Saturday, February 04, 2012

life in the mountains

Andy, ready for another powder run

snow cannons blowing snow so fine that it looks like a forest fire

Fresh snow and icicles outside the chalet

The first time it has been possible to ski right back to the front door this season

It has continued snowing for several days now and the bare, green mountain sides are a thing of the past for a while. I hope the sheep made it safely back to their winter shelter. The temperature has plummeted, as it has everywhere in europe, down to a daytime high of -8°C and night times lows nearing -20°C. Now that the clouds have passed, the visibility is excellent and the whole region is blanketed in snow. Some guests due to arrive for dinner (7.30pm) last night eventually made it up the mountain at nearly 11pm. They had used their snow chains since way down in the valley and were still slipping all over the place.

Skiing has been great fun, on piste, off piste and anywhere else that has looked tempting. Its been great fun with Andy although I was so cold that I had to stop early. He just looks over a ridge and tips over, planning his route as he goes, a bit of a view is enough, and with the depth of powder, little chance of coming a cropper. Exhilarating.

Overnight the wind has picked up and chilled everything to the bone. So cold in fact that the central heating oil became so sticky in the pipes within the boiler room that the heating stopped working. The resort didn’t open and most of the loose snow has now been blown off the tops, huge squalls of icy cloud blasting down the mountain, skin stingingly cold, bringing what little traffic there is to a complete standstill.

Half an hour with a blowlamp on the chilly pipes and the heating burst into life again, Holes blocked and pipes further lagged, the frozen washing prized out of the machine drum and crumpled into the drier, the washer then refusing to work some more until the water supply thaws. All the paths that I cleared yesterday into neat gulleys through the drifts need clearing again. Nothing like a bit of energetic work to get well warmed through. I was much more toasty outside that I could have been inside the cool chalet.

Lets see what happens with temperatures forecast to stay low and more snow on the way tomorrow. Perhaps the winds will drop and some of the snow will stay for longer this time. Its great to stay snug indoors in front of the fire and spend some time doing very little. Full after a great Thai curry lunch and only seven guests to look after this evening.


Anonymous said...

.....have you seen the news from here.....chaos due to a few flurries of snow and maybe minus 10.......!!! We are hopeless in the winter ( or should I say the southern half of the country....!)
Great to see the photos.....keep having fun!!
x Moi

Caribbean Culinary Tours & Vacations said...

That is some amazing snow, Glad I am not there love the tropics. Great photo shots thanks for sharing