The Joy of Skiing in the French Alps - Spring Vacation Part 1

Last year we indulged in a ski vacation with Club Med in the French Alps which was worth its value. However, this year on a bit more of a budget we headed off for Vaujany in the Alpes d'Huez region (French alps) of France. What we have been finding is that there are hundreds of little valleys and resort towns that are built for vacationers, families, and winter and summer activities. Vaujany one such town has been building new apartments for rent with a mini shopping area full of ski shops, restaurants, a market, an indoor swimming center and gym, ice skating rink and ski resort. It has blended tradition with modernity and provides skiing, swimming, skating and trekking facilities in the beautiful mountains of France.  The village is connected together with covered stairs and escalators as well as a van service to the cable car starting point. From the village you take one of three cable cars up the mountain to the ski stations.






The Vaujany Ski Domain is an integral part of an enormous domain covering 8 village communal territories : Alpe d'Huez , Auris, Clavans, Le Freney d'Oisans, La Garde, Oz en Oisans, Villard Reculas and Vaujany. It has been given the Family de Montange seal which means it caters to families and seems to also cater the the English with multiple signs "We speak English" displayed.


What we found fascinating is how each little village has set up their own resort and provides the family with everything you would want for a vacation; skiing, skating, restaurants, shopping, and an indoor pool. Lift lines don't exist, the ski lessons are great and the prices are less than in Tahoe. With so many places to ski you could try a different village each season and never exhaust the possibilities. vaujany.jpg

Since we haven't been skiing this year we decided to indulge Zoe-Pascale in private ski lessons for three days. Her progression was fabulous and she loved every minute skiing on blue runs throughout the last day. Receiving her certificate of completion of the second level - Flocon (snowflake in French) she wore her medal proudly. Next it's Etioile 1, 2, and 3 which take about five days each to complete.



DSC00844.JPGYes, they still have teleski's in France. They are upgrading more and more to high speed chair lifts and gondolas, but in some places the old fashion way resides. Of course the most difficult thing of the day is learning how to hold on and not fall off . After two tries and specific instructions from her monitor (teacher) Zoe learned the trick of keeping your legs parallel! Voila. She never fell again.


DSC00872.JPG Zoe following Jean (in red)


Okay, we want to know your opinion. Jean and I have had these bright (fluorescent?) ski clothes for years. We think by waiting long enough the colors will come back in style. At least we don't loose each other on the slopes, but are we dating ourselves?



DSC00842.JPGJean taking a break on the slopes.



Zoe showing you her medal for completing Flacon standing beneath the map of the ski area.

Zoe showing you her medal for completing Flacon standing beneath the map of the ski area.




Jean and Zoe spend a bit of time on the ice skating rink after skiing. With the bright sun the ice was melting and the rink will soon close down. This is a sport that needs definite attention, lessons, and practice.


















And then we went to the swimming pool!!! A perfect ending of a day.




DSC00902.JPGHere comes Zoe down the slide. She went down no less than a dozen times.














One of the things we have been living without is TV. Zoe-Pascale has gotten used to watching DVDs (owned and rented) and Jean reads the news online and sends me the important articles. As a result we definitely feel the difference as a family. Jean is much less annoyed, stressed and exasperated by the news as he can pick and choose what he wants to read and can avoid the streaming videos and pictures of horrible catastrophes that keep popping up. There is not doubt in my mind that the news from a TV can be damaging to the psyche and self by it's repeated photos of killing, war, shootings, and bad news. The latest shooting in Virginia is an example of how the option to not look at the devastating carnage can save your sanity. At least reading the NY Times or ABC news you can try to find interesting articles that add value to your life. As a result of not having TV we have become an avid reading family. I've always loved to read, Jean has foundhis passsion again and Zoe joins us on the couch, bed, and beach going from one book to the next. Her favorite are a chain of Mickey Mouse French comic books (306 pages) which she collects and buys and sells at the local used book store. 


On Vacation however, Zoe-Pascale and Jean find TV to be part of their vacation and reward. And so I watch and notice.


French TV definetly has better stations and stories going on throughout the evening. Entertainers, comedy, interviews, and world events are shown. Our world is broadened for those few days of TV and it really feels like a treat. Zoe getting up at 7 am to watch cartoons notices for the first time all the advertisements and wants to know if she can buy everything. What a lesson. She isn't hypnotized yet by commercials and we have a great discussion about commercials and what they do to you in terms of wanting to buy things you don't need, never heard of, and probably will waste your money on. She agrees and continues to watch the cartoons. That is what she loves anyways she says.


So for us I think we have found one answer to TV, make it a vacation treat. It becomes special, not mundane and keeps us more relaxed at home. Yes you can learn to control TV habits but our little experiment of no TV has been great and I would like to continue it as long as we can --- depending on the forces that be, we shall see.