We are your hosts, Carolyn and Stefan. We only do this sort of thing ‘cos we’ve had enough of ‘Proper Jobs’!
This is now our seventh season and we’re still having a great time! The ski resort is continuing to spend a lot of money upgrading the lifts and the runs. There are three new runs for this year, one improving the La Mongie/Bareges link and a couple more making the access around the resort for beginners and intermediate skiers easier. Last year saw a great improvement to the grooming of the slopes, and in our opinion at the end of the season it rivalled the 3 Valleys.
We’ve both had interesting careers, between us we’ve worked, in or on, marketing, sewage works, banking, tomato ranching, (honest) shoe factories, building sites, supermarkets, it goes on. One of us was a banker and a project manager, the other is now a chief engineer but used to be a Royal Marine. We left a perfectly comfortable Dutch barge, at sea level, to come and live in the mountains, don’t think we’ll be rushing back!
We quit the rat race, spent a couple of seasons running chalets in La Tania, in the Three Valleys working for larger concerns, and had a great time, learned lots, made masses of fantastic friends and ended up wanting to do it all over again, but for ourselves.
The Three Valleys is ‘probably the best ski area in the world’ and for us at least, La Tania is the best of it’s resorts (almost certainly an ‘age’ thing!) However, we wanted to live in (and work from!) a place with a permanent community and lose the ‘Flat out for eighteen weeks, winter season’ life and the bi annual disruption it entails.
Hence the Pyrenees. The mountains are just as awesome, the people are great and everything is just a little bit cheaper – Ok, property is massively cheaper, here it’s still possible buy something without a major lottery win and a season’s pass won’t break the bank either. Having moved in, we then discovered that the Tour de France passes the chalet either ascending or descending the famous Col du Tourmalet most years.
The Campan Valley is part of the Pyreneen National Park, The Col du Tourmalet, in the middle of the local ski area has been on the Tour de France route since 1910 and most weekends there is something going on in the surrounding villages.
The Resort of La Mongie is the largest in the French Pyrenees, with around 100 km of runs and ‘off piste’ rivalling Europe’s best, it’s a great all round resort for mixed ability groups and families alike.
For us, the winter is ‘business as usual’ with the chalet catering seven days a week for up to 10 guests. In the spring and autumn we are open as a B & B, at a much more relaxed pace. The summer season sees the chalet being let out as a 3 star self catering family gite. – that’s when we get our holiday!
Chalet Tourmalet is our home, so whenever you visit you’ll be sure of the warmest of welcomes and a great atmosphere.