15. Out to Play

Snow returned on Tuesday and continued into Wednesday. Not masses but a respectable few inches. This was very welcome after the continual sunshine, clear skies and freezing nights of the past couple of weeks. Although not as bad since Christmas day, the surface was still much slippier and harder than I liked. Every run was icy, everywhere, not just in the shade. The blues skied like reds and reds like blacks. I haven’t ventured anywhere near any real blacks but was beginning to understand why our colleagues stuck with ‘cruisey blues’. If this was normal for this north facing resort I was starting to feel a little deflated, but would see what the fresh covering brought.

Wednesday’s mist and snow didn’t appeal, despite this being our day off. With little to do the temptation was to hunker down in our ‘cupboard’ (thanks Tim) but I decided we needed to get out, for a short while at least. A trip to Aquamotion seemed like a good idea, we could take the 4 successive escalators down to the edge of fifteen fifty (or Courchevel Village), have a mooch around, possibly a coffee or verre du vin and catch the frequent bus back. As we walked the short section from the bottom of the lower escalator to the front of the building we were treated to the shouts and screams of those brave souls in the out door part of the pool. Rather them than me. I was sporting my big coat over a cashmere polo-neck jumper and fleece lined trousers with fur lined hunting hat and no-one could have persuaded me to remove any item. Apart from the pool area and beauty department there was little to engage us. The bar and grill was closed and the cafe prices were ridiculous: €12 for a single portion of cheesy chips! We did like the photo exhibitions though. A nature artist getting up close and personal with some large and potentially dangerous wild animals in stunning black and white and a landscape photographer specialising in Nepalese scenes, both snow-covered Himalayas and more temperate areas below those seriously dizzy heights.

Thursday dawned with promise. The early clouds dissipated as the sun licked the peaks opposite our window and stroked down across the south facing mountainside but the forecast was poor. We would have to review the situation when we’d finished at 11.30. Despite the wifi going down in Mollard and having to clear snow outside the front and down the side to the back door, I was out on time. I had my romantic assignation with Roger at the bin store, shoved lunch down our throats and headed out at 12.30.
By 1.30 the weather was closing-in so we headed back to 1650 from 1850 as we didn’t want to get caught in adverse conditions on the wrong side of the mountain. Thinking we were heading home we found some pockets of sunshine on our runs back and decided to divert off to the Chapelet red runs we’d explored the other day. They were amazing, unpisted, so covered in soft fluffy snow from where we cut in. The sort that you don’t mind falling down in because it isn’t going to hurt and the firm surface, a few inches beneath, meant that it was possible to get a purchase to stand up again.

We could actually ski rather than slide precipitously so played around on these runs for a while despite extreme cold. The sun shone and snow came down at the same time. We experienced an unusual although not exceptional phenomenon of fairy glitter in the air, presumably frozen moisture, not actual snow flakes but a magical aura.

However, it was so cold that Roger’s nose hairs grew icicles and frost developed on my very rosy cheeks, patriotically complementing the blue hue around my mouth! Even my phone decided that it wouldn’t play ball any more and shut down after enduring these seriously low temperatures for a few rather nice pictures.
Anyway, back to the grindstone tomorrow and the shopping trip. Hope it is less controversial than two weeks ago but it’ll be over by the time you read this.

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