Monday, 29 October 2012

Notes from Tignes, 3

I awoke, and blearily looked out of the window. The window was misted over, I couldn't see, so I moved closer and rubbed my hand across the glass. No change. Ah - the world is white! It had snowed lightly all day on Saturday but hadn't settled much; not even enough to conceal the cow pats in the neighbouring field when I went for an afternoon tramp to stave off boredom. But it was persistent I guess - there were 4 or 5 inches of the stuff everywhere, at 1800m. I guessed the glacier would be shut again.

After breakfast we waited for news. First, the funicular was shut. Then it was opening at 10, but 10 came and went without remark. I started to lose hope, but at 10.30 it opened and we all hurried to get into ski gear, with extra thermals because it was -17 at the top and still snowing.  After adventures with snow chains and a lot of de-icing, the hotel manager got us to the funicular by 11.30 and we made our way up. Curiously it was not as cold at 3400m as I had expected, though still too cold for these shenanigans:


These boys smelled  strongly of beer and I really questioned their wisdom, coming to the top of the cable car. Presumably they went down in the cable car again because the only other way down was via piste and they wouldn't have made it 30m. The powder was roughly 2 feet deep, and drifting. Perfect for skiing!

I managed to get a few good runs in before it was time to return for my shuttle to the airport. I fell once, when I got too close to the edge of a piste and hit a drift of powder undisturbed by any other skiers....that always feels a bit magic, being the very first person across that stuff. And when I fell in it, with the usual and ski-exclusive "Huh!" noise that always accompanies a ski stopping whilst I continue to travel, it was like landing in a marshmallow, though less sticky.

I had one hairy moment when I tried to cross to an alternative piste, only to realise there wasn't one and had to struggle back, a creeping horror of avalanche dangers at the back of my mind. However, it was a great last day of skiing. Bring on New Year.

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