It's cheap, it's cheerful, and it isn't that cold it's ski camping

Not in a tent, of course, but in a warm and spacious mobile home in the French Alps. Francis Jezierski and his sons try it out

The canopy of stars above us in the clear chill of the Alpine night was almost dazzling, which was just as well because, now tired and cold after a day pounding the slopes, we were otherwise in darkness.

Why? Because we had left the heat on before we set off from our new mobile home. There had been a delightful blast of warmth as I unlocked the door, but the excessive heat had made a safety switch turn off all the power. Only starlight (and intuition) enabled me to grope my way to the switchgear and right matters.

Years of children-induced budget-juggling have taught one that heat is an underrated commodity when skiing. At our mobile home in Le Grand Bornand, as we watched the ever-changing weather steadily entomb our hire car in ice, we were snug in accommodation that had a comfort blanket of thick, built-in insulation and a heating system whose ducts wafted warmth to every corner.

Thomson has chosen Le Grand Bornand in Haute Savoie in the French Alps, a (fairly) unspoilt village, to launch its new kind of caravan. There is a generous amount of space in the living area (more than offered in many chalets), separation from the neighbours and pleasantly unobtrusive design. Unlike much self-catering accommodation found in skiing resorts, the facilities are well up to producing full family meals.

The caravans are in a site that is reasonably well appointed, and regular buses whisk one to the nearest ski lift in five minutes. The resort, a generally easy 50-minute cruise from Geneva airport, is part of a ski complex in Les Aravis mountains consisting of five linked sectors said to provide 125 miles of skiing.

The slopes at Le Grand Bornand are mainly intermediate but we found plenty of space, and as much excellent skiing as we could handle. The run down to the village from the slopes remained an aspiration only for us, though. Much of it was a quagmire with grass visible on the final approach to the village.

The village proclaims itself suitable for "family plus", and the nursery slopes and child facilities are good. The ski buses to other areas in the skiing complex looked efficient, but beware. The pick-up point also serves the modern, industrial-sized resort a few miles from the village called Le Grand Bornand Chinaillon and the queues are on a scale to match. We waited for more than an hour.

Le Grand Bornand has a spectacular setting, and is neither spartan in the way of some east European ski resorts nor glossy high fashion à la Chamonix. Le Grand Bornand's website proclaims it to be a resort for all ages but teenagers and young adults might find its evening offering rather limited, though there are a couple of clubs.

But, of course, with Thomson's latest offering, it does offer one remarkable feature: the chance to ski in the French Alps at a rock-bottom price. And a bonus is that one is financially freer to sample the restaurants, of which the compact centre has a good range. Even the campsite has a pretty decent restaurant. There is a snazzy cinema almost next door, though, and other distractions from skiing must include the magnificent church and the picturesque park.

For a day away, Geneva is a great choice, and with a hire car even Turin 80 miles away could be a possibility. The caravans of Le Grand Bornand are truly a hot destination.

How to get there

Francis Jezierski and his sons stayed at Camping L'Escale in Le Grand Bornand, France, with Thomson Al Fresco (0871 231 3292; thomsonalfresco., which offers seven nights' accommodation in a Vivaldi holiday home from 199 for two adults and up to four children sharing.

Suggested Topics

Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
Serge Pizzorno of Kasabian and Noel Fielding backstage at the Teenage Cancer Trust concerts
musicKasabian and Noel Fielding attack 'boring' musicians
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voicesVicky Chandler: Zoella shows us that feminism can come in all forms
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities

nflAtlanta Falcons can't count and don't know what the UK looks like
Arts and Entertainment
High notes, flat performance: Jake Bugg

Review: Despite an uphill climb to see Jake Bugg in action, his performance is notably flat

The Putin automaton will go on sale next month in Germany
videoMusical Putin toy showing him annexing Crimea could sell for millions
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Financial Controller

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful entertainment, even...

    Direct Marketing Executive - Offline - SW London

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A fantastic opportunity h...

    Day In a Page

    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

    'You need me, I don’t need you'

    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
    12 best children's shoes

    Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

    Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
    Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

    Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

    Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
    Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

    Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

    Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

    UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London