I had a few friends staying in Chamonix over Christmas and the New Year, some doing an off piste course for mountaineers with Bass Chamonix, others who were bold enough skiers to use the Vallee Blanche and the Pas de Chevre to blow away the hangovers. I also had a few friends more than happy to cruise the blues on a very blue sky New Years Eve, before parting in the town square as fireworks were set off and champagne bottles popped. I showed them my Portaski and how it worked by slipping the skis into the wheels and rolling them along the ground, rather than m having to carry them on my shoulder- and they agreed, they would indeed make a very good ‘stocking filler!’
My friend Jenny arrived from London very much looking forward to her last minute decision to spend new years in “the Cham.” After university, she’d spent two season here working in a bar and for a tour company. She admits however, that this meant she didn’t get much skiing done. After quite a bit of partying at ‘Bard’Up,’ the next day we had a bit of a late start at Brevent. It was blue skies, but not masses of powder – a fresh dump being pretty badly needed. Still it was great to be out with an old friend, who I’d never skied with before. Unfortunately it seemed every lift we got on got stuck for one reason or the other – on one the carpet was rotating too fast and person after person didn’t manage to make it onto the chair. They eventually turned it off completely! The slopes were also a different place over the New Year period. It was the busiest I’d ever witnessed and certainly the first time I’d had to queue for a lift. Still, a good afternoon blowing away the cobwebs, before getting ready for the New Years Eve celebrations. Jenny’s friend Benjamin from Avignon decided to hitch hike down to spend a few days with us too- and I couldn’t quite believe it when he turned up with a piece of cardboard saying “Megeve to Chamonix” please! But turn up he did and then proceeded to spend the next few days cleaning my flat which is conveniently just down from the train station very central – to shopping, buying food ( lots and lots of cheese) and drink and making pancakes and all sorts for us.
After feasting we headed to the main square at about 1145pm, with a bottle of Brut in my bag to pop open at midnight. The square was bussing with people doing just the same, groups were setting of fireworks (nothing formal organised) and just general excitement.
We’d decided not to get tickets for a bar- and it was a good decision as after about 12:30 we headed straight back to a very very packed Bard’Up, where we were allowed to the front of the queue to get in. A very good night was had, lots of dancing and chatting and practicing my pigeon French.
It did mean the next day wasn’t much of an early start. Me, Jenny, my flatmate and another friend headed to Le Tour for the afternoon, and after a few good runs, including the long winding red down to Vallorcine, the weather finally turned and we retreated back to the car park with very little visibility and a lot of chilly winds.
Sadly after this Jenny caught the “Cham Flu” and didn’t manage to ski on her last day. I then caught it too- it fees like I’ve not been fully healthy for about 6 of the 8 weeks I’ve been here – must be the same problem they have in schools when you meet a lot of new people etc. I finally said farewell to my friends, and decided my New Years resolution was to simply make the most of it here and do lots more skiing, exploring all the off piste which I’m told is what Chamonix is all about!