The last few weeks have flown by and taken ages at the same time. The weekends extremely busy with guests and week days occupied with chalet maintenance and enjoying the great outdoors. Normally by now the weather is a little too warm for a ski resort and the snow melts faster and faster up the hillside, the mountain sides start to green up and spring tries to make an appearance. This year it’s still snowy. As I write, three days before the end of the ski season, it is snowing, the snow plough has been working through the night and it feels like January again.
It has been sunny, we have had some wonderful days, but like elsewhere in europe it has remained on the cool side.
After much deliberation I rented a snowboard and gave it a go. All the comments over the years are true, plenty of padding is needed. I fell all the time for the first two days, thankful for a helmet and wrist protectors that undoubtedly saved broken wrists and concussion. More padding would have helped for just about everywhere else, ribs, elbows, shoulders, knees and the like. I quickly realised that the softer spring snow was more forgiving both for getting to grips with the board and for falling onto. An early frosty start was not in the least bit enjoyable and I quickly swapped back to skis.
Five half days in and I am starting to enjoy snowboarding. Getting the hang of linking turns and finding out the tricks of balance and movement that are so very different to being on skis. It is strange to move sideways all the time and frustrating to buckle and unbuckle a boot to move anywhere once stationery, the alternative is to scuttle around like a crab with both feet strapped in. I now know why boarders like to board with skiers, the skiers can always give them a tow when they get stuck. It’s a different sensation to skiing, that uses more energy, especially at the start, and involves more whole body movement. I’m not one of those numerous people who tries boarding and never uses skis again but I shall return for more next season. For now, though, the last precious days in the mountains, I shall be making the most of my trusty skis.
Heading back to Pierlo and Sandrines to check out progress at their straw bale house, give them a hand in the garden and get back into speaking french all the time, followed by a couple of weeks on a small farm where they make jams, chutneys, conserves and honey, have a small B n B and are new to HelpX. They’re close to my departure airport for my spring trip back to the UK. Looking forward to seeing family and friends back home next month.