Magical Morzine: Living the high life on a chalet ski holiday in France
Ski Special 2016/17
Chalets are the secret to skiing in luxury, says a delighted Deirdre Conroy.
Set the mood
If, like me, you thought chalet life could be somewhat cloistered, think again.
I couldn't have been more surprised to discover the benefits of communal luxury on a holiday with Highlife, the Irish ski and snowboard operator, at Chalet Delphine in Morzine. The unadulterated pampering and attention to detail left me craving more.
After a sunny day on snow-covered pistes, our personal chef, Mena, rustled up a gourmet banquet each night. Our host, Ciara, stealthily topped up our wine as we languished around the roaring log fire, recollecting jolly japes on the slopes.
FOMO (fear of missing out) on restaurant life didn't even come into it. We skied into lunch on the terrace at Le Vaffieu, and enjoyed après ski aperitifs in Haka Bar and Le Tremplin. We had a glorious 'skier's lunch' of steak and fries within easy distance of the gondola at L'Etale.
And that's not even starting on Morzine's Opera Club, which I am reliably informed is 'a bit like Coppers...'
A delicious breakfast of eggs Florentine and steaming coffee, dished up by your own private chalet chef, certainly fires you up for the day. Unlike a hotel, there's no queue for the buffet, and you can burn off the calories on the piste afterwards.
For sheer exhilaration, I even skied in this region in a T-shirt and sunbathed in a deckchair surrounded by snow. Later on, wallow in the Jacuzzi before tilting towards the dining table.
Our chef made specific dishes for one of our party who was gluten intolerant. Ski holidays don't get much better.
Highlife's chalet holidays are more expensive than standard ski packages (and flights are extra), but you will save money on drinks and dining out by putting your feet up and enjoying the personal service, complimentary bar and joie de vivre of the chalet.
My tip? Finish up early and explore the wonders of Morzine town on foot, with specialist cheese-makers and chic window-shopping. There are great bargains in ski shops for your winter woolies, too.
There are special babysitting arrangements available, and a children's play-afternoon, when parents can ski alone. The three- and four-night breaks are designed to make the most of every minute. Book early, they sell out quickly. Singles can also reserve a room.
Morzine is part of the Portes du Soleil ski region in the French Alps, linking 650km of very ski-able areas (its variety of runs is one reason it was France's nomination for the 2018 Winter Olympics). Morzine is a market town, with lots of cafés, bars and shops for time off the slopes, and plenty of family-friendly activities like bowling, snow-mobiling and swimming, too. See morznet.com for more.
You need to be organised when planning your flights to keep costs down on this holiday. Morzine itself is relatively low altitude (starting at 1,000m), so check the snow reports before late or early season bookings too.
Get me there
Deirdre travelled with Highlife Ski & Snowboard (01 677-1100; highlife.ie) on a direct flight to Geneva. The company offers 11 centrally located chalets in the French resorts of Morzine, Méribel and Val d'Isère.
Transfers are included (taking just an hour from Geneva), as are an on-demand resort shuttle service and pre-travel packs. Ski chalet prices start from €529pp for three nights or €689pp for four nights (flights extra).