good gear

when little people learn to ski, they need to be really warm and toasty.   there’s nothing worse than seeing parents clad in the latest tippety top €700 jacket, and a snivelling shivering child in a thin cheap €20 one.  If you are going to put your kids in that gear, the least you can do is wear the same stuff yourself.

there’s a ton of really good top kids gear on ebay.   if you cant shell out for your kids for this stuff new, recycle it!

Practically – the best garment for the really young thing is this….  (i’m not a paid affiliate).  We never bought one new, always found them on ebay and returned to ebay when done…

patagonia suit


Looking forwards to skiing

2013-02-15 17.15.57.jpgIt was time today to put away the bikes and climbing stuff and start to think about winter.  After two seasons sparse snow in the Alps I hope we are due for a bumper season.  Having said that, we had skiing from xmas to after Easter here with a choice of fantastic north facing slopes which hold the snow all season.

This year we are going to fully explore the  Via Lattea and have planned a trip from Montgenevre to sauze d’oulx, staying in a Rifugio above Sauze.  I’m also looking forwards to some cross country skiing, and maybe even a small ski tour or two.   Bring it on!!!


Why I love Serre Chevalier by Poppy Munro age 10


I love Serre Chevalier because it has so many places to visit……. I hope you will enjoy my favourites too.

Boarder Cross

The boarder cross is a fun way to test your racing skills recommended 5 and over I think people would enjoy the boarder cross. I enjoy it a lot but it closes every so often. Take your children there so you can see what they are made of.

Nomad Village

Take your kids over to the nomad village it has fistful of information; recommended 6 and over. I think this is the best place to have a picnic. I like learning about the nomad ways of life. You can also warm up by the stove in the Yurt.

Snow Park

Let your kids go WILD in the snow park; it is full of box’s, easy jump’s, medium jump’s and hard jump’s. I enjoy the snow park because its a mountain full of fun. We go to the snow park with Simone our instructor. Sometimes we go for the whole day and I need my twin tips. The restaurant near here has the best chips in the valley.

Cibout Run (black )

The Cibout is a extra hard run for people under 7 because they don’t piste it and its steep. But for people who are over 7 you will find it really easy. I was 7 when I first did the cibout, it was a bit difficult (big moguls) but managed to do it in 10 minutes and take my advice if your child is crying give them a sweet, treat or chocolate. The chairlift is a double seater so 1 adult and 1 child together.

The Eychauda run (red)

This is a very fast run especially quick for heading back for chips at the restaurant. You have to watch out for people learning but its best for going very quick and doing 360’s.

The Cucumelle (red).

I love this run because it has awesome big half pipes that are natural. They are off piste actually so its best to go with an adult but they are awesome fun. Its also on the way to the snow park from Monetier which is handy.

Ski School (Ski NewGen)

Simone is the best teacher to hire if you want to teach your children.  He makes it fun but he also makes sure you learn properly.  I like going to the snow park best with him, and I also like the racing with him.  He has taught us how to ski like people from different countries.  eg.  the spanish ski like a tango, the english ski like a tortoise, the french ski with their booties and the Italians ski the best (he is italian).

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Family Activity Weeks

Villar d’arène is the perfect base for a packed week of outdoor activities with teenagers and Tweens. The more adrenaline, the less snapchat!! A typical week could include;

Day 1 : walk up to refuge d’alpe du villar d’arene. Easy intro day to acclimatise. Lots of wildlife on route and snacks/ drinks at hut.

Day 2 : white water rafting on the durance or the romanche. Afternoon at the biopool.

Day 3: Via Ferrata in the morning, sport climbing in the afternoon.

Day 4: mountain biking – depending on ability – uplift available to the top of the galibier (easy descent), or on the lift systems of Serre Chevalier, Deux Alpes or La Grave.

Day 5 extended via ferrata day with an ascent of the Aiguille du Lauzet

Day 6 rock climbing opposite the Meije or round in Ailfroide.

Or, Days 5&6 take a two day hut walk in the Nevache, staying at some of the loveliest, friendliest huts in the alps with superb food.

For a rest day there’s a wide range of open air pools and the historic old town of Briancon.

All walking, biking and climbing guides are in the flat, and any activities can also be fully supported and are easily booked through local qualified English speaking Guides.





2014 Tour in the Alps – Forget Yorkshire!

Forget Yorkshire and see the Tour from the Col du Lauteret!

Stage 14
Stage 14

Stage 14 of the 2014Tour climbs right past appartment Chancel La Grave in Villar D’Arene on July 19th on the final 8km of the mythic Cat 1 Col du Lauteret. Whether you want to watch from outside the bar just above the flat, and soak up the atmosphere with the locals or cycle up the col to be at the finish – the choice is yours.

The peloton is expected at about 14:15 and is at km 72 of a very big day which goes on over the Izoard and ends in Risoul at 177km. This is one of only two Alps stages this year and podium café cites it as “beautiful” and “candidate for “Queen Stage”.
podium cafe


Apartment Chancel is in the ideal spot! With your own parking place, all the conveniences of the village of Villar D’Arene and the Ecrins National Park on your doorstop then there couldn’t be an easier way to see one of the prime days of this years tour. Forget Yorkshire and enjoy the sun. From the flat you have easy access to all the big cols for your own sportives – Galibier, Izoard, Croix de la fer, etc. The flat sleeps 6 comfortably and is available exclusively through our friendly local British Agents –Eurekaski.

Easy access from Grenoble / Chambery / Lyon and Turin – give it a try in the sun!!


Local shop

The shop in villar d’arene is in the main square. It’s run by gégé and his daughter and open every day. I don’t think I can remember a day when it was closed. There’s fresh bread in the morning, a selection of fresh fruit and veg, and plenty of charcuterie. He selects his wine every year with care and the cote du rhone is always excellent. A new welcome addition this year was a freezer cabinet with essentials such as frozen peas and fish fingers. If you just need the day to day essentials, there’s no need to go further.


Restaurant Trois Frenes – New Year like no other

We are usually in bed by midnight on new years eve, planning a big ski for new years day.  But this year on a whim we booked the Trois Frenes in the village for their new years eve special. 

We have eaten there lots, and its always good honest food at a great value.  Its pretty and atmospheric, and the hosts charming.  The menu isnt big, but there’s everything you would expect and its cooked freshly.  The salads in the summer are massive, and in winter there’s steak, lamb, a local dish, and a fish dish.  The kids devour steak hache or omlette and chips.

New Year – we had no idea what to expect other than to be there at 8 and there were 8 courses.  the children were whisked away to a separate table, and we sat down on a beatifully decorated long table, underneath the vaulted ceiling.  A Grenoblois ensemble played us in through the canapes, kir and entrees.  And then the main courses – Chateaubriand I will never foget.  The kids were all playing babyfoot as the conversation flowed – the other guests were so kind to our stumbling french.  After puddings, (many, and delicious) we were treated to a recital  by our hosts.  She told a wonderful tale of wolves, and he sang hauntingly of love under the meije, bring a tear to most.  We were the first to creep away at 2 am in the sparkling night, vowing to book next year.  Our New Year days was shorter, but all the better.