After the morning scramble of packing and cleaning, we said goodbye to the cozy cottage. We spent a few hours at LaNorma for sledding and lunch before joining the caravan of vacationers for a warm, sunny, drive, heading back home.


ski: orelle / val thorens

Today will be our last ski of vacation, Orelle and Val Thorens, here we come. The morning light was gorgeous, so I took a few shots on the way to loading into the cars.

The slopes had been dumped with deep, soft powder. Perfect conditions, but working through the fresh layer was exhausting...in that good way. Some areas were wickedly windy, but one of the best ski days I could hope for. 


storm's a coming

We made an early start down to the lifts, but Orelle planned to close by noontime for an impending storm. Derek and I decided to head back up to the cabin for a rest day, some reading by the fire, and a walk in the snow while the Hirshauers headed out for sledding. We wandered up the road, onto snowy trails to make our way through Villard and up to the next town up the mountain Pralognan (by town I mean and old church, a mill, and a few stone houses).

We came up a steep foot trail through the wood that met up with the road in Pralognan...doesn't seem to get much use.

Derek rolled a giant snowball.

Our holiday cabin is just to the left of the tree, the one perched at the edge of the mountainside.

We all rejoined at the cabin to watch the Grinch and Charlie Brown Christmas, excited for tomorrow's snow conditions after today's fall.


ski: la norma II

Another ski day at La Norma, why not. We all enjoy the easy long runs together, and take turns heading to the higher pistes.

A couple safety hold-outs, finally got our first helmets.

We saw our first avalanche...I was done for the day after this.


joyeux noël

From us to you, a very Merry Christmas. Whether you are enjoying family traditions or making new ones, I hope you are having a lovely holiday. This has been a special one for me (and I think I can speak for my fellow cabin mates) one we will always remember. Santa found us, even tucked away in a remote mountain town, so we spent the morning with coffee and tearing into packages left under the tree before the gown-ups pooled all our skills together to assemble the most detailed toy I've ever encountered. In the afternoon, we finally left our pajamas behind and went for a wintery walk.

(Thanks Jim for the above photo)

Back at the cabin, the boys and little girls went to work on building a snowman, while Maura and I prepared Christmas dinner.

Seconds and thirds please: chicken, stuffing, potatoes, beans, salad, wine, and our favorite drinks and cookies afterward.


christmas eve & ski: orelle

Today we got to take a trip up to Orelle and Val Thorens for sunny, high skiing. What a beautiful day in the mountains.

After we exhausted our legs on the slopes, we all rushed home, cleaned up and went up to Villard, the next tiny village above us, to greet Pere Noel in the streets and drink vin chaud and coco .

Back at the cabin, we gathered around a warm raclette dinner, set out cookies, and Emma and Maggie left notes to Santa before stories and more time by the fire.


ski: la norma

Our first ski day started with a minor setback- the telecabine at Orelle closed for high winds, so we headed a little ways down the valley to a smaller ski station (at a lower elevation) and a fantastic day on the slopes at La Norma.