Matt Solomons reflects on a week of ski, snow and sleepless nights in the breath-taking Val Thorens.
While most Falmouth and Exeter students headed home for Christmas, FUSC embarked on the long journey to the French Alps for another trip to the largest ski resort in Europe: Val Thorens in the world renowned ‘Les 3 Vallees’, and what a week it was!
Travelling on the coach for 24 hours was certainly a test of endurance, but once we finally reached the entrance to the ‘Temples des Soleil’ accommodation, we were already itching to get on our skis and hit the slopes!
Before that, however, our arrival called for a night of partying in the vibrant Val Thorens clubs and bars complete with our very own FUSC T-shirts. With other universities, such as Royal Holloway and Southampton Solent, also in the resort, the town was quickly taken over by what seemed like an unlimited supply of students having the time of their lives in the highest clubs in Europe. Salloon, Klub Summit and my personal favourite, Malaysia (a huge underground club hidden under what looks like a small chalet), provided great atmospheres and each felt completely unique from each other, not to mention the nightlife we have here in Falmouth!
The Val Thorens scene also attracted some famous faces; on the way out of Malaysia I was shocked to meet (and shake hands with) Olympic Gold medallist Greg Rutherford and Strictly Come Dancing star, Judge Rinder, capping off a great first night and setting the mood for the week ahead.
Indeed, the real reason we were in Val Thorens was of course to ski! With bluebird skies throughout the week, conditions couldn’t have been better to carve down the hundred-plus runs Val Thorens has to offer. Even with the local ski pass, I found that there was so much to explore in the resort; it felt like a never-ending playground where I could choose to enjoy a leisurely ski along a wide blue slope savouring the breath-taking views or decide to challenge myself with steep reds and mogul-ridden blacks.
Speaking of the views, Val Thorens provides some truly unbelievable vistas when you venture upwards to its snow-capped peaks. There’s not many places where you can eat lunch 3000m above sea-level with Mont Blanc dominating the sky-line in the distance. It can only be described as looking at a postcard, except what you’re seeing is really there and you get to ski down it!
On the way down, most ski days would end with a little something called ‘apres-ski’. I’d not heard of it before coming on the trip, but I certainly know what is now! In a nut-shell think: drink, live DJ sets and dancing on the tables! Alternating between Val Thorens’ biggest mountain bars, 360 Bar and Folie Douce (AKA Fal-ie Douce), FUSC were the life of the party making ski boots look like the ideal footwear to cut some shapes! The way back to accommodation after apres-ski was interesting to say the least, but with snowmobiles fit with bright red and green antennas guiding us down the pitch-black slopes, we all made it back safe each day.
The evenings brought much needed rest and those who bought the evening meal pack were treated with a daily main course meal served from Le Grange restaurant situated in the hotel. Some of the food was the best I’ve ever tasted, especially after a long day of skiing, and so if you’re planning to go next year, this deal is definitely worth considering!
With our batteries recharged, it was time to hit the town once again and each night required a different theme of fancy dress. There were some creative Bright and Tight, and Animal themed costumes on display with it being undoubtedly clear who was representing FUSC. But perhaps it was no clearer than on the last night, as we all wore a plain white t-shirt with the words ‘FUSC Medium White T-shirt’ plastered on the back, complete with some artistic additions courtesy of Sharpie markers! The FUSC presence was felt across the resort each and every night into the early hours of the morning and we still managed to get up hours later to hit the slopes once again!
We had an unbelievable time in Val Thorens and this was all thanks to the FUSC Committee and Wasteland Ski, who organised an unforgettable trip and made sure we were all safe on the pistes and in the clubs. On behalf of everyone who came, I would like to say thank you for making this happen and here’s to hoping that it’ll continue for years to come!
Want to find out how you can bag a place on next year’s ski trip? Follow FUSC on Facebook for updates throughout the year!