With rolling hills and stunning landscapes, the French Alps may not be synonymous with summer. However, with state-of-the-art accessible accommodation from Chilly Powder, the Alpes are set to become the must-visit destination for the summer months.
Located in Morzine, Chilly Powder has been providing visitors with luxury self-catering chalet ski holidays and summer activities since 1996.
The family run business is at the heart of the French Alps ensuring everyone has the chance to appreciate the exhilarating activities on and off the slopes.
“We are based at the bottom of the mountain, exactly where the accessible cable car is,” enthuses Francesca Eyre, founder and owner of Chilly Powder.
As European regulations on accessibility are tightened, Chilly Powder is the leading accessible destination thanks to its relatively recent build – where the owners ensured inclusion was at its heart.
Growing up with two siblings who have cystic fibrosis – a debilitating condition at times – Francesca and her husband new the importance of making their hotel accessible.
Francesca continues: “When we built the hotel we built a double bedroom, with an adjacent bedroom where a carer could stay. We have a room for people with visual impairments, too.
“We have found that most people who stay with us who are disabled stay with us because they are very active, sporty, and they don’t want – necessarily – to be seen as any different to other guests.”
Even winter-sport Paralympian, James Barnes-Miller – who was born with an upper limb disability, living with an incomplete right arm – has had the privilege of partnering snowboarding and soaking up the summer in Morzine.
“It is an incredible place,” says James, who started snowboarding after a holiday with his friends in 2010. During the summer months, when James is not competing, he works on training programmes to ensure his fitness is maintained to a high standard.
Coming to Chilly Powder, James had the opportunity to unwind and prepare himself for an invigorating sporting season ahead.
Being the first snowboarder to represent Great Britain at the Paralympic Games, James was certainly deserved of a well-earned break.
“The chalet is so beautiful – and the food is also incredible. We went to Lake Montriond,and walked around into the goat farm, and we just generally took some time to explore,” adds James.
Other activities available through Chilly Powder and within Morzine or surrounding locations include: mountain biking, white water rafting, rock climbing in the mountains to trekking with donkeys, glacier trekking, topped off with spa treatments within the hotel.
“I was too chilled out to go back snowboarding, I’ll be honest,” laughs James.
Going from a relaxing break back into the whirlwind of training, James jetted to Holland. But, the French Alps certainly provided an excellent opportunity for James to unwind, but also stay active.
Francesca laughs: “We tried to convince James he had to be based in the Alps.” From his experience, James and his girlfriend now call Morzine home.
HOME FROM HOME
It is no surprise, really, since Chilly Powder hold the feeling of home in such high standing.
Francesca explains: “We are very much a home for home. We may be a four-star hotel, but it doesn’t feel like a hotel when you come here – it is like coming into our own private home.
“We didn’t want people to feel like they couldn’t come down to breakfast in their bathrobes! If they want to come to dinner in a tracksuit, visitors are more than welcome to do so.”
With visitors eating dinner together, it truly feels like a community.
And, accessibility within Morzine is also improving as Francesca enthuses: “There is also a big move to improve pavements and further accessibility in Morzine. Legally, the changes will have to be made by 2020 – the regulations are in the process of increasing the levels of accessibility.”
Destinations such as Morzine and the French Alps are no longer a distant memory, only seen on television or within a holiday brochure.
Thanks to people like Francesca and accessible hotels, such as Chilly Powder, you too could breathe in the fresh mountain air this summer
Francesca concludes passionately: “With my two siblings we continued life as usual and lived life to the full. Here it is a fantastic experience, it is fun and it is stunningly beautiful – somewhere relaxed, where you can live life to the fullest.”