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Having invested in the chalet we spent the first year travelling every weekend from London and all the school holidays and in year 2, I decided to spend the whole of the winter term with the children in the chalet.
My eldest two kids who were 6 and 8 attended the local French school and joined the local ski club and my youngest child who was only 1 went to the nursery a couple of mornings and was at home.
It was a great opportunity for me to improve my French and we enjoyed it so much that we carried on doing that for the following 5 years and my eldest 2 kids both did a lot of competitive ski racing.
By the time we spent our last winter in Avoriaz in 2005, I had 4 kids all ski-ing and going to school in there for one term out of 3 per year. During my penultimate ski season in Avoriaz in 2004 I met Philip, who was standing in for a colleague as a Ski Club of Great Britain rep, so we both actually met ski-ing in Avoriaz in 2004. Having spent several winters in Avoriaz, I was fairly familiar with the landscape and lift systems and I was generally guiding Philip and his group around what is a vast area of over 650km of pistes and stopped him from getting lost on several occasions!
When my eldest son turned 13, it was getting too difficult for him to miss a whole term of UK school and I decided to return to the UK full time, which meant my chalet was empty in the winter outside of school holidays and I started renting it to cover the costs. This went very well and I soon built up a loyal following. Philip bought an apartment and we gutted and refurbished it and started letting them both. Word of mouth led us to have the 6 properties that we have today.
I chose Avoriaz because it really is the best ski resort I know for families, it is very accessible being only 1 ½ hours from Geneva airport, is on the direct train from Paris and is very snow sure. It actually has the highest annual snow fall in the whole of France, despite it not being the highest resort, because of its proximity to the Mont Blanc. The business was born out of Philip and I each having a property to let and having discovered that the local
The 2018/19 season will be the 10th year for Avoriaz Chalets. Philip and I spend each winer season in resort where we personally get and greet guests and support them during their stay. We pride ourselves on our cleanliness and maintenance and spend a lot of time in managing these aspects. We also offer transfers, lift passes, ski hire and ski school reservations, restaurant bookings etc and we are quite busy running the admin side of the bookings.
We also get out to ski a good percentage of the time ourselves. About 3 years ago we joined the Kandahar ski club and have since got involved in some ski racing ourselves and we travel to other ski resorts during the winter too.
Aside to spending the whole winter season in Avoriaz, we used to send large chunks of the closed season there too, as all of the 6 properties we have needed completely gutting and refurbishing, which has been a slowing painful process in France!
Initially we used to open our properties in the summer season (July and August) but we found that bookings and rents were much less and after 5 months 24×7 in Avoriaz, we were keen to have a different activity in the summer. We no longer open in the summer and are purely a ski chalet operator.
Aside from being keen skiers, we are also keen sailors and enjoy coastal cruising, which we have done for the past 12 years with our children. We have had a boat in the Sunsail programme and have managed to sail all over the world from the Med to the Caribbean and from Tahiti to Australia. Up until 2 years ago, when we weren’t running Avoriaz Chalets or sailing, we lived in Berkhamsted in Herts where our 4 kids went to school.
In 2016, with our eldest 2 at university and feeling we needed a change form the UK, we upped sticks and moved to Phuket in Thailand where the 2 youngest boys attended the British International School. There is a large expat community in Phuket and a lot of sport and fitness on offer, aside from beautiful beaches, great sailing and an amazing climate, all of which we fell in love with and have since decided to spend a portion of our non-ski year on this magical island where we are actively involved in swimming, cycling, running and going to the gym in addition to supporting a number of charities and various events at the British International School.
I am also learning to speak, read and write Thai. We hope in the future to have a Thai villa to add to our rental collection.
Out of the actual ski season, with Avoriaz Chalets being an internet based business, we can actually be based anywhere, so we move around during that time between Phuket and Europe and now that 3 of our kids have left school, with just one left in the sixth form, we like to take the opportunity to travel and see new places.17px; text-align: center; background-color: #ffffff;”>
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