Courchevel: I rocked it in a Lonsdale hoodie
Just been skiing in Courchevel, the oligarchs’ favourite ski resort in the world. Among its attractions (brilliant skiing) are am altiport (that’s altitude plus airport in one – a landing strip half way up the valley only for private jets and helicopters. Very ski up and ski off), and heated driveways and pavements so that stilettos don’t get marred by that pesky snow when tottering to apres-ski in hip 1850, or back into your chalet apres apres.
In Courchevel, nice three-star apartments cost 5,000 euros to rent for a week. Posher slopeside chalets – with wood imported from Canada and saunas, hot-tubs and mega sound and entertainment systems – can cost 40,000 a week. Wondering round 1850, the highest village in the resort, and also the centre of the olig
archal action, you see lots of floor-length mink coats.
But on the slopes, it’s all high-tech shell jackets and thermals from North Face and Marmot, designed to keep you light, dry and warm. The group I was with – most of whom were kitted out in the above gear – took one look at my stuff and feared for my life. You see, I had prepared for my one ski a year – a 3 day press trip in Courchevel (staying in a chalet with a heated driveway) – with a 42 pound shop at something called Sportsdirect.com or similar. All you need to know about it is that “.com” is in its actual name, printed on its bags and on the shop front. There, I bought the Lonsdale hoodie for 12 quid, gloves, ski socks, salopettes and shades, for a grand total of 42. And you know what? I have never been more comfortable while skiing. My toes stayed toastie in my 3 quid socks, my hands warmed like marshmallows in my 7 pound gloves, my legs dry and my torso warm even after I wiped out in a four foot snow drift and had to snow angel my way across the mountain.
It was a double triumph. Not only did cheap and cheerful conquer Alpine extremes (20 below, high winds and a sudden dump of snow – 1 ft), thereby saving me lots of cash, but at the end of a tough day, my legs aching, I felt superior, fashionwise, to those mink clad, Jimmy Choo wearing women because I had rocked the slopes of Courchevel, and wiped out in them, more than they ever will in their ermine cloaks. As for those North Face shell-wearers, well – they looked good, but they’re teeth were chattering. Make no mistake. Sometimes nothing but a cheap puffer hoodie will do.