In January this year my family and I, along with dogs in tow set off for the Alps. I used to live in Morzine so it’s a place I love to visit. The route was down to Dover and onto the Eurotunnel. We travelled in the evening to avoid traffic and also ‘hoped’ Lily our daughter would sleep most of the way! After a short train ride we were into France. Once the other side it was time to set the cruise control and sit back and munch up the miles! We got to Reims and decided to set up camp in the motorway services. Unlike the UK, France is really geared up for campers in the Motorway services, with good facilities and some good areas to let the dogs out – not a long drop toilet in sight! Overnight the temperature dropped to -11°C. The heater was amazing, we kept the roof down to keep heat in and we kipped on the RIB bed.
2 adults and a baby on a ¾ width RIB bed was a bit tight! After a few hours sleep I woke to Lily poking me in the eyes and pulling my hair. So we grabbed some coffee and got back on the road. We got near Dijon and pulled over for breakfast and fed the dogs. The services were rammed considering it was 7am. Most people were dressed ready for the mountains and with the crisp frost we were well and truly feeling the holiday vibe! We carried on and got to Saint Jeore around lunchtime and stopped for lunch. Lily saw snow for the first time and we grabbed a lunch in a very local French Restaurant.
A few days before we arrived there was a good/late dump but there was a good layer of snow and the skies were clear and blue. I’ve got a bit of a habit of ‘winging it’ when on holiday and our accommodation plans were fairly loose to say the least! We stopped by one place which wasn’t going to be suitable with the dogs in tow. So we went back to the drawing board and contacted a couple of other chalets in the area. We struck gold and stumbled upon Skeepskin Holidays. I made a couple of calls and left my (work) email address for some availability and pricing. When I left my email address one of the girls in their office recognised Vanworx in my email address and made it known that we had converted their owners T5!
Helen and Adam Shaw came to us with their 4motion in 2013 and since we had last seen them they had bought a farmhouse in Montriond, restored it and made the move to the Alps! Not only had they restored it, they had transformed their chalet with apartment below into the most stylish accommodation going. We were blown away, the place was amazing! Surround sound TV, recycled wood, dark tiles, Jotul woodburner, plush beds, huge sofa, the spec was amazing! – pics attached. They run accommodation with breakfast in the main house and in the flat you can either join up with the main house or it doubles as a stand alone flat. Great views, great hosts and a walk to town we lucked out completely. Thanks Adam and Helen, we loved staying at your place http://www.sheepskinalps.com/chalet-apartment/chalet-deux-chevaux/page/at-a-glance/
With a 6 month old baby and two dogs I was lucky enough to have an understanding wife and I managed to get a couple of days boarding up and around Avoriaz. Starting early, first lifts and beating the crowds is always a favourite. It was great to be back boarding after a couple of years off. Before I left England I had fitted some steel wheels with the mud and snow tyres some T32’s come with. I’ve got to say they were amazing. Anyone ordering a new van who intends to upgrade the alloys, paying the minimal upgrade fee to all weather tyres is well worth doing, they performed well. A couple of spots that I like to go up the mountain from involve a short drive and the car parks are obviously icy and snowy. Last time I was in Morzine I had a 4motion and that was a dream to drive in such conditions. The front wheel drive with these tyres was a brilliant set up and felt composed and in control at all times.
As Jen, my other half wasn’t skiing this trip we did a lot of non piste related family things like long dog walks along the river and a trip down the mountain to Thonons. We found a great local restaurant and also a great Chocolate shop using Valrhona chocolate! It seems that with a young baby, a couple of drinks and a meal at lunchtime was far easier than doing an evening out!
Jen and I are both quite busy people with a lot on and we are so keen to keep camping, doing roadtrips and doing stuff with Lily. Since Lily was born we have been on numerous camping and days trips. To start with Lily would sleep better camping in the van than she did at home! Having the camper van has given us great freedom. It’s great to have a good space for everything we need (snowboarding kit, 2 dogs, luggage, pram (probably should have left it at home) etc.
We factory ordered the base vehicle for my camper build as soon as the T6 specs were released. One of the first T6’s to come to us through with the new LED headlights, App connect and a rather loaded spec. As soon as it was delivered to Shoreham where I was based at the time we hit it with the lowering stick (Bilsteins) and fitted some side bars along with a set of BBS alloys.
Shortly after the van went back to Portland to undergo the full conversion. After running a few of our ‘Chilli plus’ conversions in my last few vans I really wanted to try living with a Slipper Conversion. Seating and Sleeping up to 4 worked well with my requirements. I also spec’d the Wallas diesel hob and heater. Going gas free was very appealing to keep things simple and I have to say I am very pleased with this choice. The thermostat is more basic than some other heaters and there is no timer but all in all not having to worry about gas was most appealing. The rest of the build was completed with leather, premium sound system, obviously all expertly built ‘in house’ at Vanworx!
(Words by Director, Dave Garnsworthy)