Wednesday, 14 February 2001

Old News - Skiing in France Feb 2001

Hullo everyone

Well, back home after 2 weeks skiing, and no broken bones in our group. Lots of bruises and aches, but that seems to go with the territory.

We went to La Tania, between Courcheval and Meribel in the French Alps. It is a tiny resort, with 2 pubs, 5 restaurants and one shop! However, by taking 2 lifts you have 200km of piste at your command (Piste – wide runs where they have compacted the snow to form a firm even surface for you to ski on). 8 of us had booked for 2 weeks and another 6 for one week. As the chalet holds 16, we pretty much had it to ourselves. Another Aussie/Danish couple was with us on week 1, and 8 poms on week 2. All really super people – we were very lucky. The chalet is run by 2 English girls who cook and clean, and we were spoiled rotten. The more adventurous among us got the hang of skiing from the run right to the chalet, although it was a little hair-raising!

In week one 6 of us took lessons to try and sort out our technique. The instructor had us skiing on one leg, using the poles, and trying to look decent, as well as taking us down some rather difficult slopes. Also lots of different terrain – ramps, moguls (evil humps) and off-piste (that’s a couple of feet of soft snow which swallows your skis and throws nasty surprises at awkward moments for those who don’t know). Jolly hard work, but only in the mornings, so we had the afternoons to play around and catch up with the others. Then in week two we did a bit of exploring. There’s a nasty bug going around – Tara got it the first week, and I got it the second. Spent 3 days in bed, and was a bit feeble afterwards – great way to spend a skiing holiday! Sounds like the other valleys are good for skiing though!

Hmmm, what else. I had a go at snowboarding one afternoon, but I don’t really like being in contact with the surface quite so much (Mountain Man of course was boarding down blue runs after 2 hours)! Most of our group switched to snow-blades in the second week (very short skis), and they are great fun. Very easy to turn, and you don’t go as fast as skis. The guys were jumping things and skiing backwards on the first day! One afternoon a few of us took a walk along a cross-country track / road, and got bored so struck off into the woods on a path. A very icy, slippery, sheer path! Lots of clutching at trees and shrieking! Then Mountain Man decided it would be fun to bum-board (bit of plastic you sit on and slide out of control) down the blue run. Fun to watch anyway and he made it quite far before bailing out!

Apart from that, lots of wine in front of the log fire, board games, cards and conversation. A superb holiday!

Funny how warm London feels after the Alps! It is nice to be back, with so many shops and restaurants to choose from – and what a pleasure to be understood. My French is VERY basic – just tourist phrases, and most French people do not speak English.

Mountain Man is in South Africa for the next few weeks. I wish I could be there too – I am craving some hot sun! As he flew out last night, we had Valentines on Sunday. It actually worked rather well, as the restaurants are not too busy and no one was stressed. Then on Monday I was meant to be back at work, but couldn’t face it so bunked. My ‘tummy bug’ had a relapse! Actually I’m almost fine now, but I have an intolerance to some foods (meat, dairy, fruit, alcohol and coffee so far – what does that leave!) so I’m not quite 100%! It seems to be the same bug I had in Nepal… thought we’d be safe in France!

2 weeks of work left! Then I am going skiing AGAIN in Switzerland with my Mom and Aunt! Mom’s got one week to learn how before I get there. Heh heh heh.

When I get back I have 2 weeks to find us a new home, as we are all moving out at the end of March. I can see some floor-squatting happening again! Mountain Man and I are looking for a place on our own for a change, L is globetrotting, and T is moving in with J. Everyone else seems to have found places to stay now, so the Bayswater doss-house is closing down!

Let me go back to pretending to work!

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