Our Winter Getaway to the Mountains – no skiing included

Our Winter Getaway to the Mountains – no skiing included

How we managed to get our winter getaway to the mountains. I knew from the start, that due to the DCPM in Italy, there was no skiing included in this trip for sure.
 
As I also knew that the UK was going to become a third country to the EU, I really wanted to go back to Morgex. The EU allows its country-members to travel with no restrictions within the bloc. Thanks to Brexit, now we are out of the bloc, so we have the travel restrictions. The UK is now like the US. US could not go from March onwards into Europe, and they still cannot travel.

This article may contain affiliate/compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer here.

The first day on the road towards Chaumont. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains - no skiing included.
The first day on the road towards Chaumont. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included.
I have been looking at all the rules in the UK, France and Italy. It started getting very technical. This showed that how determined I was. So when we were about to go, France was not asking any Covid test. Italy changed its recommendation to make the test BEFORE arriving into Italy. And this test needed be 48 hours before. That makes things tricky. I’ve found a great company (Randox), that mailed the tests to your home. It is an extra expenditure you are not counting in your normal travel. I’ve thought, as there was not going to be skiing, I used my lift tickets money on that. Also, it was good I’ve bought the tests in advance, as the mail started to be a bit slow before Christmas.

Taking the Covid tests. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included

I had my two boys at home as their schools closed with Covid cases, so it was easy to do at midday our tests on the Friday. We then drove to drop the tests to DX. DX is one of the two couriers that work with Randox and allow you to deliver these kind of tests. Not all couriers would deliver them.
Chaumont. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains - no skiing included
Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included

The travel out of London. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included

We set up the alarm clock at 2.30 AM on the Saturday. It was me the one getting up, preparing the thermos, the sandwiches and our car fridge. This car fridge is the best thing we’ve bought on Amazon for our trip. It saves us from stopping at any shop to eat. Now in the pandemic, we want to travel safe. I also have my TravelJanes for using if needed. But the classic opening of two doors and weeing squatting works fine! Having been born and bred in Argentina, I am used to long trips with no petrol stations on the way. How many times we’ve heard a lorry honking at us, but they cannot see your face!
We went on the M20. The queue of lorries stuck in line was impressive. I’ve felt very bad for them, it seemed it was going to be very slow for them. For us it was fine, we had a delay of one hour, but we’ve stayed in the car. Finally we got across and we’ve started driving off Calais towards the south.

Our pit stop in Chaumont. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included

The drive was very good. We made it to Chaumont, to the Ibis Styles Chaumont Centre Gare around 2 PM local time.
We knew that there was going to be a curfew, so we took Ozzy for a walk down the road from Chaumont to a beautiful field. From there, we went up back into town.
View of Chaumont. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains - no skiing included.
View of Chaumont. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included.
France has its restaurants and bars closed until 20th January, so we arranged food in our room. We had great stakes and frites, with a nice glass of wine for my husband and me.
Then off to sleep, as we were very tired. We’ve heard that London has gone into Tier 4, and even with so many preparations, had we come one day later, we would have been stuck! Still, we could not come later! You could only come into Italy without quarantining if you arrive by 20th December.
I was counting the hours since we’ve made the tests until we’ve get the results. That afternoon I’ve got the negative results of my eldest and my husband, and that night, came the others. We were all clear to get into Italy.
Nobody wanted to wake up to keep on travelling. At the Ibis Styles Chaumont Centre Gare Hotel. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains - no skiing included.
Nobody wanted to wake up to keep on travelling. At the Ibis Styles Chaumont Centre Gare Hotel. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included.

 

The Second Day on the Road. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included

The next day we woke up, pick up the breakfast to have in the room, and we left. We always put fuel in an unattended station getting out of Chaumont, and we do a bit of Route Nationale. It is a nice way to start the day. Then we join, before Langres, the A31 and went on the motorway all the way. Weather was foul, but the roads were empty! We did it in great time to Geneva and then to the Mont Blanc Tunnel.
Going on the National Route from Chaumont to the A31, just before Langres. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains - no skiing included.
Going on the National Route from Chaumont to the A31, just before Langres. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included.
Finally we made it into Italy. Nobody asked us anything, they even gave us a beanie before crossing the Mont Blanc Tunnel! As soon as we turned left to go through Entrèves into Courmayeur, we’ve heard on the radio that Italy was cancelling flights from the UK! We’ve heard that morning that some countries already banned flights, so it was not surprising. More after Hancock said they had the virus out of control and we had a new Mutant Virus!
So we made it into our home in Morgex, and it took me a while until I could write to the ASL in Aosta. I needed to send them some forms required by them, plus the negative Covid tests.
Foul weather and empty roads. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains - no skiing included.
Foul weather and empty roads. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included.
There was also some information on taking a second Covid test. I have called them many times but my mobile was not working with an 800 number. I’ve thought that at least they have received my forms three times, and they know where we were. We were not going to be meeting anyone, we wanted to play it safe.
Courmayeur was empty as we've passed en route to Morgex. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains - no skiing included.
Courmayeur was empty as we’ve passed en route to Morgex. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included.

Our days in Morgex

It was beautiful as always Morgex. But it was very empty. All shops closed. The bars closed and the Cafe de l’Archet seized trading. So many DCPMs made them not being able to afford it any longer. Which was a pity.
Empty streets in Morgex. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains - no skiing included.
Empty streets in Morgex. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included.
At least the Cafe Artari where I buy most of the food was there. Also La Bonta del Grano, the bakery, and the other little places are still open.
We had a very quiet holiday. Soon we had a routine. Wake up, I was going out to get the bread every morning. We had breakfast, we went out for a walk with the dog. The walks on the side of Morgex are more snowy, as they are on the shady side. The ones on the side of Villair towards La Salle were without snow.
The views of Morgex from Sentiero 5. The Sunny Side of the mountains, the sentiero goes from Villair to La Salle. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains - no skiing included.
The views of Morgex from Sentiero 5. The Sunny Side of the mountains, the sentiero goes from Villair to La Salle. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included.
This until it started snowing. The area had lots of snowfall, it looked lovely. I cannot believe that they are having a great snow season, but the resorts cannot open. And now I’ve read that the resorts will not open until the 18th January (if the levels of Covid are down)…. So nobody knows what will happen.
The Grivola from Sentiero 5. My eldest came with us. The little one stayed at home. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains - no skiing included.
The Grivola from Sentiero 5. My eldest came with us. The little one stayed at home. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included.
Some days we had some lunch, some days we waited until dinner. We cooked every day, but two, when we’ve bought pizza from La Locanda.
Then we played some board games, did a fire and enjoyed a quiet evening, before going to sleep.
 Christmas Day. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains - no skiing included.
Christmas Day. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included.

Orange and Red Days. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included

There were some days when the region was arancione and some days considered red. The red days you could not get out of your commune, and you need to carry an autocertificazione.
The boys by the Dora Baltea. Ozzy went into the freezing waters, he was bonkers afterwards. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains - no skiing included.
The boys by the Dora Baltea. Ozzy went into the freezing waters, he was bonkers afterwards. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included.
You could only go out for going to buy food, to the doctor or pharmacy or exercise. You can take the dog out. So we did pretty much the same each day. We could have gone to Arpy to do some cross country skiing, but we’ve been very lazy.
Walking to Chabodey. There was a little road on the way. The snow was up to our shins, so it was a good workout! Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains - no skiing included.
Walking to Chabodey. There was a little road on the way. The snow was up to our shins, so it was a good workout! Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included.
We did a good long walk every day, and a shorter one in the afternoon. We went to Tiritel, Chabodey, Ruillard, La Salle and around all the little hamlets outside of Morgex.
On the road to Courmayeur. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains - no skiing included.
On the road to Courmayeur. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included.
Only one day we drove to Courmayeur. It was empty. Around 4 PM shops started opening and then we’ve seen more people starting to get into Via Roma. At that time we left, but at least we had some crepes and ice-cream and managed to buy a throw for my home.
In Courmayeur, all waiting for me to come with the crepes. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains - no skiing included.
In Courmayeur, all waiting for me to come with the crepes. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included.
My little one accompanied me to the shops. It took us for ever as he kept on throwing himself into the snow. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains - no skiing included.
My little one accompanied me to the shops. It took us for ever as he kept on throwing himself into the snow. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included.

Why did we not stay? Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included

We’ve heard while we were there, that schools were not re-opening for now. We could have stayed. And I would have loved so…. But I was the only one that took my computer as I needed to work a bit while away. We did not have my husband, nor my kids computers….. so we needed to come back home.

Our Way Back- out of Italy into France. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included

We left on the 2nd from Morgex. This was a Red Day. When we appear in the Mont Blanc Tunnel, the carabinieri looked at us like we were from another planet. Italians were not allowed to travel, but we were allowed to leave. This was the first time the carabinieri stopped us and asked our passports. Welcome to the new normal! Being Argentine, I am very used to showing passports. They were very cordial the same. We left and crossed to the French side. The weather was much worst with a low cloud, and we had snow all the way to Bourg-en-Bresse. But the roads were clean so it was fine. A bit of traffic around the Autoroute Blanche but then it disappeared.
Returning from Morgex. Here by Les Houches, part of the Chamonix ski area. I love this viaduct, keep on taking pictures each time we pass. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains - no skiing included.
Returning from Morgex. Here by Les Houches, part of the Chamonix ski area. I love this viaduct, keep on taking pictures each time we pass. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included.
There was still snow in Nantua. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains - no skiing included.
There was still snow in Nantua. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included.

Reims. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included

We’ve went to the Holiday Inn in Reims Centre for the night. I was looking forward to have a room dinner from the restaurant, but unfortunately was not open, due to Covid. That day the rules changed in France, and region (Grand Est) was having a curfew at 6 PM. We left with the dog to find some food and it was all pretty empty. Finally we found a fast-food burrito shop, and we’ ve bought some to take to our room. It was nothing great, but it filled our tummies.
Reims at night during curfew. Only people with dogs and Deliveroo bikers were around. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains - no skiing included.
Reims at night during curfew. Only people with dogs and Deliveroo bikers were around. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included.
In the morning we’ve received a bag with breakfast outside our room door. It was pretty complete with cheese, pastries, orange, fruit salad, orange juice, marmalade, butter, madelaines and cups for coffee or tea.
With that, we went out for a quick walk with the dog. Reims looked so different without people. It was very clean too, so it was a nice
sight.
Reims during daytime. Empty again, but cleaner of what I remembered. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains - no skiing included.
Reims during daytime. Empty again, but cleaner of what I remembered. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included.

Back in the Eurotunnel. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included

Going into the Eurotunnel, we went through the Pet area and all was working as before. Then they had a weird way to go into the terminal and then going in a roundabout. It looked like a queue on Disneyworld! It was a bit slow, as you get more checked in the UK side. I had to show my passenger locator form to the guard. It was good that I’ve saved it on Dropbox so I could find it quickly… if not we would still be there.
Back in the Eurotunnel. Our trip has ended. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains - no skiing included.
Back in the Eurotunnel. Our trip has ended. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included.

Quarantine in the UK. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included

Now back in the UK, we have to quarantine for 10 days. The weather is so grim and cold and damp, that I don’t mind. I only feel bad for my dog. At least we have a garden….lots of poo pick ups… even my dog was not feeling to go out today with the weather.
At least we had a great stop and time off before coming back into a lockdown again. And I can dream of the mountains and see back at my pictures and get happy.

 

Start planning your next trip!

 

You can search for your own accommodation in the snow for your next ski holiday through our Accommodation Search tabOr if looking to stay in the heart of the Mont Blanc Valley in the Aosta Valley, check Il Coure della Valdigne review here. This is our own family home in the mountains, that I am renting out when not using, you can always write me a private message if interested to info@the-ski-guru.com

 

Il Cuore della Valdigne. Stay at the Heart of the Valdigne to ski in Courmayeur, La Thuile and Pila/Aosta.
Il Cuore della Valdigne. Stay at the Heart of the Valdigne to ski in Courmayeur, La Thuile and Pila/Aosta.

You can book directly through Airbnb  through this link

 

If you have some questions, contact us at info@the-ski-guru.com for more information.

If you want to take your family skiing and you don’t know where to start, read here. And search for your ski transfers from all airports to the Mountains here. And for those that are like me, that are lazy to cook, you can get your food, even gourmet mountain food delivered to your home with Huski.

If renting equipment (skis or snowboards)  check our agreement with Skiset– you can get up to 50% off ski or snowboard rental rates. I have been using them for years every year when I go to America  and Europe and they are great!

Shop for the Alpine Look with The-Ski-Guru HOME 

Already selling some alpine design items for your house. #bringthemountainshome with The-Ski-Guru HOME and put a smile in your face. These are hand-paintings done by me, applied to cushion covers, coasters and mugs.

The-Ski-Guru HOME is launching. Furnishings for your alpine décor.
Bring the mountains home with The-Ski-Guru HOME. Hand painted designs in some home furnishings and items for your every day.
The-Ski-Guru HOME is launching. Furnishings for your alpine décor.

Something more to read in this blog

You can start thinking about your trip, by reading the articles on the Planning your Ski Trip tab.  Or how to pack for your family ski trip.  If taking your furry friend abroad to the continent, read about the new Pet Travel Scheme update from DEFRA. Self-drive skiers also need to plan for Brexit. Check out our tips for driving to the mountains.  If flying and renting a car in Europe, beware of the extra charges they will pass to you if you want winter tyres, snow chains or ski racks. If driving, check the winter tyres news for Europe and North America.

You can see how our last family ski holiday was not as expected, even though one plans it to be a success, but how we could do the most of it. If you want to get better before getting to your next ski holiday, here is a quick guide to indoor skiing and dry slopes in the UK. You can also read our week in the mountains during our summer holidays in Courmayeur.

Check also how we can envision ski resorts opening on the 2020-21 ski season. 

You might want to read our lasts must-read guides: to Vail , Chamonix and Summer in South-Tyrol. 

Featured Image: Walking with the dog in Pautex, Valdigne, Valle d’Aosta. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included.

Follow The-Ski-Guru in Social Media
Please follow and like us: