Sunday, November 30, 2008

Snowboarding in the Alps

It's that time of year again--cold in the air, leaves on the ground, and snow in the mountains. Lyon is about 160 kilometers (100 miles for you yanks) from the Alps, and just a little bit further to the nearest ski resorts. In fact there are like 15 ski resorts within a couple hours drive from Lyon, and probably more than 30 within 4 hours.

The picture above is from the top of Val Thorens, this week's feature destination.

I don't have a car. Driving in Europe scares me, so I'm not sure if I ever will. And if I did, I'm not sure I would want to take my chances getting up windy, snow-covered mountain roads. Luckily most people in Lyon are in the same boat I am, so we have good options for travel to the mountains. Bus was convienent, cheap, and way too early. I was joined by two friends from work at the bus stop at 5:30 in the morning for the 2.5 hour ride to the resort, but other than that the ride was good.

Val Thorens is a huge resort. The snow cover wasn't great, so we were restricted to just a few runs, but being the first day of the season, the snow was fresh and untouched. The sun was shining, the weather was right around 32 degrees farenheit, and I was getting my thing on.

My first day in the Alps was awesome (That's me in the picture above doing something cool).

At least it started out awesome. The first two hours were amazing. The views are big, for lack of a better word, and the snow was okay and there was hardly anyone there.

Then the wind came. At first it wasn't too bad. The main run was serviced by a teleferic (gondola), so we didn't have to deal with the usual cold, windy lift ride up. The mountain had lots of valleys to atleast get some riding out of the wind, so we kept riding and took a break for lunch around 1 pm.

Ski resort food is usually two things--bad and expensive. The food here was doubly expensive, but it was really good. I had Tartiflette, a potato and cheese casserole thing, that was awesome. And a diet coke to make up for the 5,000 calories and all the carbs that dish had.

After lunch, the hurricane came in. I got blown off the piste by a huge gust of wind, and the wind quickly turned all the runs to hard ice. The wind was so strong that the bus driver couldn't even open the door to the bus, we had to use the back door which was protected from the wind. So the day ended a little earlier than I would have liked, but the good beginning made up for it.

For more pictures of Val Thorens, see here. All the good photos were taken by Cedric. Thanks Cedric.

Oh, and George starts her intensive French lessons tomorrow. Wish her luck.

No comments: