We live from one Wednesday to the next. They are the highlight of our week, in contrast with Sundays which are the low point. Even going to bed on Tuesday night is an unrushed luxury as there is no imperative to get to sleep to obtain as much shut eye as possible before having to get up again early. These highs and lows split the week quite well, it just makes Thursday feel like a Monday morning and there’s no chance of a lazy Sunday afternoon.
We took an unplanned detour to Underground this Monday evening when we’d heard that it was one of the owner’s birthdays so decided, at the bin store, that we’d just pop in for one. Anyway, several drinks and hours later we rolled back up the hill cursing the fact the it wasn’t Tuesday night. We’d had a super time, initially meeting the parents of one of our lovely reps (Hi Liz and Ali Sr.) The younger chalet hosts rolled in later as they’d been celebrating a hotel colleague’s 21st birthday. I was subsequently dragged onto the dance floor to have bop with one of our girls who appeared to be in need of some physical support to remain vertical but was definately enjoying herself. No-one seemed bothered that they were all dressed up whereas I was still in salopettes and snow boots which now have a distinct beer odour. Roger was even worse off as we hadn’t planned to go out at all so was still in uniform. Initially he kept on his coat but as the temperature rose this wasn’t really practical. Masking tape came to the rescue to cover the company logo but I’m not sure that the replacement name enhanced any reputation! A slight panic ensued when the area manager was reported to be in the bar (who is extremely laid back but may feel that he needed to be seen to disapprove) so Roger turned his shirt inside out. This didn’t really work so Ali (jnr.) came to the rescue by lending his over shirt.
We’ve had snow for the past 4 days, not the feet of previous dumps but a consistent several inches each day so it has built up layer upon layer. This snow has been accompanied by some unusally strong winds (unusual for us, presumably not the region). It is really quite surprising how different the various snowfalls can be, I can understand why the Inuit have so many words to describe it. Sometimes there are large floaty flakes, others it is tiny pellets which can deceive you into thinking it has stopped until you step outside. Sometimes it feels quite wet, other times it is very dry, the difference here is that it always lies. Last night it was quite floaty but sparse making it seem like the fantasy snow you might find in a Hollywood film which can only start as if by magic on Christmas eve. Despite turning to March next week it still feels quite Christmassy here, all the street and
tree lights are still illuminated each evening and the snow covered pines look very festive. They even sport little icicles off each branch tip which look beautiful reflecting either the sun or streetlights. It almost feels more festive now than it did at Christmas which largely passed us by, mainly because we were so busy but also because we didn’t have much opportunity to do anything ourselves and our guests at the time were neither festive nor inclusive so we’ll just enjoy the prolonged period now. I suspect this won’t be for long as the length of the days are already extending markedly. It’s daylight as we walk to work, not even dawn anymore and despite the fact that we are later going in in the evenings (yeah!) it is still light then. Before we know it Spring will be here but some friends have to visit us before then so we want to retain good snow for their Easter trip.
The forecast for Weds had been a bit brighter but windier so I envisaged a lazy day in the flat, a lie-in with smoked salmon scrambled eggs (made with proper milk not UHT) for breakfast, a read of the paper (from 10 days ago but at least its another copy of the Sunday Times) and maybe even giving the flat a clean if I felt the urge strongly enough. It’s difficult to get any motivation at all after cleaning up after everyone else all week (and it seems particularly so this week!). So it was with mixed feelings that I opened the blinds to glorious sunshine this morning! At 9am we decided that it was too nice to miss so had our skis on by 10, heading, apprehensively, for Sarenne. Our anxiety was the result of noticing the only white cloud in the sky at the very top of the peaks. Except it wasn’t a cloud but the snow being blown off the summits. We decided to pursue our plan as we would only be at the top briefly before descending back into the shelter of the Sarenne gully. As we emerged from the 4th of the 5 consecutive lifts we were almost blown off our feet by blizzard conditions despite the sunshine. The queue for the final lift was reported to be 20 minutes but that had to be endured standing out in this horizontal snow like a bunch of penguins in Antartica huddled together with their backs against the driving snow, so we abstained and descended back into the sheltered sunshine and enjoyed another 3-4 hours on the lower slopes before heading back to the flat to collapse. This photo shows where we had been skiing in the morning, the top of the snow covered mound is the location of my catapult fall at the beginning of the season and still gives me a shudder when I look at it. Below that you can see a run descending through the trees which we’d been on about 1/2 an hour previously. Tree lined runs are few and far between here as we are so high, well above the tree line, but I still find them the most enchanting to ski so we do seek them out.
Each Wednesday evening, at the time when we are most moribund, we are aware of a firework display and a guest had made reference to floodlit ski jumping. Today, as we sat aboard the chairlift going up Signal for our regular dose of chocolate chaud and pomme frites, we watched a piste basher building what could quite conceivably be a ski jump and half way up the slope a handful of men were dealing with some large wooden crates, as we’ve noticed on previous Wednesdays, which may well transpire to be the fireworks. If we are awake we intend to actually go to watch this spectacle this evening but don’t hold your breath for a report next week. This photo shows the reflection we see in the window opposite our apartment which, just by chance, is the top of Signal so we can even see it when we’re not there nor facing the right direction. Roll on next Wednesday.