Recently I stayed in Morzine with TG Ski, a luxury ski chalet company founded in 2004. Having never experienced a ski chalet holiday before myself, I thought a day in the life might be a great place to help ski curious families envisage what a TG Ski chalet holiday entails. It’s a very special experience…
Our first full day at Chalet Les Pierrys starts with a knock on the door as Emily, our smiley host, brings us a hot drink. Lying in bed I can hear Pierre our chef, along the corridor in the lounge-diner, telling another guest that there are amazing views of the mountain to the right of the chalet to be seen, so I take my tea and fling open our French doors to the balcony. The fresh mountain air fills my lungs and I feel like Heidi as I look out at the Alps, the trees covered in snow and the sun lighting up the tips of the mountains.
It makes my heart sing to see, there is something amazingly restorative about being here. With or without skiing it’s an incredible environment. From the chalet we can see across to the cable cars and ski slopes at Pleney, behind the chalet is Avoriaz.
There’s a nervous excitement about the day ahead. Today we have beginner’s ski lessons or a refresher for me, it’s been 15 years since I skied, as a teacher accompanying a school trip. My lasting memory is of tackling a blue run where the ski teacher took us to the top of a very steep mountain, my pupils and I all got the fear, and I spent over an hour picking a child up at every turn while trying not to cry myself or look down the mountain again. I know I skied after that, and that I enjoyed it, but I’m struggling to get past that moment.
I’m hoping it’s like riding a bike. Actually forget that, I’m scared.
The other members of our chalet are gathering for breakfast which is served until 10am. We’re a mix of family travel bloggers and fashion and adventure bloggers – both individuals and couples, and despite not all knowing each other we all bonded remarkably quickly the previous evening. Chalets can be hired to groups of family or friends or shared between smaller individual groups who don’t know each other.
For breakfast Pierre has made poached eggs, hollandaise and asparagus. There’s French toast with Nutella too and the most beautifully organised platter of fruit. It’s all delicious and perfectly presented and a great distraction from thinking about skiing.
The Ski Experience
The doorstep ski company arrive over breakfast to fit our ski gear in the chalet’s spacious downstairs boot rooms. Those in the chalet who have skied most assure us this a wonderfully hassle-free alternative to making a trip to the ski hire shop. I love that I am able to take my second breakfast cuppa with me and get some advice in a relaxed atmosphere.
Our driver Ross loads all our gear into the minibus, another stress off my shoulders, and we head to the bottom of the Pleney slope leaving the non-skiers to explore Morzine, a large big picture perfect alpine town full of bars, restaurants and shops.
TG Ski have booked our ski passes and lessons so all we have to do is turn up and meet with Sally our teacher from the Snow Institute. She also teaches the TG Ski director’s children to ski so we immediately feel like we’re in safe hands. TG Ski was formed by two friends Tom and George in 2004, from one chalet which they ran themselves and a landrover funded by the Prince’s Trust. They now have 1o luxury chalets, excellent local contacts and as George explained to us, having his own children has ensured the TG Ski family offer is strong.
I warm to Sally instantly, she’s so encouraging and full of praise and reassurance. She tells us she is passionate about teaching kids, she loves their energy but adapts effortlessly to motivating adults.
Our group of four progresses very quickly. We do a few runs down the nursery slope, using the magic carpet to reach the top again – a covered escalator which really amuses me, and must make it so much fun for kids.
After just an hour Sally says we’re ready for a longer run and to build our confidence on the ski lift. We’re all amazed we’re already at this stage and hopeful it means we can ski again without her the next day. Some of us have lost confidence in the past by ski teachers pushing us too quickly, we love that Sally gets where our heads, as well as our bodies, are at.
After three runs down a shallow slope, one with Sally and two solo, we’re feeling on top of the world. She runs us through the blue runs she feels we can safely tackle alone.
The more expert skiers ski over the Les Gets for lunch and more skiing, but being new to the game we decide to take it easy. We call Ross for a lift and he immediately recommends a cafe where we can celebrate with hot chocolates, while we wait for a lift back to the chalet. Our lift arrives before our chocolates, but that’s not a problem. It’s a short walk from the slopes to the chalet, they are all located close to the resort, but not in ski boots, which is where the TG Ski minibus comes in really handy.
Back at the chalet, we return to an afternoon tea of French bread, spreads and meats and one of Pierre’s amazing cakes, a Chocolate and Clementine tart. There’s also a little note from Emily letting us know she’ll be back later to hear about our day. My Mum always used to leave notes so it’s a personal touch that resonates with me and makes me feel really at home in the chalet.
Late afternoon into the evening is a lovely lazy time, we eat cake and curl up in the lounge by the fire. All the freshly baked cakes are amazing, but Pierre’s chocolate brownies blow our minds. Dusted with gold flecks and raspberries they have a devilish crunch and melt in the mouth texture. After the adrenalin rush of our first ski lesson, we’re suddenly ravenous and manage at least two each. Someone says skiing burns 1000 calories an hour, I can well believe it.
The nonskiers have great tales of shopping and exploring Morzine, so we take a walk too. Hot chocolate, ice skating, a carousel, local delicacies like cheese and a potato tart at L’Etale. The shops are an enticing mix of foodie, homeware and gift shops. Satellite Cafe has an industrial vibe and serves the most incredible stuffed pittas – juicy halloumi and roasted tomatoes. There are picture perfect bridges over the river that runs through the town.
Winding Down in the Hot Tub
As the afternoon comes to a close, some people nap in their freshly made beds, others read or make the most of the hot tub on the balcony. The Alps come in and out of view through the snow and the bubbles and heat soothe away newly aching muscles.
Our Hosts Return
At 6 pm our hosts return, and we exchange more tales from our days as they set the table for dinner. They set a wonderful tone and lift the sleepy energy. In branded polos, black trousers, neat grey aprons and black converse they smartly represent the professional but playful spirit of TG Ski. They are attentive without being obtrusive but are also knowledgeable, eager to hear about our days and great conversationalists. It takes a special person to be a TG Ski host.
Cocktails and Canapes
Even though many of us are strangers, it quickly feels like home. The cosy interiors, wood panelling, red bronzed tiles, cosy sofas, pouffes, log fire, and the warmth of the hosts and the evening dinner rituals help with that. 7 pm is the eagerly awaited cocktail o’ clock. Ross makes us ‘Swiss Walls’ – Gin, St Germain, lemon, Earl Grey sugar syrup, sugar syrup and mint. A punchy sweet and sour wake up call with floral undertones that honours Europe’s most challenging ski run, from France into Switzerland. Mojitos follow the next evening.
Not to be outdone Pierre appears with canapés. Tiny cheese scones with goats cheese, pears, pea and mint for the vegetarians. Miniature Yorkshire puddings with beef and horseradish sauce for the meat eaters. Emily brings us champagne and invites us to sit down for dinner.
What about kids?
By this time I guess younger children, exhausted from skiing would be tucked up in bed, or perhaps chilling out in the room with books or playing on the chalet’s game console. The benefits of a ski chalet are that grown-ups can socialise and enjoy dinner without needing a babysitter, although TG Ski can organise a babysitter if parents want a night out, or an in-chalet nanny or local creche during the daytimes. The staff can do earlier 6 pm tea for kids and even get them involved in making their own pizzas, or staff can prepare baby foods. Older children can join the three-course meal.
Dinner is a wonderful ritual, a three-course meal without the formality of a restaurant. Under the table, we’re wearing slippers and after pudding, some guests retire to the sofas to put up their feet and chat while others carve up the cheese board and finish the wine, which is free-flowing.
The food is incredible. Pierre introduces each course and its wine pairing. His Michelin starred restaurant experience shines through, he’s a fan of classic French cuisine like Raymond Blanc but he loves to delight us with unconventional ingredients too.
Our starter conjures Christmas beautifully, butternut squash and clementine soup with a goats cheese and ginger cream, served with an onion bhaji. The noises around the table say it all – an instant hit.
Main for me is a mushroom risotto bursting with umami flavours, the others have pan-fried duck. Pierre really gets how to create vegetarian options that fire on the same level as the meat dishes and mirror their presentation. The sides of pear poached in mulled wine, fondant sweet potato and beautifully al dente peas and mange tout, beautifully conjure the smells, tastes and colours of Christmas.
Pudding is alchemy. I especially loved the flavour of the creme brûlée we had the first night, Pierre brought out the tonka beans it was flavoured with for us to see, they are illegal in the US and poisonous in large doses, but loved by pastry chefs around the world for their incredible flavour. The flavour for me was almondy, but others say vanilla, cut grass, liquorice and cherry. The popcorn and white chocolate flavoured ice cream tastes divine too.
A port and cheese board is slipped onto the table between lively conversation. The chalet has bonded quickly and it’s fun to chat with other guests, to swap stories and tips. After washing up, our hosts bid us goodnight around 10.30pm, but not before we’ve invited them to join us for a drink and tell us all about their fascinating lives as seasonaires.
Bit by bit guests peel off to sink into soft beds in the chalet’s beautiful rustic but modern en-suite bedrooms. To dream of snow-topped mountains and prepare for that gentle knock on the door that signals the whole wonderful ritual is beginning again.
What did I make of TG Ski?
I loved the care and professionalism of the staff. Skiing can be daunting when you are a beginner, so it was wonderful to have experienced staff on hand to really look after everything, give you lots of individual attention and to advise you. But it goes beyond that, I felt really looked after and cared for.
Taking kids skiing can be especially daunting, so knowing that you are all being looked after by someone with great knowledge and well established and reliable contacts is a big plus. Passes, lessons and gear organised for you and fitted at the chalet. No need to worry about food, or tidying up, and someone on call to whisk everyone back to a super cosy chalet if the kids hit their limit. Staff that think ahead and gently help you plan your day. All you need to do is focus on having fun and unwinding.
I was also taken with how much Morzine has to offer whether or not you ski. Eating out, nightlife, cinema, shopping, ice skating. I loved skiing, but I’m not sure I will ever be an all day everyday kind of skier, but I love that I could go back, have a few more lessons, ski in the morning here and there and enjoy the stunning scenery, and exploring Morzine. There are lots of other fun activities to try like snowshoeing, snowmobiling and night sledging.
The chalet was gorgeous and cosy and the decor instantly helped us to wind down and feel at home. It was such a cocoon, so pretty, so cosy, such lovely views. I absolutely loved the chalet lifestyle and arriving after a tough few weeks, I found it did me the world of good. Sometimes we all need a bit of being looked after, and/or to face our fears and leave with a new sense of achievement. I returned home so proud of my ski achievements, and ready and inspired to play hostess myself, which was a good job as we had non stop visitors over the holidays.
I can see a chalet being a lovely way to enjoy a multi-generational family holiday and would love to go back with Mr A, my kids and my family of foodies – my Dad, my brother and his family. When I went home, although I raved about the snow and the skiing, those who asked were surprised to find I waxed equally lyrical about the incredible cocktails, the dinner, the hosts and the chalet.
You can read more about what happened the next day when I tackled a Blue Run here. Video coming soon too!
TG Ski Chalets – Need To Know
TG Ski have 6 chalets in Morzine and 4 in Meribel. We stayed in the stunning Chalet Les Pierrys, a 12 person chalet in Morzine. We flew to Geneva with Easyjet. TG Ski have a full concierge service and can organise your airport transfers, ski hire, passes and lessons as well as recommending places to go, driving you around the resort and organising childcare and/or babysitting using registered external agencies. Chalets have cots, highchairs, bottle sterilisers and drivers have a range of booster seats for transporting children.
For more information on Skiing with TG Ski as a family, do check out their family care page.
Ski lessons were with Sally from the Ski Institute, organised via TG Ski.
Don’t just take my word for it: