Sarah and me headed off to Les Coches on 19th March for a cheeky last minute ski trip, going on our first ski trip just the two of us.

Chambery airport is truly awful when more than one flight arrives within half an hour of each other, which must rank up there with airport design oversights. The 1920s airplane hanging from the roof does not inspire confidence either – some of the arrival procedures have probably not changed since the plane was in the skies last.

The bus transfer pretty easy, although our driver got lost in Moutiers which subsequently involved some 20-point turning in narrow streets. Our rep was a little disappointed that we did not want to buy tickets and ski hire from him and could not contain his disappointment when we saw him later after having bought said items from a colleague of his – commission payments are are alive and well!

Our accommodation is nicely placed next to the slopes and only a 10 minute walk from the small centre square of Les Coches. A studio apartment that has a bunk bed and two single sofa beds is adequate for our needs but is definitely operating on the “bare minimum” principle.

The lack of hot water on the Friday night put a dampener on our last evening and the lack of staff on reception did not help.

Les Coches itself is pleasant enough but a little on the small side to not get a little tired of it’s offerings after a week. As far as we can tell there are three restaurants (one of which is a little out of the way for us and the other has very limited veggie/fish choice), two bars plus a pizza place. That pretty much left us with La Poze which luckily has friendly staff and free wifi so pretty much is the only place we went to when we ate out.

Les Coches is situated between La Plagne and Les Arcs and does give you good access to both areas. Given the lack of snow this week I would guess that you could ski back to it throughout most of the season. Although we have coined the run into Les Coches from La Plagne the “run from hell” as it goes on forever, gets increasingly sugary and energy sapping.

The nicest place we lunched was most certainly the Cafe Verdons Sud in the Champany valley, the place is run with a flare and style that is so often missing at the on piste cafes. The music is great, the free sun hats are fun and the staff seem to be enjoying themselves. We visited it twice, and on the second occasion it did feel very much like the melting snow was going to maroon the restaurant in a sea of grass which would be a shame. The second time round, there was a more decadent feel to the place, we sat next to some garçon beckoning Russians, with a group of large cigar smoking Frenchmen forcing one of their party to down ginape from a bottle the size of a small child ginape and a group of loud English people on the other side. While the ice melted around us and we all indulged, there was definitely a strong metaphor or two kicking around.

On another note the restaurant owner could have been my friend James in another life.

Water skiing…
Jumping into crash matt…

Sarah’s mood tends to fluctuate in parallel with the snow conditions – icy slopes bring a chilling in the mood whereas powder on the pistes generally signals a return to powdery loveliness.

Longest sledging run I have ever seen. There were no signs forbidding you to ask your more garrulous friend to lie down on the run while you attempt to jump over them – i looked – so it is Jim friendly.