The snow storm that fell upon us a few weeks ago made me see how hungry Israelis are for a snow vacation. Every snowy centimeter in our north was covered with Israelis playing in the snow.
A ski vacation had always been a vacation for the rich. Well, I found out that it isn't so anymore.
I was invited by Club Med for a few days in their French Alps Club in Valmorel (I know, I know. I suffer for public interest. I should get a medal).
These few days were a small taste of what a Club Med vacation is all about, and of course, a taste of the amazing resort it's located in, Valmorel.
I’d like to share with you several points I have been thinking about while suffering for you:
The first is that Club Med is not that as expensive as I have thought all these years. It seems expensive because it has a high price tag, but when you think about it, the price includes everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. From the moment you land, until the moment you check in for your flight back home, you are under Club Med's care. Your wallet is locked in the room’s safe, and you are fully and completely on vacation. That means a few important things:
No need to worry. Once you have booked the vacation, everything is planned and clear for all family members, including the entertainment.
No need to waste your time and money on restaurants. At Club Med Valmorel, they have huge buffets, with different menus each day.
No need to buy or pay for main activities. Club Med Valmorel has three main activities included in their snow package – ski, snowboarding (of course) and snow hiking (not climbing, don't worry).
No need to buy a local ski pass. It's included. The Grand Domain ski area lies between 1,250 and 2,550 meters high. Within the 150km of ski runs there are eight black runs, 17 red, 38 blue and 22 green runs (levels of ski slopes). Also, there is a free bus in the valley, so you can just hop on and enjoy the area.
No need to rent a car (and gasoline, GPS, insurance etc.) Club Med will pick you up at the airport, and bring you back to the airport.
No need to find ‘other people’. There are snow activity groups meeting each morning and afternoon, with a local expert guide and instructor, so you are always part of a group. You could, of course, choose to be alone, and go out by yourself or with your friends to ski. The Valmorel Club Med is a 'ski in – ski out' resort, meaning that you can start your snow activity as soon as you leave the hotel doors. No need to drive or ride anywhere.
No need to buy snacks, food or drinks. Club Med is all inclusive, all day long. The Valmorel Club Med is large and luxurious, so there are many spots you can get a snack and a hot drink or an alcoholic drink, and many times – a hot alcoholic drink (hot wine after skiing is a must!).
Everything is so well planned and taken care of, that you can really rest and enjoy your vacation.
So when adding all these extra costs, and the fact that you don't have ANYTHING to worry about the whole week, you will find that many times, the Valmorel Club Med vacation is even cheaper than when planning your own Alps ski vacation.
While in Club Med, you can join a group of skiers at your own level (starting from first time skiers, and up to tournament level skiers). There are expert instructors with every group, who give you great technical help which pushes your ski level higher.
Don't worry if you have never skied before, the beginner group instructors have a Zen-like level of patience.
The only thing you need to plan before is your ski equipment (you can rent it at the club or in the town, or bring it with you from home).
I would recommend, if you can, to get your basic lessons here in Israel (any skimulator or at the Hermon), so you would get a chance to ski and enjoy the valley, not having to concentrate only on learning how to ski.
Club Med Valmorel is located in Valmorel Valley, France, close to the Italian and Swiss borders. The resort overlooks the valley at 1460 meters high. The resort itself is 4 tridents (Club Med does not do "stars", they have "tridents"), but they do have a small area above the resort which has 5 trident villas, where you get private service.
Club Med Valmorel has an amazing spa, something you will really enjoy after a day of snow activity. They even have an outdoor Jacuzzi.
Club Med Valmorel has clubs and activities for teens, kids and babies (4 months old and above). The kids' activities are very well organized, so you really have nothing to worry about (they also learn how to ski).
You can find out much more on their Hebrew website – all that is included (a lot), and what is not (very little): www.clubmed.co.il/The writer was a guest of Club Med .