By Ray West
This is a story about a ski holiday, involving 15 club members, to Serre Chevalier but which ended up as a holiday mainly in Les deux Alpes with one day in Alpe D'huez. Yes you have guessed the reason there was very little snow in Serre Chevalier with skiing being confined to three small areas where artificial snow could be produced. Fortunately, Ski Miquel arranged for FREE buses to these neighbouring resorts for five of the six days. As a result we know the Col du Lautaret in great detail as we crossed it by bus every day except New Years day. To compound the problem every skier that had transport headed for Les deux Alpes so the lift queues were massive and even the fast Jandri Express lift could not cope. Fortunately for the lost two days, our Ski Miquel guides found an alternative quicker way up the mountain using the Diable Telecabine. Despite these difficulties, we managed to do a lot of skiing with some particularly good snow on the Glacier de la Girose. Purely by chance, we met Brian and Janet Winstanly on the slopes of Les deux Alpes who joined us for happy hour in Mike's bar.
The Chalet Hotel Charlott in Serre Chevalier was good, and hod been converted from an old church complete with a ghost though during our stay the ghost in the night proved to be a rather inebriated skier. Ski Miquel proved excellent throughout with very good food supportive and helpful chalet staff and efficient organisation of the buses. They turned a potentially disastrous holiday into a very pleasant stay in Serre Chevalier.
As is usual Paul at various times, lost his hat, gloves, glasses, broke a ski pole and lost a ski from a chair lift. Fortunately the ski was rescued by Nigel. Peter Clark turned out to be the singing skier and entertained every one in the lift queues. An excellent meal was organised by Paul at the Europa Hotel on the Chalet staff's day off. Paul was complimented on the efficient way the club settled the bill with no arguing.
In addition to skiing members went ice climbing and ascending rock faces using the Italian built Via Ferrata, which are iron ladders clipped to the rock face. This was supervised by a local mountain guide named Murray Hamilton, who has escaped from the rain in Britain to work and live in the Ecrins Massif.
On the final day which was New Years day, Ray West, who has not escaped from the rain in Britain, led a party of ten on a hike to the village of le Lauzet where we had lunch in a splendid old French hotel. This enabled members to recover from the New Year celebrations of the previous night. Finally I would like to thank Paul Sharp for organising such a splendid holiday and for fielding all the usual complaints about the size of rooms, noise etc. We all need to remember that Paul is on holiday too.