Published the 19 January 2017
The sun is going down. The red sky gives the mountaintops surrounding the cocoon that cradles the highest ski resort in Europe a gentle pink glow.
Comfortably sat in a minibus with tinted windows, larua gives Chris’s hand a squeeze. They know they are going to experience something totally unique, but they’re not sure what exactly… The driver doesn’t utter a word, as he leads them towards their unknown destination. Sat next to him is Val Thorens’ Tourist Office’s guest personal assistant, the only person to know what an amazing evening awaits the couple.
As Club Val Thorens members, they received a surprise invitation… They weren’t sure at first but then «we trusted Val Thorens, it’s our favourite ski resort! We joined the Club online before our holiday and it was a wonderful surprise to receive the invitation by email», Sarah tells us.
Gradually, the vehicle leaves the road behind, taking a snowy track. When they stop just outside a building, they finally understand what’s in store for them…A Snow groomer ride !
Discover laura's story :
“A text message with a time and place to meet - that was all. At 4.30pm, a van with tinted windows came to collect me, but I still had no idea where we were going and it was impossible to get anything out of the driver. We headed towards the lower end of the resort, but as the minutes passed by and we got further and further from Val Thorens, I started to wonder where on earth we were going!
The driver made a turn to the left, along a snowy track, swiped his card to open a barrier and carried on his way.
Shortly after, he parked up, and before my eyes stood 5 piste groomers in a row: my carriage awaited me!
The driver of my piste groomer started his engine; that evening his shift would finish at dawn but I would spend the next couple of hours by his side.
We drove alongside the resort on the edge of the slopes, skirting past the Chalet du Thorens before arriving at his sector.
And we were off. He explained what all the different levers were for, told me about the long evenings spent in his piste groomer, helped me get to grips with the snowsat system (which creates a perfectly even layer of snow all over the run), describing how he tills, smooths and consolidates the snow.
He opened up to me about his previous life in Paris and about how when he was still training he used to make holes in the snow. Then he stopped talking.
«Over to you» he said, as he stepped out of the vehicle.
I climbed into the driver’s seat and we headed off to groom the Moraine run. Up and down, up and down at least ten times before it all looked neat and tidy… I was concentrating and giving it my all. I tell you something; it’s not easy being a woman behind the wheel of such a powerful piece of equipment!
I didn’t want to give up, I was determined to finish «my» run. I even spotted a fox!
Once the job was finished, I grabbed a ride in a piste groomer and got dropped off close to the hotel I was staying in… I have no idea how long it would have taken afterwards to re-groom the run I had ‘groomed’, but the driver was probably far less impressed than I was!
It was an amazing experience thanks to Club Val Tho, I never thought I would ever drive a piste groomer!”
Other reviews :
23rd December 2016:
«Thank you so much, it’s going to be an amazing gift for him. Thank you again.»
«Thank you for taking us out on the piste groomer, it was extremely well organised and the whole family loved it!!!»
«I know it’s a little late, but I’d like to thank you for the piste groomer experience I went on with my partner James! I can sum it up in one word: awesome!!! We had a fantastic time; it was a really unique experience that Franck kindly shared with us and it will stay etched on our minds forever! Thank you again for the opportunity and your kindness. Val Thorens never lets me down and is without a doubt my favourite resort! I’d like to wish you all an excellent season and a little more snow too!»
Caroline - trip carried out with my future husband James, who had no idea at all about the surprise.
“I would like to say a big thank you to the team at the tourist office who arranged for us to ride in a piste groomer; it was fantastic, totally awe-inspiring. We had an amazing time and whilst I got some beautiful snap shots of the sunset, my partner took some great photos of the groomer! (That’s men for you!) Thank you for giving us such a warm welcome. We also wanted to thank the piste grooming team, especially Claude, who shared the passion he has for his profession with us. We felt privileged to be able to discover a profession where people work day and night in high-risk conditions to enable us skiers to get the utmost out of our holiday. Hats off to you!
Cindy & Sylvain
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