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ONFORM Travel 2013

Chamonix ‘As much fun as you can have with your clothes on’

Stephane Lagarde Super Cool, Super Nice

Chalet Cerisier

Chamonix’s best kept secret

Freeride World Tour Take it to the edge

The Kitsch Inn

The Curlywurlys are on me


a chalet for all seasons


Chalet Cerisier is set in as perfect a location as you could find, on the edge of the woods in Les Bois, and with breathtaking views of Mt Blanc and the peaks of Les Drus. Built by Pierre Trappier, the pre-eminent chalet builder in the region, Le Cerisier successfully combines a massive wooden construction in the Alpine tradition, with modern aesthetic and ecological considerations. Every amenity you could wish for is provided, from outdoor hot tub, sauna, and boot-warmer to open fire and surround-sound cinema. Wonderfully comfortable for up to 10 guests, Chalet Cerisier is available to let throughout the year. The winter sports are unrivalled anywhere in the world, while the summer is pure bliss. This really is a chalet for all seasons. The owners will provide any level of service that you require, from totally self catered to being looked after by a whole team, including professional chef, driver, and activities coordinator. Being a privately owned holiday home, prices are kept to a minimum by avoiding costly overheads. The cost for a week varies from â‚Ź2000 to â‚Ź16000.

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info@chaletcerisier.com

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Editorial Right: Robinson on piste with Pro Skiier Stephane Legarde and his right hand man, Flo.

From the

Travel-Editor The Chamonix Mont Blanc Valley. With all the recessionary doom and gloom at the moment, a quick escape to the mountains was greatly appreciated. Considering the usual drama from our board room and the editorial team running around as if the touch paper had been lit, I welcomed an opportunity to escape the shackles of the office and head to an unvisited patch of the land of cheese and surrender. Chamonix.

I met many a seasonaire that had arrived in Chamonix, fresh-faced, to ‘do a season’ and had wound up weathered and retired in their mid-twenties, seeking the endless powder that the world’s mountain sports capital provides. Powder fields, miles of hiking, cliff drops and car-sized moguls.

As anyone who has been to the Chamonix Mont-Blanc Valley will tell you, it is a region with deep ties to old school mountaineering. That is to say, even if heli-skiing wasn’t banned in France (I imagine not just for the environmental reasons), it would be considered de rigueur. Why fly to the top of the mountain range when you can rise at 0600hrs, sustained only on croissants and garlic, and hike up.

“I met many a seasonaire that had arrived in Chamonix fresh faced to ‘do a season’ and had wound up weathered and retired in their mid 20’s”

At least when the Genevan naturalist Horace Benedict de Saussure offered a sizeable sum to any man that could find a way atop Mont Blanc, climbing was indeed the only method. Remember, of course, that this challenge was set in 1760, almost 100 years before the Alpine Club would be founded in London in 1857. It is this heritage that makes Chamonix such an interesting destination for someone like myself. Having been to a number of French, Swiss and Austrian resorts, I was expecting to do my usual dance upon arrival. This involves bowing to the hulking wealth that occupies a ski resort and then quickly looking for the people and places that are truly here for the powder, not the pounds. You find a far more interesting breed of people when you look for passion over possession in any walk of life — but less of the social pontificating. The Chamonix Valley is truly a skier’s paradise. I would imagine that the serious skiers and boarders amongst you are very much playing the role of the contented choir whilst I preach here.

5 Q1 2013

I had arrived in town, not only to sample the powder delights of Cham, but also to check out the Freeride World Tour, an event for the great

and the good of skiers and snowboarders, now in its fifth year. As if this wasn’t enough, we would be interviewing skiing legend Stéphane Lagarde. At the end of 2008, the former professional skier opened the first ski school to adopt an environmentally-friendly approach. I was going to have to seriously up my game if I was going to spend two days on piste with the Ecorider team. A huge thank you to everyone that helped, especially the guys at Chamonix All Year.

Peter J Robinson Travel Editor


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Credits

Contributors David Minns Something of a renaissance man, Minns loves nothing more than dressing for an occasion, and encouraging others to do the same. In his capacity as Senior Style Advisor for A Suit That Fits, he literally dresses the nation.

Vikki Little In addition to many years of experience working with premium brands, including some of the best automotive companies in the world, our marketing and PR expert, Vikki, is an avid skier. As one of the most efficient members of the team, Vikki makes sure that our trips and reviews run like a recently waxed ski.

Peter J. Robinson Robinson is our Publishing Director by day and socialite by night. Continually picking the short straw means regular travel to places like New York and Zermatt. His occupation appears to be general jet setting and interviewing the glitterati.

Glenn Holmes When he’s not styling the great and good of Bristol, our Aussie hairdresser loves nothing more than snow beneath his feet, or rather one of his beloved boards. As our resident boarder, Holmes takes pride in filming from a boarder’s perspective, and his inimitable style, both on and off the slopes, ensures that his pieces are nothing short of entertaining.

Jossy Slade Slade is a Chamonix seasonaire and all round nice guy. Unless you come between him and the piste, in which case, back up. Having spent the better part of a decade delighting the ears of international audiences with his self written and produced drum and bass tracks, there is no better guide for Chamonix’s evening maneuvers.

Jason Shankey Irish Empresario and travel review veteran Shankey is a mainstay in the ONFORM press gang. Shankey spends his time running his male grooming empire from Belfast, thats when he isnt featuring in the Apprentice or giving countless intereviews to radio and TV. We are suprised he found the time to join us this season.

Tabitha Taya Taya is our creative force, helping to plan the photographic and cinematic shots and sequences that make up ONFORM.

The Usual Suspects Laith Al-Kaisy – Editor-in-Chief – laith@gmmpublishing.com Peter Robinson – Publishing Director – peter@gmmpublishing.com

Photographers: Taya Pang Creative Director: Silvester Peak

GMM Publishing First Floor, Prudential Buildings, 11-19 Wine Street, Bristol, UK BS1 2PH | +44 (0)117 3702 471 | gmmpublishing.com GMM Publishing is a trading name of Get Media Management LTD registered in England at 1st Floor, Prudential Buildings, 11-19 Wine Street, Bristol, BS1 2PH, Company Registration Number; 07663086. All content Copyright © 2012, Get Media Management Ltd ONF ORM Magazine’s content (including any information we publish regarding Third Party Products) is only for your general information and entertainment purposes and is not intended to address your particular requirements. In particular, any content publishing within this magazine, or on onformmagazine.com, does not constitute any form of advice, recommendation, representation, endorsement or arrangement by ONF ORM Magazine. It is not intended to be and should not be relied upon by readers in making (or refraining from making) any specific investment, purchase, sale or other decisions. Appropriate independent advice should be obtained before making any such decision, such as from a qualified financial adviser. Any agreements, transactions or other arrangements made between you and any third party named within ONF ORM Magazine are at your own responsibility and entered into at your own risk. Any information that you receive via ONF ORM Magazine, whether or not it is classified as ”real time”, may have stopped being current by the time it reaches you. Share price information may be rounded up/down and therefore may not be entirely accurate.

7 Q1 2013


CONTENTS

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33

30

16

27

10

ONFORM 8


ChCe

Chalet Cerisier from garden


hlaet erisier

I

n 2003, Phil Bayly and his wife were offered a real estate dream. We all know about the trials and tribulations of building on foreign soil — especially in France, a country known for its deep and profound love of the English and our constant invasion. “In 1999, we bought a small apartment down

the road from where the chalet is now, but always dreamed of owning somewhere a bit bigger. I heard about a piece of land from an estate agent, but building a chalet ourselves had not occurred to us. I initially turned it down, but changed my

mind after realising what a rare opportunity this was, in such a gorgeous and sought after area. The land turned out to be spectacular. In fact, my wife and I had admired almost the very plot we were being offered the previous summer when exploring the area.” The chalet was designed and built by Phil and his family as a home-

from-home, so it has all the creature comforts you expect from a luxury chalet, but with that warm family feeling. It makes a change to be able to walk straight into a chalet and instantly feel at ease. It was one of the last projects worked on by Pierre Trappier, the preeminent chalet builder of the region. Trappier was known specifically for timber construction with strong ecological analysis and a modern aesthetic to his projects. Sadly, Trappier and his wife were killed in 2008 during an avalanche on the Trappier Couloir — named after the architect himself.

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The chalet is set in the village of Les Bois on about a football field

The Key Facts

of land and five minutes from the centre of Chamonix. The Flegere lift

Bedrooms - 5 Bathrooms - 5 Sleeps - 10-12 Nearest shop - 2 minutes drive Nearest Lift - 2 minutes drive Games Room Outdoor Hot tub 6 person sauna Includes self contained 1 bed apartment

Cabane a short walk away. Both trains and buses stop in the village of

11 Q1 2013

is also only about a ten-minute walk across the local golf course. There are great restaurants like Le Sarpe, Hotel Eden and La Les Praz, which is a beautiful 10-minute stroll from the chalet through the village. The chalet has five large double bedrooms, all in traditional style with beautifully appointed linens. The master suite has views of the Drus and Montblanc, a beautiful walk-in wardrobe that leads to an almost-secret bathroom. It’s the sort of room that exuded beauty and warmth. I’m sure at some point, whilst writing this piece, my use of the word warmth will tire. But it was really quite something. The two double rooms at the top of the chalet had sweeping mountain views and bathrooms springing from every corner. The chalet also has its own self-contained flat within the building, boasting a kitchen


This page: The view from the main living area and hot tub. Opposite: A beautifully appointed bedroom. and living area. I shan’t bore you with the inevitable heated discussion

flat screen. Such is the gargantuan size of the property. It really is quite

about who had ‘most paper work’ and so needed the extra space.

cavernous.

The main living room has a New York skyline-size window looking

If these three things aren’t enough to keep your little or large ones

out over the Drus. The wrap around balcony is beautiful and spacious

happy, you could always hand them a shovel and tell them to go and

with room for seats and tables, and sun loungers in the warmer months.

build a snowman. Beware, though, the snow around the chalet is four-

During the evening, we regularly cooked for the team in the well ap-

feet deep in some places. You’re unlikely to fall through much more

pointed kitchen, once we were all au fait with the switches and whatnot.

than knee-length, but we keep on digging!

After dinner, we would retire to the living room, light the open fire and switch on the cinema projector for a viewing of the Art of Flight. Perhaps my favourite feature was indeed the projector.

The chalet is also hiding one more thing up its sleeve: an outdoor hot tub with breathtaking views of Les Drus. If you are looking for a fully-pampered trip, the chalet comes

On the ground floor you will find a boot room with boot warmer

fully catered with transfers, champagne, a concierge, fresh linen, daily

and ample storage space for skis, boards, sleds, even a small family

housekeeping and all the essential accoutrements you would expect at

saloon if you so wanted. Don’t overlook the benefits of a boot warmer;

a five-star resort.

have you ever tried slipping your toes into a frozen boot!?

Whether summer or winter, Chalet Cerisier is a dream residence,

I was surprised to learn on the third day that one member of the

located in the heart of the world’s capital of snow sports. If you need

group hadn’t realised that the chalet also had an indoor coal sauna, a

another reason to go, take a look at the chalet video at www.onform-

full-size pool table, a dart board, and a snug with an Xbox and huge

magazine.com/chaletcerisier

ONF ORM 12


13 Q1 2013


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T SPORTS

he Freerider World Tour is a group of well-sponsored, pumped-up, big mountain athletes who are living the dream. I hate them. Well, I don’t hate them. But they help me work with Oxford to define the word envy. For someone that longs to do nothing but ski all day, the Freeride World Tour players are a constant source of irritation. At this point, I should give the tour its full name: The Swatch Freeride World Tour by the North Face. That’s right: Swatch and the North Faced ponied up a considerable amount of cash to be linked to this youthful and energetic sporting event. The 2013 tour takes in Revelstoke, Courmayeur, Chamonix, Kirkwood, Fieberbrunn and Verbier in three months. Six stops on two

continents puts the FWT firmly on par with any top-tier skiing and boarding event. This year, there is a reason to get up at 4am to hike up to the mountaintop: a 30% increase on last year’s prize fund making the total $360,000, which would give you a lifetime of après. The FWT is the pinnacle of top-level freeskiing and snowboarding. Big mountain riding is one of the most progressive and pure disciplines of skiing and snowboarding. How do you get into the FWT from the bottom of the run? The events have invitation-only rosters, but a qualifier allowed for athletes outside of the comp to compete in a one to four star level event to qualify for 2014. We spoke briefly to Nicolas Hale Woods, Freeride World Tour GM for Europe: “The union of the three tours is a major step in the sport’s growth. Not only at World Tour (FWT) level, but also at qualifying level, with events happening in New Zealand, North and South America,

Freeride WORLD TOUR Infinity and beyond

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ONF ORM 23


Photo: J Bernard

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24 Summer 2012


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Casey Lucas

and Europe, all counting for one unique Freeride World Qualifiers (FWQ) ranking, enabling riders from all active areas to qualify for next season’s event”. So what do the riders think of this merger: Josh Daiek (USA) (1st Freeskiing World Tour 2012): “This competition season on the FWT will truly be one for the record books. With a highly stacked field of ripping skiers, I will be stoked if I can put together a podium finish. I really look forward to making new friends and shredding new places around the world, especially the Alps! I am most excited for the Kirkwood event. There is nothing like competing at home with all your friends and family there to cheer you on and support you. I love it!”. “I think the fusion of the three tours is a huge step into the right direction. I’m sure that the tour will be much more appreciated all over the world. It may also push the level at the women’s and for sure will result in a tighter competition. Personally, I aim to reach the podium in the overall ranking. But mainly I want to progress and enjoy riding with the other athletes.” Eva Walkner (AUT) (2nd Freeride World Tour

Watching bodies hurtling down a cliff face on a carbon composite tray is something that doesn’t quite evoke the same feelings when watching at home on TV. 2012) Obviously we were only here for the Chamonix leg of this stomping event, but what a leg. Chamonix is the hometown of double Freeride World Tour Ski Champion Aurélien Ducroz and 2012 Freeride World Tour Snowboard Champion, Jonathan “Douds” Charlet.With the events held on the magnificent Hotel Face at the Brévent ski station, Chamonix was part of all five editions of the FWT so far. Having ascended to the needle at the top of Flégère and having built myself a suitably deep snow couch, we settled in to watch the riders come down the mountain in the distance. Whilst we were all excited to see the runs, we were more eager to see Lib Tech team rider, James Stentiford, who was to set the FWT course first thing that morning for the other riders. My companion, David Minns, knew James from their days skating in Cali and James had inadvertently been sat next to me on the plane. Thus we acquired James at the airport and gave him a lift into Chamonix. Watching bodies hurtling down a cliff face on a carbon composite tray is something that doesn’t quite evoke the same feelings when watching at home on TV. Being sat there at the top of the run, watching the various helicopters buzz around getting the best angles was quite

the spectacle. As the well-paid athletes put their lives in danger for a six-figure sponsorship deal whilst doing their 3 minute run, I was suddenly at peace. Not because I doubted my adrenalin-junkie status to do it, but because I was dammed if I was getting up at 0400hrs to climb a mountain. The FWT video can be seen at www.onformmagazine.com/fwt

ONF ORM 20


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T R AV E L : C H A M O N I X

Stephane Lagarde

S

tephane Lagarde’s Ecorider ski school is the first of it’s kind. So many celebrities from the sporting world stake claim to an environmental policy, some even go so far as to squeeze themselves into a Prius. A Prius that tends to be waiting from them on the tarmac at the private airfield when they land in their G5. Stephane is an eco-warrior of the most genuine kind, one that realises change must come from direct action. We spend a few days on and off-piste with the man in the shadow of the

mountain. Since hosting the 1928 Winter Olympics, Chamonix has gradually experienced a change from an agricultural existence to one based on tourism. The last published report lists the local population of the Chamonix village as around 10000, this swells significantly to 60’000 during ski season and in the summer it reaches 100’000. Chamonix is the third most visited natural site in the world according to the Chamonix Tourist Office. Stephane Lagarde is a man that has seen great fame and one would assume fortune during his career as a professional skier. Like most pro sportsmen when you have achieved your goals, conquered every event, won every medal and mated every groupie, it’s time to think about what you want to do once you exit the circuit. Rather than establish a sudo luxury hotel, Stephane has established an international Ski and Snowboard school near his home in the Chamonix Valley. Stephane’s school offers ski and snowboard lessons for beginners,

23 Q1 2013

intermediate and experts with bespoke, personalised tutoring from a state qualified instructor. As Chamonix is the centre of the universe when it comes to off-piste and free-ride skiing, they also offer access to the fresh powder with high-mountain guides. No ones surprised that taking lessons from an ex-professional skier is likely to generate pretty top quality results in style and technique. So apart from avoiding the flights back and forth to Paris in the G5, how is Stephane and the team giving mother earth a proverbial piggy back? In 2008-2009, Stephane produced the industries first carbon usage assessment in order to establish a carbon offset program. His report showed that he had generated a staggering 32 tons over the space of four months, three times that of an average Joe. Having checked his pockets and finding no additional carbon had accidentally been collected, he set to work developing Ecorider’s program. This required the development of bespoke team ski outfits made from recycled materials, the usage of public transport, Parc Test Dynastar skis made locally in the Rhone-Alpes and more eco friendly equipment care such as ski wax without petro chemicals. Ecorider offsets its incompressible emissions by taking part in the reforestation project called Alto Huayabamba in the Peruvian Amazon. Stephane has also gone as far as to establish partnerships with local hotels with eco principals in order to offer full eco trips: “We’re talking genuine “eco” stays, including ski or snowboarding lessons as well as local product and organic wine tastings,” clarifies Stéphane. “Those companies that come to us, tend to be companies that are already aware of environmental problems. And when there’s a choice between two suppliers, they’ll go for the more eco-friendly The LoftEcorider at night is the only ski school of this type in the French Alps one”.


(probably the only one in Europe), finding that foreign clients seem to be more open to the environmental issues. “Foreign clients, mostly English-speaking, make up 70% of our clientele,” adds Stéphane. We joined Stephane on a two day excursion taking in Les Houches and Brévent-Flégère with the team. We are a fairly mixed group of Snowboarders and skiers so Stephane brought along, Flo, his clearly well skilled snowboard team leader. We spent hours working on our technique and style, some of the team of course being stuborn were consistent in vocalising thier ‘already perfectly fine’ style. ‘I like going fast and straight’. Stephane is a born leader however and was great at finding the exact runs we needed for the shoot later in the afternoon. Halfway through our first day we were joined by Hal from Ecorider who was there to capture the action from the air with his aerial drone. The video can be seen at www.onformmagazine.com/ecorider if anyone would like to sample the trips abounding visual delights. I vividly remember the morning of the trip, we had crossed a blue run and i was skiing behind Stephane and leading the 9 strong pack. An older gnetleman came slowly out of the thick forest above us to the left and very slowly, in the way that the elderly do, came across my path. I edged further and further toward the right of the narrow path to the inevitable fall. Having flown off the path and down into marshmallow powder, i was right as rain. The older gentleman apologised, i haled myself back up the slope and nothing more was said. Well, i say nothing more, the team spent a good half an hour laughing hysterically and lamenting each other for not filming the episode. It was only once i was back in the chair lift that i was able to reach for my colleagues flask of single malt. A good single malt will cure almost anything. With the weather closing in and the sun light fading, we took the final run down to the Kitch Inn. Having almost mastered the ability of skiing backward, i was keen to get a little practise in whilst with world class professionals. This served as my falling down phase.

But undeterred i tried again and again to get the technique down. I have heard many people say that once they reach a certain skill base of skiing and boarding they just don’t need lessons anymore. I think to become great at any sport you must practise and taking tutelage from a professional makes perfect sense. You pick up bad habits when you ski with groups and you don’t focus on form. See what i did there. Your form should be come a natural extension of you and take little consideration on-piste once you have mastered it. As i sat outside the Kitch Inn with a pint of Grimbergen and downed three rather excellent Ski Sundae shots, i started thinking about whether the towns people gave

“Supercool, Supernice” a thought to the environment on a day to day basis. Chamonix is now a modern town, despite retaining it’s rustic Alpine Charm. It’s metamorphose is largely down to the Mont Blanc Tunnel which was opened in 1965 and was originally intended to increase tourism and regional trade. The issue in town is simply referred to as ‘the trucks’. Companies opt to use HGV vehicles taking the faster route through the valley rather than the more costly rail option. Whilst the glaciers are receding, somewhat inline with existing and considered amounts, it is clear that the people of Chamonix speak with one voice when it comes to the environment, of course that voice is largely English but we will forgive that. It is refreshing to meet Stéphane and his team, a man that is clearly on the side of environmental righteousness that doesn’t want to see his precious valley destroyed in a generation. If you are travelling to the Chamonix Valley, i urge you to look up Stéphane and his team. Flegere Lift

ONF ORM 24


Stephane and Flo, effortless cool

David Minns Dropping in

Pose for the cameras gents

The team ascending for antoher run

Hal from Aerial Nomad

Freshly Run Piste

The final drop-in back to town

25 Q1 2013


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Noisette

O

ne of the first things that you will need to consider when booking a snowboarding or skiing holiday is whether you want to stay in catered or self catered ski chalet. The majority of skiers prefer the convenience of catered ski chalets — and you’re in luck, because Chalet Cerisier has one of the best caterers in town. Perhaps you need to feed hungry mouths for a week. Perhaps you are celebrating and want a formal dinner party, complete with canapés and fresh cakes. Either way, Jo at Noisette can do much it all. “I always wanted to be a chef,” she reflects, “even when I was at school. I went to university to study hospitality and spent a lot of time in my first year in catering. I graduated and headed straight for London to work as an event manager organising banquets, conferences and events. After 9 years, I decided that I wanted to get back into the cooking side of things and that my heart was really yearning for something more creative. I headed for Chamonix to escape the rat race — and four years later, here I am”.

27 Q1 2013

Jo from Noisette catering joins the team to create an evening of delightful dishes.

Having spent the afternoon on-piste, with Stephane and his team at Ecorider filming, the team were in no mood to cook (mind you, when are they?). Jo and her culinary creatives spending a night with us was well-earned. As the canapés started arriving from the kitchen — beef tataki rolls, Thai prawn spoons, crab and avocado blinis — I keeping an eye out for something very specific. A few months earlier, I had gone to my local market to ask for the specific ingredients for a croque monsieur. The chap behind the counter, whilst knowledgeable, asked “Isn’t it a glorified cheese toastie?” I assume that somewhere down the line, he had been dropped on his head. No sooner had he said this, his on-site chef quickly corrected him. “It’s actually quite an art form, Daniel”. I had asked Jo if she could whip up some miniature croque monsieurs for us. And they were epic, despite not being enough to supply me for a year. So, having glutinously dived our way through prosciutto and rocket rolls, parmesan and poppy seed lollipops — and a whole host of other miniature delicacies — we were called to the table. There were ten of us in all. The Cerisier kitchen is a good size and prepared for large parties. We started with scallops — hard to fault


really. Talk about winning everyone round in one dish. Having watched Jo in the kitchen with some seriously chunky lamb shanks and winter veg, I knew we were all in for a hearty meal. As we tucked into our second round of wine (also collected to accompany the meal by Jo and her team) we fell back into our sedated food bliss as the main dish was called. The lamb shank was served in a rich red wine gravy, with lardons and mushrooms, on a bed of winter vegetables and mustard mash potato. It was as filling and tasty as it was well-presented; worthy for a team of hungry mouths or even a black tie affair. Jo has a pretty extensive menu to choose from, but is also able to cater for any special requests. The dessert was a trifecta of winners: a peppermint and pistachio meringue; a chocolate truffle; and a banana tarte-tatin. Cue the silence and mastication. Whether it ‘s a birthday or bar mitzvah — whatever the occasion — we have no doubt that Jo would cook up an impressive banquet.

ONF ORM 28


T R AV E L : L O C A L C H X

Local CHX ONF ORM talks with Adrian McCourt, MD of Watkins Superyachts, to find out why yacht security is more important than ever.

C

ontinuing our local recommendations in Chamonix, if you need boots, boards, poles, skis or tea from China, talk to Ross and Angus at Local CHX. Based in the valley, across the courtyard from the Monkey Bar, Local CHX are working to make the hiring process more streamlined. We all know that the most economic and simple way to gear up for your ski trip is minus the boot and board bag and or ski holder. However, are you sacrificing comfort in the form of your own boots for convenience. Local CHX don’t think so. “At Local CHX we pride ourselves on our standard of equipment. Unlike other rental shops we try and test our equipment and choose skis and boards that best suit our clients needs. If we wouldn’t ride it, we don’t stock it.” If like me you have arrived at the resort of choice and want to head straight up the slopes, you will be reminded of the hassle involved before hand when hiring gear. it usually doesn’t take that long but it takes long enough and an hour sat trying on boots is an hour not on-piste. In essence Local CHX is based around one simple idea, tak29 Q1 2013

ing the hassle out of hire, you tell them what you want, they deliver it to you and collect it when your finished. Simple. No busy rental shops filled with ski brats and no carrying equipment around. They are also really nice guys to boot.

They carry four levels of skis and two of boards: Skis come in : • Beginner • Intermediate • Advanced • Freeride / Off-Piste Boards come in : • Beginner / Int. • Int. / Advanced

We work with our clients in our online forum to establish what equipment they need before they even touch down. I have to say that the guys at Local CHX were great, they even serviced the teams boards whilst we were bring fitted and to have your skis waiting for you and not have to worry about returning them, a stroke of genius.


ONF ORM 30


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27/12/2012 10:14


A

T R AV E L : K I T S C H I N N s we came down the home run in Les Houches, the shinning beacon of hope — a cold beer — couldn’t be far away. Behind the Bellevue cable car in Les Houches lies the Kitsch Inn.

The Kitsch Inn opened in 2012 by husband and wife team Kate and Paul. It ticks all boxes: live music, jugs of beer (including my favourite tipple, Aflegem), a 70s print saucepan, the same as my mother once owned, filled with retro chocolate bars like Double Deckers and Curly Wurlys, and the piece de resistance, whacky shots served in miniature, edible ice cream cones topped with cream. And they were so nice! Like the people that you want to attend every dinner party and social gatherings. That effortlessly cool couple that people always reference. Enough of the hero worship. Did I mention they play instruments too? The Kitsch Inn is not only good at après ski, it also offers a dining room (a kitsch one, obviously) where you can enjoy a sit-down meal, throw a birthday party, or even tinker on the ivories. Our very own Jason Shankey obliged us a number or two, whilst we provided the (out-of-tune) singing! Hey Jude! Perhaps the one thing that we contemplated thieving was a shot holder

KITSCH

INN

made from old vinyl with shot holes bored into them: inspired. The outside ice bar also provides a bang-tidy place to drink your beverage and watch the sun set over the mountains. The idea behind the venue is to make your après a home from home. The devil is in the detail — from the 80s phones to the tableware, the place breathes kitsch. No doubt the place will garner a cult-like following soon, with wave after wave of seasonaires and 2.4 children families boring friends and families about ‘that night at the Kitsch Inn’. And that is the point: Les Houches is as child-friendly as it is dogfriendly. I’m not drawing any comparisons here people, before the WI get involved. The Kitsch Inn is very family-orientated when it needs to be, and during the summer, it’s set in an enviable large green space. Add to that the kids’ menu, highchairs, and LEGO! Yes, a host of children’s books and wooden toys, but mainly LEGO! It is an inspired place. I have mentioned the team striking up a chord already, but that is what the piano and acoustic guitar are there for. Random jam sessions are actively encouraged, as are ear plugs when our team sing. Not Sir David Minns and Jason Shankey, of course — two men who will only play when lubricated. The Kitsch Inn has live music every night from 4pm to 6:30pm. Before getting hooked off stage, I’d better talk about the bar! It boasts six beers on tap: Kronenbourg, Carlsberg, Grimbergen, Guinness, Kilkenny and Applefrost Cider. Now I’m all for trying the region’s weird and wonderful hop creations, but some amongst us were Irish, so a Guinness venue was demanded. The Kitsch Inn is a great place to après — definitely one of the best in Les Houches.


The last ebb of sun goes over the mountain

David and Rob: ‘Hey Jude’

Family Friendly center of the universe

A rather excellent back bar selection

33 Q1 2013

Shots were quite the occastion at the Kitsch Inn


The view from the run down to the Kitsch Inn

Breakfast, check, waffles, check

Apres your heart out at the ice bar

Head on!

ONF ORM 34


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17/10/2012 14:23


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17/10/2012 14:23 25/05/2012 12:37


all service, all smiles, all holiday

ONFORM Chamonix  

With all the recessionary doomand gloom at the moment, a quickescape to the mountains was greatlyappreciated. Considering the usualdrama fro...

ONFORM Chamonix  

With all the recessionary doomand gloom at the moment, a quickescape to the mountains was greatlyappreciated. Considering the usualdrama fro...

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