Chalet des Neiges is on the top three floors 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 updated super-fast La Daille bubble pass close by.
The location is so perfect that we not only signed a very long lease on these chalets, we also bought the shack next door to live in ourselves. Could we give a more sincere endorsement than that?
Being right on the pistes is great. 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, most people take the new high-speed ten-heated-seater cable car, which as you can see from the pictures, is practically in our garden! From the top station you ride the Mont Blanc chair towards Bellevarde or the Tommeuses eight-seater towards Tignes. Going to the lift involves a 50m walk down our hill to the bottom of the OK via the road or, should it be icy, the direct path lovingly carved through the snow by our staff and their new snow blower.
At the end of the day, you can ski right back to the door from Bellevarde or Tignes (probably making a quick pit stop at the outrageous Folie or a more genteel one at the Trifollet) or get off the free Train Rouge bus about 200m away. The trouble with this is that the bus stop is just by the terrace of the Rosée Blanche, affectionately know to us Brits as Rosie’s, which is very difficult to walk past without downing a quick mulled wine on cold days or beer in the spring. Worse, the lift company are asking for tenders right now for the little bar and restaurant they plan to open in the lift station. Between the Folie, the Fruitière, Rosie’s, and bubbly in the bubble station – well, let’s say that La Daille is not the boring end of town it used to be!
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 02.00, 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.
The sitting and dining rooms are magnificent. Tons of wood and stone, bottomless sofas, and fireplaces from the only man in the Savoie who knows how to make a chimney draw properly.
Chalet des Neiges has seven bedrooms, all with en-suite bathrooms. It actually has space for fifteen guests, Room 3 having three beds. The extra person pays 85% of the brochure price, but please note that an extra flight seat cannot be guaranteed on all dates. If no transport is needed, the extra person pays half price. See Extra/Empty Beds for further information.
The heart of the chalet is the dining room, with its long table and open-plan kitchen, where one of our top chefs and two assistants will be serving some of the best food in Val d’Isère (the proof of the pudding being the fact that des Neiges almost certainly has more regular customers than any other chalet in Val d’Isère). After eating or, Heaven forbid, drinking a little too much, it is a mercifully short stagger to the large L-shaped sitting room with its huge log fire, balconies, WiFi and dozens of satellite channels on the plasma-screen TV.