Sunday, February 8, 2009

La Clusaz

Waking up this Sunday and looking out. It was pouring down snow and most ski resorts warned that snow-chains was mandatory. So we hesitated a bit to go skiing today. We woke up instead very relaxed. Had a nice breakfast with freshly made Tresse and Croissant from the local bakery.

At around 11:00 it had stopped snowing so we said: Yeah, let's go and see. So we packed our gear and 12:35 we arrived in La Clusaz, France. We did go here sometimes last year, but have been a bit against going here since they had the old ski-pass system. You had to wear it very visible for a person to check it everytime entering a lift. This time, to our happy surprise they had updated to the usual SkiData system, so we could finally use our Swatch Ski-Pass watches.

So we got the half-day pass and went up. Visibility was basically 0, but we decided to go to the top anyway. After arriving we kind of said: Where is the piste actually. So we found the sticks and started the adventure of getting down for the first time. We also picked a part of Clusaz where we have not been before. So pretty virgin one can say. We managed to follow the piste pretty well, until I took a wrong turn and went into deep powder, which normally would be just fine, but today could not tell what was up or down. Fought a bit to get back to the piste, but made it :)

So we continued slowly down to the first ski station in the middle, and entered the restaurant to grab a lunch. Ordered a Spagetti and Marlene took a Sallad with some Cheese ;) Nice with a bit of relax, since it was quite straining going down without knowing where we were. After a nice lunch we decided to go back up again, since maybe it was low hanging clouds. This was not the case :(

So we came up to the top for yet another adventure trying to get down. This time it went much smoother since we took the same piste again. Arriving at the bottom we deceided to stay there so we goofed around in the earlier easy pistes a bit, and then decided to drive back home at around 15:30. Of course we stopped for a quick apre-ski to get the vin-chaud which was well deserved.

Next week will be a 4-day Les Contamines, which shall be really fun!! Stay tuned :D

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Grimentz / Zinal

So it is time for another ski adventure. This time we got a friend of ours telling us we should try to go to Grimentz/Zinal/St-Luc area. After a lot of phone calls, we managed to find a little small Hotel-Chalet called Rothorn. Very cosy place actually, except for the usual smoke that is still allowed in Valais, which will change soon though.

Marlène already went there Friday morning to get a ski lesson and familiarize with the region. I arrived late on the Friday night after a slight hell on the highway. Seemed like the entire Suisse-Romande decided to go to Valais this weekend. Just after the fork to Verbier, traffic finally got easier. Arrived around 20:30 and then of course had a nice glass of wine waiting for me, and of course we ate dinner as well in the hotel.

Saturday morning! Clear blue skies and an amazing view. We actually stayed in Aeyer, which is a very small Swiss village, chalet-style. No tall sky scrapers or over exploited. After having a nice breakfast we drove up to the ski station in Zinal. Took the lift to the top, and then the view was really stunning. Only snag during this weekend, is that they closed one of the best black pistes for snowboarders only for slalom practice, which was also very impressive to see.

Started skiing in Zinal and then took a very scary steep black piste with a following transport to Grimentz where we found a nice lunch restaurant in the village. Had a good lunch with some local white wine, and the continued up skiing. We stayed the rest of that day in Grimentz, since the only way back to Zinal is with a CarPostal, which is a free bus going between the stations.

Later in the evening we went to Vissoie for a very nice restaurant, which specializes in fish and local traditions. Marlène had a nice Sole and myself a Filet Mignon. Rounded up with a splendid dessert and tea of course.

Sunday, was time for skiing again. A little bit cloudy in the morning, but still sunshine coming out. We stayed in Zinal all day this day, since we wanted to beat the rush hour home traffic a little bit considering that all the people getting stuck going there on the Friday, are likely to drive home as well on the Sunday.

After we just passed Montreux, the snow started pouring down like crazy. The traffic basically came to a halt, and the visibility was zero. So the drive home took a bit longer than expected, but still arrived safely at home and in time for a late dinner.