Unlike the previous years that I have spent here, snow has been exceptionally sparse this winter.
Through to the end of December only twenty percent or so of the resort was open. I didn’t ski at all until the second week or January, having waited patiently for a decent fall of snow. It wasn’t really that much, but enough to properly cover the ground surrounding the ski runs, making the place much more beautiful and white.
Since then, the whole resort has been poised, skis and boards at the ready for a really decent quantity of snow to fall. To date, we’re still poised and waiting. It’s just going to be a low snow year. (since writing there has been a couple of decent snow falls and everyone is much happier)
That said, I’ve had the good chance to have a couple of the best weather days off of the season so far. Twice, immediately after a couple of days of grey, precipitous days when a fair quantity of snow has fallen, beautiful blue skied sunny days with not too many people on the slopes. Each time I’ve been out with my ski buddy Pierre and we’ve said, ‘just the morning, till eleven or so, we’ll leave before the crowds arrive and it gets too busy’. Each time we get to eleven and it’s still great, the crowds start to fill the slopes, we persevere for a bit and then stop and have a drink for half an hour or so. By which time it’s midday and the whole population of France are thinking about food, the temptation is overwhelming, almost without exception everyone has to stop and eat, and by twelve thirty the mountains are almost devoid of people. It happens everywhere, but is most noticeable in a ski resort when everyone disappears for a good hour and a half for a sit down meal.
|Pierre with his snowboard|
It changes our minds every time and we carry on skiing, making the most of the clockwork eating habits of the nation, only deciding to call it a day when they finally start to reemerge after a thoroughly decent meal. I used to tell guests that lunch time was the best time to ski, but none of them ever managed to go without, or eat on the lifts and take advantage, or the empty slopes, it’s just not in a Frenchmans’ psyche to miss a meal. This phenomenon allows us extra time on the snow without the inconvenience of queueing for lifts or crowded pistes and we make the most of it every time.