Thursday, 31 December 2015

A break from skiing

A combination of dry and unseasonably warm weather has resulted in many ski areas in Europe being closed or only partially open. The Three Valleys has extensive snow making and a large proportion of pistes high enough to take advantage any snowfall and colder temperatures. The snow is not perfect but there is still plenty to ski on and every night the Pisteurs do an amazing job. 

A combination of the conditions, New Year week and day visitors from other resorts have resulted in busier than normal Pistes especially after mid morning so we have been taking advantage of the many walks available from our front door. The most demanding is probably the track up to the two Refuges above Les Allues - Le Refuge de la Traie and Le Refuge du Christ. The climb of approximately 1.5 hours is on a well marked, wide track and the reward of reaching the plateau is that you can get lunch, hot drinks, cold drinks (including wine) and if things are really desperate a bed for the night.

The views on the way up to the Refuges are stunning especially on a clear sunny day.

If you have the legs continue past the Refuges for another 20 minutes to the Col de la Lune where you will be rewarded with more open views of the Meribel Valley and then views into the Belleville Valley.       

If you are lucky you may spot wildlife whilst walking, we were not lucky this time probably because one of the Village dogs decided to accompany us (uninvited). She spent a lot of time chasing scents here, there and everywhere and an equal amount of time burrowing in the snow no doubt seeking a local wildlife snack of her own. Despite many other walkers she stuck with us, waited patiently while we ate lunch and when we were within sight of Les Allues on the return leg she bounded off no doubt happy that her work as a Mountain Guide was complete for the day.

Dogs who take themselves for a walk is definitely one of the nice things about French Alpine life.


Friday, 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a happy, safe 2016

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Contrasting winter scenery - Brisbane and Les Allues

Skiing has changed our lives in a big way even in Australia where we have chosen a warmer place to live and work (Brisbane) so that we get the right balance of seasonal sunshine and can still get to the beach.   The benefits have included:

  • Ability for us to enjoy a wider variety of outdoor activity for much longer and stay in better shape for skiing

  • New destinations just a short journey from our doorstep

  • Much higher spring temperatures prior to departure for Europe.  At 5.30 pm 20th November 2015 the temperature had fallen to only 29 C. following a midday peak of 38 C.

The downside is hard to imagine but contrast this with Sunday 3.30pm 21st November when we arrived in Les Allues.

  • Temperature a bracing if not bleak minus 5C
  • Around 15 centimetres of fresh snow on the road
  • Dark by 5pm 
  • Night time temperatures plunging to minus 20C

So a 43C reduction in temperature but with it opportunity for bags of fun in the fresh snow which has started for us and Rufus the Alpine Ethos hound (below).

We are looking forward to another great season and the prospect of El Nino Weather patterns providing the right conditions for lots of good snow falls as the season progresses.  For now though the picture below says everything about why people go on a winter holiday each year and yes forgo the beach for something just as good or better!