Tweets this Week (2010-01-31)

  • Soup for lunch at Restaurant Le Chazelay (Villeneuve). Skied Casse de Beouf before lunch. #
  • RT @MikeyCbg: Now finishing with a Dalwhinnie 15 year old to mark Burns Night. Sweet, heathery and very smooth. #
  • Having hot chocolate at le Pi Mai, at Frejus. Enjoyed cucumelle #
  • Good live music at L'Alpen bar. Cross-dressing night apparently, but I'm not at all convinced. #
  • @chaileyf convinced, but I'm sure that I could also be more convincing! in reply to chaileyf #
  • Having a slow start this morning—mountains are windy looking and the cloud is only just blowing off. http://flic.kr/p/7yUr4p #
  • Lapin avec frites, dans le Peyra-Juana, altitude 1700m. #
  • *Skiing Routes* blog post http://www.grahammccann.org/JetPlane/?p=1730 #
  • *Serre Chevalier Photo's* blog post http://www.grahammccann.org/JetPlane/?p=1731 #
  • Enjoyed "In the Loop" good humour, but is it based an a depressing reality? #

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Homeward bound

Up at 5:45, and was relieved to see that no more snow had fallen overnight. Our transfer back to Turin goes over ‘the col’ which is high and windy. When Jackson arrived, we had to change minibus for one with better snow tyres in case the col was ‘tricky’. I never found out because I slept the whole way back, the neck of my ski jacket acting like a neck brace for a comfortable sleep!

Turin airport is dull.

Ryanair flight was dull.

Dinner at La Fruitière

We tried La Belotte for dinner this evening. The service was slow when we ate there earlier this week. However, after showing ourselves to our table tonight and waiting 5 mins without seeing the waiter after he’d dropped off our menus, we left in a huff, leaving three other customers looking like they wished they’d done the same. The waiter/chef wasn’t that happy we left. Went down the road to La Fruitière, which was lovely. All tje more lovelier because we had a warm welcome from a waiter with a winning smile, and a little onion pie as an amuse bouch. The menu was good: Jon had an excellent lamb shank, Adam beef bourgignon, I had something local which comprised bread soaked in white wine, baked with cheese and ham and tasted like a personal fondu. Michael had a modern tartiflette, with sausage instead of lardons. Jay had a escalope milanese, which was good. For the first time eating out we had room for puddings, my pear tart was okay, the boys’ baked chocolate cake looked and smelt lovely! Grabbing a last chance, Michael and I had a génépi, which was much sweeter than I expected and came in a tiny tankard. Great meal in a comfortable lively restaurant.

Over the road to L’Alpen bar. Blanche de Bruges was on again so had a couple of those before heading back to the apartment.

About 10cm of snow has fallen this evening! Would have liked that yesterday! Oh well.

Last day skiing Serre Chevalier

The high wind of yesterday had died down by this morning, and we were on the slopes for 9:30 and our last day’s skiing. Skied Rouchamont to warm up and to avoid the (unusual) queue for Eychauda lift, the run was a bit icy. The Monêtier mountains were the busiest today that they have been all week, possibly with people coming over for a look on their last day skiing. We headed over to the Villeneuve mountains, via Cucumelle. Then a few runs, ending up for coffee at L’Echallion hut. We did Échallion run and ended up on Casse de Beouf before lunch, which was an enjoyable challenge. The snow on Serre Chevalier mountain was very good. John skied a few runs while Adam, Jay, Michael and I did this. We took Foret down. Met up for lunch at Serre Ratier, at Le Café Soleil, which did good croque madams (with an egg) and Michael had a croque fermier. Started making our way back to Monêtier after lunch—Combes/Eftanis/Fangeas ending up on Balme lift to take us up to the dreaded worst run of the mountains—Roche Gautier, with the drop off each side and skiing along the ridge. I tried walking this time, which was worse than skiing, and I eventually snow ploughed my way across, shaking by the end and in a bit of a state. The light grew rather flat by now and the ski across to Cucumelle lift and off of there was quite tricky. Jon collided with the snow wall on the inside of the path. Back on the Monêtier mountains, we skied out on Rochamout, where I came to a stop within a meter of a tree at the edge if the piste when I fumbled a turn—legs getting pretty tired! Packed in a lot if good skiing today.

Great weeks skiing, with good snow and weather. My technique needs a good overhaul. It’s been about 6 years since I last had lessons and I’m starting to get pretty rusty. So, lessons for me next time.

Dropped off our skis back at Ski Republic. Then had a beer at Bar du Dôme to celebrate the end of the six great days skiing. The bar has a surprising outside loo, clinging to the wall on the first floor if the building. Nice place.

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Michael made Chilli

Michael made a lovely chilli last night, as an alternative to the cheese-rich menus in the local restaurants. Before dinner we had a lovely bottle of local white wine as an apertitif. Roussette de Savoie was floral, nutty and fresh. Would like to take some home. I made some spicy tomato salsa to have with tortilla chips—I can still taste the garlic this morning.

The fantastic lettuce from the supermarket made a great new ski hat.

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Faces whipped by ice

A late start today after a late night last night—had a lovely pizza back at Brasera, with the sexy waiter. After the afternoon drinking I wasn’t up for continuing. So I came back with Adam and the rest came back at 11:30 (and later) after a few more beers at l’Alpen. So, a sluggish start today, not helped by the clouds over the mountain and the strong wind. When we looked out the window at 9:00 the lifts weren’t running and the snow was being blown off the ground over the meadow and off the mountain. Brrrrr! We got to the slopes at about 10 and found most on the local lifts running, but not the linking lifts between mountains. Fine. Only Cibouït was running to the top of the peaks. Took Bachus up, skied down Rochamout, tried Étoile drag lift for the first time, Chaume and Rochamout down to Peyra-Juana for coffee and hot chocolate. Then Cibouït, where Adam was thinking about trying the black mogul run (Cibouït) but seeing the wind whipping across it and passing over an accident put him off, and we tried the red (Cibouït) and the blue (Pas de l’Ane). Red was better than the blue, which had an ice storm over some of the traverses that were blinding, and whipped our faces with icy snow. Finished the run with my face stinging. After sking down Combe Rateau we skied out, ending up on Route Des Espagnoles. The route we took had about four sections of walking, which was harder to control with the wind—not much fun! Even trying to ski out on the bottom if Aya was hard because the fierce head wind slowing us down. Jay, Adam and Jon stayed at the base station for lunch, Michael and I had lunch up the mountain at Peyra-Juana. I had a huge rabbit stew special and Michael had an Alpine plate, both were lovely, as was the vin chaud.

After lunch bumped into Jon at the Aya run out, and we all took Aya lift back up, which was working today for the first time since we arrived. We saw a fantastic ‘snowbow’ with the sun shining through the snow being blown from the top of the mountain. Skied a couple more red runs, including Corvaria for the first time. So overall had a great days skiing, through the fierce wind and blown snow.

Michael and I headed back to the Grand Bains for a couple of hours if Hammam, Caldarium, Frigidarium and Tepidarium. It might have been OAP day. Lovely time in the hot water, basically a two hour bath.

Michael’s now making chilli for this evening.

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Great day skiing

Slower start this morning. Left our apartment porridge-fuelled and warmed up with an almost pristine blue run on Monêtier, through fresh snow. My skiing was pretty poor this morning and I didn’t really get on that well. There was a strange temperature inversion on the lifts—a very noticeable increase in temperature closer to the top of the mountains. Made it across to the mountains above Villeneuve. Stoped en route for a hot chocolate at Pi Mai at the Village of Frejus, enjoyed the little moghul field to get down to there. Great snow today, there had been a couple of inches overnight and the snow was generally in great condition and the weather was sunny all day. Skied the whole length of Casse de Boeuf black run before lunch which was fun. Stopped for lunch at, what could be the best lunch stop of the holiday, L’Echaillon, with a great menu: Jay was brave with a (tasty) andouillette (or bowel sausage), Jon had a steak tartare, Michael cheek of pork, Adam bolognese, and I had tagliatelle with morel mushrooms—all very tasty.

After lunch we skied Casse de Boeuf again, and I tightened my boots and my skiing improved quite a bit. Really enjoyed the afternoon skiing as my technique and confidence came back. I coped with the traverse along the peak to get back to Monêtier a bit better than on Monday: Jay skied beside me which was a great help. I’m awful skiing along the top of ridges. 🙁

Had a great ski down Tétras, which is my favourite fun ski so far. We skied out on Tabuc, which was a bit more challenging today than on Monday, the piste was more carved up and there was less choice about the turns. The run was still great fun and I ended up on a high from the challenging and exhilarating ski out.

Back to the apartment for a beer on the terrace, before meeting Gavin and Mel at L’Alpen for a drink. If plans work out well Gavin will take us skiing on Friday morning. He’s a local ski instructor and a family friend of Jon’s. L’Alpen hosted a good live band tonight – Muntfinger. All the band were wearing white, low-cut jumpers with a large red ‘M’ on the front. Apparently there was a cross-dressing competition this evening and this was there entry—I don’t think they’ll win, but they are a good band. Heading out for dinner soon.

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Skiing from Monêtier to Briançon

Lovely clear morning with loads of sunshine. We were on the slopes for 9, heading to Briançon at the opposite end of the Serre Chevalier resort. Getting off the Monêtier slopes towards Villeneuve isn’t straightforward to begin with. Worse, when we got to the Cretes drag lift that would take us high enough on Tete de la Balme to make the hop eastwards, the ski lift was being repaired and we had to detour on two other lifts. The ratio of skiing to lifts wasn’t good and with the cold creeping in we decided to split into two groups. Michael and I heading across to Briançon, Adam, Jon and Jay stayed skiing on the Villeneuve resort. Michael and I ended up skiing Clot Gauthier then taking the Cote Chevalier lift, and the Prorel lift to finally reach Le Prorel mountain above Rinçon. We took Clausas down, and I was getting tired by then and my technique was getting worse, but my speed was still high. Had a whiteout and banged my head, setting me back an hour or so. We did some gentle skiing and had a good lunch at the Chalet de Pra Long, with a nice puy lentil salad.

After lunch skied a couple of reds, took the gondola right up the mountain and skied all the way down on reds, skiing out at the bottom. Took the bus back to Monêtier, arriving about 2:30. Then headed over to Les Grande Bains which is a ten minute walk from the apartment. Great baths, built on natural hot water springs. Spent three hours there, in the big pool, and the outside heated pool with snow falling! Inside there was a lovely caldarium, with a frigidarium for plunging and a tepidarium for resting in. It all worked very well. We spent most of the time in the sauna complex, with saunas as 70, 80 and 90°C. During my first rest from the 70°C sauna I fell asleep and Michael had to poke me awake! The water was chlorinated throughout, sadly. At we were leaving at 6:15 all the fit skiers were arriving, so we might time our next visit a bit later 😉 It was adult only night tonight, so a good time to go.

Had dinner this evening at l’Aquisana restaurant close by our apartment. Stylish interior and good food too.

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