So much has happened, I got the ski bug big time and a few days after my first ski trip with Vanessa, I hit the slopes again, a different resort in the Pyrenees, Peyragudes, in fact, again with Vanessa along with one of her english village neighbours and a couple of friends.
The resort was quite different to Saint Lary, dropping off two sides of a mountain ridge rather than nestling mainly in a large bowl, faster more modern lifts, more challenging and longer runs, but further by car and no where local to stay. Luckily we were only there for a day and it was great fun to ski with more proficient skiers too. I was somewhat distracted throughout the day, wondering if I had made a wrong decision, or if I should have stuck to my original plans.
The following day Lisa dropped me in Lannemezan and I got the coach to Saint Lary again, this time it was for a longer term visit. I had been liasing with Clare during the week as an opening to helpX had arisen in the chalet, I needed no second asking and as some of you who know me well have already deducted, I am now installed at Chalet Lou Rider for the rest of the season, doing the same as I did last winter. It has been a hectic couple of weeks adapting to the new routine, getting as much skiing in as possible, fitting into a different team and catching up with all the little changes that have been implemented since I was last here, not many, but enough to tax me slightly at times. The boiler and oil supply were playing up so I spent much of my first week doing my best to stop water leaking into the oil supply and keeping the chalet warm. The weather was unseasonably warm and the mountains changed from white to a browny green in a matter of days, especially at lower altitudes, the heights continue to hold the snow well even with a week of daily daytime melt. Thankfully it has cooled dramatically since then and snow has fallen a couple of times, returning the mountains to their rightful colour for the start of the school holiday season. The chalet, busy with adults last week is now full of families and buzzing with afternoon games as soon as the slopes close in the afternoon. The atmosphere is great and we will be kept busy for quite a while as business is much brisker than last year. I will be making the most of my free time during the day on the slopes and enjoying my work in the chalet.
Late winter school holidays are different here in France to those back home in the UK, for a start, the mayor holiday is in February or March, allowing everyone two weeks off during the ski season, they only get a short week off over Easter, secondly, the country is split into three zones and the holidays are staggered on a rotational basis. The first zone starts, then the second zone starts a week after. The third zone starts two weeks later as the first zone finishes. Thus the two middle weeks are the only ones that overlap out of the month. This season the two more local regions come first and last, giving us a full month of business potential rather than the overlapped format of last year. The chalet bookings sheet is looking pretty full for the complete month already and more enquiries arrive every day. Me thinks that we will be in for a busy time.
Fingers crossed for some more decent snow interspersed with some good cold sunny weather to keep everyone happy. With any luck there will be plenty of snow left way into March when the schools go back and the mountain calms down again.