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While being slowly converted to snowboarding by a small group of nefarious colleagues (ref. here and here) I’ve historically been more of a skiier. Fortunately, my lovely girlfriend and her family are thoroughly uncharmed by boards and invited me along to their annual stick-and-pole excursion – in this case in Val D’Isere.

After an initial struggle with easyjet, baggage handlers, French roads and chalet girls who can only be described as lacking hap (© A!F) we girded ourselves for some hardcore rocking of the pow-pow. Sadly, I had forgotten that my skis hadn’t been waxed or sharpened in over 3 years – not conducive to the most elegant of swishing down the slopes. A swift overnight service got them back to their glidy best and it was onwards and downwards.

(Short aside, I’m now fully of the opinion that it is of no value whatsoever to own skis – or a snowboard for that matter – in my position. Once or twice a year is nowhere near enough to justify them. Adding the cost up – easyjet charge £20 each way for carriage and it’s another £20 to get them serviced. That £60 plus the hassle of carting them around adds up to pretty much the same cost as renting them in the first place – and then you get the latest model. If I lived somewhere that I could just head off and ski one afternoon it’d be worth it. Sadly, Putney is not such a location. Boots, however, are another matter, definitely worth having those, they’re easy to cart around, don’t cost any more to transport and are always more comfortable than rentals.)

(Shorter aside, any comments about boots will be dealt with harshly. Declan.)

Anyway, the second day was far more fun, with swishing and elegance a-plenty. Sadly no one could see this as we spent pretty much the entire day skiing in a whiteout snowstorm. 48 constant hours of snow would normally get anyone salivating, sadly it was snowing so much the piste beasties couldn’t bash their way around the mountain so we just had a lot of cut-up lumps of snow all over the shop – and as you could barely see 5m in front of you, life was a challenge.

Day three, however, dawned beautifully – clear, sun-filled skies smiled down upon us. I have to say it’s probably the best day’s skiing I’ve had in over a decade, beautiful pistes with just the right amount of powder. We skiied from lift-opening until after they all shut. Towards the end, there was an eerie silence over the mountain broken only by the spray of snow from our smart turns and the far off trumpetings of the apres-ski bars. It was truly brilliant fun.

Karma then decided I was having far too much fun and the bunged nose I’d been duelling with turned into a full on fever (with accompanied night-time writhings – not in a good way) with hacking cough. As I type, I’m missing my second consecutive day – and each has looked as glorious as the last one. I’m hoping to be hale and hearty for tomorrow’s final day, sadly the forecast suggest this will be a return to the low visibility bad days. Ah well. It’s been a good holiday nonetheless and I’ve been able to catch up on some music and books. That, plus fever has coloured my normally idiosyncratic philosophising. More on all three shortly…

What Has Gone Before

July 2022
i miss your disposition and your strength to see the best in everyone