Thursday, January 03, 2008

Thursday 3 Jan, 2008

Woke up quite early this morning and by that I mean at 06:00 so I had some time to really catch up with writing and transferring GPS tracks as well as photographs which was quite nice. I must have been really early because Megan wasn't hiding behind the door waiting for me to turn a light on. She seems to have very different sleep patterns to Alistair.

I wasn't intending on doing another marathon day today but Darrell definitely wanted to go to Switzerland and it is always much nicer skiing with company so it was off to Switzerland we went. We left at 08:30 which means that we had to wait for some of the lifts to open. The one button lift picked me right off my feet before hurtling me forward. The route that we took went over Cubore and the run down the other side to pick up the chair lift to the top of Grand Conche is appropriately named Mur du Cubore which means “The wall of Cubore” - it is *&%^ steep, by far the steepest red run I have seen. I sort of fell on the way down but it was really more like a lie down.

Me with the dreaded "Mur du Cubore" in the background. Yes, it really is that steep.

On the button lift there was one section where you were basically hanging off the button and somehow Darrell go his ski's mixed up and ended up being dragged the remaining 25% of the lift. Very funny from my view as he bounced his way up the track. The run down the other side into Switzerland brings back very bad memories. I did it the second or third day last trip and that meant that it was basically my second or third day skiing and it is very narrow and icy with a nice drop on the one side. This time it was a walk in the park, it wasn't as icy and I think just having done more skiing it was very easy. Amazing.

Once in Switzerland we spent some time going up and down Ripaille because we enjoyed it so much, these blue runs are really fantastic with some nice bumps in the middle to speed over. This was our first encounter with T-bar lifts this year and true to form, one of us, in this case Darrel, got his jacket hooked and almost wiped out. Great fun and once we had done these a couple of times we did the Grand Paradis run which was absolutely fantastic. We stopped at this tiny crepperie half way down the steeper section which was the antithesis of the commercial crepperies. Very cute and picturesque. The rest of Grand Paradis was a bit of a dog because it involves lots of polling but because the entire valley is always in the shade there was loads of snow on the trees and very pretty.

The Grand Paradix ski lift was awesome, very unlike the typical Swiss lifts. It even had a perspex bubble canopy which encloses the entire chair keeping the elements at bay. I will have to revise my blanket statement about Swiss chair and button lifts.

Once we had dropped down into Les Crosets we couldn't help but go up and do the run under the chair lift which was fantastic. We saw some slalom skiers on the next run practicing, they make it look so unbelievably easy and the speed at which they descend is quite amazing.

At the top of the Abricotine I had an awkward incident, I was going down and this kid forced me to go straight down. I had a big drop on my right about 2' away, and the kid on the left also about 2' away and I couldn't slow down even using a snow plough because it would have knocked the kid over. Normally you just speed out of these situations but there were quite substantial moguls directly ahead and I didn't want to take them at speed with limited manoeuvrability but in the end I didn't have a choice. I was shouting "left, go left" at the kid but he obviously didn't understand me. Darrell, about 2m, away was killing himself laughing.

We got home at about 13:00 having done close on 50km of skiing, including chair lifts of course. Quite knackered so I spent the afternoon with Caron relaxing on the deck chairs and reading. We also spent some time looking for gift for the kids at home.

We were all going out for supper but before that we took the fireworks that caron had purchased and went up to the plateau to set them off which the kids seemed to enjoy. Actually the adults seemed to enjoy it as well jumping around doing the spitzen sparkelen firework dance.

The supper was absolutely fantastic, a cheese fondue in the these surroundings just seems to be the right thing to have. The cheese that they use is called Vaucherin and we are going to have to find some at home. Heidi and Darrel came back to our flat for some coffee afterwards but by then I was so tired that I was nodding off so I retired to bed and left everyone else to enjoy the rest of the evening. Darrell was a bit tense at supper because he, like it seems everyone else, spends the last couple of days of a holiday winding up for work.

The view at the very end of Grand Paradix

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