Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Vallee Blanche

Yesterday we skied the Vallee Blanche with all the staff. It was touch and go as the guides predicted high winds, and said the Montenvers  lift might be closed.  This lift is the one that you get at the end of the trip.  You have to climb something like 450 steps carrying your skis and wearing ski boots before you get to it.  If it is closed then you have to climb a similar additional distance.  I have never had to do the last part and never want to.   Climbing 450 steps just about finishes me off. Anyway, we were extremely lucky as the wind died down.
The day did not start off particularly well.  The Mont Blanc lift company look over the Megeve lifts at the beginning of the season, and we were told we could issue ski passes for Chamonix.   Oh no! Chamonix can issue passes for Megeve but not the other way round.   So we got to the lift barrier( after about an hour's queue) to find the ski passes didn't work.  So we had another half an hour's wrangling with the lift office before we got the right passes.  But as it happened we got lucky, as in that time the wind dropped so the walk down the arrete was fine.  It would have been very unpleasant in high wind.  Before you put your skis on the guides rope you up and you then walk down the arrete to where it levels out and you can start to ski.  There is a rope to hang on to.  You just don't look down as Chamonix is 3000 metres below.
We all skied together which was fun.  It was a bit icy the first few turns but then the snow softened up. In fact, when we got to the Mer De GlacĂ© (which is the flat bit of the glacier) it was almost too soft.  It was a great day and the sun shone, so we all ended up stripping off loads of layers.   We had been told it would be -25C so had dressed appropriately.  
What a way to end the season!   Most of the staff are having a few days in Budapest to round it off.
Here is one of the many group photos.

Monday, 11 April 2016


As soon as everyone went home the sun came out.  Sod's law!   We had a little snow on Friday night but the cloud was down on Saturday, so though we skied a little off piste we did not do a lot.  We started off in two groups, but then the parents of the youngest children split off from the rest of us.   We all met for lunch at the Gouet except for one family who couldn't get there.  There were 20 of us! But Sunday dawned bright and sunny and today has been much the same, though it's clouding over this afternoon.  John came and joined me on Sunday and we found some untracked snow over the back of the Ladies Downhill.  We ended up doing a run across a field  to a stream, which we had to jump.  Quite difficult in Ski boots.  We had to climb out but that only took about five minutes.  It was preferable to skiing out along the stream, which I don't like at the best of times.  
The pistes are deserted although it is still French holidays.   Everywhere is slowly closing down.  Today the St Nicholas and Chatterix lifts were closed, as well as the Monrosset.  The snow was good and I had a lovely morning.  It is all rather sad but on the plus side the mountain crocuses have suddenly arrived.  They are tiny and mostly white, though there are a few yellow and purple ones.  The primroses have been in flower for some time and the banks in the town are yellow with them.  They didn't seem to suffer from the snow on Friday.  

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Family holiday

We are having a great week.  The weather isn't marvellous as we have had a foehn wind for the last few days, so the snow has got very soft by the afternoon.  It's been fine in the mornings though.  Today was colder and the snow was much better.  We have been having lunch at most of our favourite restaurants.  Monday was the Staduel, Tuesday the Alpage, Wednesday the Telepherique and today the Gouet.  Caroline and I ate at the Radaz on Saturday.  The restauranteurs have been pleased to see us.  In some cases there have been 22 of us, but some days we have split up as the younger children are unable to ski to the restaurants that are not near the ski school.  In most cases we have been the majority of people eating there.  Katie Campbell is teaching our four grandchildren and Anna Booth, so they are having a lovely time.  Sadly, they all go on Sunday.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Staff lunch

On Friday we had our end of season staff lunch at Au Petit Cuchet, Combloux.   It is just above the car park when you ski down the blue run to Combloux.  It was a bit cloudy in the morning and we skied with Elizabeth, Caroline, Emily, Lizzie and Tommy.  We went over to Giettaz and then came back and, inevitably, ended up on the boarder cross.   I have done quite a few of those this week.  Elizabeth raced Rory and Amy and got a great start and was racing to a win when they came across Tommy in a heap.   He had been racing his sister.   Anyway, Elizabeth claimed the win.  Sadly, Jaillet has now closed for the season.  It always closes a week or two earlier than the rest of Megeve.  Yesterday Elizabeth and John were working so Caroline and I skied with the children.  They spend the whole time finding the bumps and jumps down the side of the pistes.  I feel that I am not only an authority on boarder cross courses but also on where to  find the best bumps and jumps.   It is all hugely entertaining.