Les Arcs

Well, that was fun. Got back from Les Arcs yesterday at about 6pm.

We picked the right week to go: for a few days before we arrived, and for the first day and a half of the holiday, it snowed constantly. For the rest of the week it was clear blue skies (and very cold).

Our hotel had ski/boot hire on site, so all that business was painless. I started with snowblades but there was too much powder: I swapped to grown-up skis after the first morning (they’re like planks!). After the weather cleared up I swapped back again (to constant moans from Barrie about “snowbrakes”). I much prefer snowblades, even though skating on the flat is much more effort than poling. It’s good aerobic exercise anyway.

I also swapped boots, since my first pair were causing my left calf to shriek with pain by the end of Monday. Probably just a bad fit: the second pair were much newer, and painless.

Chris and I let Barrie be our tour guide. Consequently we both did a great deal more skiing than we’ve ever done before. On Tuesday we were out from 9.30 until 5, although not all of that was skiing: there were a few stops for chocolate chaud, lunch, and for helping Andy down a too-steep-for-him blue. (Les Arcs has no designated green runs: just blue, red and black.)

After Tuesday’s exertions Chris and I had an easy Wednesday (giving up at lunchtime), and a Dodgy Back Experience on Wednesday night convinced me to take Thursday morning off. For lunch on Thursday we met some of Andy’s orchestra mates, who were staying in Arc 2000 (we were in Arc 1800), and afterwards Andy showed off his new-found blue skills to them. I have the video.

I planned to do a few black runs during the week but somehow ended up doing none, though one or two of the reds were pretty dark. Barrie took me down a mogully red on Tuesday morning, which I didn’t really want to do, but I found myself giggling most of the way down until it tired me out.

On Friday Barrie failed to convince me to ski down from the Aiguille Rouge, at 3200m or so (but Chris went with him). I stayed at 2700m and wished for summer as my toes lost feeling (it was about -15°C, plus windchill). I should have done a run or two while waiting for them but decided to be lazy. Lazy and frozen.

Chris turned into a speed demon on Friday. I haven’t reached that mental place yet; my knees and legs tire easily and if I go too fast I’ll just wipe out spectacularly (which might not be true, but as I said, I haven’t reached that mental place yet).

My Les Arcs photos are up. So are Chris’s photos, which are much more interesting and varied than mine. I haven’t looked at the video yet to determine whether there’s anything worth editing together.

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