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Sauze d'Oulx - 12 March 2006

By Anne Stevenson

Another truly memorable Ski Club holiday, wall to wall sunshine for 5 of the 6 days and good snow! There were only 12 of us booked on this holiday and we were joined by an enterprising first reserve, Wendy Barlow, who managed to book herself with First Choice and joined us in the hotel and on the slopes.

It was good both to catch up with former ski companions and meet new ones.  Steve and Derek skied with the Ski Club of Great Britain rep every day, the rest of us mixed and matched throughout the week and it all seemed to work very well. We all went over to Sestriere on at least one day and marvelled at the feats of the Paralympic skiers on the slalom!! But we were fairly glad we were not staying there, as the hype and infrastructure seriously limited not only access to the slopes but also movement around the town and to the restaurants.

Another favourite venue, missed by only yours truly, was the day out to Sansicario, voted the best day's skiing ever by more than one person. First Choice laid on a coach to take us to Montgenevre and Claviere for a day, so that we could ski the resorts (rather than spend the whole day getting there and back) and this was certainly my best day; following Frances meant I did many more black runs than I had planned [plan was zero]; thanks Frances!!

I last skied in Sauze D'Oulx two years ago at half term, when it was impossible to see the snow on the Sportinia plateau for bodies!  What a difference!  But we were told then that all the lifts would be updated for the Olympics - no such luck - the two old cold two-seaters up from Sportinia are still there and still slow and cold especially on the Saturday in a white-out! When visibility is bad, however, you can always rendezvous at the penguins and find your way down run 29! There is, after all, minimal difference between a penguin and a zebra!!

The hotel was warm, spacious, comfortable and the food excellent. We missed the sitting area for socialising, the bar was far too noisy, but we did not do too badly in the quiz. Thanks Carol for your joke. The mystery bug struck again, 2 or 3 of us but it was of short duration.

Ernie, if I can talk for Scotland, try the Welsh, or even a person from Macclesfield who has a lovely garden, full of wildlife!

Thanks Elaine for coping with all the last minute First Choice not providing the tickets and insurance!