There are many moments in this job where I have to pinch myself to prove that these adventures and opportunities are real. One such moment was when Crystal Ski holidays caught wind of mine and Simon’s plans to hit the slopes and gifted us one of their packages. The only expectations set were to share my honest experience with the Katie Pix community in a vlog.
Of course, were it to have been awful, I may have strategically cut out the more dire moments, but on the contrary, we had such an incredible time that I desperately struggled to cut the HOURS of happy footage shot during our 6 night stay.
Check out our full adventure…
Myself and Simon have been very fortunate to have skied a bunch of times with family, friends and at University. And when we met, it was something we really bonded over and wanted to create our own traditions around. Skiing is a holiday like no other. You are in the most ‘lord of the rings’-esque scenery – honestly, there’s no type of scenery that I find quite so stunning. Every time I sit and stare at the layers upon layers of white mountains etched against the bright blue sky, it takes my breath away. Yes, you’re in a resort, which means lots of people all actively seeking the same awe-inspiring experience, but for some reason, when you’re on the slopes, you feel like the only person in the world.
Then there’s the beer. Until you’ve clasped a mountain-cold beer whilst basking in the winter sun, layered up with thermals and a ski jacket so thick you have to fall into your deck chair with as much grace as a hippo in a tutu, then you’ve not REALLY had a beer.
How you play it from there is up to you. Party animal? Take that frosty beer with you to the nearest DJ and get boogying along with the throngs of other grinning holiday-makers and locals in search of a knees up. After some romance? Settle down by a cosy fire, cover yourself with a fur rug in your ski cabin and gaze out onto a landscape so fresh with snow it looks like it’s just been thought up for the first time.
Basically, I love ski holidays.
And, genuinely, Crystal Ski made everything so easy – and we weren’t getting any special treatment! When you book your Crystal holiday, you can book everything in one go. That’s flights, accomodation, transfers, ski passes, and even ski hire, lessons and activities if you’re feeling really organised. When you arrive you are greeted by your Crystal Ski rep. Ours was a lovely lady called Katie (we bonded instantly over the glory of our names). Katie took us directly to our accommodation, got us comfortable, suggested a place to eat and then passed on her details should we need her at any point during our stay.
This is what I loved the most about skiing with Crystal. I had anticipated it to feel a little like a 1940s holiday camp with lots of ‘organised fun’ and overly enthusiastic people encouraging you to play team sports with strangers. There was none of that. Instead Crystal were there to simply make your life and YOUR trip easier.
Although I’ve been several times before, it’s always a little unnerving to set off on the first day. It has been over a year since our last ski adventure and I was a tad rusty (to say the least). But one quick text to Katie in the morning and swiftly she sorted me out with a ski instructor. Just a 2 hour refresher to get some solid legs on the slopes again. Best decision ever! Gliding through the pristine forest pistes of Les Arcs is the most invigorating yet relaxing feeling in the world. A real weightlessness that carries you through the acres of pine and open hillsides.
When we weren’t on the slopes we were, of course, eating our bodyweight in cheese. On our first night, we went for ‘just one’ that ended up with Simon drinking the strongest Alpine beer on the menu at George’s wine bar – he only discovered quite how strong it was later when the 7 yard route to the bathroom somehow turned labyrinthine at 3am. A relaxed shabby chic bolthole with good toe tapping music and lots of live bands scheduled throughout the week. This place definitely had more of an adult than family friendly vibe to it and the bar staff went above and beyond to try and understand our GCSE French and shared a good few laughs with us, too.
The next night we’d booked dinner at La Vache Rouge (the red cow) and had the most exquisite steak platter. The chips were neither french fries, wedges or chunky style, instead they have an amazingly crispy, boat-like shape perfect for scooping up the plethora of condiments. We topped it all off with a cinnamon creme brulee (when in France, afterall) and polished off a bottle (or two) of bordeaux.
Later in the week we booked a traditional cheese fondue at Le Mazot. A BOWL OF LIQUID CHEESE. We added in some mushrooms and devoured an entire loaf of french bread, leaving not a trace of creamy, liquid gold in the pot. Simon even decided it would be a fantastic idea to take a spoonful of rapidly cooling dairy. I can safely suggest you stick to the bread.
Other traditions we made sure we enjoyed were crepes from Mamie Crepe in 1800, a chocolate chaud at Le Savoy in 2000, croziflette at Le Sanglier Qui Fume in 1600 and a hillside beer at La Creche at 2000.
We stayed in the Residence Radisson Blue Resort in Arc 1950 (1950 is the altitude, by the way, something I learnt a little late in the day!). It was a self catered little flat with a seperate living room-kitchen-diner, bedroom, bathroom, toilet and balcony that overlooked the magnificent slopes. It had everything we could possibly need, including a separate toilet for when the alpine beer and cheese swiftly took effect, and was finished to a beautiful standard with a cosy log cabin vibe with local artwork. It even had a pull out sofa bed in the living room that was perfect for afternoon movies. And don’t get me started on the heated outdoor pool, deluxe fitness centre (that if I’m honest, we simply peered through the window at) and spa. If we’d have been there just another couple of days, I think we would have spent a whole day at the spa to ease our ski-drained muscles.
As expected we took great joy in cooking our own dishes, whilst in the lodge and even rustled up traditional tartiflette for you to enjoy at home!
What made this whole resort even more magical, was that it was a ski-in, ski-out residence. Nestled in a lush pedestrian village, you could slide off the slopes and directly to the supermarket entrance, pick up dinner and continue sliding down to the ski lockers in the foyer of the hotel. Amazing!
There was one day where skiing had rendered me totally and completely shattered but in amongst exploring the various eateries, we weren’t short of entertainment. Every evening there was something happening in one of the villages, whether it was live music or a freestyle big air skiing competition or even competitive snow ball fights (like winter laser quest), it was the perfect balance of busy enough to get involved without feeling awkward and being able to sit back, relax and absorb the goings on.
All in all, we have fallen head over skis for the villages, the enormous choice in pistes (as Les Arcs also connects to La Plagne so you double your adventuring) and the accommodation was idyllic without breaking the bank. We will be leaping to book all our future trips with Crystal and am so impressed by the organisation that made the whole trip easy as pie – we barely had to think for ourselves. Thank you to the whole team for the invitation, and to my Simon for another unforgettable holiday. Any time away with you resets me and makes my heart that little bit happier.