We started with free entertainment and snacks at an aprÃ¨s-ski market in front of the town hall, including delicious energy bars created by chef Yoann Conte of the eponymous two-star restaurant-hotel in Annecy. I also indulged in free mini-treatments that included hand reflexology, chair shiatsu massage, and even a facial all wrapped up in blankets against a healthy snowfall.
Laetitia Dupont, the cheese enthusiast who offers treats from the local cheese factory including delicious Beaufort, Tomme de Savoie and chocolate chips, is, I discovered, a nutritionist. Which prompted my question: “How does the high calorie, high cholesterol fondue fit in with a healthy diet?” ”
âThe important thing is the quantity, eat good local products and not too much,â she explains. âA fondue with an extra plate of cold meats is not necessary, but to accompany it with a nice salad and a glass of wine is good living. That’s why we’re here, isn’t it?
Indeed, it is. The next morning, I took the 22-minute sun-heated gondola from Brides to Meribel center, soaking up the pine-fringed staging in what my Healthski week-time friends would definitely consider a ‘state meditative”. Perfectly groomed slopes went up and up from MÃ©ribel to Courchevel Moriond, then down to calm Le Praz, where the crowds stopped and there was still fresh snow to be discovered between the trees.
âToday, the lifts are so much faster, people are skiing fewer hours than before,â explains my companion for the day, Denis Liegeois, deputy director of ESF MÃ©ribel. âBefore, they only came for a ski vacation, now they come for a total vacation in the mountains. Indeed, at 1 p.m., we had recorded 10 races. That’s why, with a lot of exercises under my belt, I returned to Chabichou in Courchevel to push my personal gourmet / slimming balance with a very good lunch.
You have heard of carbon offset, what about calorie offset? The Healthski and the Semaine Gourmande team up with the restaurants of the Three Valleys to offer balanced and slimming menus, including Le Chabichou. This tower of butter was juxtaposed with chef StÃ©phane Buron’s delicate halibut, the tiniest pinch of Ossetra caviar and a handful of innocent petits fours that wouldn’t hurt a fly.
Soon after, I was burning any excess calories – up to 500 per hour according to festival numbers – on a cardio-lift snowshoe ride. My guide Florette led me through a silent forest behind the village of MÃ©ribel, the sun shimmering between the pines as we traced the tracks of wolves, foxes, rabbits and even mice in the snow. At first there was a palpable feeling of FOMO – the fear of missing out on ski time still available – but the guilt quickly turned to joy in the spellbinding alpine world beyond the powerful machinery of the Three Valleys.
At the end of the day, instead of the traditional aprÃ¨s-ski beers, I joined a gentle yoga session at the town hall. Stretching out in the warmth of a sunny room made me struggle to stay awake. An aprÃ¨s-ski nap was suddenly, passionately, the thing I couldn’t do without.