalet hosts day off we ate in Le Comptoir – standard pizza and pasta grub and an incredibly noisy group of other diners with kids on devices. The waitress visibly relaxed when they left. We decided to make use of Esprit’s free baby listening service that night – and a member of staff arrived at the chalet on time and signed our children into his care. He stayed in the chalet until we returned at 11pm – normally we’d be a bit hesitant about leaving them but the Esprit staff in resort made us feel safe in doing so. The kids were so exhausted on fresh air and exercise that they never woke once during the nights anyway!

This was the format then for most of the holiday. The kids progressed well I thought in ESF, despite the lack of other English children there. I’m sure they would have enjoyed it even more if there had been but that’s the way it goes. Afternoons were spent mostly skiing with them on the nursery slopes, but with some sledging and a bit of bowling over in Les Eucherts (the walk through the trees was very nice) and some hot chocolates or fizzy pop as a treat.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/7849414@N05/13588846644/in/photostream/ Eldest and Daddy enjoying the nursery slopes

On the mornings that Mrs B had lessons I got in a good couple of hours blasting the pistes around the Fort area. There are some excellent reds here and I was more than happy riding these. We ventured over to La Thuile https://www.flickr.com/photos/7849414@N05/13588474825/in/photostream/ a couple of times too and enjoyed the change in scenery (although the views in La Ros are stunning) and different style in runs. The 2 drags over (Bellecombe I and II) are not too bad at all. It took about 45 mins to get from La Thuile to La Ros centre, for those needing to get back for ski school pickup.

Coffee is cheap in Italy shock!
The restaurant in La Thuile at the bottom of the telecabine had friendly service and the coffee was a third of the cost of La Ros. On the subject of food, the hut at the top of the Fort served food cheaper than most of the bars at in La Ros (and the view was better too)!

The way back to La Rosiere from Italy:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/7849414@N05/13588513433/in/photostream/

The skiing on the whole was excellent: I particularly enjoyed the Marmottes run down to below Eucherts but this was closed later in the week. There were high winds at the end of the week and this resulted in some higher pistes being icy with patches of blown snow dotted around. We did not queue once during the week – in fact the biggest queue was for the toilet at the top of the Fort.

I counted during the week that I’ve clocked up 40 weeks on snow, including a ski season in L2A, and all in all there was plenty for me to contend with. In any case, my priority was to introduce the younger members of the family to this wonderful sport and for Mrs B to get back into skiing – these aims were achieved.

The homebound transfer was a Sunday and whilst this sounded good in the brochure (a day’s skiing on quieter pistes anyone?) the reality was that with kids this wasn’t such a boon and the pistes were dead anyway. In fact arriving home on a Sunday to Stansted in the evening made the Monday back at work doubly hard.

So, next year’s trip? Will be looking at other operators and resorts, although I wouldn’t rule out a return to La Ros, as it suited the needs of a young family perfectly. I think I’d probably like to try and book a chalet privately but then there’s the issue of catering (it is a holiday for Mrs B as well) and also the issue of ski school for the kids – being with Esprit pretty much guarantees a complete English makeup. A few things to iron out and ponder over the coming year!


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Wed 2-04-14 21:55; edited 1 time in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Glad your holiday worked out well.snowHead

Quote:

I think I’d probably like to try and book a chalet privately

If just for your family it would probably be an apartment, rather than a chalet unless you have a big budget. But catering needn't be a chore - just choose somewhere with restaurants! However, with kids, a catered chalet does make a lot of sense and there are other "family friendly" operators which will no doubt be recommended to you.

If you want other English kids in ski school best to go in school holidays - though there's no other argument for doing so!

Not sure what you meant by saying the pistes were "dead" on Saturday. Do you mean quiet? Most people like that.

I empathize with your sweatiness of getting kids to ski school - no matter how far in advance you start getting ready, it's always a faff! The Esprit system sounds excellent from that point of view.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Sorry yes, "dead" = quiet. The pistes were quiet all week, amazing.

Re: the chalet option - would probably get a group and book together.

But just amazing this year to be back in the alps after a long break. Little Angel
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Ooh - if anyone can explain how to get the links in the post to appear as photos I'd be very grateful. I tried using the [img] [/img] tags but this didn't work.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Good review! I'm there this weekend, and it looks like the run of sunny weather we've had is coming to an end with snow forecast both days!
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Quote:

snow forecast both days

Hmm. Maybe at the very top.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
jesus, sounds like a fun trip, we had a lot of fun there at the start of March. Not suprised Marmottes was closed, the bottom part was slush with puddles near the lift during our time (Not actually below Eucherts though, it's below Gollet).
Been contemplating writing a trip report but not sure mine will be as in depth as yours!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
jesus, nice TR, thanks. Brought back memories of my youngest learning there over 3 trips Smile
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@jesus, Thanks for the review! Thinking of going there this January so this definitely helped. I only ski on blues - preferably long easy ones - are there many of these in La Ros?

Thanks again!
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La rosiere is a great place to ski and there are lots of wide open runs, (not sure how many blue) if you get the chance nip over to La thuile on the italian side, you won't enjoy the drag lift over but it's worth it.

Its also worth a walk to Les Eucherts in the evening, the path is stunning, through the woods with lighting all the way.
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The Perdrix blue from the main lift station in La Ros is a longish, wide cruisey blue. There are several others, too...perhaps 4 or 5. Even the reds are fairly benign. You can get to and from La Thuile via blues. Well worth the trip, IMHO.
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