New Year Inspection Visit 2019/20!09/01/2020 10:54:03
Monday 30th December
Around 08:30 on the first Monday after Christmas, still full of Christmas pud and turkey, teachers (and their family and friends) from all over the UK started gathering for the long anticipated annual Halsbury Ski New Year Inspection Visit.
We all checked in with BA, picked up our boarding passes and headed off to see what breakfast delights Gatwick Airport had to offer.
Before boarding our flight, the Halsbury team of James Babb and Henry Clegg were on hand to make sure our party of 35 guests all made it to the gate on time.
Our 2-hour flight to Genoa took us over the winter kissed Alps with stunning sunny views as the plane came in over the sea for a slightly bumpy landing.
Davide (our Prato Nevoso/Artesina Halsbury rep) was waiting for us at arrivals with a big smile. He directed us to a panini/pizza bar for lunch before loading us all onto our transfer coach for our final destination - the Hotel Marguareis in the ski resort of Artesina.
Beth and Harrison would be waiting for us with lift passes and times for our ski fitting. Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve and our first day of skiing!
Tuesday 31st December
Having breakfasted with views of the sunrise over the perfectly groomed pistes, everybody was raring to get out and explore what the Mondolé ski area has to offer.
Those that had opted to have ski lessons were already away by 08:30, when they met their ski instructors right outside the hotel. Those that had opted to ski with the Halsbury team all met up outside the Marguareis at 09:00.
The Marguareis is located right at the side of the piste, meaning access into the lift system could not be easier. We were able to hop straight on to the 4-man chair and head up to the slopes above the Turra.
This area has a range of red and blue runs all connecting back to two drag lifts at the bottom. It catches the early morning sun, so it made for the perfect area to regain our ski legs for the week ahead.
After a couple of hours of skiing, we headed back down to the sunny terrace outside the Marguareis for a relaxed lunch.
Artesina provides great value and the Marguareis restaurant is no exception - we were all able to pick up a tasty pizza for lunch, which only cost around €5-8. We split off into smaller groups for the afternoon's skiing and then all enjoyed a bombardino or two to round off the first day of skiing.
This being New Year's Eve, we were all in for a treat for dinner! No less than 7 delicious courses were served up to us.
Dishes included gnocchi with a wild boar ragù and the traditional Italian New Year's dish of lentils and sausage, all washed down with plentiful prosecco.
After dinner we all headed into the square to see in the New Year. There was a fantastic firework display and the band and DJs kept us dancing late into the night.
Weds 1st January
With some of us nursing some slightly sore heads, we all did well to get away by 10am for some New Year's Day skiing underneath bluebird skies in perfect conditions.
We were lucky enough to have Francesco from Prato Nevoso Ski School guiding us around the mountain and giving us all a few useful pointers as to how to improve our technique.
Francesco skied us the whole way across the ski area to the pretty wooded slopes above Frabosa Soprana.
The pistes were in great condition and it was fantastic opportunity to take advantage of them as many of the Italian visitors had opted for a late start after the previous night's celebrations.
Some of us opted for an early finish after lunch, while others skied on making the most of the near-perfect conditions.
Then, after another tasty dinner served up by Francesca and her team at the Marguareis, most of us were ready for an early night!
Thursday 2nd January
After early nights the groups were keen to ski feeling fresh and raring to go!
Four of our group decided to enjoy a 2-hour snowboarding lesson - they had an amazing time and continued on their boards for the rest of the trip.
The Halsbury team met with those who wanted to ski in the morning and went straight up to the Turra.
Perfect conditions awaited us, as always. After a few runs on the far side of Artesina, we decided to connect across to Prato Nevoso. The new 4-man chair makes this an easy connection.
Getting into the bowl at Prato is great fun and there are a series of red, blue and black runs, all joining back to the central point around the 6-man chair.
This is also the location of the new gondola, which has been designed and built by Porsche. It’s great to see such investment in the resort.
Lunch was had at the Del Verde restaurant, where we chose from the grill menu. We can highly recommend the spit roasted pork....
In the afternoon we spent more time in the upper bowl at Prato before connecting back to Artesina, though not before enjoying a short rest break in the new mountain restaurant at the very top, where the views are spectacular!
After another superb dinner and excellent service from Francesca and her team, we took a local coach to the snow park for an evening of tubing.
Davide gave us our safety briefing and we were told that they have an impeccable safety record. The tubing lanes are rated green to black, so you can be brave and have a go at the mogul tube run or the lovely gentle green tubing lane down the hill.
Friday 3rd January
This day was our last day on skis and again we met at 9am into ability groups. We all enjoyed a full morning of skiing before meeting for lunch at the top of the chair lift in front of the Marguareis.
The food was amazing and at only 4 Euros for a panini we all said again what great value the resort is, even in a mountain restaurant.
The afternoon we all wanted to go back to the Turra and enjoy the last of the sunshine on our New Year trip.
We had skied all day long and were buzzing from another great day. An après-ski beverage was enjoyed on the sun terrace.
This evening, Francesca has arranged for a pizza evening in the in-house pizzeria. We all had a communal eating experience with a variety of pizzas being delivered to the table, so we had a taste of lots of varieties. One of our favourites was the quattro staggioni with artichoke.
The Hotel Marguareis now also runs a new disco/karaoke bar on the square so after dinner we popped over to take a look at the new addition. It’s a perfect venue for a private school party during a school ski trip!
Saturday 4th January
We had a nice leisurely start to the day before heading off to Monte Carlo (yes Monte Carlo!) for a city tour before our evening flight from Nice.
After picking up a couple of bargains from the services on the beautiful journey down to the Mediterranean, we arrived in Monte Carlo (Monaco’s capital) in time for lunch.
The drive through Monaco was stunning with breath-taking views over the harbour. Our driver dropped us off outside the Monte Carlo Yacht Club (£25k joining fee!) and we had 5 hours to explore this interesting city.
Super yachts, super cars, casinos, palaces and rolex shops were all within walking distance! However, the best bit about it was that it was t-shirt weather - in January!
The Christmas market was still going strong and there were lots of culinary delights to be had. Everyone had a fabulous time exploring before we headed to Nice for our flight home.
We met some lovely people and we had a great time, thank you all for coming. We hope to see you all again next year!
Interested in joining us on our next inspection visit?
Contact us now to register your interest!