I was going to write my annual ‘State of the Season’ report for our May and then June newsletters, but sadly I was overcome by an end-of-season lethargy and the May newsletter never got as far as the editor’s desk. My profuse apologies: I know how much you all look forward to it. Someone told me so once, but now I come to think of it he may have been talking about going to the dentist. (or maybe it was about family ski holidays)
First off let me say to all of you that moan about the cost of your lift pass (that might have been me, if I’m honest) that mine cost me somewhere in excess of 100€ per outing and I’m not exaggerating. I do so hate making everything about me, but I must explain why.
The thing you should know about La Tania, dear friends, lovely place that it is, is that it makes you ill. It makes me ill anyway. I always arrive with the vigger of Tigger (or perhaps the vigour of Tigour), but a week or two later and being led astray in the Ski Lodge once or twice, I succumb. (I’m not suggesting that the two are in any way connected, of course).
I’m never ill enough to abandon my duties or, I hasten to add, infect others; just enough to moan a lot and induce Melinda to withdraw any sympathy that usually naturally flows from her in abundance. Last season was no different, but this time I couldn’t shake it off for about five weeks and I wasn’t really up to skiing. Yes, I know.
Nevertheless, one sunny Saturday in late January I awoke and was able to get out of bed unassisted (I may be exaggerating for effect. At my age, it is almost impossible to get out of bed without help, much less put one’s socks on). I announced to Melinda that I felt fit enough to countenance a gentle ski to La Pause and sit in a deck-chair with one of their excellent chocolats chaud.
Now, the thing you should know about Saturdays, and to some extent Sundays, is that there are few, what one might call, ‘weekly skiers’ about as they are changeover days. They are replaced by locals, by which I mean folk from the relative lowlands nearby. You would think that they would be accomplished skiers, wouldn’t you? Some, yes, but generally, an emphatic no. They make even the most trepidacious of you that come to see us for the week look positively expert. At least you have a good idea whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced. The lowland locals all assume that, because they are residents of Savoie, they are naturally gifted skiers. Some might say that being French doesn’t help, but obviously I wouldn’t want to hear that sort of talk. I would rather talk about family ski holidays.
They are epitomised by the 25-year-old wearing a black bobble hat, an open ski jacket and a small backpack emitting rubbish French drum and base very loudly, because naturally we all want to hear it. I expect you may have seen them, for a few of them are around during the week as well. They will be the ones that hurtle past you, jacket flapping, thinking they are in control but clearly not. They haven’t mastered the snowplough and therefore stop by maiming someone. Luckily you can hear them coming most of the time.
As usual, I have gone off on one.
The long-suffering M and I were heading back from a highly convivial day’s deckchair skiing and decided, for some reason, to take Plan Fontaine rather than Folyères. I stopped for a minute or two to admire the view of La Tania below – off the piste of course but clearly not far enough off – when I was honoured to be chosen by a female version of the above-described skiing icon as her preferred method of ‘arrêt’, head-butting my shoulder in the process. Fortunately for her but not for me, she was wearing a helmet and not a bobble hat. The resulting break, although not serious, was enough to remove me from the slopes for a further six weeks. Luckily it was my left shoulder and I can report one can still clean toilets with a broken left clavicle but with a sound right one.
After that I was able to ski without further incident, but not frequently enough to justify the cost of a season lift pass. Perhaps in future we’ll take family ski holidays
That’s not quite enough about me, but sadly I must move on. Before I do though, I must mention in despatches Julie and Andrew, who booked with us for a month (and managed to make it all the way through), and to our little team who really stepped up to the plate when I was indisposed.
Thank you all for your help.
If you’re not too bored yet, part 2 is this way >>>>