Stylist’s executive fashion director Kitty McGee slopes off for some relaxation at Chalet Rosière in the French Alps
By this point in life, if you’re anything like me, you have probably categorised yourself as either a skier or a non-skier. Personally I’m the latter. “You can’t be good at everything,” my mother used to say, and skiing - and dancing as it happens - are just two of the areas I accepted defeat in a long time ago. So what non-skier wants to spend a weekend, let alone a week, getting tired and bruised on the slopes? Well throw in a massage therapist, a chef, some serious yoga-time and a lunchtime tartiflette, plus there’s those epic mountain views and all of a sudden it doesn’t sound so bad.
Wellness is muscling its way into every area of life - even sport itself and over in the Alps it’s far from tired – in fact the trend for recharging, meditating and eating well is just getting started and is doing roaring trade. While a menu of spiced carrot and sesame salad and satay tofu Buddha bowls won’t appeal to everyone after a day of thrashing around up a mountain, I have to say I’m into it – and I’m not alone - wellbeing is booming in the ski and snow industry.
This winter, Chalet Rosière opened its doors for its first winter season, which is officially open until 21st April although Chalet Rosiere also welcomes guests during the summer. The four bedroom boutique lodge is exactly as I had pictured it, only even more cosy, if that’s possible. I feel instantly at home, I find it hard to work out whether it’s the open fires, being so obviously far from the stresses of home or whether it’s the impeccable taste of co-founders Philip Volkers, a photographer, and former model Alex Volkers.
The Chalet is in the heart of the French Alps and specialises in week-long retreats combining skiing, yoga and luxury wellbeing. The property is situated on a south facing slope with stunning, panoramic views of the Tarantaise Valley from most windows including the main lounge and dining area and my bedroom. We are a 10 minute drive to from the charming resort of La Rosière where we ski on the second day. Snow hasn’t been great in the Alps this winter but other than some super bruises caused by (many, of course) falls on the icy slopes, it doesn’t bother us. We stop at Le Genepi in La Rosiere for lunch and as expected everything is meat or cheese-based, not a problem for me, but it’s easy to see why there is a growing demand for more healthy options here. After another hour of skiing in the afternoon we have a 90 minute relaxed and restorative yoga session back at the chalet. The Yoga studio is warm with an open fire and high ceilings and the stretching feels great. A 45-minute post-yoga back massage is the ultimate finishing touch, it’s hard enough to be effective but feels unbelievably relaxing and I’m certain the yoga and massage contribute to my limited aches the next morning.
After a vegan breakfast of porridge and fruit compote we go for a walk in forest to the west of the chalet, the forest is home to deer and wild boar I’m told, as well as eagles that circle in the valley below, although we don’t see any we all agree it’s a pretty special part of the world.
La Rosiere is small, quiet and sunny but, if you want more atmosphere or more variation in slopes you’re less then 30 minutes from major ski resorts Val D’Isere, Les Arcs and Tignes by car, or you can ski over the mountain to La Thuile in Italy in 20-30 minutes.
Skiers all over the Alps are chasing a piece of the wellbeing pie too; lunch venue Arctic Café opened in Val D’Isere last year, offering an alternative to the traditional mountain fare. The café, which specialises in healthy lunch options including vegan and superfood salads, gluten free sandwiches and fresh pressed juices was such a hit that the owners have opened a second spot in the same resort and a third in Meribel this season. Yoga is in high demand too, yogi Rebecca Black splits her time between teaching at Chalet Rosiere and hosting yoga classes from an igloo in the mountain.
Whether your ability on the slopes improves or not won’t even matter; you’ll be too zen to worry about it.
The Wellbeing Experience; Prices start at €12,660 for exclusive use of the Chalet for one week, available throughout the season. Full Moon Ski Yoga Retreats; prices start at €1,290 pp. for 4 nights.