We were so happy that we got to stand up on the peaks & snowboard down snow-covered slopes together.
As mentioned, we had signed up for 5 days of snowboard lessons & that would be conducted by 1 instructor and a small group of us, ranging from 3-10 people, depending on how many turned up for that day. Here's how our day was like for the first 5 days with lessons:
Each morning, we would gather with our classmates at 8.30am and start the lessons at 9.00am for 3 hours before ending off at 12 noon for lunch. Ken would go off with his class & I would scoot off with mine to learn at our own pace, linking up to share a meal (literally 1 set of meal because it is so expensive & the portions were pretty huge) for lunch. Since we flew all the way to France to snowboard, we had to make sure we made full use of each day's ski pass & continue to snowboard in the afternoon till about 5-6pm everyday.
Us on the first day of snowboarding. I wanted to have a photo before I fell too much & destroyed all my snowboard equipment :)
I was super nervous on the first day of lessons, worried that everybody else were much more advanced & that I would not be able to catch up, scared of falling flat on my face too many times & injuring myself and end up ruining the rest of the trip. I didn't know what to expect & had no idea how the lessons would go.
When we arrived at the gathering point that first day, I was pointed to a guy and asked to wait. Once a group of 5-6 of us formed, our instructor came over (He was having a very strong French accent) and introduced himself as Christoph. He started by giving us some rules to follow throughout the lessons, taught us basic body postures & how to break going down slope. Although I had learnt how to do that through trial & error, it felt good to learn the right techniques during the lesson.
Yay to wonderful lessons that made me feel good about snowboarding!
Yay to riding on snow, FINALLY!
Once Christoph was satisfied we could do the basic snowboard techniques, he brought us up Green (Beginners) slopes to practise & do our first few runs of the day. As the lessons progressed day by day, he brought us to slopes with higher difficulties (Blue & even Red) and added interesting snowboard tricks along the way. Here are some photos of the views we had on the slopes throughout the week. Enjoy!
It feels a little like we're on the top of the world
It was a cloudy & misty day, you could see dark clouds forming in the horizon
Snowboarding into the sunset
Us being goofy & enjoying the view at the peak between Val Thorens & Meribel.
Ken wearing his board & preparing to go down the slopes.
It's always amazing seeing the sun going down behind the alps
You can see the Ski Resort on the right side of this picture
All we see are peaks of alps
We loved the views we saw everyday on different slopes. They all looked like this.
Look how happy my man is!
Taking a selfie with Mont Blanc (The highest peak in Europe) directly behind us
Christoph taught us to jump over a stick while going downslope, Ollies, Nollies (other types of jumps over obstacles), doing a 180 & then 360 deg turn on slopes and Tripods (This was the greatest achievement for me!). You can see some of the snowboard tricks (done by professionals of course) here.
Lessons with Christoph were never boring & Ken said we had learnt some things which weren't even taught in the Intermediate class! Achievement unlocked. Christoph was really a good instructor who pushed us to go beyond our comfort but knew our limits. Once, he even brought us to snowboard off piste (which is off the normal snow slopes) & that was quite an adventure! My heart was pounding & all I could focus on was not falling down & getting stuck too far behind my class. What a relief when I made it down & alive.
Meet Christoph, my awesome snowboarding instructor. I was shocked to find out he was 50 yrs old.
He looks too young to be that old!
Kenneth & his instructor, Denis. He teaches for 6 months & spends the rest of the year traveling & just enjoying life.
Kenneth would certainly love that kind of lifestyle!
So on the last day of snowboarding, we decided not to have any lessons as we had planned to venture outside of Val Thorens. We had bought ski passes for The 3 Vallees - Val Thorens-Orelle, Les Menuires-St Martin de Belleville, Méribel, La Tania, Brides les Bains et Courchevel. That meant we had access to more than 600kms of runs and a variety of slopes with different difficulty levels to go on.
Off we go in the morning on the route Kenneth had planned out in great excitement & he had to accommodate to my ability to snowboard, sticking to mostly blue slopes and avoiding red (more advanced) slopes as much as possible.
Ski chair lift ride (Plein Sud - Val Thorens)
Ski chair lift ride (Pionniers - Val Thorens)
We saw these cute little kids and ponies enroute to Meribel Valley.
Unfortunately, I was so tired, fell down & was hurting in too many places, plus I was worried I wouldn't be able to make it back in time before the ski lifts closed, we only managed to get to the next ski resort, Meribel & had to turn back. I felt so bad because Kenneth was really looking forward to snowboard further & make full use of our ski pass. But being the patient & loving husband he was, he didn't push me to do what I didn't want (was scared) to do. It's no wonder I loved him even more that day.
One of the days, when we took our last run on a slope & the sun was going down fast. Can you spot Ken?
After a full day of snowboarding, we would then return to our cosy apartment (Residence Serac) in Val Thorens itself & cook dinner, soak in a hot bubble bath (great for our sore muscles) before slapping on tons of moisturizers and get ready for bed. This goes on for a week & it was really quite a fun & enjoyable routine to do together with the hubs.
As the weather is so dry & cold, it was heaven to be able to soak & enjoy a warm bath but there was limited hot water in the tank. Usually after one of us bathes, the other would be left with cold water so we started to boil hot water to fill the tubs with. It was quite fun actually, we were literally preparing baths for each other!
The beauty of being at Val Thorens was that the ski resort was like a very happening village with many other amenities & things to do other than snowboarding. There were MANY restaurants & fast food places, ski & souvenir shops, a few supermarkets, a swimming pool & many children play areas. There's something to do for anyone from little babies to the elderly, no one would ever feel left out here.
You can see the village in the background, which consists of many apartments, restaurants, shops & chillout areas to sit outdoors to people-watch
One of the fast food place we went to for lunch because of the portion & wifi ;p
We saw a Slurpee look-a-like running around the resort happily & freely. We wished we could bring Slurpee to a place like this. He would certainly love it!
Video of the Golden Retriever
There were many people dressed up as animals & in funky clothes like these.
We had to take a photo to remember this experience by!
The view from our apartment window.
All good things must come to an end, and that included our 6 days of snowboarding. We had booked & confirmed our bus that would bring us from Val Thorens back to Geneva Airport the day before so we checked out at 12pm and just hung around the resort until the bus arrived.
A note to those travelling to Val Thorens, remember to buy (and confirm) your bus tickets at least 48 hours before because it is usually sold out on the day itself. While waiting at the ticketing area, I saw many people trying to buy tickets for a bus that day told all bus tickets were sold out. If you didn't have accommodations that day, you would probably have to stick it out in the cold until you get a bus the next day or hire a cab (SUPER EX!) to bring you wherever you want to go.
As we packed up & prepared to leave the beautiful & lovely Val Thorens resort, we'd decided in our hearts, then and there, that we would be back again and hopefully soon. Thank you, Val Thorens, for a wonderful & memorable snowboard experience!
We would HIGHLY RECOMMEND everyone who wants a great experience with skiing or snowboarding to book their trip to Val Thorens :)