It’s my first morning on the slopes at La Rosière, a relatively little-known French resort nudged up against the Italian border near Bourg-Saint-Maurice, and I’ve never seen so much snow.

Heavy, unseasonal dumps during October and November have continued to pile up until our arrival in early January, translating into what I assume is one of the best ski seasons in years. Turns out I’m wrong.

“La Rosière is known for having the greatest volume of snow in France,” shrugs Alexandra, my ski guide who grew up close to these slopes in the Tarentaise Valley, directly opposite the higher profile Les Arcs. Clearly, skiing on bucketloads of snow is normal in these parts.

This is my idea of a ski holiday. Unlike Australian resorts, there’s no need for us to worry about whether there will be enough snow to ski on. Ten centimetres fell overnight, adding to a summit base layer that’s already topping three metres. Then there’s our accommodation in Club Med’s Exclusive Collection Space that’s attached to the main 4-Trident resort building, but inside its own wing.

“It’s like a little cocoon inside the village,” says Manuel Bourjac, our Guadeloupean Exclusive Collection Space Manager.

“You can have your own space and enjoy its personalised service, but still feel the ambience and energy and the party atmosphere of the village. This is a good thing.”

You don’t need to tell me that. Or my teenage son, who is like a kid in a candy store upon entering our suite. After five weeks of travelling around Europe, often sleeping in a foldout bed close to his parents, he’s especially chuffed to have his own bedroom – one that’s not an afterthought.

Apart from the obvious king-sized bed that he, unusually, can’t wait to fall asleep in, his room has its own TV, with a solid selection of movies – always a winner. Like ours, his balcony looks out across powdery slopes towards a row of jagged, snow-covered mountains. For some unexplained reason, his bathroom is bigger than ours and it comes attached to a walk-in wardrobe in which his two pairs of shoes are positively dwarfed.

Separating the two bedrooms is a spacious living area with floor-to-ceiling windows to take in those stupendous alpine vistas. There’s a fridge stocked with beers, soft drinks and juices that we can dip into any time we like without fear of maxing out the credit card when the time comes to pay the bill. And on top of that, it barely looks like it’s been lived in.

“You are just the second family to stay here. We only opened two weeks ago,” admits Bourjac. The opening date was December 17, 2023.

La Rosiere winter ski resort in the Espace San Bernardo ski area. Photo credit: Mark Daffey

La Rosière is of one of 10 ski resorts (one each in Canada and Japan, the rest in France) with Exclusive Collection experiences, upping the ante in the market’s luxury sector by combining the usual all-inclusive, family-friendly Club Med treatment with additional touches like dedicated check-in desks, private lounges, concierges, ski valets, evening turn-down service, in-suite breakfast dining and separate Jacuzzis.

The only part missing in the all inclusive price is ski hire, though it can be arranged at additional cost.

“A lot of guests prefer to bring their own,” explains Manuel. For anything else, you can pack your wallet away.

Over the following two days, my wife and I join a cosmopolitan assembly of similarly-skilled skiers under Alexandra’s ever-vigilant tutelage. Finn joins up with a mob of teenage hotshots who tear down black diamond moguls, seeking jumps and untouched powder that many of us older folks largely avoid. From being an intermediate-level skier at best, there’s nothing he won’t go down by the week’s end.

The pampered hijinks even manages to ramp up a notch when we transfer to Club Med’s Grand Massif Samoëns Morillon for the final four days before we fly back home to Australia. We’re booked into a private chalet this time.

It’s walking distance from the main resort hub but far enough removed to feel less inclined to want to join the punters doing Club Med’s signature ‘Crazy Signs’ dance move each night.

Instead, we’re happier hanging out in our cosy duplex with the fire roaring while we watch a movie or order an in-house meal from a nightly set menu.

Again, there’s no shortage of snow. And the ski terrain here is arguably more spectacular and varied, spread over five interlinked resorts a stone’s throw from Mont Blanc. Combined, 62 lifts service 139 ski runs on the edge of the Saix Plateau.

Like La Rosière, the resort is built above the village, next to the slopes, providing ski-in ski-out convenience that we take advantage of over successively glorious sunny days. The problem is: we don’t want it to end.

*Mark Daffey travelled as a guest of Club Med to La Rosiere and Grand Massif. 

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