We really enjoyed our paid holiday, who wouldn’t? We woke to a beautiful morning on Friday, our last day of relief, so set off up the hill quite early, before the sun was on the slopes and definitely before it started to warm the air, which it never really felt to do. We skied over the back in our new favourite area but decided that the front of Signal might be slightly warmer from facing the sun and being sheltered from the winds. These have been a bit of a feature this year and has deterred us from going to Alpette and Oz, favourites of last year but on the exposed side of the hill. Gusts of 70km/hour were reported on the peaks so it was quite significant.
We paid a brief visit to Le Spot for a chocolate chaud and nasi goreng but couldn’t really bask in the sunshine as last year as it was still so cold. So we decided to head across to Auris on the scare-chair to check out the conditions there, in the hope that it may be slightly less cold being a bit lower, it wasn’t!
After a few hours we needed to thaw out, warm and relax our aching muscles so enjoyed the hot tub in daylight and were able to admire the view from our luxury bath. The view will be even better when it has moved to the front but it is none too shabby at present from either window (fortunately we were sheltered from the winds this time)
Saturday wasn’t too much of a challenge as we had got most of the chalet cleaned over the course of the preceding week and really only had our own mess to clear up. 4 guests were due to arrive, occupying 3 rooms. As we had only had 6 guests the previous week we had made excess of the soups, chilli, bolognaise, Thai curry and some of the afternoon tea cakes so had minimal food preparation to do (all week). We have also been able to sort out the other 4 rooms ready for the onslaught this weekend, 14 people for the next 5 weeks.
The spare time has been very fortuitous as Ruth and Lewis are in resort this week with Maggie, staying at the childcare hotel from the group we were with last year. Despite our personal misgivings they do provide an excellent service for young families. We got our guests settled in on Saturday and so on Sunday, were able to prepare ourselves to meet the bus due at lunchtime. Having been able to leave the chalet promptly on the 9.45 bus, as it doesn’t take long to deliver and clear up breakfast for 4 (despite 2 being on a grain-free diet!) the slopes called as it was lovely and sunny and there had been some fresh snow. We could manage a couple of hours, which suited us nicely, and were happy to come back in good time. However they weren’t on the bus. We were told that they were on the earlier one which we were able to dispute as they hadn’t checked in. They finally arrived at 3pm having been diverted from Chambray to Grenoble but all in one piece.
We were able to have a chat and coffee with them before we needed to head back to work for the evening but arranged to meet them for a drink in the hotel bar after the evening meal. They had been stuck with another couple on the flight so we were introduced to them at the dinner table where we joined them to finish off the free-flowing wine (unlike the bar where we’d been ripped off). Maggie was a little unsettled and joined us around the unlit fire for a nightcap before we moved onto Undies and left them to get some much needed sleep.
As we walked in we were surprised by the swollen band. There were now 7 of them instead of 3. A new guy accompanied Shane on a bongo drum; there were a saxophonist and trumpeter, the latter reputed to be from the Folie Duce, a day-time ‘night club’ up the slopes. Dave had relinquished his seat to a female vocalist with a deep gravelly voice doing great renditions of Tamala soul numbers. It was all over too soon although well beyond their normal time.
Despite arranging to meet Ruth and Lewis on the slopes by 10.30am we made our was back to the flat far too late for an early start and a days skiing but, what the heck. The following day was rather overcast but thankfully not quite as cold as previously but we were still grateful for all our extra layers. The light did impair visibility, flattening all the dips and bumps until too late. We took them over to Auris where we thought would be quieter, which transpired to be correct. It is probably just as well there was no-one else for me to wipe out on one of the runs where I crashed and burned in a rather magnificent cloud of snow, losing one ski half way up the hill and finally coming to a stop a long way below it. Fortunately no-one was injured, remarkably, not even myself which is more than can be said for Roger who just slipped over on a patch ice at the flattened bottom of the next run. He naturally put out his had to save himself and sustained a nasty shoulder injury which is currently giving him considerable grief. We need to co-ordinate our injuries and make sure we alternate not coincide! It wasn’t a particularly accomplished display for the veterans to give the (relative) novices.