Our last evening in Reberty was a hoot. We went for a meal at our favourite local restaurant (Au Petit Rendez-Vous)(a friendly bar restaurant where they let you sit for hours using the internet over the odd lemon tea and the food is brilliant) had a slap up meal and got talking to this friendly bunch of Dutch blokes, who ski together every year.
They used to play hockey together and were great fun to talk to. Their wives all go off together and do something a bit less chilly. When I offered to take their photo, they insisted that I sat down with them for a chat and they worked out that I was half English, half Welsh and half Scottish. I suspect their English was a bit better than their maths, (nah! it was just noisy in there). Tim and Rachel wondered if they were trying to take me back to Holland with them. It was a jolly end to a great week.
On Saturday morning, with an air temperature of about -14 degrees C (where are the danged symbols on a Mac?), we had to finish digging Camel out of the snow, take Rachel into Les Menuires to hang around until the evening so she could catch the ski train back to London and then head off down the mountain.
It was particularly gutting as it was the most perfect day to hit the pistes, a Saturday to boot, which is always the best day, as most people are coming or going not skiing. Meh!
Tim decided that we didn’t need to fit snow chains as he had changed the wheels over to use the tyres we had bought in Iceland. It proved to be the right choice, as we managed to get all the way down with no sliding at all. (Last year we got stuck for ages in a gridlock by a hairpin bend and poor old Camel started sliding towards a coach, aaargh!). And nobody had to scrabble around in the muck to remove them afterwards. (I mean Tim, of course.)
It was interesting following the long line of vehicles snaking their way down the narrow and treacherously slippery roads, while the odd nutter decided they wanted to shave seconds off their journey by overtaking!
(Tim looked as cool as cucumber, but said he felt as awful as I felt the time we went down a black by mistake and he had to talk me off the mountain, but without the gibbering and weeping)(Me not Tim).
Camel coped beautifully, despite the plume of smelly smoke that followed us down the mountain. We suspect it was due to the prolonged use of the ‘snow and gravel’ setting, but we were a bit concerned that the diesel had frozen. We were both very relieved to hear the reassuring whine of the turbo, once we hit the open road and went back into normal mode.
The drive to Thollon was pretty uneventful, apart from the fact that the wind screen wipers were rock solid (do they do rubber that works at under 10 degrees below freezing?) and the nozzles on the windscreen wash were frozen, and we were having to peer through all the crud that was thrown up onto the windscreen.
It was, however really beautiful and the road towards Lake Geneva was very quiet.
There seemed to be lots of snow, but the closer we got to Thollon the less there was. Thollons les Memises is not very high (only 1400m to about 1700m) but when we actually arrived in the village, not only was there a lot of snow, it was snowing. (Yeh) Unfortunately the snow just kept on coming, so the first two days we just hunkered down and enjoyed the view. Our friend Pat had said that it was a very basic flat with just a couple of beds. The joke was on us! It is one of the most spacious and comfortable places we have ever skied from. You could sleep up to eight people here, there is an actual separate bedroom (if you have ever stayed in on of the extremely expensive ‘dog kennels’ in the Three Valleys with pull out beds, you know just how exciting that is!) and it has one of the best views I have ever seen. The flat looks directly over Lake Geneva and the outlook is constantly changing with the weather conditions.
The block is also directly opposite the ski lift and the ski hire shop next to it lets you store your skis and boots there for free, the very next best thing to ski to door!
We have also enjoyed watching the local wild life
The village itself is very pretty and friendly. About 30% of the people we have met have been Brits, including this lovely couple from Northumberland.
The snow stopped and we finally went skiing on Tuesday, not expecting much, as the piste map made the resort look very uninspiring. It was a great surprise to get up to the top and see perfectly groomed slopes with loads of space and no queues. There are only 3 blues here and one black (to resort, of course, but the cable car will bring mere mortals like me back safely) with about 6 or so red runs. There are so few people here this time of year that we were often the only ones on the slope. Sadly there have been whiteout conditions ever since. On Wednesday and Thursday we chanced going up, only to encounter thick fog.
Oh well, beer o’clock comes early on some days..
The good news is that the weather is looking better for the last couple of days before we move on south into Italy. I really hope it will be warmer there, as we are about to start camping again…..