14 Top Experiences for Non-skiers in the French Alps
If you’re one of those people who love the luxury and ambience of a world-class ski resort but aren’t really into strapping on your skis, check out these one-of-a-kind experiences to fill your days and nights.
1. Get an adrenaline rush speeding along the BMW ice-driving track at Val d’Isere.
If driving school sounds dull, you haven’t experienced the thrill of ice-driving school at Val d’Isere, the highest ice-racing track in the world. At an altitude of over 1,850 meters, the track located on a ground of 3 hectares of land is the perfect place to learn to steer, brake, and glide and glissè on ice.
And if driving isn’t your speed, you can try your hand at ice karting—an activity your whole family or group can enjoy together.
2. Got a need for more speed? Try the luge at Courchevel.
Nerves of steel? You’ll need them for the super luge at Courchevel. Brand new for the season, the luge track at Courchevel Moriond is nearly 3,000 kilometres of fast-paced descent, including 25% drops in some places. Try it at night under multicoloured lights for an extra thrill.
Courchevel has seen some brilliant new additions over the past few years, with an unrivalled repertoire of alpine activities waiting to be experienced.
Where Courchevel has always attracted the “who’s who” of royals and celebs, and foodies enjoying the resort’s exquisite Michelin-starred restaurants, it is also now becoming a magnet for thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies.
3. Enjoy a tasting menu featuring rare wines and Savoie cheeses prepared by your own private chef.
Everyone knows French cheeses are some of the best—and there’s nothing like the Savoie cheeses of the French Alps. Indeed, last ski season, cheese lovers in Val d’Isère alone consumed 300 000 cheese fondues – that’s 60 tonnes of cheese!!!When in cheese country why not enjoy a tart Reblochon, a soft and fruity Tomme de Savoie. Or savour a buttery Beaufort perfectly aged by the finest affineurs and ably paired with excellent wines by your personal chef in the tasting cellar of your chalet. Who needs skis when you can have cheese?
4. Focus on your winter photography skills.
It’s easy to lose yourself in the stunning beauty of the snow-covered Alps—why not capture a few shots of towering mountains and charming villages. You could even come across wildlife like goats, marmots, red deer, eagles, and lynx if you decide to leave your chalet and take an Alpine trek.
Even if you’re an amateur with a camera, you can still get amazing pictures for your holiday journal (or your social feed). And when you come in from the snow, treat yourself to a soak in the Jacuzzi with a hot drink and a good book.
5. Spend New Year’s Eve somewhere special.
Start the year how you mean to go on in the magic of the mountains and countdown to 2018 with a stylish celebration!
Picture the scene: You are with a crowd of your nearest and dearest. After spending a fun-filled morning skiing you retire to your chalet to prepare for festivities. A Champagne afternoon tea awaits with a delicious array of treats. Following a relaxing jacuzzi and a SUSHISAMBA cocktail, you get ready to for the evening. Dressed in your best, you are greeted with a glass of Perrier Jouët and a selection of mouth-watering canapés, before sitting down to a fabulous feast prepared by your private chef. After dinner, the mood elevates as the live band gets the party started. Everyone dances till midnight enjoying the magical alpine ambience. Minutes before the clock strikes 12, the party heads outside to watch the sky alight with a dazzling firework display. Of course, there is always someone who makes a celebratory dive in the heated infinity pool, it is just too hard to resist!
6. Find your groove at an Alpine music festival.
Mountains and music go together like, well, wine and cheese, and there’s no better way to enjoy the best of both than at one of the high-energy music festivals the region is famous for.
Rock the Pistes in Portes du Soleil and Snowboxx in Avoriaz are just a couple of high-altitude extravaganzas that draw the international party-loving crowd to the French Alps—don’t miss your chance to try epic experiences like human bowling or the skim pool.
7. Chopper to La Bouitte in St. Martin de Belleville for the ultimate three-star dining experience.
Father and son chef team Renè and Maxime Meilleur opened La Bouitte in 1976 to international acclaim. By 2015, the restaurant had won its third Michelin star for its fabulous tasting menus and extensive French wine list—over a thousand different labels, including inky, elegant Bordeaux, of course, and rare, lush Sauternes.
Let your concierge organise an unforgettable evening beginning and ending with a scenic chopper ride to the restaurant in St. Martin de Belleville, the town that served as the setting of 120 Days of Sodom by the Marquise de Sade.
8. Pamper yourself with a spa day right in your chalet.
You don’t have to leave your chalet for the ultimate spa day. Start your day with a private Pilates or yoga class, take a refreshing swim in your pool, and treat yourself to a hot stone massage and a mani-pedi. You’ll be ready to enjoy a night out in one of the resort’s chic restaurants.
9. Go where skiers can’t on a late-night snowmobile tour.
Skiers aren’t the only ones with fantastic views of the Alps—you can go places the skiers can’t and see a different side of the mountains on a snowmobile tour. Most tours take place at nightfall after the pistes have closed for the day. No crowds, no noise… just you, the mountain, and your snowmachine (plus a guide, of course) speeding across the snow. If you love motorcycles, you’ll be right at home on a snowmobile adventure.
10. Commune with Alpine wildlife on a snowshoe trek in the Vanoise National Park.
Vanoise National Park is the first French national park and it borders Val d’Isere on the French side and Gran Paradiso National Park on the Italian side. It’s the perfect place to strap on a pair of snowshoes and experience the beauty and solitude of the French Alps. If you really want to connect with your serene side, book a yoga and snowshoe tour ending with a chef-prepared meal of local Savoie produce, herbs, and flowers.
11. Sip Perrier Jouet and check out views of Mont Blanc from your heated outdoor Infinity pool.
You don’t need to hit the slopes to get breathtaking views of Mont Blanc. Picture yourself luxuriating in your heated Infinity pool, surrounded by falling snow and spectacular views, sipping a cocktail or a glass of Perrier Jouet and nibbling on petit fours and figs artfully prepared and served by your chalet staff.
12. Dive beneath the ice and explore the wonder of the mountain lakes.
This is one for the water babies: an experience like no other!
Plunge into icy water to explore the depths of the alpine mountain lakes, and discover what the frozen world looks like from the other side.
No previous diving experience is necessary, as you will be taught all the tricks and techniques you need to know about this unique sport from an experienced instructor.
13. Shop for the latest in après ski fashion at Blu&Berry.
You can still rock the best après ski fashion even if you don’t hit the slopes—and you’ll have a fabulous shopping adventure at Blu&Berry in Courchevel and Mègeve. Get beautifully fitted made-to-measure designs delivered right to your chalet.
14. Explore the alpine forest with a pack of four-legged friends on a dog-sledding tour.
Love dogs? Love the snow? Love the idea of sledding through the forest with a few like-minded friends? Then you’ll love the husky dog sledging adventure in Courchevel. You’ll get to learn to harness your team and how to steer and brake the sled before hitting the trail and weaving your way through the forest to the bottom of the course—and back up again.
It’s an exhilarating way to spend an afternoon, and you can feel good about doing good: These huskies are all rescue dogs who love their new job (and love all the attention and affection from their guest mushers).
Ready to make your dream winter holiday a reality?
Even if you’re not a ski enthusiast, there’s plenty to do in the French Alps. See anything that captured your fancy? Get in touch today to plan the ultimate ski holiday for skiers and non-skiers alike.
If you’re not ready to plan your trip just yet, sign up for our free email course to learn more about luxury ski holidays with Consensio Chalets.