and so it begins..

They’ve arrived. 

I walked out of the apartment this morning and scene of French chaos greets me.  Three cars with their bonnets open and their owners slipping about on the ice, juggling with jump leads.  Another car owner faffing about with bits of cardboard, trying to drive directly up a sheet ice slope without snow tyres.  Another guy taking relentless run ups trying to drive out of said iced up driveway, making it even more slippery in the process.  Torville and Dean could skate on our driveway at the moment.

Add this all to the herd of elephants that have apparently moved in above me and the Dutch drinking songs being sung at 1am this morning.  Half term is here.

Chatel sunset captured from Le Sherpa.

To be fair to the tourists that are abandoning cars all over Chatel at the moment, it was -18 degrees this morning and La Smart car only just started, which is an improvement on last week when the temperatures dipped into the minus twenties.  At -25 degrees, it was completely not interested and had to be jump started every day. 

Winters here are brutal on cars.  Reliability and function are paramount in choosing a car to live with all year round.  It’s due to snow next week too which will be very interesting because the village is salting the roads much less than in previous years which will mean epic amounts of faffing about which snowchains.

The extreme cold is getting to the humans too.  I skied to work the other day because the car refused to start.  Normally, skiing to work is a nice thing and gets you nicely prepared for the day.  However, -28 degrees at the top of the Morclan lift in Super Chatel was something else.  It took an hour for my hands to start feeling normal again after that.

I nipped down to Monthey yesterday and picked myself up a thin down jacket which hopefully is going to keep me warmer and not make me look too fat, as well as investing in two oversized wooly snoods at H&M for going to the pub use. 

Work starts in earnest tomorrow and the ski school is stacked out with work for the next 3 weeks.  We’ve had to draft in extra instructors to cope with the demand which is a change from last year when we were all scrapping for work.

I thought I’d get this blog in early because the chances are that I won’t be able to for the next few weeks.  See you in March. x

Missed powder days and domestic crap.

Is missing a powder day a crime?  Some would say yes but I guess on some days, it’s a question of priorities. 
The Dents du Midi from the top of Super Chatel
When your estate agent from the UK rings you up while you’re riding a chairlift and tells you that he’s sold your house, I guess it’s inevitable that you spend the next day doing paperwork concerned with getting rid of the millstone around your neck that is your remaining link to the UK.
So I’m sitting here looking at all the pretty pictures on Facebook of people ‘shredding’ the pow in the Portes du Soleil, with comments like ‘kerpow’, ‘faceshots’, ‘epic’ and various other words that are code for people falling on their face in the deep stuff.  I console myself that I’m getting something productive done while I filling in boring forms and questionnaires concerning where the water meter is on a house 700 miles away.  Grrr.

It’s a funny time of the season at the moment, with not much teaching work around and the village seems to be taking a breather before next week when the true winter madness of half term in Europe gets under way.  I’m personally taking this time to rest up and fix my aching back and knees which are taking a bit of a hammering this year, through better ski levels of clients and endless powder days.

I had probably one of my best ever days as an instructor yesterday when I was looking after one of the race groups for St George’s International School who had come to Morgins to participate in an International Schools race.  The group I had were the Category C girls and I knew many of them from coaching football at the school in the summer. 

We did all of the racing in the morning and our inspection runs of the GS course were mainly exercises in clearing a foot of fresh powder off of the course.  My group came third in the team event but the real fun started in the afternoon when we had time to free ski in powder so deep it was over my knees.  We skied everywhere and did a bit of everything from open powder fields to trees and bumps and I can genuinely say it was one of the best days I’ve had on the mountain ever.

Right, I’m off to soak myself in a hot bath and try not to feel guilty at wasting yet another powder day in the Portes du Soleil. 

Online here – http://maddogski.com/news-and-blogs/when-real-life-gets-way

-x-