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Continuing the ChaletPro series of interviews with luxury ski chalet owners across the world, this time we’ve spoken to Chris McCormack, owner of The Edge chalet in Morzine France. Our mouths are still watering from the thought of roast pork belly served at the chalet on Sundays, and jumping into the hot tub (with a view) and sauna after a hard day on the slopes.  Chris also divulges some of Morzine’s best kept secrets for both the summer and winter months – including hidden ski runs to watch out for, the best cup of coffee and slice of cake in the resort, and where to find a very indulgent 1m pitcher of beer!  Sounds good to us, better book quick as their customers are so well looked after they return to the chalet year after year.

The Edge Ski Chalet Morzine

What made you want to be a chalet owner?
I lived in the Swiss Alps from the ages of about 3 to 11, so I’ve had skiing and snowboarding in the blood for a long time! Since then though, I didn’t get to ski that much until quitting the day job to come out to Morzine for a season in 03/04. It was around then that I realised I wanted to spend a lot more time here and a lot less time at a desk in London, and also started me thinking about the practicalities of exactly how to do that.

What do you love most about being in the chalet business?
Obviously being out in the mountains all year round (or at least about half the year as is the case for me for the next few years) is amazing, but also having built the business from scratch is really satisfying too. We built the chalet from the ground up – we came up with the design along with our architect, so it really is just about perfect for how we wanted to run the business. Everything is accessible, all the rooms are en suite, the hot tub and the sauna were designed in from the outset – it all just works. We’re really proud of it, which means we’re keen to back that up with the best service we possibly can, and I think that makes a huge difference too – our guests always comment on it & coming into our second season, we have a lot of repeat bookings which back that up. The satisfaction of seeing people go away at the end of the week satisfied customers is probably the best thing for me.

The Edge Ski Chalet Hot Tub

What do think people enjoy most about staying in your chalet?
The thing people comment on the most is the food. Before the 08/09 season, Lindsay had done a bit of catering for groups, but nothing on the scale and relentless timetable that the chalet demands. But she is a real foodie, so she puts in time and effort to make sure everything is just right. In fact, the most common complaint we get is that guests leave with a few extra pounds than they came with, despite skiing all day every day!

What is your favourite dish on the chalet’s menu?
This is a toughie. I actually spent almost the whole season trying not to eat the food we serve to the guests – it’s fine for a week, but eating food that rich every night for five months can’t be good for you! Anyway, all three of us working at the chalet were remarkably unsuccessful at resisting! For me, it still depends on what kind of mood I’m in as to whether I plump for the Boeuf Bourguignon or the Roast belly of pork on Sunday as my fave.

What mountain activities can guests look forward to in the summer if they stay with you?
Morzine has lots to offer, but above all it’s huge for mountain biking – most of our bookings this summer have been mountain bikers. The resort has something like 650km of marked trails, 25 ski lifts adapted for bikes running, 10 permanent downhill runs and 4 bike parks. It’s the biggest resort in Europe for mountain bikers.

The area is also big on golf, there is an 18 hole course in the neighbouring Les Gets and a 9 hole course up in Avoriaz at 1800m. We’re also close to Evian, where they hold the Evian Masters – one of the biggest golfing events in France.

In addition though, you can go hill walking, paragliding, kayaking/white water rafting, canyoning, horse riding or climbing. There’s loads to do in summer! We’re also a registered ‘Multi-Pass’ vendor, which means we can sell the summer Portes du Soleil pass at a discounted price to our guests. It gives access to all the lifts, swimming pools, tennis courts and just about anything else that’s paid-for in the Portes du Soleil.

Fluffy Towels at The Edge Chalet, Morzine

What’s your favourite run in the resort, is it a gentle tree-lined blue or a 20ft vertical cliff drop?
Personally, I go for the bigger, faster runs. I actually found an amazing red run in La Chapelle this year that I’d never seen before (despite doing a season here previously). It’s the red run off the Braitaz chair. The area is just so big that there are still gems like that hidden away in the outer regions that most people will never see. Luckily, we provide our guests with a day’s guiding! If you’re lucky enough to be in Morzine for a big powder day, then the interlinked nature of the resort means that there is a lot of terrain accessible by lifts, it really is fantastic.

For the caffeine-addicted, pizza munching, pint guzzling guests among us, can you share your insider knowledge on the best places to find each of these in the resort?

Best coffee?
Monty’s. Great cakes and free wifi too.

Best pizza?
We always go to the place almost at the end of our road, Le Rocher. The Rocher Special pizza is the best, full of all the Haute-Savoie goodness like bacon, cream and Reblochon cheese that dieters the world over strive to avoid!

Best pint?
The Bhudda Bar. You can get a “Giraffe” there, like a pitcher but about 1m high with a stand & a tap at the bottom to serve your pints from. Why settle for just one pint?

What would be your top tip for someone visiting this resort?
Either get a guide or find someone who knows the area to take you around. It’s all just so big and so accessible that you will have a really hard time finding the best runs by yourself in just a week!

What is your dream ski holiday destination?
One day, I’d like to go skiing in the Himalayas, specifically a place called Gulmarg in Kashmir. It’s a real effort to get there, probably days of travelling from anywhere in the UK. A bit different to the 30-odd easyjet flights that come into Geneva every Saturday! It was a holiday resort back in colonial times, so it has a lot of history and character – and a character unlike anything you’d find in a ski resort Europe or America. And one of the highest gondolas in the world. The weather is supposed to be changeable, but on a good day amazing – and the slopes really quiet by European standards.

Skier or snowboarder? Well, we like the debate
Unusually, I actually do both. Moving out to the mountains, I was really surprised at how few people do actually do both – but I’m one of them! In truth though, I’m more of a snowboarder now. I started snowboarding in about 1989, back when you might on a busy day see one or two other snowboarders on the mountain. I also was mainly a snowboarder for most of my 20s, when I was a bit more cavalier about it all – and have the scars to show for it! Susie, who works at the chalet with us, did her first day on skis for about eight years this season (08/09 was her ninth winter season). When asked by the guests how she found it, her reply was “well, skiing’s easy.”

The Edge Chalet, Morzine France

Post written by chaletpro.com – search hundreds of luxury independent ski chalets in France, Switzerland, Austria and across the Alps to find your perfect mountain accommodation, for your perfect ski holiday.

There’s an air of mystery and excitement surrounding Steamboat Mountain Resort in Colorado. It might just be the best kept secret in skiing… the famous champagne powder, off-piste terrain found only in your dreams, the small and close-knit special community, the guy who supposedly studies tree leaves to accurately predict the weather conditions every day, the list goes on! Which of these are myths and which are reality? The resort is still very much unknown by Europeans – how many of us have been there and is Steamboat on our list of resorts to visit next year or the year after? For most of us – probably not. So what’s it really like and what are we missing?

To find out and be let in on the secret, the chaletpro.com team asked the guys at Moving Mountains Chalets, some of the most beautiful vacation rental homes and catered chalets in Steamboat Springs to give us the inside scoop on this special resort and their unique place within it. We may have just fallen in love with a new place to ski…

How long have you run your catered chalets in Steamboat?
We have been operating catered chalets in Steamboat since 1998. We started with one property and as the idea caught on we have grown to the point where we now offer over 20 chalets that will sleep anywhere from 8 – 24 guests.

Black Bear Chalet, Steamboat Co

Are “catered chalets” like yours a relatively new concept in the USA?
The Catered Chalet is still almost unknown here. Americans love it (they are no strangers to the concept of great service), but for the most part they have no idea how good this is until they try it. Once they stay with us they are hooked and have begged us to offer other areas so that they can enjoy the same package elsewhere. Many US guests that seek us out have tried a catered chalet in Europe before and are already “converted”.

BRBgtroom

What should guests expect of their chalet experience with you?
We are very detail oriented and try to accommodate all requests to make the stay as custom and personalized as possible. Our homes are top of the line offering amenities that are typical of a five-star hotel – flat panel TV’s, wi-fi, luxury toiletries, robes and slippers. The menu is tailored to the guest preferences and we offer special kids menus for family groups. We try to think of every detail and our staff try to anticipate guests needs so that the stay is as seamless as possible. This allows our guests to focus on time together rather than who is making the next dinner or who is making the arrangements for snow-cat skiing.

Our full-service catered package is top of the line and includes staff collecting you from the airport in private 4WD SUV’s and offering on call driver / ski shuttle service throughout the stay including trips out to the famous hot springs. New this year we have also introduced an economy catered package that makes it almost irresistible for those willing to compromise a little on the convenience of our private shuttle service and go for a more family-style / less gourmet menu selection.

dinner_staff

What makes Steamboat special?
We get some guests from Europe, but Steamboat is a well kept secret to many Europeans who first think of Vail or Aspen when they think of skiing the Rockies. Steamboat is the third largest ski resort in Colorado, it is easy to get to as we have a major regional airport just 22 miles from town, and the resort oozes a friendly Western welcome that you don’t find with our glitzy neighbors. The snow is incredible – the footage of people skiing waist-deep powder is not done with special effects! It is the lightest and deepest snow you will ever see, and snow between December and April is not in short supply. We have averaged close to 400” (10m) / year for each of the last 5 years and with top to bottom snowmaking it’s a safe bet for early season skiing as well. One final bonus point is that Steamboat is the lowest altitude Rocky Mountain resort (base elevation 6950) so the altitude issues that affect some visitors to the Rockies are minimal here.

Waist-deep champagne powder, Steamboat

Your top tips for people visiting the Steamboat resort?

  • Stay in a chalet not a condo (of course!)
  • For untracked powder without the heli-skiing price-tag ski Buffalo Pass with Steamboat Powder Cats
  • Dine out at Café Diva
  • Take a day off and go dog-sledding
  • Soak in the Strawberry Park natural hot springs
  • Watch the weather forecast, check the 5:00am snow report and if it dumps go early to the mountain: Closet and Shadows offer some of the best tree skiing on the planet
  • Drink lots of water – it is very dry here

Contact: Moving Mountains Chalets: http://www.MovingMountains.com
Tel: 1-970-870-9359
Email: info@movingmountains.com

MMCexterior

Post faciliated by the chaletpro.com team.  For more information on Steamboat chalets and vacation rentals, and mountain property in the Alps visit www.chaletpro.com