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This is the first in a series of interviews with chalet owners across the Alps. We hope it helps you get a bit more of a flavour for both the chalet and the people behind it.

Today’s interview is with Duncan of Alpine365, the proud owner of Chalet Epicea in La Plagne.

Chalet Epicea in La Plagne

Chalet Epicea in La Plagne

What made you want to be chalet owner?
A love of skiing since childhood, and a desire to get out of the 9-5, and be our own boss. So now we’re in the 7-11 business (and that’s 11 in the evening, as we like to put the hours in to keep our guests happy), and I’ve still got a boss – she’s called my wife!

What do you love most about being in the chalet business?
The environment – I mean, I never got to look at Mont Blanc whilst writing emails back in London (I had the A4, but it wasn’t really the same)

What do think people enjoy most about staying in your chalet?
The friendliness, the food and our amazing lounge. We try to treat all our guests as we would our friends, and we love cooking (and eating!) so spend lots of time and care making sure the food is really tasty and wholesome. And people tend to rave about the lounge – it’s a real stunner – huge ceilings, exposed beams, a massive log fire, a great balcony and terrace. And we have 4 comfy sofas, a rocking chair, Sky TV and Xbox360 in HD, and loads of books – so we can hopefully keep everyone happy. Oh, and the location, the daily champagne, and the view, and the….hey you get the picture.

Chalet Epiceas wonderful lounge

Chalet Epicea's wonderful lounge

What is your favourite dish on the chalet’s menu?
It’s got to be pudding on the final day. I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but it’s a real crowd-pleaser – we had a group a couple of weeks ago who broke into a spontaneous round of applause as it was served. It’s important to end on a high!

Can guests stay at your chalet during the summer? If so, what mountain activities can they look forward to?
Absolutely – we’re in the chalet 365 days of the year (hence the name – Alpine365), and we offer the same unrivalled service throughout the seasons. And there’s loads to do here all year round – walking and hiking are excellent, and particularly fab in May when the spring flowers are out, and in summer itself, when the lifts are open, there are all sorts of adrenaline sports, inc VTT (the French name for mountain biking), parasailing, river rafting and canoeing, sailing, climbing… we could go on. And we also look to arrange activity trips that are particularly suited to the beautiful environment, such as painting and photography courses, so it’s really a great alternative to a beach holiday for the more active type of person out there.

What’s your favourite run in the resort, is it a gentle tree-lined blue or a 20ft vertical cliff drop?
Across the whole of the Paradiski (La Plagne and Les Arcs) it’s got to be the Auguille Rouge, the black from the top of the Auguille Rouge cable car in Les Arcs, simply because it’s ever-changing. One day, it’s clear blues skies and perfect snow, and you get to ski like a million dollars – the next day, it’s in cloud and windswept, and you feel like you’re holding on to the mountain for dear life. And the views are spectacular.

Closer to home, a real favourite of pretty much everyone who skis and boards in Les Coches is Dos Rond – a wide sweeping blue with astounding views of Mont Blanc – this is a slope that flatters everyone, from the racer type who can revel in beautifully carved super-G turns, to the humble beginner who can really let rip and try turning a snowplough into a parallel. Genius, could ski it all day.

Pudding... but is it the mystery, crowd pleasing dessert?

Pudding... but is it the mystery, crowd pleasing dessert?

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? We’d like to think it’s our very own breakfast brew!
  • Best pizza? La Pozé arguably has the best quality pizza, but Les Coches pizza has free delivery, great for chalet days off. So it depends how lazy you’re feeling really.
  • Best pint? It’s got to the “The Last One Pub”, as it serves up French, Irish, German and Belgian beers on tap, plus pints of good old English cider for those searching for that extra refreshment hit. It even transforms into a bit of a disco later on for the younger crowd.

What would be your top tip for someone visiting this resort?
Get a Paradiski lift pass! The two resorts of La Plagne and Les Arcs are connected by the world’s largest cable car, and it’s there to be used. And Les Coches sits right in the middle of the two areas, as it’s home to the La Plagne end of this lift, the Vanoise Express, so it’s a real shame not to take full advantage!

What is your dream ski holiday destination?
Got to be the back bowls in Whistler – I was lucky enough to ski there last season, and all you can say is wow. Really, just do it.

Skier or snowboarder? Well, we like the debate
If it’s not obvious, I’m ski all the way. Happy of course to welcome snowboarders to the chalet (we’ve even fitted another roof rack on our 4×4 so we can fit their massive planks on!), just as long as they don’t mind a bit of gentle “skiing’s better than boarding” banter.

You can find more information on Chalet Epicea at ChaletPro.com