Thursday, January 13, 2011

The light at the end of the tunnel

After yesterday, everyone needed some cheering up but when the day dawned, it looked absolutely miserable; all misty and worst of all, it looked like it had rained overnight which didn't bode at all well for the days skiing.

We were all wondering what we were going to do because skiing in the mist for the whole day wasn't high on anyone's agenda. Fortunately for us, Carl happened to open the front door and lo and behold, there was blue sky on that side of the house so before it could vanish we kitted up and were out the door. Unfortunately I think the whole of Les Menuires had the same idea and the queues at the lifts were pretty bad. Not as bad as we've had at Avoriaz or on new years eve in Paris but by the standards set during our two weeks here, pretty bad. It turned out that most of the lifts up to high points weren't yet running due to ice so we had to slosh around in the mush left by the rain until we found a reasonably high one (sunny express) from where we skied over to the becca lift from where we could actually start the days skiing.
The rain that we had had in Les Menuires hadn't fallen on the higher pistes so these were absolutely fantastic to ski on but as we dropped down in altitude we would be in and out of the cloud that was lurking in the valley and rising and dissipating sporadically. We tried skiing pelozet but by the time we got to the bottom lift we were in really thick cloud which doesn't make for the most enjoyable skiing. A piste marker would loom out of the mist and one isn't sure which side of the marker one should be and what direction one should be skiing; it's very disorientating.

Once we figured out which runs were okay we had a great time skiing on Grand Lac and 3 Marches which both had really good snow and good sunlight. One can't have too much of a good thing so we stopped for chocolat chaud and nutella waffles at our favourite restaurant who tried to seat us in the entrance hall way which we refused and fortunately for us, a table opened up in the 'drinking only' section which we quickly nabbed. The chocolat chaud was good but not quite as good as the on from the restaurant on tete ronde. We eventually headed home for a late lunch of cheese, tomato and lettuce on baguette which, just like yesterday and every day before that, was scrumptious. Carl commented on how, when he was sick and stayed home for the day, he was thinking how ordinary the fare was; today however, he was in full agreement as to just how tasty it was.

After lunch, with much trepidation, we decided to do 'Roc'n Bob' which is a toboggan run. The instigator was, of course, Alistair but with yesterdays escapades in BK Park fresh in our mind all the adults were a little anxious. We needn't have been, it was great fun and even if you have a really good spill there wasn't any way that you could seriously injure yourself. The following photo's were by Kirsten because I was having way too good a time flying down the run while taking a video of the proceedings.
Alistair showing how it should be done after collecting yet another piste marker which had to be put back into the snow.
Megan the maniac after showing us all how to ride the edge of the wave. Carl had visions of her going of the back and doing a little off-piste in a toboggan.
Carl being closely shadowed by Roland who is filming. I was hoping for a close up of a whoopsy right in front of me. Carl was being very uncooperative, possibly due to not wanting three GT stripes from the runners of my toboggan on his noggin.
All of us very happy to have finished, it was great fun.

The next order of the day was to go and watch the 'Russian Christmas' which meant we all dressed up warmly and padded down the icy path to bruyere which is one of the village-lets within Les Menuires. Just next to the place that the the demonstration took place was an open air swimming pool.
People would swim and then get out and have a roll in the snow on the edge of the pool before getting back in. It must be fun, if you enjoy that sort of thing, or if you are really trying too hard to impress a girl. The 'Russian Christmas' consisted of a torchlight descent by the ESF (Ecole de Ski Francaise) instructors followed by fireworks.
My new camera is performing spectacularly well with the monopod that I bought in Paris. I was busy photographing the fireworks and this woman came and stood in front of me to take photographs so I moved but she followed me. By move number three when she arrived, enough was enough and I politely pointed out that she was getting in the way.
The fireworks were very pretty but over quite quickly at which point the 'Russian Christmas' started to become an open air discoteque which only served to confirm my strongly held belief that white people (in general) really just can't dance.

Heading home we had these great views of the Cathedral which Megan has been nagging me to take pictures of so now she can stop moaning.

Caron and I took the bus home like civilised people while the van der Riets trudged up the hill in the darkness. Thereafter it was supper before we all collapsed into bed, exhausted.

A piece of trivia, when we arrived we found this dessicated frozen frog on the roof just outside our front door and it has been there ever since. That was until a couple of days ago he was mistakenly rolled up into a snowball and hurled at someone. We don't know who did the hurling and who was the recipient of snowball frog but he is now safely back in the snow on top of the roof out of the reach of Alistair.

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