Paris - A honeymoon (if taken soon after the wedding) is one of the first adventures a newly wed couple will embark upon together. (Sure, marriage is an adventure in itself, but you know what I mean!)
For some, the idea of relaxing on a beach, taking in the sun and sea, is their idea of an idyllic honeymoon. For others, it may be heading off on a road trip, locally or explore a new city they have never been to.
For me, the ideal honeymoon happened to include the outdoors, many a breathtaking moment on a snow-filled mountain top, my significant other (David, aka ‘Jakes’), making new friends from all over the world and snowboarding.
That’s right, we went snowboarding for our honeymoon. Not the “conventional” honeymoon option (to some), but one that was beyond perfect and extremely special for us.
Our first time snowboarding was in March last year, where we visited Val Thorens - the highest ski resort in Europe - and we were hooked from day one. As a beach-loving Brazilian, I was a bit of sceptic, but was I in for a treat. On our return from this fun experience (which I now choose over a beach), we knew we’d be back but had no idea it’d be for our honeymoon!
If you’ve never been snowboarding, or never considered it as a honeymoon option, here’s why you should:
l You get to be active and bond with your partner in a way that’s only possible through a snow holiday. That feeling of freedom while you’re out on the slopes is something that can’t be described, and experiencing it with your significant other is something out of this world and therapeutic.
l It’s a holiday where you are always pushing and motivating each other to better your performance and techniques, and having a good laugh when you take a tumble. Skiing and snowboarding is very much a social sport in that you get to bond and venture with your partner on a deeper level.
l Whether you’re an adrenalin junkie or not, the rush you get from coming down a slope (as a beginner or expert) can’t be beaten; it’s absolutely liberating.
l Taking in the crisp Alpine air with your partner will rejuvenate you in a way you’ve never felt before.
l Kissing with ski-goggles on in the snow is entertaining.
l It’s unique in terms of beauty and romance. There’s something special about sitting in the heart of a snow-filled village, sipping on a chocolat chaud with your partner after a day on the slopes.
l It makes for the best snuggle sessions! If that’s piqued your interest, here are a few tips:
l Ski season in Europe is from November to March/April. Do your homework and look at which villages are best to visit during which month. We stayed in Val Thorens (France) and, with it being the highest ski resort in Europe, it has great ski conditions until the end of April (end of ski season).
l A ski trip is one that requires a fair amount of planning, but it shouldn’t be a mission - especially not for your honeymoon. That said, going for an all-inclusive ski package will be a godsend. We booked our trip with Club Med, www.clubmed.co.za, who handled everything (and I mean everything) for us. Flights, transfers, accommodation, all meals and drinks (all day every day - included), ski passes, daily ski lessons, ski hire, entertainment - this was all included in our package. We literally just showed up at the airport, and everything was taken care of. A stress-free honeymoon if ever there was one!
l A ski trip is one that can easily land up costing you a fortune, so another advantage of going all-inclusive is that you won’t under-budget or get caught with any nasty financial surprises on your return. You know exactly what you’re paying for, and getting (which is pretty much everything), upfront.
l Packing for a ski honeymoon should be properly thought through. It’s not a case of “throw in some bikinis, shirts and shorts, and let’s be on our way” as you would for a summer holiday. Make a check list and work through it with your partner. Make the entire trip (pre-during and post) something special to share in together.
l Ski gear and accessories can be pretty costly, so an option is to borrow from a friend who may already have a set to lend you for your trip. If you plan on heading out on more ski/snow trips after your first one, then buying your own set is an “investment”.
l There’s a fair amount of travel time to get to the Alps. To get to Val Thorens, we caught a direct flight to Paris from Joburg, followed by a one-hour connecting flight into Geneva, ending with a 2½-hour luxury coach ride into the village. Yes, it sounds long and tedious; however, the breathtaking scenery will keep you occupied for long enough. Speaking from experience, you will probably be super-exhausted after your flights and might use the coach ride to sleep; or, you’ll be excited and make new friends on the coach and chat all the way to your destination. Regardless, be sure to pack a book or something to keep you occupied, just in case you need it.
l If you book to stay at Club Med Val Thorens Sensations, besides there being a Jacuzzi on the balcony overlooking the French Alps (which is so romantic) it is a ski-in, ski-out resort.
What this means is that when you head into the Club Med ski equipment room (where you will kit up each day before heading out onto the slopes) you will exit through a door which leads you directly onto a slope to begin skiing/boarding immediately. Handy? For beginners and experts, heck yes!
Anyone who’s been skiing or snowboarding will tell you, there’s something incredible that happens as you’re coming down a slope, surrounded by the most picturesque scenery and majestic mountains - covered in snow - and experiencing that with your partner, on honeymoon, is absolutely magical.
What better way to kick start the marriage journey, right?