We’re in the middle of another big dump of snow, 3-4 feet predicted in the next 24hrs and we understand that UK may be enduring similar conditions?! It hadn’t been snowing for long as we walked to work this morning so there was only a couple of inches at that time. It was apparently enough to deter the little feathered friends we meet most mornings. I’m not sure why but 2 blackbirds are up well before the sun and pecking at the mucky snowy verges in an attempt to find something to eat although I’m not sure what. As they are always in the same place, outside a club, I’m going to assume it’s kebab debris or suchlike and leave it at that.
It has continued to snow all morning and is now (lunchtime) about 8 inches deep despite never looking particularly heavy. The banking outside our flat is certainly rising, I wonder if we will actually reach the point of not being able to see out. This seems to be an idiosyncracy of the area in that it just snows lightly and continually for hours, nothing melts or compresses , it just gets deeper and deeper without much effort, little wind and not especially cold but builds layer upon layer. This is ideal for the powder hounds and even for ourselves when we venture off piste but only ‘a cote de’ where there tends to be more snow in which to turn as opposed to the icy patches of variable sizes in the middle of the runs whose sound on traversing makes me nervous and tense up even if it’s not me who is on it at that particular moment. I know how much more it hurts to fall on ice than snow and how the liklihood increases with my technique or lack of in these circumstances.
The town is beginning to change again as roads become pistes despite the work of the snow ploughs. These appear to have their prescribed routes which they manage to clear amazingly effectively and quickly, creating white mountains in designated points. I’m not sure at what time they start but are well underway when we’re on our way in and we have to be careful to avoid them as they seem to be very single minded and much bigger than those in the UK so would do some very serious damage if they even noticed they’d hit someone. The drone of their engines blends with those of the piste bashers which also work through the night. We can see their headlights crawling up and down the dark mountainsides as we walk back in the evenings. Unusally we met one outside our chalet the other morning which must have been a rude awakening for the guests but if they want a ski-in/ski-out chalet then they must expect it to be pisted even if it is at an anti social hour (we weren’t bothered provided they didn’t all come down for breakfast early as they’d been woken)
Our route to and from the chalet can be a little precarious in these conditions. We have to negotiate a long flight of steps which can turn into a continual slippery slope prior to having the snow cleared, particularly if it has been used by skiers/boarders! We also descend a steep road which can be a sheet of ice some mornings and although better when covered in snow we know that the ice is lurking beneath. We have stopped trying to clamber down the side of the chalet by the hot tub and now walk three and half sides of the building to be able to arrive at the door intact and without adrenalin coursing through the veins. Our exit is either down to the yogurt pots at lunchtime which isn’t too bad once we’ve negotiated the uneven steps at the top whilst struggling to see past boxes full of empty bottles and then descended the second flight where I fell with a suitcase several week ago now. At night we slip down the short bank outside the chalet, walk across the piste and back up the steps on the other side where we often meet some colleagues depositing their detritus at the same bin store. Perhaps these are the water cooler moments of this environment.