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Christmas Club Holiday To Val d'Isère - 22nd - 29th December

by Ann and Dan Thompson

First to introduce ourselves, Dan is my 16 year old son and we live in Lincoln which is actually only 2 hours from Manchester but Mancunians have a perception of it being far further. I found out about the club and thus the holiday when searching the Ski Club of GB web site for the Milton Keynes Snozone! I was impressed with the web site - well done Steve. We booked late and Travel Choice failed to book us on a Manchester flight so we had to trek to Gatwick. A further disadvantage was the 4.30am check-in. However at Geneva to my surprise we remained on a separate coach and ours only took five and a half hours with a scenic tour along a very minor road alongside Lake Annecy. The rest of the group were not so lucky taking over 8 hours. Please note Sharpy rations were definitely needed although we were told not to eat on the coach - Dan and I sat at the back.

Chalet Marsala, although sounding like a curry house, was okay, well situated and quiet being off the main road. It took at least 24 hours for the vagaries of the room allocation to become apparent when it was discovered that Joe and Tom were sharing a double bed! This was sorted as there appeared to be a spare room and so Sam could enjoy the delights of a whole double bed to himself. Unfortunately the radiator then leaked which caused Sam to move in with Joe and Tom due to the stench of wet carpet!

The food was good apart from Christmas Day when I reckon the turkey had come out of a tin - very circular in shape! The wine flowed and there seemed to be plenty to take downstairs at the end of the meal to keep everyone happy. On the chalet staff night off all but myself went to a fish restaurant ably organised by Sharpy . I cannot comment on the event as I was struck down by a bug and slept all day and Dan had a pizza!

It was not a healthy holiday for all of us but Paul was always there with remedies from his portable pharmacy. Paul and I shared the Benellin when I lost my voice. Tom had a 24 hour sickness bug, others had just wheezes and sneezes although Ray had a very nasty toothache helped by antibiotics from Paul. It did not seem to matter whether one was in the chalet or at the top of the mountain the portable pharmacy was there. Thanks Paul.

The skiing was limited. It had snowed as we arrived but not in the quantities needed so only around half of the combined resorts of Tignes and Val d'Isère were open. Many runs were icy with loose rocks and we generally found Tignes had the better skiing. It was a sunny but very cold week. The record "low" was -22 Celsius with wind-chill and thus skiing limited to short bursts peppered with hot drink stops. Many of us ventured to the top, La Grande Motte, on the first day, but once was enough.

The highlight of the holiday was Piste Perdue - our only off piste skiing of the week. Some snow fell on Thursday evening so the last day saw better conditions and a group of us ably led by Dave Miller skied it twice. Then the weather closed in and it snowed. As I write this in mid-January no more snow has fallen since the day we left. I just hope this week brings a heavy fall for all of you going on the main club holiday and my second holiday to Courchevel a week later.

My thanks go to Sharpy for all his organisation - it was a pity the snow conditions were not better - is global warming the cause? It certainly makes one wonder about Christmas skiing holidays.

We hope to meet more of you in the future - I have made a note of the Lake District walk - now that is a long way from Lincoln.

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