As the snow turns to slush and the mountains turn green, the season draws to an end. As much as this makes the skiing stickier with bigger moguls filling the pistes, there are a few tracks away from the hoards of Easter holiday skiers that maintain their fast and flat features. T-shirt skiing becomes a far more regular sight, and as the sun melts the snow, it also stays longer in the evenings, allowing for more time chilling in it’s rays with a few beers.
Over the last few weeks there have been a lot of beers drunk. Particularly during our staff day out to the nearby resort of Meribel. Some of the staff hadn’t left the resort for over four months so more than welcomed the change of scenery and the Mcdonalds pit-stop en route. As we soaked up the rays at the first bar the weekly awards were presented with a shot of sacred St Nick’s white rum handed out for the previous weeks events, of which I was nominated for stack of the week for one of my many falls in the park. Whilst the shots of rum settled on the pints we made our way up to Rond Point. After drunkly reeling off our repertoire of humerus chants on the bus up the mountain we joined in the aprés festivities of the live band. The pints became pitchers and the tunes got louder and ‘ronnies’ lived up to expectations and proved to be a pretty incredible place. It was just nice to relax in an amazing setting with great people, having a fantastic time and life just seemed great. Riding the wave of drunkness I made the foolish decision to run down the slopes to get to the next bar rather than waiting for the bus. A very foolish decision. When I finally made it to the bar I was soaked through from sinking in the slush lining the slopes and caked in mud from falling through the garden of a chalet that I mistakenly decided was a good shortcut. Once I made it and was reunited with the Champs team the fun resumed until it was time to had back to Val.
The ‘Meribel’ spirit was reincarnated the following week when we headed up to the Eye of the Needle for a bbq. How do you get a bbq to the top of the mountain? You ski it there in shopping bags. Naturally it was me who was honoured with the pair of bags holding the hope of hot dogs at the peak. Seeing someone ski with a pair of packed shopping bags is apparently a funny sight, seeing someone ski with a pair of packed shopping bags dressed as a Christmas turkey is apparently a hilarious sight. So there I was flying down the mogul ridden black run into Tigne, shopping bags in hand, Turkey outfit on, carrying the bbq’s in fancy dress, popping off jumps for the illusion of flight. At the top, as my hot dog was finally passed to me, horror struck. The snowboard of our chef, Alan, had been booted down the off piste in front of our seats and found its way to a stop in a small gully. Just as I lined up the first bite of my lunch some, apparently, random person boarded off with Alan’s snowboard as if they were stealing it and so the turkey was called into action to catch this villain and sent down the trecherous off piste on the chase. Dutch courage led me to almost straight line the mogul field on the pursuit only to find the guy was in fact the same person who had kicked the board down in the first place and was bringing it back to the safety of its owner. So when I returned from my successful yet pointless adventure my hot dog was cold but the crew were happy and the board was safe, so all was good and the bbq, music and beer carried on.