20. Alpine Weather

Skiing down the road

Skiing down the road

We are beginning to realise how spoilt we were with the weather last season. This ‘Isle du Soliel’ is falling far behind its claimed 300 days of sunshine a year. Instead we are having rather a lot of snow. How so, in a ski resort, I hear you ask? Actually we got all the snow in 2 separate dumps last year and the sun shone most of the rest of the time. This winter, however, we have had repeated falls and melts. Overall, much more snow has come down, even if the depth is no greater.

This has resulted in neither of us feeling particularly deprived by Roger’s enforced absence from the slopes. Also it is both French and British holiday time and the place is busy. It is even less fun queueing for a lift on your own than with someone, even if you can nip up the ‘singles and ski school’ lane.

Out our flat window

Out our flat window

We have waited at the bus stop on our journey down to the evening shift at the chalet, with the slight concern that the ‘navette’ is not going to arrive and we will have to walk. This would probably have led us to arrive at the chalet at the same time as the stop is in the opposite direction but we prefer to walk uphill, away from our destination and stand in the snow waiting for a dry ride than walk down prior to our late shift.

At the end of the evening we have virtually given up on the night bus. The one at 8.15 is just a little too early for us to finish and clear up now that we are full and we don’t really want to wait around for the 9.10 (on the assumption that it would stop anyway!) when we could set off walking and be back in the flat before 9pm. This has resulted in 2 weary looking souls trudging up the hill on the side of the road in, sometimes, inclement conditions. Most people just drive past, some giving us a thankfully wide bearth, having seen the warning light from Roger’s torch. Others come a little too close for comfort, both from their proximity but also the salt softened slush they spray up against our leaden legs. But! on 2 separate occassions we have been offered lifts by magnanimous French people. The second even appearing to have no space for us when they had pulled into a driveway higher up and waited for us to plod up to them but bundled their children over the back seat into the boot to allow us to fit in. Who says that the French are not kindly folk?

Outside the front door

Outside the front door

We are in the midst of another big dump of snow on Friday, 2 feet forecast, the day before departure/changeover and it is due to continue overnight. The guests with the early start (4.45am for 9.25 flight) are rather concerned, understandably, about getting up to the bus station with their luggage at that time of the morning (first bus up is 7.30). I don’t think suitcase wheels run very easily in deep snow and the ploughs don’t start until 5am. Added to this concern is the information that they have been told that the buses can’t get to the bus station and so will start higher up the town, further to walk uphill! Perhaps they wont book such an early flight necessitating leaving a ski resort before dawn in the middle of winter next time?!

It is quite surprising how much, seemingly intelligent, people do not factor the weather in to their travel plans. They have come for the snow and certainly grumble when there is a lack of the same but don’t appear to consider the implications of the white stuff actually being present or arriving.

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