Tuesday, 26 December 2017

St Jean d’Aulps & Portes du Soleil – Days 61 to 69

Ski stats: 237km ski distance, 367km total incl ski lifts, top speed: 88.4km/hr (55mph)
Christmas day skiing
The journey wasn't too bad getting here, setting off in the dark did enable us to see a final shooting star. We had all gone out on Tuesday night to see if we could see anything of the meteor shower. We did, all seeing four or five, the sort of thing you always plan to look at, only to forget or find it cloudy!

Skiing above Avoriaz (the resort in the distance)

Bit grey and miserable on Monday, but hey, we've got jobs to do, so we unpacked, finding all sorts of things we'd forgotten about since October, went to Morzine to try and buy our lift pass, only to be refused, try in Saint Jean. We'd driven past the office, but assumed it was shut as the lift wasn't running. We'll try that, after shopping, only to find the supermarket shut for it's two hour lunch break. Talk about bad planning, oh well, up the hill, lift pass, back down the hill, food. May have overdone it slightly as the new fridge is smaller than the average, and the old one. 
Empty lifts and deep snow in the Lindarets bowl
We did bump into Cassie in the supermarket, looking slightly frazzled, they had two guests in, and Judith, Si's mum, should have been good practice for Si's niece and boyfriend who are actually catering in the chalet this year. Cassie had worked out and shopped for her gluten free menu plan, only for a second email, saying that the guest also didn't eat dairy! On arrival as the canapés were being served 'you do know I don't eat meat? Well only chicken!'
Animal footprints in the snow
Everyone can be catered for, but communication is better than telepathy! Not the easy training week for Gabby, particularly as boyfriend went back to the UK for his graduation ceremony! We popped in to see Judith who was only out till Thursday, and had a horrible chest infection, so hadn't been out skiing, and wasn't staying in her new apartment. Her new apartment, that today (Boxing day) Si, Cassie, Lynx and Sox are moving into, so leaving the chalet in the capable hands of Gabby and boyfriend (whose name I have forgotten), so they can focus a little more on transfer driving. This week will have been really good experience for them, the guests have been Gabby's parents and sister. If you can cater Christmas dinner for mum and dad I reckon you can do anything.

Empty lifts in the centre of Les Crosets a normally very busy area. Jackie (in pink trousers) is just beyond the gate by the lift, an area normally full of queuing, pushing people. I'll try and get a busy photo from the same place later
On the notorious 'Swiss Wall' an off piste black with no-one else
Tuesday, clear and sunny, so skiing. Chatel was beautiful, as was Morzine, Avoriaz, Switzerland, and our resort in following days. Even better than the weather and the snow though was the lack of people. Until Sunday we virtually had the slopes to ourselves. Amazing. Brian's spreadsheet this year is all distances, so he'll fill in the stats!

Snowy mountains with low cloud in the distant valley. It'll be dull and grey down there, but bright and sunny up here!
Fireworks outside our apartment
Christmas Eve, we were meant to be going to the village for a carol or two and mince pies and mulled wine, but we left a little late and drove straight into crowds and fireworks at our local area. Deciding we'd probably missed any chance of getting a seat in the bar, we drove round the block, parked up, and walked up the hill. Lovely.

Christmas Day we skied a circuit of the Terche, our 'local' before coming home for fizz and the whole roast experience. Only a chicken, but stuffing, bread sauce, pigs in blankets, roasties and five veg. Yum. Not being traditional Christmas pudding fans we had branched out into spiced, caramelised pineapple with rum sauce and a mascarpone cream. No calories there then!

Today we've had a lie in and watched rain fall outside. Never fear though it's snow a little higher up. I think a day off every eight days is probably acceptable!
The apartment is just as we remember it, like coming home really. It's the only place the food box actually gets unpacked after all. Slight modifications this year are a newer, quieter, but smaller fridge. A new neater, much more modern TV. The heater has been moved after I commented last time that all the heat just went into the new cupboard above it, BUT we haven't had the heater on yet, better insulation has gone on the doors, the previous tenant took out, and put tape over the vents over the windows, and the extractor fans can actually be turned off! Amazing really

Click here to see a video of Jackie skiing part of the St Jean 10km circuit (the red run 'Grand Souvroz')

Santa arrives at St Jean d'Aulps on Christmas Eve
Carrying lots of presents

Our 'present and card corner' in our apartment

Christmas day bubbles are open after our ski. Yes, that is Delia open on the table as well!

Christmas Day dinner

Jackie and me on  a button, or drag lift (there were two parallel drags, I was on one Jackie on the other). Concentration from me to avoid dropping the phone, poles or falling off halfway up!

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