An alpine adventure without the snow

Sheer beauty in the French alps at the Chilly Powder chalet.
Sheer beauty in the French alps at the Chilly Powder chalet.
A Ryanair plane. Picture: Wiki Commons (labelled for reuse)

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Allez Go! That was the voice that belted out through the drizzle.

I was standing hundreds of feet in the air, dangling off a metal bridge attached by a rope.

A gaggle of French teenagers were watching and waiting excitedly for their turn, so I had no option, I allez went.

As I fed the abseiling rope through my hands, putting all my trust in my harness, I could feel my heart pounding through my wetsuit.

This was 10 million miles away from the usual August beach holiday, for this was canyoning in the French alps.

Normally reserved for our annual ski holiday in March, the mountains have always intrigued me.

Their sheer beauty gives such a reassuring feeling of the wonder of the world.

So when my partner suggested visiting these usually snowcapped mountains during August, I literally jumped at the chance.

Andre and I stayed at the gorgeously chic Chilly Powder chalet in Morzine.

The chalet has a homely, friendly feel, with 16 rooms, a shared communal area, lounge, small bar area and a beautiful garden.

Run by husband and wife team Paul and Francesca Eyre, who live there with their three children, the chalet is perfectly set up for families and couples.

As the only child-free couple in the chalet, we still felt welcome as dinner was served in two sessions. The kids’ sitting was earlier in the evening and they then made way for the adults by going to play in the garden.

And boy was the dinner delicious.

A fine menu ranged from tender steaks to duck to scallops, a veritable gastro treat.

If you have ever wondered what people do in the mountain once the snow has disappeared, let me tell you there’s no shortage of activities.

In fact there’s an abundance of options, all as thrilling as the next.

Luckily for us we had five days of glorious weather – blue skies and singing birds. It was like starring in the Sound of Music.

We took the chance to stroll leisurely by the lakes, hike to the top of peaks, swim in pools indoor and out and enjoy long lunches on the many terraces in the area.

I also enjoyed a yoga lesson next to a babbling brook, with butterflies floating past. It was so beautiful it reminded me of living in a muesli advert.

But a trip to the mountains wouldn’t be complete without some exhilaration.

So, after completing a zip wire, the adrenaline junkie inside me signed up for canyoning.

And that’s when I found myself, with a helmet on, dangling by a rope on the only drizzly day of the week.

The water was breathtakingly cold as I flung myself from rocks into pools at the guide’s instruction.

More than once I said a secret prayer before leaping.

At the end of our canyoning adventure, not only had I surprised myself at my ability to conquer a waterfall, but I also felt a surprising sense of achievement.

And that night, over another wonderful meal, I told my tale to the other guests.

And I’m sure I caught a glimmer of respect in their eyes.

Summer prices start from €1,150 per week based on two adults sharing a standard bedroom, or €1,595 a week for two adults and two children sharing a standard family bedroom on a half-board basis.

Guests staying with Chilly Powder can also take advantage of the special €2 per day Morzine Avoriaz activity multi-pass, including lift access, ice skating, tennis, swimming, Aquariaz in Avoriaz and access to local museums.

The pass includes unlimited activities for the whole family, throughout the 12 villages in the entire Portes du Soleil region.

To book go to chillypowder.com . E-mail info@chillypowder.com or call 020 7289 6958.