Starting the new year with a ski holiday is becoming a tradition – we love to take advantage of the off-season prices and quiet slopes; but it has the welcome side-effect of deferring the back-to-work blues of January, and putting to rest any silly ‘detox’ or diet ambitions by giving a good balance of eating what we love; whilst exercising every day. Definitely a better intention to set for the year!
Of course, January can be something of a gamble when it comes to the snow conditions; and we were following snow reports and webcams nervously over Christmas, watching the green and brown mountains in Les Gets with despair as the unseasonably mild winter looked certain to consign us to a very expensive walking holiday. As it happens, we were lucky. The snow arrived with us, and carried on for most of the week; and the clouds were even kind enough to part for a couple of precious blue sky powder days – bliss!
Even though I’ve been skiing since a young age, it’s fair to say it doesn’t come naturally to me. There have been some much-fabled on-piste fall outs with both my dad and husband in the past: “I can’t do it!”; and no amount of professional instruction or technical ability on my part can get through my fundamental fears of speed and not being in control! But this year, I enjoyed things a whole lot more. Why? Perhaps because I have stopped worrying about keeping up with the best skiers in the group. I can get down most pistes (and occasional off-piste) safely and competently, albeit without much speed or grace; and that’s enough. I love the thigh-burn and satisfaction that comes from conquering a patch of moguls or a hairy-looking steep.
Undoubtedly, not being so very tired helped with the fear-factor too. This was the second year we took toddler A to the mountains, and whilst she is still too small for skis of her own, we loved showing her some of the fun of the Alps. We struck a good balance of ski time and family time, planning our childcare arrangements around her naps; and getting to enjoy all sorts of childish pleasures together like sledging, snowballs and snowmen. She slept beautifully each night after such big (and cold) adventures with us and her wonderful holiday nanny; giving me chance to catch up from the bout of insomnia that flared up in December.
Les Gets itself is a lovely ski village – larger than we expected, but with plenty of Alpine charm. It’s high street had the usual mix of (out of bounds) patisseries, amazing boucheries, and ski shops; and plenty of bars and restaurants. The regular little train around town was a particular hit with A (as well as the tired skiers!). Having taken a photography course last year, I enjoyed spending time noticing the cute details, and beautiful mountain light, even on the days when the weather was creeping in.
The weather definitely crept in on the last day, when the 3°c temperature at the mid-station turned the snow on the ground to slush, and the snow falling to heavy rain – yuk! Luckily by that point we were skied out, and there was only a meal out to enjoy followed by a short transfer to Geneva airport the next day. A blissfully short journey which got us home for lunch on Saturday. Unfortunately, minus our baggage due to a mix up with the transfer. Maybe I’ll get my wish for new ski gear next year!