We had a second great ski holiday in February, although it was the first in 20 years without son and heir! University studies kept him away but we had fun with my sister & her DH. Our destination was La Clusaz in France, a traditional French resort that we had first visited four years ago (infact both visits coincided with the Winter Olympics). Easy access from Geneva, pretty, trees and a number of linked smaller ‘family’ ski areas would suit the newest skiiers in the family was the logic behind the choice. It turned out to be, overall, an excellent choice. Easy access combined with school holidays led to fairly busy slopes on sunny days but the lift lines were never too bad. There was plenty of snow but when the temperature warmed up towards the end of the week the lower slopes got a bit mushy- the price paid for trees & lower altitudes. The smaller ski areas were great for getting ‘the families’ skiing mojo going again. Croix Fry is a linked ‘day hill’ with short drags and chairs and was an ideal first day- nothing too daunting & a beautiful cold day…one of those when the air sparkles!
Day two and they were ready for an ‘adventure’, a trip around the mountain to sector la balme. We were rightly proud of our ‘pupils’ for their progress, they skiied long, high and some steeper terrain. The piste gradings in La Clusaz are not meant to flater! A red (European grading) is a red! Dark red at times. In north America they would be single diamond black. Unfortunatly ( after a trial run) we decided that the top run in La Balme, with it’s spectacular views to Mt Blanc, was just too steep and exposed. Shame, because the snow was excellent and the view …. Spectacular! Still, they enjoyed hot chocolate and berry tart whilst they waited!
La Clusaz is linked with the neighbouring resort of Grand Bonard, although not on skis. Whilst the weather held up we made a ‘mardi gras’ trip round to try out the slopes. There were some great short runs to build confidence but when we went higher the reality of French half term and after lunch skiing was evident! Oh boy was it busy! Lift lines and slopes! Still brother in law did well on a couple of long, quite bumpy and busy red slopes as the light deteriorated quickly. I really began to appreciate my £100 splash out on a pair of Oakley goggles! I could actually see the bumps in the snow! Up until now they had just kept my eyes from running in the wind! Actually over the week they got a full work out & I can say they were worth the money! I had also bought a pair of Hestra gloves & again I am well pleased with my purchase. My smart leather Salamon gloves are not up to cold and snowy weather. They are not long enough so you are forever messing around trying to fasten jacket sleeves over gloves and they don’t have keepers on, so taking photos or anything that requires ‘gloves off’ is a pain.
Mardi Gras was carnival time in the village as we discovered a pirate ship whilst walking down to the village! Oh & did I mention that all the staff in our favorite village restaraunt were dressed as nuns and priests? Fun night!
By Wednesday the weather began to show some variation (!)…… Fog for example, which made for some interesting times, although we did discover the best berry tart in Etal, just up the valley!
This is the first post I have drafted on my iPhone so I will take a break now. It’s been fun to just tap away but I don’t want to write anymore until I am sure I can edit it on the laptop and add photos and so on! The iPhone? It’s great. It’s just a great gadget. Unfortunatly ( maybe) I decided to swap to vodafone as my provider, thinking about trips to Scotland and the ability to boost our home connection with Smart Signal. What I didn’t realise was that Smart Signal just isn’t that reliable & local vodafone coverage isn’t as good as O2 is (or at least was with my Sony erricson). I may carry an 02 pay as you go in the car ‘just in case’!
Ok, so they iphone app. worked! More updates to follow!