Published: May 1st 2011March 20th 2010
March saw the Baso boys on our hopefully now annual snowboarding trip. We were slightly down on numbers from Moss' stag do the previous year, but there were still 6 of us to hit the slopes (quite often literally and face-first!). All six of us were snowboarding this time, and we'd decided to do away with the self-catered efforts of last year and go for maximum ease with a fully catered chalet, that also included unlimited wine with dinner! Coupled with the fact that the chalet was about two minutes walk from the slopes it looked like it was going to be maximum results from minimum effort!!
Our early morning flight meant that even after we had got sorted and the chalet and picked up our boards and gear, we still had the first afternoon to enjoy up by the slopes. Nug, Shaun and Sam were so keen that they grabbed their boards and went snowboarding there and then, crazy enough to walk uphill under their own steam as they didn't yet have their liftpass!
Moss, Randy and I were far more sensible, watching the football and enjoy some happy hour beers (although the prices still weren't all that
Red run in the sunshine
The slopes were a little busy, but this was defintely one of the most enjoyable for me - a steep wide red.
happy!) in Rondpoint, the biggest and best of the apres ski bars on the slopes that we would be frequenting pretty often!
It was all of our first experience of a catered chalet, and after part of last year's trip involved waiting six hours for Shaun to cook his sh*t bolognaise, it was one we were definitely looking forward to. In a chalet of about 25 people we had two triple rooms tucked away on the top floor. We soon settled into a pattern where breakfast was served by chalet hosts Fran and Billy until 9.30, so about 9.25a.m we'd roll out of bed, grab a hot brekky and then try and hit the slopes which were only about 75 metres away! Almost all of the chalets in Meribel seemed to be catered, so some pretty strict timetables started to become evident for the apres ski. Happy hour (€5.50 beers instead of €7.00!) started at 4, and everyone rolled off the slopes and sank as many beers as they possibly could. The “nightlife” also gets going with cover bands (admittedly pretty good cover bands) playing to a crowd of moshing, ski boot wearing increasingly boozy holiday makers and locals.
The backlit bar of Rondpoint, which has amazing views
The apres ski bars then shut at 7 sharp, and everyone stumbles, skis or boards home to get their slap up 3 course meal at the chalet which is waiting at 7.30! Resulto!
In between this we did actually manage to fill the day with some snowboarding! Everyone continued to improve and we found the Lapin blue run that everyone was able to get down pretty well - so the six of us were able to start the “ski olympics” together, racing down the run and seeing who could get to the bottom first! A few crashes along the way, but luckily no broken bones!
Meribel was known for having some of the best nightlife of any of the ski resorts, but I guess it has to be taken in context and coming from London its not too surprising that it did seem a bit of a step down! However the aforementioned cover bands that toured round the various inspiringly named venues (“Le Pub” and “Le Bar” spring to mind) did a great job, and cramming all these skiers and snowboarders into a venue and getting them moshing to Muse, Foo Fightes e.t.c created a pretty good –
and very sweaty atmosphere. However, we had a stroke of good luck/genius planning* (delete as applicable) when we found that the Altitude music festival was on and some bigger acts were in town. This gave us the chance to see a full AV set from DJ Yoda in, wait for it, the upstairs of a Pizza Express restaurants. I can honestly say I've never been to such a good restaurant based gig!
After a great week of snowboarding with some good snow conditions and some pretty heavy dumps of snow – including one which really made Nug realise why goggles can be a very good thing – see pic, the week was drawing to a close and there was just one night at Rondpoint to go.
Somehow, we had been inspired by a guy we saw the previous night displaying the art-form of straight arm drinking, I.e drinking your pint without being allowed to bend your elbow at all. He seemed a game fella, but basically ended up pouring a full 6 quids worth of pint over his face – some of it might have even made it into his mouth!
Not having the desire or the
budget to keep up with this kind of drinking prowess, we decided to order jugs of beer and six shot glasses in order to start straight arm drinking our beer shots. Needless to say, its not an easy thing to do and even when its just a shot a lot of it still ends up over your face – especially when we stepped it up a notch by getting one person to stand on a table and straight arm the shot into another person's mouth who was lying on the floor!
It may have looked chavvier than a stag do night out in Torquay (see a previous blog for that one!!) but we didn't care and it was a very funny way to bring the curtain down on another top week which I'm sure is now firmly cemented in our annual calendar!
There are more photos below