Ski Videos Lesson 1

ski video lesson

Everyone loves to make a ski video, its a great way to remember the best parts of the trip. Here’s my first ski videos lesson.

The cameras are small and light, easy to carry; you can even use your phone.

Of course, the way you get the best shots is to nudge them into place with a bit of direction.

Easy stuff like: “I’ll ski down a bit and then you guys ski past me on my left”. Something like that.

So what I said to my friend, who wanted his exploits on a board recorded, was: “I’ll ski down there”, so far so good, “and then I want you to ski towards me”.

Oh dear! What I meant was that he should approach me directly and then pass below me. There wasn’t really space above me and I thought this was obvious.

In retrospect, nothing is obvious unless clearly explained.

So he sets off, pulls a few nice turns and then starts braking near me, throwing up a bit of snow. But then I see his board bouncing and I reckon he is going to pull a last minute swerve around me.

No, he has lost control and sweeps me off me feet.

No harm done but next time I’ll be better at giving clear instructions.

I hope this ski videos lesson helps you next time you get out on the slopes.

Big, comfortable rooms, space for your clothes, great food to fuel days and a friendly welcome. That’s what we provide for all our guests at Le Château d’Oz, when they stay with us on a skiing holiday. Contact us for more details.

Comfortable Ski Boot Rental

comfortable ski boot rental

Comfortable ski boot rental is one of the most contentious areas of a ski holiday; many consider it impossible.

I am sure that the strength of opinions often outweigh any relevant facts despite their being quite a lot of empirical evidence to support those facts.

One is that the make of boot is a determining factor in comfort. This is odd, when you consider how humans are built and how boots are manufactured.

All manufacturers mold boots on the principle that all humans are perfect. That the alignment of their legs, ankles and feet are perfect for skiing.

As 85% of humans have pronated feet, and the others have supinated feet, you might wonder what the manufacturers are doing building boots the way they do as this guarantees that nothing will fit.

They do mould boots using slightly different lasts but they are the same in terms of alignment; they assume you will be perfect.

However, its unlikely that both your feet will be the same size or aligned the same.

The answer to comfortable ski boot rental is surprisingly easy: get some custom footbeds made. These are often called inserts, insoles or orthotics. They all refer to the same thing, a footbed made to replace the one in your ski boot.

Sidas is a big brand, and the best known, though others do exist.

Ski shops and other sports shops almost everywhere make these and and they shouldn’t cost more than 100€. The heat moulding process takes about 20 minutes.

They can be slipped into any ski boot rental and your comfort and control levels will be increased enormously, whatever the brand of boot.

You still need to have the right size and the right stiffness for your skiing level. Beginners need softer, easier boots to start with.

Intermediates will want a stiffer boot to allow better and more precise control.

Expert skiers rarely rent boots; they have usually got to a stage when they want the level of comfort and control that only you own, custom-fitted boots will do.

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Big, comfortable rooms, space for your clothes, great food to fuel days and a friendly welcome. That’s what we provide for all our guests at Le Château d’Oz, when they stay with us on a skiing holiday. Contact us for more details.

Do you really need to stay in Alpe d’Huez?

Where to stay in Alpe d'Huez

Do you really need to stay in Alpe d’Huez? In the main village?  How about in one of the 6 other satellite villages?

What!? These is more than one Alpe d’Huez? Well, yes and no.

The ski area is known as “Alpe d’Huez Grand Domaine Ski” and is made up of 7 village communes: Alpe d’Huez, Auris en Oisans, Oz en Oisans, Vaujany, Villard Reculas, La Garde en Oisans and Le Freney d’Oisans.

Most skiers stay in the best known village, Alpe d’Huez. However, there are around 10,000 visitor beds spread around the other villages and they all have good access to the slopes and their own identities.

The other villages offer different advantages to Alpe d’Huez itself and that could lead to a better holiday experience.

They are all quieter, for a start, for those that have no need to party all night. There is less traffic too, leading to a better nights rest.

The car parking is much easier and more convenient and, if you are staying with someone with a shuttle bus of their own, you could be dropped right by the lifts.

The lines of people queuing up to get their ski equipment are shorter and everything is much closer together; no trekking miles for each bit of kit.

Oz Station, where we live,  is only 300m long and every shop you need is on the one pedestrianised road.

Being in a smaller village also gets you more personal attention. The shopkeepers know you have chosen to be there rather than the main center and that makes them just that bit nicer.

You will find that your hosts have a much more personal relationship with the ski shop and ski school too.

Its just that bit easier to feel a bit special when you are one of few visitors rather than part of the masses.

Alpe d’Huez is dominated by apartments and hotels. In comparison, the other villages have many more private chalets offering a better level of service.

Its a good question; do you really need to stay in Alpe d’Huez itself?

Check Dates & Book Now!

Big, comfortable rooms, space for your clothes, great food to fuel days and a friendly welcome. That’s what we provide for all our guests at Le Château d’Oz, when they stay with us on a skiing holiday. Contact us for more details.

Where to Rent Skis in Oz

rent skis in oz skier and snowboarder on piste

There are 6 places to rent skis in Oz and all have equipment suitable for skiers and snow boarders.

They are, from the top of the street, Boît à Skis (Sport 2000), 2G Sports, La Cabane à Skis, Ski Tonic (Skiset and Netski) and Skimium.

We at Le Château d’Oz recommend two of them, 2G Sports and Boît a Skis (Sport 2000) as they offer our guests some extra advantages when they rent skis in Oz. They are also the closest to the car parking and our drop off point.

2G Sports is a small, independent shop and has the best boot fitter in town. Antoine has a complete comfort guarantee if you want to buy a pair of ski or snowboard boots. They also have a selection of big, fat off-piste powder skis when conditions call for it. Our guests can store their equipment in the shop so that you don’t have to lug it around going to and from the chalet.

Boît à Skis is part of the Sport 2000 franchise but still provides a personal service. They are very friendly and have a large range of skis and boots. They are associated with the Superdry clothing store and offer discounts there if you rent with them. Our guests can store their equipment in the shop so that you don’t have to lug it around going to and from the chalet.

La Cabane à Skis is a tiny shop, but with all the facilities of a larger one, tucked away at the top of the steps leading up above 2G Sports.

Ski Tonic has two shops, Netski and Skiset, both are franchise outlets near the bottom of the resort. Both have a good selection of skiing equipment.

Skimium is located at the bottom of the resort by the Tourist office and the Poutran lift. They are also very helpful when you rent skis in Oz.

So you have several choices as to where to rent skis in Oz and we believe we have chosen the best ones to recommend.

Eating in Oz

eating in oz salad on a plate

Eating in Oz is really easy.

All the restaurants in Oz en Oisans Station are on the single pedestrianised street that runs the length of the resort.

This means they are all close together and easy to access. All of them are very popular for lunch in School Holidays as ski school starts and finishes within 100m of all of them.

La Ferme d’Oz

La Ferme d’Oz: A part of the Chalet de Neiges Apartment block right above the Skimium shop and by the Poutran Lift and Tourist Office. It’s open lunchtimes and evenings for eating in Oz and serves typical mountain food either on the terrace or inside. The large restaurant space is upstairs above the bar area. They have a good choice of Fondue and other Mountain Specialities.

La Causerie

La Causerie: This is a Bar/Restaurant popular after ski school and at the end of the day for drinks and snacks. They also have a restaurant downstairs decorated in traditional chalet style, despite being in a modern concrete apartment block, for evening meals. There is an outside terrace which is in the sun in February onwards, but not at Xmas/New Year. Their speciality is freshly made churros on the terrace. They have a TV and usually play the major French sporting fixtures, especially the 6 Nations, so its very busy at those times.

Le Potée Oz

Le Potée Oz: A busy Bar/Restaurant popular with locals and tourists alike. It’s busy both at lunchtime and in the evening leading to a lively atmosphere. Reservations essential for eating in the evening. Food is good with generous portions. There is a tiny outdoor area which is in the sun from February onwards and most people opt to eat or drink inside.

Le Poutran

Le Poutran: Open at lunchtime and in the evening, this restaurant is right by where ski school starts and finishes. It has a small terrace which is in the sun from lunchtime onward. It has a typical menu and specialises in cheese-based dishes in the evening.

Chalet Wines

chalet wine in a glass

Why is Chalet wine so bad?

There are so many great things about a ski holiday but how many times have you heard anyone say that the wine was good?

Privately owned and operated chalets, like us at Le Château d’Oz, usually have good wine but for the majority of Tour Operators the quality of the chalet wine is as interesting as hotel hand soap.

Even in France, which “has the best wine in the world” according to French people, the quality can be dire.

Here are 10 reasons Chalet Wine is so bad:

  1. You are not paying for it.
  2. You can drink as much as you like.
  3. Like everything on a package holiday, the Tour Operator has usually tried to source all aspects of their deal at the lowest cost and that includes the chalet wine.
  4. Buying cheap wine in bulk in France enables very low prices and quality levels which would be unavailable in the UK. When I say unavailable, I also mean unbelievable; you just cannot buy wine this bad in the UK.
  5. Cheap French wine in the UK is around £5 a bottle (2020) and many skiers would find this kind of wine unpalatable compared with a £5 bottle from Australia or South America.
  6. No Tour Operator is going to spend £5 or the Euro equivalent on “free” chalet wine.
  7. They are not going to be buying anything except French wine.
  8. Many guests on package ski holidays don’t really care if there is lots of it.
  9. The Tour Operators know that the quality of their food is basic and good wine would only throw this into sharper focus.
  10. Package ski holidays are entirely driven by price, whatever the brochure says, and cheap sells.

On the other hand some chalet owners and even some tour operators, now recognise that many guests like to drink quality wine. There are some upgrade packages available, at extra cost, of course, with better wines on offer.

Car Parks in Oz

car parks in oz

There are several car parks in Oz.

If you are staying with us you will able to park on our large private car park. We run skiers up to the slopes every day, if they need to be there early for ski school.

However, if you are staying elsewhere this is useful for you to know.

There are several car parks in Oz, all of them free except for the multi-story covered Le Roubier (pale blue ‘P’), which is paid in the winter season and the private car park right under the Alpette lift (red ‘P’) which is for the Village Club de Soleil and apartment owners only.

I’ll address the winter season first as finding parking can be tricky.

If you are just coming up for the day and you arrive before 08.45 you should be able to park just about anywhere, even in high season. After 10.00 it get harder to find a really good place, but not impossible.

As Oz is very compact you shouldn’t have to park more than 400m from one of the lifts.

The two gondolas that link Vaujany and Alpe d’Huez to Oz are at each end of the resort. They are only 300m apart so not far from each other

The nearest Free car parks to the Poutran lift are the Poutran, L’Olmet and La Pâques. Le Roubier, which you must pay for, is also close. None are more than 100m to the lift.

The nearest ones to the Alpette lift are L’Alpette, Le Sauget and La Pierre. The Alpette is right beside the lift but there are only 6-7 places, often occupied by the lift operators and Pisteurs.

Further around the resort there is lots of free parking. I have never seen all the parking used up, even in February.

Its worth noting that the Poutran, Le Sorbier and Le Sauget are for day parking only, no overnight parking.

Also worth noting is that the Le Poutran car park is right next to the piste which is great until they switch on the snow making in the evening coating your car in a layer of sticky, heavy snow that will freeze solid, like concrete, if you leave it overnight.

In summer you can park anywhere, including the Le Roubier multi-storey, for free.

How to pronounce Alpe d’Huez

woman on phone drinking coffee

…and other place names nearby.

You have booked your holiday to Alpe d’Huez and you want to share this with your friends but how do you pronounce this famous place name properly?

Like many other places around the world the pronunciation does not follow the local language rules.

Please don’t say ‘Alp de Way’ there is a ‘z’ on the end that is always pronounced here in the Oisans (where? See here), so please say ‘Alp du Ez’ and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that you have mastered the local lingo; a bit of it, at least.

Oh yes, you may have noticed I said Alpe d’Huez is in the Oisans. Where is/are the Oisans, you ask? You can find out more here, but for the moment, I’ll concentrate on the pronunciation.

It’s another one of our “buzz” words with a pronounced ‘z’.
These is no ‘z’ in Oisans, I hear you say. You are correct, but to say Oisans properly you have to say ‘Woz-on’.

Once you have this down you will be enjoying describing the various villages in the Oisans. Oz en Oisans (Oz on Woz on), Le Freney d’Oisans (le fren-ay dwoz-on), Le Bourg d’Oisans (le borg dwoz-on) along with Mizoën (meez-wun).
Once you have mastered these place names skiing the Sarenne or Tunnel will be a breeze.

So there you are, now you know how to pronounce Alpe d’Huez!

Where to eat lunch?

burger and fries where to eat lunch

Finding the right mountain restaurant in Alpe d’Huez for skiers at lunchtime  is not always easy.

A quick snack or a full-blown French lunch? Hungry children? Atmosphere? Cheap eats? Need to gather skiers and non-skiers in the same place? Bad weather refuge? Party?

These are available all over the resort and almost all are accessible either by lift and walking or by skiing on a Blue run.

Alpe d’Huez is spread out over 4 mountains, reading left to right as depicted on the Piste Map, North to South or top to bottom on the map below. I have concentrated only on those restaurants that are on the mountain and not “attached” to any of the resort villages.

If you want to see the lunchtime restaurants that are next to the piste but in the resorts, click here: