What a day, what a week! Our Courchevel ski holiday came to an end with a lot of laughing. I will explain shortly…
We woke to another cold and cloudly morning, well that’s what it looked like from our balcony. It had snowed overnight and everything had a thick layer of snow on it. It must have snowed quite a lot as our balcony was piled up with snow.
We planned a couple of blue runs that would take us down to Courchevel 1550, ones we had not done yet and decided to get to the slopes an hour earlier than we had been, to get as much skiing in as possible.
It was as if the weather wanted to give us one last day of perfect clear blue skies, because as we were walking up to the starting area, the clouds lifted and we saw the awesome mountain slopes in all their splendid glory. The slopes glistened in the sun like sparkling diamonds. I will insert a few photos when we get back home.
The weather was deceiving though! The second we started to ski down the mountain, it soon became apparent that the air temperature / wind chill factor was not ideal. We later heard it was a chilly -10C at 1850 and above 2000m around -15C. It was miserable on the open chair lifts. The cold bit into any visible skin, which was the face. In hind sight a balaclava would have been the perfect solution.
We did some super fast blue runs and used our Panasonic FT1 all weather camera to take some stunning HD video and photos. It even managed to capture one of us wiping out (no names mentioned…too much pride at stake). Talking cameras, one cannot fault this camera. It worked brilliantly in the snow, and was in a couple of big crashes and its durable body survived all the knocks we have thrown it. Not to mention it was fully submerged in the Orange river in South Africa less than three months ago and survived the desert heat in Namibia. I also carried our gorilla-pod camera stand and we able to attach it to a few chosen locations allowing us some ‘together’ photos.
I mentioned in an earlier post that Courchevel 1850 has an airport. Well just above the landing strip is a gorgeous restaurant / meeting area with tables and chairs, and even deck chairs. So it was here we stopped for a mid morning hot cup of chocolate and customary beer. If it wasn’t for the ice cold wind and snow everywhere, you could almost believe you were sitting on a beach somewhere. Fantastic scenery.
This particular restaurant / meeting point must have been special because they had their very own DJ (not in da house, but ON da house).
He had his decks and everything set up on the roof and he was belting out tracks. I was thinking he could have caused a mini avalanche just above his head, but he didn’t seem too bothered.
At around 2pm we had enough. Our feet and legs were tired and we had done most, if not all of the green and blue runs through the course of the week. Quite an achievement we thought, considering this was our first week of skiing. We handed in our rented skis and went to have lunch at one of the many brilliant restaurants. Courchevel 1850 is not cheap, but we managed to find affordable places to eat. 😉
Our final bit of fun was hiring a helmet and ‘snow bob’ or plastic sledge for €5. Courchevel has its very own luge course running from 1850 down to 1550. It winds down a 2km mountain pass with loads of hairpin bends and sheer cliff drops and ice barriers. The entire course has huge fir trees lining the road. The sledge is plastic, has a seat, a foot holder, two pull brakes on either side of the chair, which are used for breaking and steering. The course is steep and icy in parts with bumps that cause one to fly through the air. The second you start its impossible not to laugh. If you are following close behind someone the ice sprays up from their sledge, so its imperrative that one wears snow goggles. There appears to be no limit on how many people can be on the course at any one time and this adds to the fun and laughter as people are passing you or sliding into the hairpin bends at breakneck speeds or crashing in front of you and it is just the funniest thing ever. Everyone becomes everyones friend for that moment regardless of nationality or language. We did five or six runs. After a while it became quite painful on the coxis and knees, arms, hands, head, back etc if one is accident prone…(ha ha ha). The helmet is a must have item. I came off on a straight after going airborne and crashed and rolled a few times, hitting my head in the process into the ground. Having a helmet definitely saved a severe bruising or concussion.
So it is all over until next year. We will definitely be going back to Courchevel 1850. It has so much character and choice, and it is hard to fault. Perhaps if we win the lottery between now and next year, we can afford to stay at the €35000 per week Chevel Blanc hotel.
The above photos were taken on my Nokia N900, resized and cropped on the N900.