And so, dear friends, as this prose lumbers inexorably towards its dénouement, I really must give the weather a mention and, through gritted teeth, the British media.
OK, I’ll admit the weather wasn’t as brilliant as it usually is in La Tania, where we usually expect bluebird days and consistent snow from early December until at least mid-April. Normally, the problem is getting rid of the stuff around the chalets before we disappear under its ever-increasing depth. This is why I have the exquisitely sculpted body of a 25-year-old even though my features may, on occasion, belie that.
Last season was a little different. It’s nearly always a bit gloomy in mid-November but normally pulls itself together by the first week of December to give us a good dump of snow just in time for the first week. There was a fair dump of snow in early December, but then it rained and washed most of it away. Of course, rain tends to turn to snow as you go up, and you didn’t have to go up far up to get some fab conditions. Great for catered ski chalet holidays.
Enter the ever-reliable British media, who never, of course, let accuracy get in the way of a good story.
I appreciate, of course, that many resorts did have no snow. But we’re in the Three Valleys, for goodness sake, so we had plenty and the conditions, if not superb, were actually pretty good. Needless to say, bookings stopped dead at just the time they usually come in thick and fast. We even had two cancellations, even though it was days before their arrival and they knew they wouldn’t get a refund. Apparently, they could claim on their insurance. Hit me with that policy, my friend. I’ll buy two.
Last year Covid, this year the Daily Mail. I blame Brexit. Or perhaps President Macaroon. Not brilliant for catered ski chalet holidays
And so that was to be the trend all season. Loads of snow, then rain. Even so, not a single guest expressed unhappiness with the conditions, although most had seen better. Some did complain about getting wet and/or suffering motion sickness as they couldn’t see their skis for the mist!
I missed the Daily Mail headline: ‘Snow returns! Fab conditions in the Alps!’
Things improved a bit as the season went on and, as usual, March was just a tad short of perfect. We love March skiing; the lighter mornings mean you can be up and out early and skiing in some great conditions. On a sunny day it can get a bit slushy in the afternoon, but you know what to do, guys. Find a deckchair, strip down to your T shirt, buy a beer and watch the world go by in the sun.
I have it on good authority that next season the snow and conditions will be perfect. Allegedly, it will snow every night (enough to create some great pow, but not enough to make it hard to clear) and be sunny every day and therefore the conditions will be fantastic throughout the season.
Reading that back through, it all seems very full of woe and gloom. Despite all the difficult bits (and there were many), we once again got to spend the winter in La Tania. We got to catch up with friends, new and old. We worked hard and played hard. Some of us played harder than we worked, but I’m moving on from that now and certainly learnt my lesson!
We’re very lucky, even more so that ALL (apart from one small party!) of our guests are lovely (“of course you’re going to say that”, I can hear you sigh). But I mean it. There is, apparently, a chalet host refrain: “some guests you’re pleased to see arrive and some you’re pleased to see leave” and we’re always pleased to see you arrive and without question sad to see you go.
I can’t wait to do it all again next season!
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