How I Found My Inner Ski Bum (Metro, 25th Jan 2016)


Padded impact shorts. Padded. Impact. Shorts. Right now, I can’t think of a more thrilling trio of letterclusters in the English language. Sadly for me, I’m hearing only too late that these enchanted garments exist. After swapping my trusty skis for a beginner’s snowboard, and spending the majority of the day slamming into the snow, I already have a liquorice-coloured bruise the size of a cricket ball on my bum. Sitting down won’t be happening tonight.

Luckily there’s oodles to distract me in the form of après-ski at the revamped La Kinkerne bar and hotel in Morzine, France, which has a party vibe I’d probably have to dub ‘future oompah’.

It’s one of three Morzine properties to have recently been slickly done up and rebooted by Rude Chalets and Adventure Base, two popular and good-value stalwarts of the winter holiday scene that have joined forces to create bargain party-heavy breaks.

Rude chalet 2-page-001

Sipping from a stein of beer that’s so enormous it’s hard to hold steady with just one hand, I watch a boisterous crowd dancing against an apricot sunset on sturdy wooden tables installed specifically for that purpose. Unavoidably and handily located at the bottom of the Prodains ski lift, La Kinkerne is set to offer daily live ‘traditional’ bands as they compete with the famously wild Austrian scene for sundown frolics. The staff are dressed in lederhosen and dirndls – that’s an Alpine peasant dress, should you not be up on this sort of thing.

Stomachs rumbling after a long day on the slopes – or, in my case, on the floor – we head inside to share hearty plates of schnitzel, sausage, at least three different types of potato and, of course, lots more beer. The two companies are also relaunching the newly spruced Rude Lodge (, complete with a top-notch French-American steakhouse-style restaurant called La Coupe. Right next door is the much-loved den of iniquity known as Le Paradis nightclub. Food, booze, club and bed – all your winter holiday bases covered without any need to tramp through the dark on slippery ice after one too many shots of génépi. If there is a god of après-ski, he is smiling on us here in Morzine.

There are 37 beds at the lodge, most in the form of hostel dorms, which means it’s basic but clean and a total bargain. And the Rude Café downstairs is always stuffed with friendly seasonaires ready with invaluable tips. Here I’m told that I should say I’ve been ‘riding’ because only wankers say ‘boarding’. Inevitably, I spend the entire holiday saying I’ve been boarding.

Happy Days

We feast on a lush meal in La Coupe, cosy with its copper lamps and stag heads on the stone walls, before toddling next door to check out the Le Paradis relaunch party. A famously eccentric joint previously run by an ex-Moulin Rouge dancer, Le Paradis has returned as a tiki-style bar complete with cocktails, hula garlands and a giant kaleidoscopic snake flashing on the wall.

As a fan of a seedy, lit-up dance floor, I’m gutted to find Le Paradis has got rid of theirs but instead there are two poles (one of which spins) to dance around. Given the amount of house red I’ve consumed, I’m not giving them a go. At least, not until I can find some of those shorts.