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