Val d’Isère

End of season skiing holiday
French Alps, France
25-31 March, 2007

On the slopes ...

It's the end of March and for most of the winter, the discussions amongst the skiing fraternity is that the snowfall in Europe has been much less than normal - global warming and weather anomalies are being blamed. For us, the week prior to arriving was nice and snowy as was the first day skiing at Val d'Isère. Then the skies brightened to reveal perfect skiing conditions on the glistening, snow-clad Alpine mountains surrounding the valleys of Isère and Tignes.

Learning to ski (again) was so much fun especially with the group from the Evolution2 ski-school class ... Ann-Marie, Michael, Jack and Sue and Graham to name but a few. And of course our instructor Pierre was fantastic. To help me improve faster, Arnaud took me out for two three-hour private lessons to improve my technique and I did manage to complete quite a few blue runs and turn on moguls (badly!) on day 2!! And that's only the start of the week!

As the sun shone during the week, the Alps glistened and it's amazing to sit on a chair-lift in almost complete silence admiring the views all around. The sunshine and blue skies lit up the snow-clad mountain terrains, the undisturbed snow glistened as you moved past, the rabbit and deer tracks meandering below from overnight expeditions, skiers of all ages and abilities whizzing down the slopes below ... quite breath-taking. And to finish one of the morning sessions, a trip down the blue (really it's a red) Santons into Val. Michael, Jack and I decided to head down and it was fantastic ... even the three falls!! :-) It's a nice sense of achievement schussing down the latter part heading towards the town knowing that you've completed a red! W'hooo! And I don't think I'll forget the afternoon with Sam - it was good fun and full of laughs especially when I whizzed past the Borsat Express and had to climb back up the mountain, or when Sam missed the chairlift and managed to duck down under the next one (having "hunky French guys" picked her up - I think it was deliberate!) or sitting out on the slopes on the deck-chairs watching the world go by ...

And no ski holidays would be complete without the aprés-ski ... Val d'Isère has a great selection of pubs and restaurants, many of which were frequented until the early hours. I think La Face was the best with the cheap Happy Hour drinks and strangely addictive music - modern bassy loops filled with two guys palying sax and electric violin! And not to be outdone, the Chalet Roussell group provided their own moments too. Sometimes holidays come and go, sometimes memories are formed which are difficult to describe. But learning to ski, meeting the great ski-school people, having my boots tweaked, falling over, picking myself up, getting better/faster/more daring, being outdoors in the most spectacular environment imaginable and knowing that when pushed to the limits, you're more than able to handle it (and then some) is great!

And the vin chaud was as good as ever whether it's up the mountains or down town aprés-ski - fab!!!

I'll remember this holiday for a long time ... I can't remember who described it but "words fail me" is an appropriate description for some of it ... hopefully the photos will show you an essence of Val d'Isère.