This is the start?

I woke up this morning for the first time to the magical sound of beeping and scraping snowploughs and the man downstairs at the Creperie, hard at work with his shovel, cleaning the snow from his terrace. This can only mean one thing, the big snow has arrived.

IMG_0403-0

Big snow?

I don’t particularly want to jinx the big snow as I know that it has snowed all the way down to Lac Leman which is never a good sign but it is forecast to stay cold, so at least the guys who look after the mountain can start making some more snow and generally get on with making a ski resort happen.

In this respect, it’s been a pretty disastrous start for some of the Portes du Soleil, with places like Morzine looking like summer up until today and my home resort of Morgins only able to open the top area for beginner lessons. Pretty much the whole of the Portes du Soleil was invading Chatel, Linderets, Mossettes and Avoriaz, resulting in Avoriaz having to impose quotas on lift ticket sales to preserve the pistes and ensure safety.

I managed to ski much of the French side this week in a desperate attempt to look like I can still actually ski for when our ski school formation weekend (skiing part anyway) finally happens. Personally, I’m skiing pretty well actually and I’m taking on board some of the lessons that I learned on my failed BASI (British Association of Snowsports Instructors) level 4 tech exam last year.

Personally this year, I’m taking a break from BASI and ski instructor exams. I came to the realisation last year that endless focus on exams and progressing through ‘the system’ was killing my enjoyment of skiing and so I’m having a year off with specific goals of finding enjoyment and pleasure in skiing again and skiing socially with friends.

It’s not all been sitting indoors looking out of the window looking for snow though. I’ve have a few trips to Saas Fee in the Autumn which were excellent as usual and I even got to finally visit Nesti’s Ski Bar which was on my list of things to do in Saas since I first went there in the summer of 2010. It didn’t disappoint and is well worth a visit if you are in the area. Loads of Appenzeller shots, no wifi and great music.  Say I sent you.

Remember I was telling you about my goal to ski with friends more? Well, for my birthday, I got a bunch of people together and went to ski in Cervina. The snow there at the start of December was amazing and everything was open, right from the top at about 3300m, down to village level at 1800m.

IMG_0404

Some high quality rental skis

20141208_153307

Beautiful Italy. Cervina.

Despite being on rental skis and very hungover (a long story for another time to do with getting a chef fired and a house party till 3am), I had an amazing day, skiing with my bosses, my friends, ex-Swiss team skiers and the coolest guy in Morgins, JD.

That day was all about social skiing and to see 8 Morginois, skiing with total freedom, tearing up the Italian pistes was a sight to remember.

Bring on winter.

-x-

Snow arrives

I’ve not blogged for a while as I’ve been busy moving house.  Apparently it’s up there in terms of stress levels with getting married (did that with a hangover, easy) and having kids (not done that, doesn’t look so difficult).

dog exploring the new place

dog exploring the new place

Anyway, all of our stuff is now moved and it’s just a case of getting used to the new noises that this place makes compared to the last one.  The last apartment was probably the noisiest one on the planet, including all those shacks next to railway lines etc so this one can’t be that bad.   Plus it has a full length bath (for those of you who live here you will know what a luxury that is).

I’ve also been working out how to publish an e-book of my written project on the basis that it might be interesting to ski instructors around the world or even people just interested in the subject.  If you are interested, it’s here.

Some early season snow put in an appearance yesterday and today, giving a timely reminder of what winter will look like and the joy of scraping cold wet snow from the car.  It’s stunning here in summer and autumn with the depth of colours that you see all around you but you can’t beat a good bit of fresh snow to make you really remember why most of us are here.

Lac Vonnes, Chatel.

Lac Vonnes, Chatel.

Talking of putting in an appearance, it looks like one of my best mates from way back, Nick, will be coming out to do a ski season and arriving at the start of November.  He’s staying at our new place for the season which either is going to be a disaster for our health or make for a very pleasant season.  He’s just finished (perhaps) with a career as a scuba diving instructor in the Caribbean, so not sure how he will cope when it’s -30 in December and January, especially with predictions that this winter is going to be one of the coldest for 100 years.

A couple of weeks ago myself and a couple of pals took a day trip to Saas Fee which turned out to be an excellent day with good skiing and great banter.  A 7am start was followed by a road trip of 1hr 40 to get to Saas.  40mins after that having gone up on 2 gondolas and a train, we had the skis on and were on snow under blue skies.

post glacier beers in Saas

post glacier beers in Saas

We enjoyed the 40kms of firm pistes which stayed good all the way until closing at 3pm as well as the half pipe, kickers, rails and snow-cross track.  The good thing about going to Saas at this time of the year is that the only people that are there are professionals.  We got to see a film crew from Sweden filming the latest Burn commercial with some really decent riders in the park, as well as race teams from Sweden, Switzerland, France and just about every country in between.

The ride down was spoilt somewhat by Muff taking off his stinking boots in the gondola but once we got down we enjoyed some après beers in the sunshine before heading home.  A great day and we are planning a repeat on Sunday with more of us this time as the some arriving here has given people the bug to go sliding.

-x-