This winter, I've been running as my main transportation. I've also been wearing a backpack to keep extra clothes, crampons, grocery bags, the normal stuff you try to pack into pockets, and also my camera. I don't make many photo stops, but I like to have it with me, especially for a little walking at the end of a run. The light was lovely today, so I paused a few times for some quick pics, or maybe just excuses to take breaks since I wasn't feeling one hundred percent.
Today we went back to Avoriaz for a ski date, just D and me. Some schools are already on winter holiday so we expected the crowds, but by lunchtime the lift lines had disappeared. The slopes were somewhat crowded, but we managed to find a quiet section between the pistes where we spent most of the day practicing some different turns. It was a colder day, but the sun was intense and we ate our lunch sitting in a drift.
In the afternoon, we met a few members and instructors from the club. We joined their group and had the chance to explore some off piste areas of Avoriaz. This was my first real off piste adventure and I loved it. What a gorgeous day! Sun, snow, and soft colors on the drive home.
We don't do much to celebrate Valentine's Day. We don't go out to eat, buy cards or flowers, or anything typically romantic, but there's no reason to waste a chance to eat extra chocolate and sweets. I spent a couple hours making vegan tiramisu for tonight and it actually turned out pretty yummy - that deserves a celebration itself.
This has been a white winter. Unlike the previous winters we've experienced in France, the ground has been blanketed in white with only brief thaws between snow covers. Typically, we get only a few snowfalls that melt by noontime. Skiing has been amazing this season, running has been a fun challenge, and I've gotten lots of use from my snowshoes - today included. Nearly a foot of snow has accumulated since last night, so this afternoon, I went for a long (blister inducing) trudge, ending at Cern to catch a ride home at the end of the day. Surprisingly, some routes non déneigée had been plowed, but walking on pavement provided a few welcome breaks from the heavy snow.
P.S. It's still falling!
Today was the final lesson of the ski club season. We finished at Avoriaz this year after another fresh dump of powder. After four seasons with the club, Derek and I finally understand the interjections of "à poil" from the gang of snowboarders at the back of the bus! Each week, a club leader announces, "We have arrived at Avoriaz." ["à poil"] "Please return to the bus by 5pm," ["à poil"] I suppose it was too early in the morning, but we never really bothered to figure out the joke. Now, it makes me giggle, every time, even if it's completely juvenile, and we were last ones in on it.
"Have a pleasant day skiing." ["à poil"]
Today I made a few different turns on my way home. One of those changes dead-ended along l'Allondon and added some doubling back to my already long trip. I did get to see a group of tiny firecrests, a fox, half a dozen deer, and a brief glimpse of sunlight that I would have missed going a more direct route. It seems that I end up with wet/muddy feet, tangled in overgrowth, clambering up a steep slope, dodging barbed wire and electric fences, splintered with chestnut husks, wandering a few extra miles, and always (just briefly) lost whenever I look for new trails to connect a route back to the house, but it's always an adventure. Make a "wrong" turn today - cheers to exploring!
Saturday and Sunday the club skied at La Clusaz, which looks like this (see above). Saturday was windy, foggy, and snowed heavily for the entire day. Despite the zero visibility, Saturday's ski outing was great - fresh snow and steep slopes. Derek enjoyed better views on his return trip on Sunday and the benefits of all of Saturday's snowfall. After this weekend, we are already down to the final lessons of the season next week at Avoriaz...looking forward to even more snowfall throughout the week.
Today I joined a girls ski day with Maura, Emma, and Maggie up at Crozet. Derek and I have been up there snowshoeing, hiking, and for the always painful training runs in summertime, but this was my first ski trip to Crozet, only a few miles down the road. Each time we ski, I am impressed by how much the girls improve, and today I was especially impressed that they could lead me around the slopes. We made a few challenging runs, slid through narrow tree trails, navigated through a dense cloud, and then had some fun following the leader. Top that off with some hot beverages and a little bit of sunshine, and it was a great day.