Chalet des Pentes (it doesn’t mean the chalet of pants – it’s the chalet of the slopes!) occupies the whole first floor of a large chalet built especially for YSE on the slopes at la Daille, literally yards from the bottom of the OK, Orange, Diébold, Raye and Verte runs. The Funival and the La Daille bubble pass close by, while the Les Etroits chairlift goes practically overhead.
Being right on the pistes is great. Getting to and from the slopes is no longer a chore, and queueing for buses a thing of the past. To shed a layer of clothing, you just drop it off as you pass. And these aren’t just any pistes: they are World Cup Downhill pistes. They offer skiing for every standard, ultra-quick lifts back up and guaranteed snow from snow cannons top to bottom. And once the lifts close, they become lethal with tearaway toddlers on toboggans!
In the morning, you walk for a few seconds before stepping into your bindings to glide to the lift of your choice – probably the Funival, still the world’s fastest lift. At the end of the day, good skiers ski right back to the door and beginners stop where they started, thirty seconds’ walk away.
A few hundred metres up the slopes are the sunny terraces of the Folie Douce and Trifollet, where a therapeutic drink or two to music – live and loud at the Folie, more subdued at the Trif – set one up nicely for the final schuss home to a hot bath.
The only people who find the 20-minute walk from the main village less than ideal are those who spend more time in Dick’s Tea Bar than on the slopes, but the free bus runs until 2am, and the teenage sample we asked were enthusiastic: apparently, staying in La Daille gives time to chew on a mint or two on the way home, while being right on the pistes means even with a record hangover one can still be on the first lift. Parents will be reassured to hear that.
The owner of the chalets is a furniture maker, so they are as meticulously finished and furnished as his showrooms down the valley near Aime. There are acres of wood, much of it quite old.
More importantly, the chalets are very comfortable and well appointed. The bedrooms are not huge – predictably, since the real estate they occupy must be some of the most desirable in the world – but they are tastefully decorated and have underfloor heating, reasonable cupboards, safes, good lighting and gorgeous bathrooms. Even the beds are bigger and firmer than usual in France. Each bedroom has a private ski locker in the ski room, with individual boot dryers.
Chalet des Pentes has five bedrooms with five en-suite bathrooms. Its sizeable sitting-dining room has a log fire, wide-screen TV (FreeSat), DVDs and WiFi, and bottomless bespoke sofas.
The chalet can take eleven guests, because Room 1 has both a double bed and a single. If one party fills the chalet, a third person can stay in this room half-price – perfect for a couple with a child.