Wednesday, March 13, 2013

French Chalet = Heaven on Earth

Actual date of this event: 3-10 March

Luke and I don't normally "live large" or at least we don't think we do. When the planning for our group ski trip began, Luke and I were worried that the cost of our group ski trip was going to be way more expensive than what we would normally spend ourselves. For privacy reasons, I am going to keep the cost off of the blog, but I will say that when you break it down by day, it actually wasn't bad for various reasons that I will cover throughout this post. PLUS all Luke and I had to do was pay the bill. Falene really did a terrific job in finding all of us a home for the week, and we cannot thank her enough for it!!
We stayed at Chalet Doux Abri which is part of a company called Mountain Spaces (a couple owns three chalets in this company) and was about a mile to the Morzine mountain bases. The chalet accommodated 14 guests with 6 bedrooms, 6 showers, and 6 toilets - I say it that way because not all rooms had showers and not all rooms had toilets and some had neither. There was a kitchen, dining area, sitting area with a fireplace, living room with a TV, wrap around deck, hot tub, sauna, boot/ski room, and coat area. It also came with two cooks... which we like to call Chalet Angels.
View from the Chalet
The Chalet Angels had Wednesday off, but were on duty for every other day during our stay. These were their daily tasks:
1.) arrive by 7 am to clean up the previous night's mess, set the table for breakfast, prepare breakfast
2.) serve breakfast at 8am which included a different type of egg each day
3.) transport us by van to the mountain base... two rounds because we were a large group
4.) clean everything after breakfast
5.) make beds, wash towels, clean up various parts of the home, bake the afternoon treat
6.) set out afternoon tea and the afternoon treat
7.) they have a break from 11am to 4pm, but sometimes this time is used to do the Chalet grocery shopping
8.) pick up the groups from the mountain base in the afternoon
9.) begin preparing dinner
10.) set the table for dinner
11.) prepare and serve pre-dinner drinks and a light appeteaser at 7pm
12.) serve dinner at 7:30pm which included a starter dish, main course, dessert, cheese tray, all the wine we wanted
13.) clean dishes from dinner and the rest of the kitchen
14.) leave at 9pm or when they get their nightly duties finished

Now, can you see why we called them Chalet Angels? These two were amazing! And I am sure they had so many more behind the scenes tasks. They were both from England, so there was no language barrier. They cooked some pretty delicious food and made changes when someone wasn't eating or needed a different type of food. They put up with our Americanisms which included eating dinner in our PJs, yelling (because Americans talk loud), saying completely inappropriate things to them (although that was a Welshism - ahem, James) and singing & dancing to Ace of Base (Angelica liked that, Angelico not so much). They also helped us when we needed to make changes to our ski gear, figure out the lost ski lift pass, make phone calls in French, etc. They were actually younger than most of us, so it was fun to swap stories and also hear about previous guests. Both of them were super sweet, and God Bless Them for keeping calm while working with their partner - because they were BFGF... you know... boyfriendgirlfriend.

Aside from all of that, the Chalet arranged for our transportation to and from the airport. They also arranged the ski and boot rentals. They pre-paid and picked up our ski lift passes for us. Like I said in the beginning, this trip may have been a little more expensive than Luke and I normally spend but it was so relaxing! Aside from the skiing part. We didn't have to lift a finger and it was so nice to come back from a long day of skiing and just sit on the couch in comfy clothes and do nothing. We tried to get the Chalet Angels to come back to Aberdeen with us because we really don't know how to manage without them anymore!

Since the Chalet Angels had Wednesday off, they set out breakfast the night before which means we did not get eggs for breakfast. We also cleaned up our dishes, and put them in the dishwasher. It meant that we also had to figure out something for dinner. Like I said, how do we manage without them? Earlier in the week, the Angels gave us a few recommendations for restaurants, and we chose the one that had Fondue. Yay! Fondue!!!! This meant that we all needed to be appropriate by 6:30pm for dinner. We had to shower. We had to dry our hair. We had to put on make-up. We had to leave the house. We had to wear something other than pajamas. Say what!?!??

The Fondue idea started out as a terrific idea... and it really was for MOST of the group. The girls shared a bottle of wine and then a carafe of wine. A few girls got Onion Soup to start... the REAL french onion soup! Yummy! Nine girls shared food that was for six people. For 3 people: fondue that came with bread pieces. For 3 people: a hot stone to cook chicken, beef, veal, peppers and mushrooms which also came with salad, fries, and potatoes. And a few girls got dessert. The girls were all pleasantly satisfied after the meal! We were full though and couldn't even eat it all.
Now. For the boys. Completely different story. They each started with a large beer and then ordered two carafes of wine. They shared escargot as a starter. Four guys shared food that was for six people. For 2 people: Raclette (a cheese block that gets warmed and melted under a heating device that had to be plugged at the table... using an extension cord... that ran across the floor of the restaurant... seriously... totally safe) which came with cured meats. For 2 people: fondue that came with bread pieces. For 2 people: a hot stone to cook chicken, beef, veal (which they didn't know was veal, but still ate it), peppers and mushrooms which also came with salad, fries, and potatoes. They each had a whisky drink for dessert, and then topped everything off with a shot of some random liquor that a man was bringing around the table. They had a great serving line going between the four of them, though - they were each in charge of something in their meal whether it was cooking the meal, scraping the raclette (with a paint scraper... seriously), stirring the fondue, or ordering more drinks. They made a great team! These boys were in pain! But they kept eating and eating and eating. They finished off the girls fondue which was probably half of the bowl. We had to tell the server to take the food away from them. She laughed as she took it all away.
All of us were way too full to go anywhere but back to the chalet to put back on our PJs. Our decency could only last a few hours! We were so thankful to have the Chalet Angels come back to us on Thursday morning. Although, at the end of our trip, when all said our favorite part of the week, we asked the Chalet Angels and they said "Wednesday." Hold up. You mean that wasn't the worst part of your week???!! They were kidding, of course... I think.

Other posts on skiing in Portes du Soleil: Post 1, Post 3

Google translate says 'raclette' means 'squeegee' but it actually comes from the French word 'racler' which means 'to scrape'. Makes sense, right?



  1. Sounds like y'all had a lot of fun and an amazing time!

  2. I was more than happy yo arrange this trip for everyone and I'm so happy that you guys had such a great time!!!


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