Travel 2008 – Megeve, Days 5 to 7

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Wednesday, 12th/Thursday, 14th March 2008 – Megeve, Days 5 to 7

Well, I wouldn’t like to go through Wednesday morning again. It was raining when I got up, it was raining when I met my instructor for lesson two, and it was raining all the way through the first 45 minutes of the two hour lesson, and showing no sign of stopping. It was so bad that as we were sitting on the lift my instructor looked at me and muttered “I don’t like teaching in these conditions, Shall we do the second hour on Friday instead?” and when I agreed we retreated to the Golf Club at the bottom of Mt. D’Arbois for coffee. I was soaked by then, the 20-year old ski pants inherited from my Dad and about two sizes too big and 10-year old jacket five sizes too big that I’d been using clearly no longer waterproof.

After the coffee I dropped my skis off for an overnight waxing – I’d gouged a chunk out of the base on a rock or something – and went back to the hotel. I picked Lynne up and we drove to the SNC ski-wear shop in Sallanches, where we rummaged about in the sale racks, finding an anorak each – we’d intended to replace our racing anoraks anyway, so it was a planned purchase – a pair of new properly fitting ski pants for me, and a lovely padded gilet each in silver for me and gunmetal grey for Lynne. Although the shop was technically closed for lunch, the woman running the place was in no hurry to throw us out – which was the right choice, given how much we ended up spending in there. We then went to town for crepes again at the Creperie Grand Marnier – Lynne had the white chocolate and I had the Menton, which is dressed with lemon juice, sugar and – yes, of course – Grand Marnier! Lovely, especially coupled with a coffee spiked with Grand Marnier, and topped with sweet cream! I’m staying away from the scales for a week or so now we’re back…

After that, a trip to the Post Office netted us two of their pre-paid boxes for sending stuff anywhere in Europe. Up to 7kg in the box for 30 euros a packet. We’d been overweight on baggage on the way out, and the new clothes would push us even further over the limit, so sending stuff home seemed like a sensible plan. And after that I spent the afternoon in the gym at the Palais des Sports, desperate to burn off some energy somehow, somewhere, because it was getting silly and I needed to do something with all that energy! Especially if I was intending to eat dinner.

Thursday started out fine and sunny and stayed like that, with the temperatures around 16°C at lunchtime. It meant that the morning’s skiing was interesting, because there had finally been some fresh snow, but not much of it had been groomed. That meant it was heavy going in places, with icy patches, bald expanses down towards the bottom of the runs, and slushy piles developing here and there. It’s probably why I ended up coming a cropper just before lunch, and falling quite hard. I banged my head on the edge of my ski goggles, and felt a bit stunned. Luckily, a friendly fellow skier brought me the ski that had come off and stopped quite a long way further up the slope, and said she’d look in again on the way back down again when I said I’d just sit for a couple of minutes. After that I got back up, and skied over to the Igloo intending to stop for lunch – but they refused to let me eat on the terrace, and I wasn’t about to sit inside when the weather was that glorious. So I took the run to Bettex and parked myself at le Presteau at around 1.30 and waited to see if I was concussed!

The ham and potato omelette and frites were utterly delicious, and well worth stopping for as was the sunny situation – I peeled off the sweater, and the thermals and sat there in my vest top soaking up the sun. After the omelette and a tarte aux myrtilles I was ready to set off again, because I was pretty sure I wasn’t concussed, but by then the snow was almost impossible, and the final part of the run down was more like water skiing than snow skiing. I gave up at that point, because clearly it was getting to the point where people tend to injure themselves because they can’t cope with the conditions (and proof of that was in the number of crashed out beginner-intermediates I had to avoid on that one run alone). I’d had enough really by then myself, because it was getting harder and harder to move forward through what passed for snow by then, so I did the run down to the golf club through the puddles, mud and rocks, put everything away and went back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. This involved smearing a load of after sun on my face and shoulders.

After that we sat around and watched the most beautiful sunset…

Shading through orange and pink…

To a deep, dark blue.

We’d arranged to have a pierrade for dinner that night and I was looking forward to it very much. It’s a pretty healthy way to eat – cooking fresh meat, and vegetables on a hot stone, and I really must break our machine out sometime when we have visitors at home.

The chips were also delicious, all crisp and brown, and there were a lot of sauces (béarnaise, mayonnaise, mustard, vinaigrette) too. We got envying looks from our fellow diners (the hotel doesn’t exactly publicise the pierrade, fondue and raclette options) and we suspected the following night there’d be more people opting for it.

I managed a dessert, though I’m not quite sure how…

Friday was again gorgeous, which was good news in some ways. I had my three hour lesson, and it went really well (apart from bombing out on a flat bit on a blue run, which was frankly embarrassing), especially when the instructor took me up to the top of the lovely Grande Epaule run which drops 1,000 metres from top to bottom and covers a distance of 3,700 metres according to this site and it took us almost an hour to ski down, though we did stop a couple of times to take photos and so that I could exclaim over how beautiful it all was. And it really was gorgeous out there, with the sun shining, crisp clear blue skies, and a wide cruising run down the mountain. I think I learned a few useful things during the lessons, though I’m not sure I’ll bother another time unless it’s more of a guiding thing to have someone show me round the resort so I can find good runs and not get lost – though I know Megeve so well now that that’s not likely to happen any time soon unless we go to some other resort! Anyway, I promised him I’d make a note of what I need to think about and the key is to have the arch of my foot flat as possible on the downhill foot to ensure control, to shift my weight quickly from one side to the other, and to use the edges more.

Of course the same problem as on Thursday was always going to occur with the pistes becoming so much slushy soup as the day wore on, so I left lunch till late, skied down to le Presteau and ate an excellent home-made lasagne before making my way back to the hotel. Lynne wanted to go for another crepe, so I hadn’t had dessert – I’d planned on having a sweet crepe at the Grand Marnier, but Lynne preferred the savoury option, so the Bretonne it was – but not before we’d posted our various new clothes back to the UK along with three packs of diots from the local supermarket, and two packs of the local pasta, small squares called crozets.

A super Megevanne crepe for me followed, full of ham and reblochon cheese, and washed down with the lovely fresh, crisp local cider, while Lynne hit the forestiere again, and I made a mental note to stop eating like this as soon as we got back home!

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