Sunday, March 23, 2014

Skiing the French Alps

Hôtel Les Bruyères
My first time in the French Alps was in 1987, to visit a friend from Grenoble. Agnès picked me up in Paris and we made our way south to her hometown. In jet lag fog, I remember fields of lavender and sunflowers, hairpin turns, picturesque alpine villages.

Almost thirty years later, I'm back in the French Alps (oh do I feel older),  in Les Menuires - Saint Martin. Via  Toronto - Frankfort, Frankfort - Lyon. Hopped on a coach and up we went. From 250 m to 1850 m or approximately 800 feet above sea level to over 6,000 feet. Hairpin turns and steep embankments. Jet lagged to the gills, need I say that it was a hair raising ride in the snow and fog. Oh but oh! Those alpine chalets are some pretty. We finally made it to Les Bruyères, home sweet home for the next six days. Quick, quick, quick! You got to check in and pick up your ski equipment. Did I mention that dinner is in 10 minutes! I haven't been here in 30 years but I've been up for over 30 hours. All I want is a good glass of wine, a bite to eat and a bed.

Sweet slumber! Oh was it sweet.

Today we met our ESF guide Alain. ESF or École de Ski de France instructors are the best in the world. I wish I could say the same about the conditions. Not only is it foggy but it's snowing quite heavily and also windy. Up we go from one lift to the next. Reberty to the Sunny Express at just under 2700 m (8,800 + ft). Down we go in zero visibility, high winds and powder. Oh yeah! Back up we go on Mont de la Chambre at 2850 m (9,300 + ft).

Feeling my legs, the previous days of traveling, the weather and the altitude, I decide to call it a day. I've got nothing to prove and I want to live a long life. Oh, did I mention that I ran into a wall of powder? I thought I'd have to wait until spring to get out. Either that or be airlifted! Oh dear! Thank you Cathy and Tom for assisting.

Trois Vallées
Skied back to the hotel and changed, chilled a bit and headed out to the base in search of some lunch with my buddy Cathy. We found it at La crêperie la chouette. Quel délice! I ordered la galette du chef which turned out to be a crêpe filled with ham, tiny cubes of potatoes, parsley and a sauce of mushroom and onions accompanied with une bollée de cidre or a cup of cider. Wonderful! Cathy was equally pleased with her galette de saumon fumé avec épinard.

La chouette!


  1. wow, sounds and looks amazing! glad you are posting your adventures again!

  2. Fog! Poor visibility! Strange trails..where have we seen that before?
    I hope the sun soon revealed the beauty around you.