We haven’t skied during this final week, it really is not worth the effort to trail all the way to mediocre snow and back again. We have been spoilt with the great skis Toby leant us so would have to make do with poor equipment again and whilst the weather is sunny there are quite high winds at around 50km/hour which is less than pleasant. But we are pleased that we have made some more progress this year as we didn’t really expect to. Also we have skied a few new runs including the steepest I’ve ever done. It has helped my confidence considerably even though I only did it once. I think that there is something about going faster and/or steeper than one has ever gone before and then taking a metaphorical step back by about 10% in speed or gradient and suddenly that doesn’t seem so scary or intimidating. I suppose this is all about pushing boundaries, which we had thought we would no longer be doing but apparently this isn’t the case.
The hillsides are turning a verdant green. The piste past the chalet looks more like a tortuous golf fairway than a ski run. The degree of brightness resembles a scale of intensity as it graduates from brilliance down in the valley bottom to the green mixed with some brown at the town level and minimal green but plenty of brown higher up, dappled with the white spots of crocus heads. Even the daffodils have started to bloom, although I notice that they are nearly all of the dwarf variety. Presumably these high winds are quite usual at this time of year. On the exposed rocks on the glacier we noticed some almost luminous purple flowers erupting from the crevices. People who stay here all year have all commented on how beautiful the scenery becomes as the fauna blossoms. We must come back to see this spectacular contra-season sometime, we have some open invitations.
Everywhere seems to be closing down. Even those place which are open in the summer as well tend to close for a period to recoup after often working 7 days a week over winter. Underground had its closing party on Monday night. We went there on Sunday evening, just to have a final chat with everyone as Monday was always going to be manic and finally rolled back at about 12.30, after several complementary shots, so didn’t make it the following night. We were sorry to miss the last chance to hear the music but not so upset at missing the inevitable hangover.
We went to a new restaurant to us on Tuesday evening, our ‘Friday’ night, with cash from our hard-earned tip the previous week. Several groups of guests had been to Edelweiss in our first season as it was closest to that chalet, so on the basis of their reviews we had booked some groups in there this year and thought we’d better try it out for ourselves and it didn’t disappoint. We had tried to book last week’s guests in there but they had taken too long to make a decision and they were fully booked. We managed to get them a table at Genepi, the Fawlty Towers of the resort. We did warn them of this but they still chose to go there. I think their experience will be a dinner table conversation for many years to come.
Sara and Tim invited us to join their family group from the chalet at O bar for our Wednesday night off meal so that was very pleasant, particularly after our ordeal at the end of the walk (see previous post). We also had to pop back in on Friday as they are closing but also to say goodbye to Vicky, the owner who had taken such good care of us in our first 2 seasons but has been away from the bar this year as she had twins in January. She is now back doing 3-4 two hour shifts to keep her hand in, or perhaps just to have some adult sanity time. She is covering the early doors 4-6pm so at least doesn’t have to deal with the drunks sounding even less intelligible than her 3month olds!
We leave the resort at dawn on Sunday for the drive straight back to Yorkshire. We are probably coming back next year, even with a vehicle. How that turns out remains to be seen. Reality will no doubt be somewhere in between Tim’s blasé optimism and our doom-laden pessimism, but time will tell. Meanwhile, the sea beckons and we will be off to get some sailing, skipper/crew qualifications this summer hopefully.