Tag Archives: chalet holiday

Button lifts….a bit of a drag?

Jafferau Sunday 3rd March 2013We’ve recently been browsing through wintersports websites for reviews on Bardonecchia and have been surprised to find how scantily researched some of the articles are. We like the fact that Bardonecchia “flies under the radar” of more publicised resorts such as Sauze d’Oulx, Montgenevre and Sestriere. Being the preferred resort of the Turinese gives the resort both its character and authenticity. The slopes are busier at the weekends but this is what makes the town buzz. Shops, cafés and restaurants thrive and prices are genuinely Italian and not simply inflated for the tourist market. Bardonecchia is fortunate to have four separate lift systems transporting skiers and boarders to different sectors of the ski area so at peak times avoid Campo Smith and head instead to Les Arnauds, Melezet or Jafferau. Apart from one quirky 2 man chair at Jafferau, which is due for modernisation, the rest of the pistes are well served with 8 man cabins, 4 or 2 man chair lifts and button lifts. Ascending through the most scenic areas of the mountain we love our drag lifts. They are great for natural selection too, those who struggle to make it up are probably not sufficiently expert to be skiing down!  So you can rest assured that your descent will not be blighted by over-ambitious skiers and snowboarders out of their depth and out of control!

March 4th 2013

Let the train take the strain

Living in Italy with close families in England and Ireland we have to be very flexible and inventive with our travel plans.  We are fortunate in Bardonecchia to be well-served with air, rail and motorway links so we can be quickly on our way homeward bound.  Our favourite route to Ireland involves strolling down the road to catch the morning high speed train from Bardonecchia to Lyon St Exupery airport. If booked in advance with Rail Europe we can keep the cost down to £18pp return.   Arriving in the actual airport complex we have time for a relaxed lunch before boarding our Aer Lingus flight to Dublin. With five flights per week it affords us a bit more flexibility than the Saturday only RyanAir flight from Turin, though there’s nothing to stop us from mixing and matching airlines to suit our plans. If we really want the train to take the strain when visiting our London and Kent relatives then we travel all the way to St Pancras.  Again by taking advantage of the best Rail Europe deals we can travel for as little as £73 single and the total journey time of under 9 hours even allows for lunch in Paris….. formidable!

See the SnowCarbon journey planner for detailed information on rail travel from London to Bardonecchia.

February 20th 2013

The peak of mountain dining

Here in Bardo the fun doesn’t have to stop with the closure of the ski lifts at the end of the day. We are fortunate to have several mountain restaurants offering evening meals with a difference. In collaboration with the ski lift company the restaurants have arranged transport up and down the mountain in Snowcats, the piste bashers which keep our slopes so well groomed. With seating for up to twenty in their cabins the Snowcats give their passengers a thrilling ride as they wend their way methodically around the steep gradients lighting up the night slopes as they go. Our favourite port of call for a great evening out is Bar Punta Colomion  at the very summit of the mountain above Campo Smith. Run by Aldo and Rachel you can be assured of the warmest of welcomes, the heartiest food and convivial dining. Fuelled with antipasti, polenta, pasta, roast meats and dolci we choose to forego the Snowcat descent. Instead we strap on our head torches and take to our skis for the journey down on perfectly groomed pistes under starlit skies. A magical end to a magical evening.

February 12th 2013

Snow blower fun

So we are four weeks into our ski season and Christmas and New Year seem far behind us. Our season began back in early November putting the finishing touches to the chalet and testing out new recipes as we finalised our dinner menus with Pete the chef. Then we held our breath and waited for the snow and guests, hopefully in that order! Fortunately, both arrived in spades and since then Graeme has been putting his new toy, a snow blower, to the test clearing the drive and pathways leading from the chalet.  Although it means an early start to the day and over an hour of hard labour before heading to the kitchen to cook full English breakfasts all round, it’s strange that he won’t relinquish the task despite several offers of help.  There is obviously much satisfaction to be gained from tinkering with a temperamental engine and spraying snow into neat sculpted banks with his multi-directional chute. Now I’m not sure when we have a new dump of the white stuff whether his excitement is for a day’s boarding on the slopes or his dawn snow-clearing duties!

January 16th 2013