Friday, 11 April 2014

a Bientot

This is the last blog of this winter season.   It has been a good season for snow.   We have been able to ski off piste most days until about the last 3 weeks of the season, when the sun came out and spring arrived.  Mont D'Arbois lifts closed on Tuesday (though we were told they were to stay open until the end of the week and we didn't understand why they closed earlier), and Rochebrune (except for Cote 2000) closed today.   Again it is hard to understand why as the pistes are still skiable and the resort is losing the weekend trade.
The spring flowers are blooming.   The first ones to appear on the banks where the snow has melted is the coltsfoot, a yellow dandelion like flower.   In the damp shade the butterbur is ubiquitous, and the gardens are yellow with primroses.   Further down the valley there are cowslips by the side of the road. I have also seen oxslips, marsh marigolds and violets, though not heartsease, though I have seen them other years.   But my favourites are the mountain crocuses.  These are tiny, like little flakes of snow at first glance, mostly white but you do get purple and yellow.  And they appear at this time of year as soon as the snow has melted from the sunny banks.
The birds are singing enthusiastically and building their nests.   Under the Chamois lift there are 6 ewes and 5 lambs.  During the winter they are in a shed at the bottom of a garden, but as soon as the snow has gone a fence goes up and the sheep appear.  Sometimes one sees marmots sunning themselves under the Ideal chair, but again I have not seen them this year.
So farewell for the moment.  We are back in the summer for the Jazz Competition.  Now it's time for tennis!

Saturday, 5 April 2014


On Thursday evening we all went to the luge at Les Saisies.   There were 36 of us, the youngest 3, the eldest 73.  We try and do this every year with all the staff, the guests and anyone else whom we want to invite.   The last two years it has been snowing and very cold.  This time it was chilly but not freezing.
It is on rails above the ground, so for the first few minutes one is hauled up the incline.  Then you reach the top, the light goes green and you push the handles down and off you go.  It is basically a roller coaster with tight bends.  There is a notice at the end that tells you to slow down but mostly it's ignored and the automatic brake jerks you to a halt.  You can go down individually but it's more fun to go down with another.  Most of the children grab any adult around for a trip down but Lizzy (granddaughter aged 9) and Phoebe (aged five) went down together.  Lizzy just managed to exceed the height limit to go down without an adult.   Most people managed about 7 goes in the hour, except for Anna Booth who said she managed a record 9 times.  Anyway, here is a photo of Lizzy and Phoebe.

Friday, 4 April 2014


Yesterday I had a trip in a helicopter.   Clive Emerson, a guest, was having instruction in flying a helicopter in the mountains. He asked Jonny if he would like to be a passenger, but Jonny was knocking holes in walls in the Sylvana and couldn't go, so I got the chance.   Sadly, it was a misty day so I didn't get very good photos.
We took off from the Altiport at Cote 2000, flew down the gorge to Albertville, took a right and passed over Annecy.  We then flew over the mountains to Bonneville, passing La Clusaz and Flaine, to Sallanches, St. Gervais, passing Les Contamines ski resort before crossing the ridge back to the Altiport.  We were airborn for about 1hour 10 minutes.    They were hoping to do a longer circuit but the weather looked as if it was closing in and Ian, the instructor, didn't want to take any chances.   It was amazing to see all the familiar places from the air.  These pictures are the lake at Annecy and the top of the cable car and Caboche lifts at Rochebrune.
I had my skis in the minibus so I went up from Cote 2000 to join the others at the Radaz for lunch.  I shared a tartiflette with Steve, my younger son-in-law, and very good it was.