Thursday, January 15, 2009

Avoriaz and mates

Emyr and your scribe looking cool, well Emyr does, in the French Alps. Photo taken by Emyr Williams and used with the permission of Emyr Williams.
Dear Gentle Reader,

So, you go to Europe. 

You do some banking in Geneva. You buy some chocolate. And some cheese. 

OK, you buy a lot of cheese and a lot of chocolate. And a lot of wine to wash it all down.

Then, obviously, you head into the Alps with your mate.

Your mate who is a photographer. And a graphic artist.

And he sends you back photos of him, and you, looking cool. Well. Him looking cool.

And then he takes photos of you, on skis. On flat ground. After you have been shuschhing and swooshing all day.

Makes you want to reevaluate your friendship, no?

These photos were taken with a cell phone from Avoriaz. Avoriaz gets about 8 meters (24 feet) of snow each year.

Avoriaz is part of the Portes du Soleil resort... 13 joined resorts, 650 km of marked runs, and 230 lifts, located in and across 14 valleys.

That translates to great skiing and lots of it. More runs than you can do in a week of hard skiing with no duplication. (Even though you have to tow your friend on a snowboard on the flatter traverses...)

(Note who has skis on in the photo...) 

Image of your scribe at the top of a run in Avoriaz, France
(And that jacket? Mountain Equipment Co-op. 22 year old goretex and it is still going strong. I have no idea why your Heroine keeps bugging me to replace it. It works.)

(A further aside on Mountain Equipment Co-op... That brand is how Canadians spot each other around the world.) 

As you can see from the photos, the views in the French Alps are pretty nice when you do stop for a rest. 

One of the fun things about Avoriaz is skiing back and forth between Switzerland and France all day. 

Sure, it costs more, but you get to make a series of quick turns and then blame imperfections, when you gaze back, on the host country. 

Like what? Like "Ooh, you can see that when I was in France the higher tax rate was pulling at my wallet, which is why that series of turns were not Warren Miller perfect and symmetrical..."

These things seem amusing while skiing in the French Alps because of the food and beverage stops. And you can forgive the French their attitude and their higher taxes when you drink their wines and eat the food their better chefs prepare...

In Canada, I would not stop skiing until the lifts closed. In Europe, my partners usually want a break. 

With Emyr that break would be just after we arrive... but then Emyr is good to go.

But, this stopping is OK because there are great places to stop for rests when you ski in the Alps.


In the first part of the map image, the immediately visible portion, you may note 33 restaurants. Some are just OK, some are culinary masterpieces.

Ski in. 

Ski or wobble out.

I actually thought this was barbaric when I first came to Europe. 

Stop skiing? To eat? Or to drink? It is called aprés ski for a reason, guys...

But on my first stop, I was converted.

And they say converts are always the most strident...

Tschuess,
Chris

Postscript: 

Emyr is the guy who saved me from the egg sacs of the Spiders of the Apocalypse.

9 comments:

Cloudia said...

I can smell the snow! Lovely words & pics (cell phone?!)
Aloha

gigihawaii said...

Interesting photos. Makes me want to ski (for the first time).

Wish I could have some of your cheese and chocolates!

Heidelweiss said...

Oh skiing. I used to ski. In bygone days. Can't now. But I live vicariously through Steve who has a lovely pass to a killer resort near here (greatest snow on earth, you know ;)). Looks like a wonderful time. Now, where DID I put that Amadei Chuao...?

Sepiru Chris said...

Cloudia,

Glad you can smell the snow. I can still smell the Reblochon cheese, but I did not blog about the tartiflette.

(Not wise to blog about tarts if there is a slim chance your wife might read the blog (highly unlikely, however).)

And regarding the cell phone, I am so with you.

I was exploring a Chinese market the other day and came across a gaming store; I was utterly gobsmacked by the visual quality of games that kids play now.

Back when I was cracking Frogger and Galaga and Wizard of Wor, 16 bit graphics were only to be dreamed of...

In the days of Pong the pixel (mega-pixel) was the game itself.

Hmm....

Gigihawaii,

Skiing is fantastic, I highly recommend it. There is nothing like the wind in your hair and the smell of snow and burnt ozone from your speed... The cheese and chocolate power you up for the day. The wine or beer tempers the rush...

Heidelweiss,

Get that back of yours in shape if you are going to come searching for yaks to knit with. Might I suggest yoga, pilates, chiropractics, and massage?

Killer resorts are always interesting.

At Chamonix, to ski the glaciers, you are required to have a guide because new crevasses are constantly showing themselves, and those can be deadly, especially when encountered at 60-70 km/hour (40-50 mph?)...

Maybe Steve and I could do some virgin slopes in the Himalayas...

Imagine the fun of crossing frontiers on some of those slopes... Look I'm in Pakistan (sound of gunfire), look I'm in India, look I'm in Pakistan (sound of gunfire), look I'm in India...

Tschuess all,
Chris

Tifighter said...

Ahh...this is getting amped to go ski the Alps myself. 3 weeks to go...

Sepiru Chris said...

Tifighter,

The snow is great and the crowds are non-existent. Enjoy one of the few benefits of the global economic slowdown; faster lift lines.

Let your volatile stockmarket skiing commence (rapidly moving up and down, with excellent gyrations in the middle).

Tschuess,
Chris

Junosmom said...

It would have to be awfully good food and lots of drink to get me to ski again.

Sepiru Chris said...

Junosmom,

It is. Welcome to the French Alps. Shall I let you know when next I go?

Chris

Barbara Martin said...

I've had enough of winter to last me until next year. I peeked at the summer part of the link to the resort, and donkey trekking is just my speed.