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Club Holiday, Alpe D’huez, January 24th - 31st 2015

Reporter: Dave Wilkinson

The holiday started with a relaxed trouble free check in around 8:00am. Ground level security near Jet2 was a bonus, and quite efficient. The outward flight ran to schedule however the coach transfer to resort took longer than expected due to the car park drop off for passengers to les Deux Alps (one hour waiting in the wrong car park for their mini bus).

Evening meal at the hotel set the standard for the week, which was very good, with generous supplies of complementary wine.

Now to the skiing.

Day 1, off to a good start with fine sunny conditions. Myself and room-mate Nigel Naylor, joined John Weatherell’s group for an easy-going start to the week and skied around the central area of the resort. This first day introduced us to our ski group members for the rest of the week; Whitney and Helen, with David Colman, Mike Stemmer, Elaine Donnelly and David Garnet also joining us throughout the week at various times.

Day 2, The group explored the runs down to Oz and Vaujany then Day 3, over to the opposite side, Auris to explore this area. Following lunch in Auris then setting off back to Alpe d’Huez, an unfortunate situation developed for one of our group members. Whitney started to experience repeated problems with her ski bindings releasing unexpectedly. It turned out that she had left the restaurant with someone else’s skis! Anyway after intervening help with on-slope binding adjustment from a helpful Belgian guy, she was able to ski down to the Louvets / Alpauris lift and return to the Bergers area, were a visit to the local Ski-set hire shop to report the incident started the process of tracking down her own skis. Swapping a ski with a companion when stopping for lunch is definitely to be recommended after this experience!

Day 4, on the Wednesday was for me the highlight of the week’s skiing and evening entertainment. Our ski group was joined by Brian Richardson, who guided us around the runs just below Pic Blanc before setting off from the summit down the long Sarenne route, which had been my ‘must do’ for this holiday. Skiing conditions on this day were the best all week, with clear sunny skies and a fresh covering of snow from overnight. Wednesday evening was the Chalet staff night off and John Weatherell had arranged a group booking at the Edelwiess restaurant in town which most of our ski group attended. A few of us opted for the Steak in Cognac, where the waitress presented us with ‘bibs’ which we had to wear before the steaks were doused in Cognac then ignited! The steak was very good by the way.

Thursday saw a big change in skiing conditions however as snow had been falling continuously overnight and throughout the day. Visibility was poor and many of the upper runs were closed. Our ski group members diminished as a result, but the core team attempted to make the most of the accessible central ski runs to practise ‘powder’ skiing on green and blue runs with limited visibility.

These conditions continued into Friday, where the day started with uncertainty as to whether any lifts were going to run. I-pads and smart phones were used to check the lift status as there was no sign of movement from the Grand Sure chair lift closest to the hotel. The ‘yogurt pot’ lifts were found to be running, these were further from the hotel, but downhill. No problem then, as the road was covered in packed snow, skis on in the street and ski down the road to the lifts was a convenient solution. Once up in the central ski area again, the morning became pretty much a repeat of the previous day. Over ad down into Oz in the early afternoon however provided some welcome improvement in visibility.

Departure day started with clear sunny skies, allowing for final scenic photo opportunities whilst waiting for the transfer coach which must had been delayed due to snow and traffic conditions on the road. This was a minor issue though compared with the travel disruption we experienced at Chambèry. I guess this story is already common knowledge within SCoM so I won’t repeat it in this report. Overall though, another enjoyable skiing holiday, in good company and more skiing experience gained.

Thanks to all those involved in organising the holiday.

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