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Riding out the storm - MountainPassions Blog
Skiers on Marvel piste, Morillon, Grand Massif

Riding out the storm

Like all skiers, our pulses quicken when the snow begins to fall, but you can have too much of a good thing. Dont believe me? Try skiing in near-blizzard conditions, when you can’t read the surface of the piste you’re negotiating, thick mists have blotted out even long-familiar features and the wind is strengthening by the minute. When you get assailed by all three, then it’’s time to do the unthinkable and head back down the mountain to sit out the storm.

Chalets de Layssia, Samoens

Village centre self-catered apartments with pool and spa – a cosy refuge from the storm.

It’’s at times like these that you really get to appreciate that premium ski apartment you thought twice about booking. That was brought home to us forcefully during the past week, when Samoëns received its fair share of the record 5.9m of snow which have fallen on the French Alps so far this season. For us it would have been worse, but for the sheltered location which permitted the muscular Grand Massif Express gondola lift linking the stylish town to its ski terrain, to remain open for most of the time. What finally defeated it, though, was the arrival of severe gale force winds which made things unskiable above the tree-line (so it wasn’t even possible to get over to the sheltered forest trails above nearby Morillon and Les Carroz). For once, watching a motionless ski lift through our apartment window didn’’t fill us with a desire to be riding it up the mountain.

While somewhere up there a storm raged mercilessly, we were safe and snug in a roomy, self-catering apartment at one of two developments created in Samoëns (with a third currently under construction) by Savoyard developer MGM and now owned by CGH Residences. We love ski-in/ski-out locations as much as anyone, but when our uncanny run of good luck with mountain weather conditions finally ran out we were more than happy to be based in a traditional village.

We passed on the option of fresh bread and croissants delivered each morning, and instead looked forward to short strolls to drool over dazzling creations by artisan boulangers, patissiers and chocolatiers, with a little idle window shopping en route. Faces became familiar, we began to focus on details we’’d previously missed and in the space of a few days began to feel quite at home in Samoëns.

Boulangerie Tiffanie, Samoens, Grand Massif

Daily breakfast time temptations in Samoëns village,

When conditions finally cleared we got to ski in glorious deep, fresh snow and in breathtaking surroundings, low temperatures allowing the forests of noble pines and firs to retain their magical snowy transformation. And when we’’d finally skied our legs out we sorted out tired limbs and tense muscles with an extended soak back in the Jacuzzi, followed by an expert massage in the in-house Ô des Cimes Spa. Quality accommodation really pays off when you get around to making to most of the services which it offers.

Fact Box

Roger & Julia stayed with Peak Retreats at Chalets de Laÿssia. 7 nights self-catered from £247p*, including Eurotunnel crossing with Flexiplus upgrade.
*Above prices based on 5 people sharing a 2 bedroom apartment (sleeps 6) for low season.
(Subject to availability, T & C’s apply. Accommodation only holiday packages also available. Ski packs, insurance and transfers also bookable. Holidays are fully ABTA bonded.)

Owner and Editor of MountainPassions, Roger is a journalist and photographer with more than 30 years’ professional experience producing illustrated ski and travel editorial features for magazines and location photography for travel guides, both in the UK and overseas. He regularly writes resort reviews for other ski websites and tour operators as well as ski and mountain features for newspapers and magazines worldwide.

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