After 5 years of being in business, Hip Hideouts now have an extensive collection of well, 'hip' chalets and apartments. They're a small independent company with a passion for good service, and a lot of love for Val d'Isere.
We caught up with Rich Thompson, one of the company's owner-directors ahead of the start of this season to find out what he loves about the resort and to see if he'd share any of his secret skiing spots with us...
Tell us a little bit about your business and how it started out
We started Hip Hideouts in 2010 and wanted to create a small collection of chalets that not only have great locations but also feel stylish and embed food at the heart of their offering. We started in Le Fornet, which is still my favourite area of Val.
What makes this resort a special place to be for someone in your profession?
It's one of the most beautiful valleys in the Alps, I love the feeling of driving through the gorge as you enter into Val and the village opens up in front of you. I also love the quiet before the storm, its especially beautiful in late November when the leaves are changing colour and the first snow appears.
What are the best bits about your job?
I love (almost) everything about my job, the beautiful surroundings, watching the weather change from hour to hour and meeting guests old and new, but I think most of all I love being part of a small team with lots of personalities and experiences.
What's your favourite piste or off-piste area & top tip to go skiing?
I like Le Fornet, it has a bit of everything and is a bit quieter on big snow days. But of course no-one reveals their real favourites do they? [no..shhh!]
Where would you send someone who was after that something 'something special' in resort, to stay, eat or drink?
What do you do in the summer?
I am lucky that I can work remotely. I like to surf, Sagres in Portugal or the west coast of France are my favourite spots. Also this summer I walked the Höga Kusten Leden (the high coast trail) in northern Sweden, it was a 130km hike along a coastal mountain range. Its stunning beautiful, you can pitch your tent on a mountain top overlooking the sea or on a deserted beach. The Swedish do the outdoor thing so well.
Where are we most likely to find you for après-ski?!
Skiing or snowboarding? What's your preference & why?
Both - I started off skiing as a kid in the 1970's so deep down I am a skier, but in the 90's I did quite a few seasons on a snowboard and loved the freedom a board gives you. I tend to just follow the crowd.
If someone was coming here for the first time, what would you suggest they absolutely must do or see in resort?
I would suggest getting a good guide and heading out into the back country, the opportunities are endless.
Find out more about Hip Hideouts in Val d'Isere & click on the website link to see their full portfolio of accommodation.