Most people go to the mountains to ride or ski the slopes with little thought to what other activities are available and, in reality, why would you? However a forced Alpine holiday without my snowboard (recovering from injury) made me ponder this very question. Having booked my annual girls holiday back in 2016, I was reluctant to cancel going to my perennial favourite French resort, Morzine, but would I be bored? Maybe it’s not injury but perhaps some of your family don’t snowboard or ski and have no inclination to learn – could they come with you and still have an enjoyable, fulfilling holiday? Read on and find out.
- Make full use of the chalet/ hotel facilities: some will have sauna, hot tub, TV and WiFi. Mountain Maverick’s Chalet Kaplamaki had all of these, but with a view such as the one here I spent much of my time looking out of the window and eating the delicious food!
- Swimming pool: some bigger chalets and hotels will have pools but many resorts have their own public ones too. Several years ago we used the one in Tignes. And Morzine has a 25 metre pool as part of their sport centre complex, Parc des Dérêches, but other resorts such as St Anton, Avoriaz, and Champoluc have pools too. Swimming is particularly good for those with children who do not want to ski all day.
- Shopping / local market: many resorts will have shops, but some will have more choice than the kitsch tourist tatt on offer. Morzine has gift shops, children’s clothes and soft furnishings shops. Local markets can often be found once a week displaying regional products such as cheeses and hams.
- Spa: who doesn’t like a massage and some pampering; a great way to spend a few hours. This holiday, due to my injuries, I spent time with a physio. Whether you are recuperating from physical trauma or have long-term aches and pains then using a physio in a mountain location is something to consider. They are more likely to see snowsport injuries and be familiar with how to treat them. A huge thank you to Sarah at Mountain Rehab who put me well on the road to recovery.
- Snow shoeing: if you, or your companions, are fit and want to enjoy the tranquil scenery and get some exercise then consider going to resorts that offer this facility. Many have designated trails.
- Ice-skating: a number of places have small ice rinks in the resort-centre which the kids often love as an alternative to the slopes. Morzine has one by the Tourist Information Office.
- Horse-sleigh riding: whether you’re a romantic or thinking of the kids, taking a horse drawn sleigh ride away from the traffic enjoying the natural beauty of the mountain landscape can be a wonderful experience. Resorts include Lech, St Anton, Avoriaz, Les Deux Alpes and many others.
- Husky sledding: get up close and personal seeing how these amazing dogs work as a team speeding along the snow. We hired a husky sled in Tignes a few years ago and the kids loved it. You can also experience it in Flaine, Chamonix Valley and La Plagne. Some offer rides and others the chance to ‘mush’ your own small team of dogs.
- Bowling: a number of resorts have ten pin bowling on offer which can be a fun activity in the evening.
- Have lunch up a mountain-top: most resorts have restaurants within easy reach of a gondola and a cheaper, walker’s lift pass too. Having lunch with snowboarding or skiing friends slope-side wont break the bank, so go and enjoy the views.
- Après: always a good way to end the afternoon; either meeting friends and family coming off the slope or joining the thronging bars for a vin chaud or Jägermeister. Despite being confined to the chalet most of the day I did manage to meet Claire, Kirsten and Tina to hear tales of their day’s derring-do and down the odd glass of something alcoholic.
I was rather dreading going to Morzine and not being able to snowboard. I thought I’d be green with envy as the girls headed out for the day, but in reality this didn’t happen. It was refreshing to relax, read my book and take it easy. The days never dragged and being in the mountains did wonders for my recovery. By not doing any domestic chores, being well looked after in a comfortable chalet with caring hosts, Stephen and Kirsty, and having a laugh with my pals I was able to relax and switch off from everyday life. With careful choice of resort and accommodation anyone can go and relish the mountains – you don’t need to snowboard or ski to enjoy yourself.
Ta ta for now,