Soaking up the sun in Val d’Isère

24th March 2022, by Abi Butcher

My friend Steph Dunckley outside Hotel & Spa Le Savoie this morning

My friend Steph Dunckley outside Hotel & Spa Le Savoie this morning

Team Where to Ski & Snowboard hasn’t been quite so ‘on it’ with blogging this winter, mainly because Editors Gill and Watts haven’t traveled and when I’ve been out for fleeting visits to the mountains it’s been such a rush my well-intended blogs haven’t materialised. I had two days in Andermatt in late October at the opening of their season, a few joyous days in Les Arcs and then Verbier mid-December (swiftly followed by intense reporting of Covid restrictions as France shut its borders to Brits). My season was about to get going, beginning with a quick trip to Engelberg, when my ACL just decided to give way on a turn (no fall, nothing, just went ‘ping’ as I turned, making my knee give way) and it was all over before it started.

I’d planned 2021-22 as a season to make up for lost time, with Engelberg followed by trips to Jackson Hole, Park City, Whistler, Engelberg, Val d’Isère (where I am now) and then a seven-day hut-to-hut ski touring trip in Arctic Sweden in early April followed by a grand adventure in Greenland in late May, but it was all over too soon. With the pop of a ligament, the entire plan went out the window and I found myself once again in the consulting room of knee surgeon Jonathan Bell at Wimbledon Clinics. I really get on brilliantly with Jonathan, he reconstructed my left ACL in 2013, and it’s been bullet-proof ever since, but I had hoped never to see him in a professional capacity again. Hey ho, that’s life, but this week is a silver lining.

Abi on the slopes yesterday wearing eco-friendly Ortovox rental kit from EcoSki

My trip to Val d’Isère is to try out the new platinum service from Inghams — their flagship property is Hotel & Spa Le Savoie slap bang in the centre of the resort, with a luxury take on chalet service. At this 31-room chalet hotel, which sleeps 68 in total, you get all the benefits of chalet service but with a luxury twist. There is breakfast and afternoon tea seven days a week and a five-course supper six nights a week, with fabulous wines, a spa area with small pool, sauna and jacuzzi, ski room with heated boot racks, bar and huge bedrooms, for an incredible all-inclusive chalet price. The lowest rate all season is £1589 which includes flights, transfers, accommodation, meals (apart from lunches and dinner one night) and wines with supper. While it’s not luxury in a Val d’Isère five-star luxury hotel sense, it’s definitely very, very nice and the staff are friendly and welcoming just like you’d expect in a smaller chalet.

I’m using the opportunity to try out the new rental service from EcoSki — in the picture above you can see I’ve got a really nice outfit from Ortovox which starts at around £17 per day. EcoSki has recently partnered with Inghams, as well as its sister companies Santa’s Lapland and Esprit Ski. All their kit is sustainable and the rental option is brilliant — top-notch, eco-friendly kit at wallet-friendly prices.

I’ve brought my friend Steph (pictured top) who is out skiing today as I’m resting the knee this morning but will join her later. I did some skiing yesterday which was fine but it turns out a broken ACL doesn’t like walking around all day long and it hurt like hell last night. Being in the mountains is always nice — especially when the sun is shining and you’re going into hospital the following week. The lift network is so good here in Val d’Isère that there’s no using poles and walking from one to the next, it’s just the strolling around town.

It hasn’t snowed much anywhere this season, US or Europe, but the conditions are certainly holding up here despite this week’s sunshine. There’s plenty on the pistes and it’s not until the end of the day that slushy moguls and ice patches appear. We had lunch at Gigi’s, the new Italian restaurant at Refuge de Solaise, yesterday after skiing around at the top on some lovely well-groomed blue pistes, empty this week after French holidays.

It’s due to snow end of next week, which bodes well for both the end of the season which most resorts are eeking out, and for Inghams who have added an extra offer for this property for the week of 16 April — £1142pp (based on two sharing) which is a total bargain.

So while I go under the knife on 4 April, I hope the ski season in Europe (and beyond) will benefit from a boost of snow that sees it through to the late Easter and into early May when the lifts will stop turning for a few weeks until the summer activities start. Hopefully by then I’ll be back up and running (so to speak) and able to enjoy the mountains once again.

Off to Solaise now for some ice floating, the latest craze here in Val d’Isère!

To book this property, visit

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