Alpine Adventures
Embarking on an All-Inclusive Ski Vacation

Prepared to celebrate my birthday with my fiancé somewhere new, the journey to our all-inclusive ski getaway on the breathtaking slopes of the French Alps was full of excitement and anticipation. Our flights ran on-time and we experienced a smooth layover in Amsterdam. We chose Lyon for our gateway to our alpine escapade, although I would recommend most travelers fly into Geneva if visiting any of the eleven Club Med ski resorts in France. The Lyon airport is small and customs was smooth, but the Geneva airport is closer to most Alps destinations. Our drive in particular was quite lengthy due to a farmer’s protest shutting down the main highway. Still, it was an exciting drive as we climbed up the mountains and into the Alps.

We experienced a warm welcome at the all-inclusive Club Med Valmorel with a smooth check in process and prompt luggage delivery to our room. The room had an intriguing but satisfying layout, with the comfortable king-sized bed facing the balcony for prime views of the slopes. The room also featured both a specious bathroom and closet and we received excellent room service throughout our stay. Similar to my stay at the Club Med Punta Cana, I was a little stumped by the Euro-style light switches but enjoyed the keyless entry and found the resort overall to be more updated and luxurious than the Punta Cana resort. I am also happy to report we found larger and more satisfying buffets, as well as a more updated approach to dining reservations, which could be made easily via the Club Med app.

Pro Tip:

If you're a frequent traveler use the airport currency exchange to change your leftover foreign currency into your next destination's currency. Cash-to-cash transactions are fee-free!

Time to Hit the Slopes!

Equipping ourselves for the slopes was a breeze, we received our lift passes, which are always included at Club Med, at check in and the ski rental and lockers are conveniently located within the hotel. Blake’s snowboard was delivered to our designated locker for the weekend and I was quickly set up with my ski rentals after our arrival in anticipation of an early start the following morning. On the other side of the locker doors the slopes were nothing short of spectacular—wide open expanses of snow beckoning us to explore the expansive mountain runs. 


For all the planning I do for my clients I did not prepare us well for what we would find skiing European slopes, and learning was quite the adventure. First we learned what we thought was the end of our resort access was not in the slightest, and we had access to seemingly never ending runs extending into neighboring resorts. If you could ski to it, the Club Med lift pass would get you back up it. While there was not an abundance of maps, Valmorel proved to be full of blue runs that were easy to navigate and explore. We also learned that there are red runs in Europe, which are reported to be between a blue and a black slope in terms of difficulty. In my opinion, after a failed personal attempt to tackle a red, I will forever consider them equally as difficult as black runs. If you’re up for black runs though, like Blake is, I’m sure they’re great. 

Evenings at Club Med were a celebration of camaraderie and entertainment. Early in the evening the kids participating in the kids club (also included at all Club Meds!) put on a captivating performance, and later in the evening the adults participated in karaoke night in the lounge. 

Exploring Lyon and the Traboules

From one excellent resort to another luxurious hotel, we were thoroughly impressed with the InterContinental Lyon. Located along the scenic Rhone, just a stone's throw from Old Town, the attentive concierge service, luxurious amenities, and breathtaking historic dome at the bar made it a stay to remember.

With only half a day and one Sunday night to explore the third largest city in France, we wasted no time upon arrival. First we stumbled upon a Farmer's Market right on the Rhone River full of local produce, cheese, and meats. It was with great difficulty that I restrained from sneaking some cheese back to the States. Despite my lack of planning, I was able to secure us a last minute e-bike tour of Lyon and it was absolutely fantastic! Our guide, Luz, was great and we marveled at landmarks such as the Basilica and learned about the city's rich silk-making heritage and traboules. I was surprisingly grateful for the e-bike (it was my first time on one) as we climbed some steep hills to get some of the best views of the city - both the popular spots and some of the off-the-beaten-path spots. Luz was very knowledgeable and we learned more than expected about the history of France. Heading to Lyon? Check out the tour here!

I mention it was a Sunday because while in the US we experience some restricted business hours on Sundays, it is much more prevalent in Europe. In this case, it was about 6pm after our tour and we were discussing grabbing a quick bite before freshening up at the hotel and then indulging in a traditional Bouchon mean when it, thankfully, occurred to me that there may very well not be anywhere open by that time. Well, for starters, many of the highly recommended spots are closed both Sundays and Mondays and additionally, most places did absolutely start shutting down at 8pm. So, pro tip, visit Lyon sometime Tuesday through Saturday for the most dining options, and definitely try some Bouchon while you're there!

Fun Fact:

Traboules emerged in the 4th century from a need for shortcuts to collect water in Lyon, later proved crucial in transporting silk to merchants on the river and most recently were vital to the success of the resistance in protecting Lyon during WWII.

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