I spent the first week of February exploring the excellent Portes Du Soleil by day, and relaxing in Rude Chalets by night. In this review of Rude Chalets Morzine snowboarding holiday at Chalet Joseph I hope to share with you why it was my favourite week of the 2016 season.
Before I get into the review of Rude Chalets Morzine snowboarding holiday it would be, well rude, not to properly introduce them. Rude Chalets started with one chalet in Morzine back in 2003. Their goal was to provide a superior accommodation experience at a similar price to standard package holidays.
Their style has been a huge success, not only winning accolades such as second place in the UK Snow Awards ‘Best Chalet and Chalet Operator’, but growing to offer multiple accommodation options in Morzine, Avoriaz and Chamonix.
They offer both catered and self-catered chalets. Plus they run the Rude Lodge which is a hostel option in Morzine for those on a budget, which has a lively Rude Cafe – which is a bar and the Paradis Club downstairs for late night entertainment.
Rude Chalets have been on my radar for many years, mainly because in the early days their target audience was snowboarders like myself. They appealed to us sideways inclined slope users by being different to the staid chalet experience They are cool, funky and a little rude – a little like when snowboarding first hit the slopes.
These days skiing is considered the cool kid, and the Rude Chalets style appeals to skiers and snowboarders in equal measure. Across the Alps the old-style chalet experience is generally becoming much funkier, Rude Chalets were pioneers in this movement and are still leading by example.
Over a decade after originally hearing about Rude Chalets – I think in Whitelines or Onboard (may they R.I.P.) – I eventually stayed with them this winter in Chalet Joseph. In this review of Rude Chalets morzine snowboarding holiday I will look at the bedrooms, communal areas, food and staff.
On arriving at Chalet Joseph I was pleased to be shown to a decent, contemporary style room. There was funky Rude Chalets artwork on the wall, a flat-screen TV and an XBox 360 – at this point I was sure it would be a happy stay with Ri.
My room had two very comfortable single beds, it was absolutely fine with just myself in it but would have felt a bit of a squeeze with two people. Although with you board and boots in the boot room, and ample communal areas to relax you don’t need a large bedroom.
The bathroom was a good size with a walk in shower – I much prefer this to a bath with a shower in it. The shower was powerful and there seemed to be a never-ending supply of hot water.
My room overlooked Rue La Plagne which is one of the main streets through Morzine. I was surprised how quiet it was with the window open. Once closed the double glazing did a great job cutting out all noise for a peaceful nights sleep.
Where Rude Chalets accommodation really stands out is the funky communal areas. Whereas many chalets go for a luxurious feel, Rude seem to aim for comfort and fun. Expect big comfortable sofas, huge TV, loads of films, table football and game consoles with a huge stock of games.
I have stayed in some much more luxurious chalets that have been a lot less comfortable. Don’t get me wrong Chalet Joseph’s lounge looked very nice, but it also looked lived in and welcoming. It was the perfect place to unwind after a day on the slopes.
Upstairs is a communal kitchen come dining room. For each meal the table was set out very nicely, but overall there was an informal, friendly and relaxed atmosphere to this Rude Chalets Morzine snowboarding holiday at Chalet Joseph.
It is this informal attitude that to me makes Rude stand out from many other places I have stayed. Here the staff and guests didn’t feel separate to each other, but part of a relaxed group of friends.
Our team consisted of Gemma and Anna who were not just friendly but genuinely seemed interested in every guest. Smiles were always warm and their attitude was friendly, enthusiastic and helpful.
Between them Gemma and Anna kept the place spotless – the shoes off policy helped! An afternoon tea of hot drinks and a sumptuous cake were always waiting when I got in, and breakfast and dinner were delicious and always on time.
No review of Rude Chalets Morzine snowboarding holidays at Chalet Joseph would be complete without talking about the excellent food. Breakfast consisted of cereal, fruits, yoghurts and pastries followed by a cooked option. Freshly prepared to your tastes this included full english, pancakes, omelettes and eggs benedict.
Dinner was three large and tasty courses of typical ski holiday food, all served with unlimited wine. The starters tended to be a relatively delicate and more challenging dishes that were prepared to perfection. The main courses redefined hearty mountain food to a new level.
I feel I need to make a special note of Gemma’s lasagne – my favourite meal. I feel I make a pretty mean lasagne myself, and I’ve many Italian restaurants have failed to live up to my own lasagne. However, Gemma’s beat them all hands down. Just to rub salt into my lasagne-making-wounds Gemma doesn’t even like lasagne!
Part way through my stay in Morzine I had a massage with Bev from Morzine Massage. After five days of intense snowboarding I was looking forward to relieving achy muscles, and hoping they could help with an ache and lack of mobility in my neck.
Morzine Massage are a mobile operation, so Bev came to Rude Chalets to massage me. I was concerned how a massage couch could be fitted into my room, but i needn’t have worried as Bev moved furniture around to create plenty of space to work her magic.
But before she even laid a hand on me she identified that my neck was sore and that prolonged looking sideways was causing a mobility issue. So, she taught me some stretches to improve its movement both in the short and long term.
My wife is a massage therapist, so I know a thing or two about what to expect. So I was pleased this was a deep tissue sport massage, with a lot of physio moves targetting specific snowboarder problems. I came away from feeling significantly less achy and more supple which improved my riding the next day.
I still do the stretches I was taught by Morzine Massage, and thoroughly recommend them if you want a general massage or have specific aches or injuries you need help with. You can find out more by visiting: www.morzinemassage.co.uk
So in case you haven’t guessed I really enjoyed my stay with Rude Chalets on this Morzine snowboarding holiday at Chalet Joseph. Great accommodation is nice but I was there to shred, so how was the snowboarding?
I was in Morzine to spend five days on the Mint snowboarding backcountry course. This consisted of being guided all over the massive Portes Du Soleil, snowboarding off-piste from first to last lift, learning about backcountry safety, whilst improving my snowboarding.
We were lucky to get lots of fresh snow meaning loads of fresh lines every day. Not only did I learn about avalanche safety, minimising risks and how to rescue someone, but also how to snowboard better. Our guide David taught us how to drop cliffs, ride couloirs and helped me get rid of ‘claw hand’ – my achilles heal on steep slopes.
The week snowboarding with Mint was by far the best I had in 2015/16 and one of the best weeks snowboarding in my life. I felt I significantly improved as a snowboarder, and now that I understand the risks, I feel safer judging when and where to head off piste. You can read a detailed review of the Mint backcountry snowboarding camp here.
With 650 km of piste the Portes Du Soleil is one of the largest ski areas in the world. It covers 13 resorts in both France and Switzerland, including Morzine, Les Gets, Avoriaz, Chatel, Morgins, Champoussin, Les Crosets and Champery. It is not all lift linked, but the majority is easy to reach and Morzine is a great base.
From Chalet Joseph the Super Morzine gondola is just 20m away, it takes you towards the high slopes of Avoriaz and the Swiss sectors. Or you can walk 300m to the Pleney lift giving access to the Les Gets slopes, which although lower offer good variety and are great for families and mixed groups.
The Super Morzine gondola does a good job whisking you up the mountain and at the top are a couple of easy slopes. But to reach Avoriaz there are two chairlifts that can get very busy and seemed prone to stopping, they are linked by an excruciatingly slow run, meaning it can take over an hour to get to reach Avoriaz.
I found it was better to hop on the bus – which is free and stops almost outside the chalet – to head to either Ardent or Prodains. Ardent gives easy access to the Chatel and Lindaret areas of Portes Du soleil, which were my favourites, while via Prodain you can reach Avoriaz in about half an hour.
My Morzine snowboarding holiday was very good, there is far more to explore than you have time to ski in one week. Unlike some ski areas the Portes Du Soleil is really spread out and does not have pisted runs on every possible slope. This means there is a lot of backcountry to explore that does not quickly get tracked out.
Over the last few years I have been fortunate to stay in some very nice hotels. I would never grumble at a bit of five star luxury, however what they often miss is what Rude Chalets have in abundance – homliness.
If you want luxury – and have the budget for it – you can stay in more luxurious places, but they often feel impersonal. However, if you want to stay in a lovely, very well run chalet, with great food and everything you need to be comfortable and feel at home, then I highly recommend Rude Chalets.
Chalet Joseph was the most welcoming place I stayed last winter. This is partly because of the friendly staff, and partly because it does not take itself too seriously. But above all, it’s because Rude have made the effort to find out what the average person wants and have delivered it better than most, all for a lower price.
So to conclude this review of Rude Chalets I want to congratulate them for for achieving their goal of providing a superior accommodation experience at a similar price to package holidays. If you can please post me a slice of Gemma’s lasagne once a week I’ll book a Morzine snowboarding holiday at Chalet Joseph every season.
I hope you found this review of Rude Chalets Morzine snowboarding holiday at Chalet Joseph useful. If you’d like to book similar accommodation visit: www.rudechalets.com for more information about Morzine go to: www.morzine-avoriaz.com
To get to Morzine I flew Swiss Air from Heathrow to Geneva and hopped on one of the regular transfers. Swiss Air are great as they do not charge extra for ski/snowboard equipment: www.swiss.com