In January, Adam and I joined our parents and one of my dad’s cousins on a ski trip to France. The week holiday is condensed into this one blog post as really most of the days were very similar so why write bother with the repetition?!
I was really looking forward to getting back onto the slopes as I hadn’t been for about 7 years, not since before by knees got bad.
We left early on Sunday morning from Southampton Airport – they have special flights out to Geneva just for winter holidays. There wasn’t much choice but the one flight there and back on Sunday was enough to make a trip work! The great thing about such a small airport is the fact we only needed to turn up about half an hour before boarding, which makes an early morning flight more bearable 🙂
We arrived in Geneva in the early afternoon and met my parents there before the guy who owned the chalet we were going to be staying in picked us all up and took us the hour and a half or so across the border into France and into Les Gets. Be warned, this journey made me rather travel sick and we took a 5 minute break en route just to have some air – so take a travel sickness pill or have a nap! I didn’t want to nap because I wanted to look out the window, but there is lots of time to look at beautiful scenery when you’re there. It’s not going anywhere.
The first day we went to get our boots and board/skis fitted – I was the only one out of the five of us snowboarding – and grab some food in one of the local cafes. The walk back was beautiful – we managed to get sunset at about 1720 and the colours in the sky were lovely.
We had an amazing team in the chalet, Olga and Alex, who made sure that we were well looked after (and Olga’s food was amazing!!) Breakfast, afternoon tea/cake and dinner were in the chalet each day, with the exception of Wednesday (their day off) when we got breakfast and went out for dinner. Lunch we had out on the slopes wherever we happened to be at the time. Most places were pretty good actually, everywhere we went into definitely was. There was a good mix of quick cafes and nicer sit down restaurants so it suited whatever you fancied on a given day.
Our days generally consisted of a relatively early start (0800) for breakfast and then to the centre of town, about a 15 minute walk, to get our boots and skis/board and then straight onto the slopes for a couple of runs, a break for a hot chocolate or chocolat chaud, a couple of runs, lunch and then working our way back to Les Gets which was either a scenic route or direct depending on how tired we were. The nice thing about Portes du Soleil is that the different resorts linked and you could ski from France into Switzerland and back if that’s what you wanted to do. (Unfortunately the one day we might have made it, there was an avalanche risk so the main slope that linked the resorts was closed) It was also nice that the ski slopes were in what I can only describe as valleys or bowls next to one another. So you could go up a lift as a group and then those who wanted an easier route down could split from those who were more adventurous and then you could all meet at the bottom for a drink or to plan where to go next. That suited our group really well as the boys tended to go for the reds, whereas I was definitely more of a blue person, particularly in the afternoons and towards the end of the week where my knees really weren’t happy. There was even a point where I had no control of my board, my knees were just not playing so before I literally boarded off the cliff I decided the most sensible option would be to sit down. I got in the way a bit, but at least I wasn’t being rescued from a mountain for the third time in my life!
Once back and deposited our kit at the ski shop, we settled on a different place each day for our rather tame aprés-ski of a glass hot wine or vin chad and comparing our SkiTracks. SkiTracks is an app that does exactly what the title says: it tracks where you ski. I only use the free version but that was good enough – I could see my altitude changes, my quickest speed, my average speed, number of runs, number of rests. It was great. The paid version you could see which runs you did too. I would definitely recommend even the free version of the app, just out of curiosity rather for any competition. Not only was this a relaxing end to the day, it definitely helped the knee pain (well, the wine did at least!)
Our evenings consisted of a rest, a nip out to the hot tub and then the comfort of a huge 3 course dinner at home with wine to go with it, followed by a relatively early night. A perfect evening really.
This was a holiday that definitely tested my limits – physically and mentally. My knees were only part of the battle, but I have also lost my adrenaline junky ways that seemed to thrive during my teenage years. Somehow the thought of throwing myself down a mountain strapped to a piece of wood was less appealing now..