Club Holiday, Courchevel Holiday March 15th 2014, The Mike and Graham Story

Factual information by Mike, Trivia, edits and censorship by Graham!

G: It’s 01:45, no real sleep and I have to get to the bus station in Brighton for the 02:40 coach to Gatwick, nothing civilised about this. In Manchester Mike is still dreaming about waking up.

M: 03:20, my automatic internal body clock alarm worked well and woke me for my ski holiday flight! Ohh, the bliss of realising that I had time to turn over and get another couple of hours sleep. Civilised flight times are a definite advantage John, let’s have more of them.

G: Arrive at Gatwick early, no queue, great but also no record of my ski carriage, explain that someone has paid. They blame it on Inghams and let me go. Flight and transfer go without a hitch unlike others.

M: The flight itself was reasonably uneventful, until we tried to land at Chambery after circulating the airport for quite some time. I’ve flown a few miles, but an aborted landing at 200 feet from the ground was a first! Anyway, after a diverting to Lyon to refuel, we had another go. Successful this time, but approached from completely the opposite direction it seemed to me. So, two hours later we are back on track.

G: Arriving at the Chalet hotel Anemones, I came through an unassuming door between shops. Only later realising how exclusive it was, situated between the Bvlgari and Louis Vuitton stores at the front with nice security guards on each side to keep us safe, and at the rear over the local bus station!

M: The chalet hotel Anemones was fine. The staff were efficient, helpful and enthusiastic. The food was generally very good.

The big disappointment was the take-away pizza which we had on the staff’s night off. Better to have gone out for a proper meal. Our thanks to Jenny who gave us her unwanted pepperoni, it was far better than the fancy pizzas we had ordered.

G: This next bit should definitely be censored, looks like I was lucky to get a single room.

M: The only issue with the rooms was the closeness of the beds, in the twin bedded rooms, and it was not possible to increase their separation due to the side shelves fixed to the bed head, though I heard that some resolved the problem by separating the beds to different corners of their rooms. Bit scary to turn over in the night, open an eye and find myself virtually arm in arm with my room-mate John! But hey ho, what the heck, anything goes these days—doesn’t it?

Well, what about the skiing, or should I say skiing and boarding.

Sunday. To set the scene, the weather was brilliant all week, getting warmer as the week went on. I ended up skiing in a very non thermal Tee shirt and my ski jacket. Memo to self for next March holiday, take a light shell as well as the ski jacket, ‘cos that’s all that was needed for most of the week. That mean that the south facing slopes, which had melted thro the day, froze overnight, got pisted sometime, and greeted us with a rock hard, corrugated wash board in the mornings, though by late afternoon these surfaces turned to heavyish, spring snow. Needs a bit more work to turn in it, but it was nowhere near as bad as the slush that we experienced in Alpe D’Huez.

I’d taken a snowboard, so the first day, Sunday, was spent playing around the Courchevel area with Brian, Janet, Graham and others. The snow was really good, the slopes we picked were really good and I was on-fire. I even managed to keep with Janet, following in her tracks a few times. A brilliant day and I played out for far too long until the Winstanleys wore me out!

Monday. The next day was essentially the same group, and the initial plan was to have a blast towards Val Thorens. I’ve no idea where we got to in the end but it was a disaster for me on a board.

The sign of a wise man is that he learns from his mistakes. I’m clearly not a wise man. Within 20 minutes I realised this was a mistake. Worn out from yesterday. Long, fast, continuous, rock hard, washboard pistes on a board is not fun. I was suffering déjà vu. I was learning to board on my first SCOM holiday some years ago to Meribel, and it was an early morning blast to the same Val Thorens that made me realised that I can’t keep up with skiers in those conditions. Graham and I peel off after a late lunch in Val Thorens to return. We celebrated with a large beer in the sun at the top of Saulire before the last run down. The beer tasted lovely, but I realised that it wasn’t such a good idea as I slid a hundred yards or so down the steep mogully bit at the start of the red run. Soon woke up! Mistake, knackered, not fun, went to the ski shop on return and hired some ski’s; for the rest of the week as it turned out!

Tuesday. Revised team. Just me Graham and John. Nice cruising day planned around Courchevel. Bad start though. Managed to leave my sticks behind in the Vixzelle bubble as soon as we started. Bl**dy ski paraphernalia! The sticks were returned quite efficiently, within 10 minutes, whilst Graham and John snuck in a quick run, down and up Marmottes. Thereafter followed a great day roaming around Roc Merlet, Altiport, and the surrounding areas. Another celebratory large beer to finish a glorious day.

Wednesday. Complete change of team mates. Invited to join Brian, Derek, Steve, Tom, Tony and Colin. The plan was an assault on Val Thorens, but a broken down Cote Brune lift, just as we arrived, caused a change in plan. At least we didn’t get stuck on it like Andrew. So we bombed around Morret and headed to St Martin for lunch; nice tartiflette and van chaud. The vin chaud worked well for a time, but again the effect soon wore off, maybe more are top-ups are needed!

G: St Martin with Brian, Janet and others . Not my best day an icy Jerusalem take me out, but a fantastic lunch at the end.

Thursday. Tagged onto a small group, just Brian, Steve, Tosh, Ruth and me, with the objective of another assault on Val Thorens. This needed an early start by my standards. My god, 09:15 start. Definitely no hanging around, by 10:15 passed signs saying Val Thorens, couldn’t have been that quick surely? Coffee stop, then lunch, before attacking the Pointe del la Masse. Brilliant afternoon playing around on the side of Masse runs, with the growing realisation that it’s a long way back. Skipped out on one the runs, resting before the trek back. Very tired in the last hour, slowed down considerably, skiing beginning to fall apart, definitely just hanging in there at the end!, great company, see you all again next year.

G: Hooked up with Brian, Janet and others going to la Tania, via Jockeys and LE PRAZ. Kangaroo steak for lunch, fantastic but does not add extra bounce as expected for the afternoon.

Friday. Need an easy day, despite it being the last. Hooked up with Graham and John again for a super sunny, relaxing day, cruising around Courchevel, Crux Noir, Roc Megnier, morning coffee, then over to la Tania for lunch, finishing a super holiday with a quick dash down Jockeys, and a last run down Loze.

G: Its evening, I phone home to say still in one piece only to be told “A postcard has arrived from Courchevel from a woman”, who is it I ask?-----Elaine! Quickly explain this away. But we're both here! Am I being stalked by a serial postcardist ?

Thanks to SCoM for a brilliant holiday with a great crowd. Great skiing!