February 25, 2013

On the Road: Skiing in Samoens

Just got back from a skiing holiday in the French Alps. It was so great. I was weighing whether or not to go because it meant missing London Fashion Week. But then I realised that I have no real reason to be at fashion shows right now, and I don’t have forever to take my son skiing on his half term break. So the decision was easy.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the French Alps. I’ve been skiing in the Swiss Alps before, and it was pretty much what you would imagine – very charming, lots of chalets with red and white checked tablecloths, and floral motifs everywhere. And actually, the French Alps weren’t much different, although I’m sure the French would be none to pleased to hear that. But I mean it in a good way.

The skiing was fantastic – it takes you a while to get all the way up the mountain, but once you do you can ski for an hour without having to go up again. And by the mountain I actually mean four separate peaks clustered together. There are so many directions to go in you could almost ski for a week without doing the same run twice. My favorite part was skiing into different villages, depending on which run we chose to take at the end of the day. Thank god we had a friend who wasn’t skiing because of an injury, so he would come pick us up from whichever town we ended up in.

And I just loved the slightly kitschy Alpine style as interpreted by the French. Handpainted flowers, old rustic barns, big wooden chalets with gingerbread trim and heart shape cutouts. Anywhere else, it would be cheese-y, but somehow its done here with a sincerity and authenticity that makes it chic. Just don’t try it at home.

I love skiing photos because, for the most part, they are timeless. But I love the modern addition of colour on the slopes, even if I myself ski in head to toe black.
This is Samouens, the town we stayed in. It was my kind of ski town, everything you need – a bakery, a pizzeria, a ski shop, a pharmacy, a newsstand – and nothing that you don’t – fancy people, crowded restaurants, and fashion boutiques.
Our daily mid-morning snack – a palmier and chocolat chaud with chantilly on top. Since getting home I’ve had to put myself on a sugar fast!
There is nothing Zach loves more than snow. Our first night in Samouens it snowed over a foot, and Zach was the first one out the door the next morning to enjoy it.
I love this mailbox at the house where we were staying, but you could only have it in the Alps. It would be way to kitsch anywhere else, but here it’s perfect.
Arriving at the top of the télécabine, I never can get over the stunning beauty of the Alps seen for miles and miles in every direction.
I never have been nor ever will be as chic as my friend Trinny on the slopes, with her prefect balance of practicality and retro-chic.
Sledding was hysterical in France. We thought we were all clever getting sleds that had brakes and steering, but I have never felt so out of control in my life. Seconds after this shot, I crashed. Badly.
I loved all the signage in the area of France we were in. It was kitsch, clever, creative and amusing.
Being an 9 year old boy, all Zach wanted to do was ski in and out of the trees like we were on an obstacle course. It was a lot of fun until he fell into a giant ditch while I was taking this photo!
Each day we skiied down the mountain into a different town. Morillion was a very basic town, but not without its own particular french charm.
A shop sign in Morillon.
A local outdoors guide, Agneska, came over in the afternoons to show us how to build an igloo. Here we are just getting started.
Trinny, working on the igloo from the inside. 
It took 7 adults and 4 children two (apres-ski) afternoons to get this done, but we were all so proud when it was finally finished. If you want to get great exercise, build an igloo!
More color on the slopes.
I love the simplicity of this French cotton candy stand just outside the village ice-skating rink.
This sign freaked me out. I’m not used to worrying about falling into a crevasse while skiing.
This sun shining through the trees on the mountain.
I just loved this Chalet. The decoration was beyond cutesy, but in the Alpine setting it somehow just works.
I am always a sucker for symmetry.
I’ve never seen a decorated wood pile before. Nor would I want to in any other place. But I love it here.
A gloomy-chic chalet in the woods.
The mountains surrounded us in this park in the shape of a horseshoe. In the summer you can see 28 waterfalls from this spot. Of course they were all frozen when we were there, but we did see a mini-avalanche. The noise it made was incredible, even on such a small scale.
We went exploring one afternoon and found this humble and rustic town that I just fell in love with. 
I love the barn/chalet combo. Everything in this town was old, and there wasn’t one shop to be seen anywhere.
There must have been 7 different kinds and styles of wood on this barn. It was even more beautiful in person.
Me and my sweetheart.
Our last run on our last day. Heaven.


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7 years 11 months ago

Interesting post and OMG is that Trinny from Trinny and Susanna? All these fashion people in the snow thats kind of funny.

Amanda Brooks
7 years 11 months ago

Yes it is! When I first came to England with my husband 16 years ago, she took me under her wing and we've been friends ever since. xx Amanda

8 years 2 days ago

Oh my god ! It's such a funny coincidence that you, the most inspiring blogger i follow, went to Samoens… It's my ski town ! Haha. My family have a little flat there. Even though I've been going to Samoens for years now, i still love it. It's so charming and peaceful. And you should try it in summer ! You can go hiking on beautiful places and then have the most amazing handmade ice-cream in the village…

gret mackintosh
8 years 6 days ago

Love it all – beautiful pictures.
What a perfectly well-rounded ski-trip!

8 years 6 days ago

Thank you for sharing this beautiful photos. Love the sun glasses from your friend. I am also going to sky for a week, will try to make this incredible iglo.

8 years 6 days ago

Heavenly photos… thanks so much. Will not show to my grown children as I will never hear the end of, "WE never built an igloo!"