After three years living in France, we finally heeded the call of the mountains and started 2014 learning to ski! After a two hour drive through winding roads and tiny villages we ended up in the Jura region of France, famous for glorious Comte cheese and a smaller mountain range that hugs the Swiss border just a few minutes from the Alps.
The Jura was recommended as a great place to start skiing. The slopes may not as challenging as the Alps but the prices are not as steep either. The most popular place to go skiing in Jura is Les Rousses, ground zero for four villages and four ski resorts where half a day of skiing costs 20 euros and equipment rental on site cost 15 for the day. Pas mal compared to prices in the Alps which can double. We got the a Franco pass that gave us the option to ski in three different resorts on the French side, but there is a Franco-Swiss option which gives you access to the Swiss side of the slopes with views of Mont Blanc, the Alps and Lake Geneva. For debutants like us, the French slopes were more than enough.
Les Rousses has a really great vibe, full of relaxed groups of family and friends from all over Europe (we heard French, Spanish, English, and Portuguese throughout the day) that is unlike the uber chic and expensive ski experience you might be expecting from France or Switzerland. Everyone was laid back, enjoying picnics or simple baguette sandwiches in the snow or warm croque monsieurs at a few cafes near the slopes. It was the perfect place to learn!
With the help of an experienced friend (definitely recommend going with someone to teach you how it all works!), we tested out the baby hills and eventually made our way to the green slopes, where I happily stayed, making my way down like a petite escargot but loving every minute, even the bazillion snowy falls; there was just something so thrilling about the chill of the fresh winter air, the protective green pines, the bright blue skies, and the endless views of bright hills sprinkled with little chalet villages.
We’re hoping to get back at least once more before the end of winter to work on our technique; I’ll be studying the skiers in Sochi until then…
What’s your favorite winter sport?