ski week (aka physics conference, la thuile)

After sleeping in, we packed and left on the bus for La Thuile, Italy. Derek is presenting at a physics conference and I am as usual tagging along. We arrived at the hotel and got settled, found the ski lockers, and went for a walk around town before welcome drinks and a huge dinner.  I was so surprised to see the vegan and vegetarian food was labeled- oh joy! Above is the hotel. We could watch the chair lifts and a few pistes from our room window.
My plans for the week: eat, ski, sleep, repeat.


winter olympics

Need a break from speed and spandex? Above is a really beautiful and fun video of the Olympic Winter Games (1924 - 1968).  I especially love the old black and white footage of the earliest games. The winter games had their beginning just down the road in Chamonix, France in 1924, and the Alps have hosted many of the subsequent Olympics. The video contains footage of these Olympic locations:

1924 - Chamonix, France
1928 - St. Moritz, Switzerland
1932 - Lake Placid, New York USA
1936 - Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
1948 - St. Moritz, Switzerland
1952 - Oslo, Norway
1956 - Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
1960 - Squaw Valley, California USA
1964 - Innsbruck, Austria
1968 - Grenoble, France

Some extra Chamonix skating moments. In this video, Sonja Henie is only 11 years old and the first Olympic figure skater to compete in a short skirt (it's okay, she was young enough that it wasn't improper).


ski lesson: 5

This Saturday's outing at Les Carroz was the last of our 5 CERN Club ski lessons. We had a beautiful, clear day. It was quite a bit colder than it has been, but with intensely warm sunshine. We spent most of the day above the clouds among the floating island-like mountain tops. This week's snow was fast and somewhat icy. I prefer the slower, deep powder we skied on the last 2 weeks (although it is more leg work), but also enjoyed the increased speed of today's conditions. It was a winter-wonderland, with heavy snow piled on the tree branches, snowbows (think rainbow, but no rain), and a glittering blue sky.

Lesson 5a: A little wine at lunch increases ski courage and enjoyment. (actually recommended since it is vital to be relaxed while skiing).

Lesson 5b: Don't ski with a migrane.

Lesson 5c: Skiing is necessary to survive the winter and get above the permanent clouds settled in the valley. I understand why EVERYONE here skis.

Lesson 5d: Five weeks of lessons goes by too quickly- but ski season should last through April :)



not just yet...

I've been catching an early spring fever, but today has been a big reminder that it is still February, and yes, still winter. I think I should put hopes of fresh new colors, and buds, and yes even sunshine out of mind for just a little while longer. So, thanks to another wet, gray day, I decided to embrace what's left of this season before letting all my daydreams slip into the next. Today I went for a walk in the snow/slush and stopped to take a few photos of the gathering snow-blossoms and watch the birds. Enjoying the last weeks of flannel scarves and giant pots of lentil chili.


ski lesson: 4

Our fourth ski lesson was at Avoriaz, France, but we also took a lift across the border to ski a bit in Switzerland in the afternoon. My enthusiasm toward skiing continues to grow...I can't wait for next week, and I really can't wait for a full week of skiing in Italy the first week of March - a nice way to spend my b-day (Derek has a conference). In the morning there was a nice view of some of the nice teethy-looking Alps (above). It started precipitating around lunch time which made for low visibility and interesting "unsee-able" moguls and cliff edges. Looking through my goggles below (looking down-hill or up in the sky?). Whiteness everywhere.

Lesson 4a: Snow is white, so is the sky when it is snowing, and so are the ski slopes. Sometimes it is difficult to differentiate between them, but then your legs learn to absorb whatever is below them.

Lesson 4b: A day of skiing should be followed by an apéritif.

Lesson 4c: Be ready for testing next week...the final lesson for the season.


big bread and tomato bisque

Mmmmmmm..... homemade tomato bisque and a beautiful rustic loaf. I bought this loaf at the farmer's market Sunday morning - it is at least the size of a curling stone. We also picked-up tomatoes, brussels sprouts, white carrots, French beans, a whole rotisseried chicken, clemetines and these lovely tulips. After a nice dinner with friends yesterday, we enjoyed some leftover soup before French lessons this afternoon. Below is a friendly robin who stops by outside our kitchen window.