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Published: February 28th 2010
NickNot sure if a ski trip can be classed as proper traveling but we did all jump on a plane and the spirit of adventure was certainly alive amongst the group for most of the week!
99 Red Balloons
So, I was luckily enough to be invited into a group of hard core seasonaires and long term friends for what promised to be a week of extreme skiing and hard core partying. 15 intrepid skiers/boarders traveled from far and wide, well the North and South, to Grenoble - the famous gateway to the Alps.
We all met up in the beautiful surrounds of the coach park and after being robbed of 10 Euros for a ham sandwich introductions were made, we exchanged pleasantries, and we embarked on the longest transfer possible. In the end it turned out to be 3 hours and any shorter would have challenged the Bus rep whose pass selling skills fell well short of the accomplished ex-reps on board. Polly stated she could have done a double decker in half the time but I'm not sure if she was referring to ski passes or something else?
The closer we got to
resort the higher the anticipation and excitement! We were met by Ben and Sophie who were to look after us for the week and all shown to our rooms. Everyone appeared to be happy with their room mates, most had en suite bathrooms, and there was a Sauna too. The communal area was more than adequate with a table just about large enough for us all to eat together and in true chalet fashion enough comfy seats for all but one or two of the group.
Skis/Boards/Boots hired and/or in for tuning, bags unpacked and chalet wine uncorked (squeezed out of a bag) we sat down for what was to be the first of 6 amazing 3 course meals - throughout the week, not on the first night.
Ben and Sophie ran a very tight ship in the chalet and fed us well all week. Trying to keep the experienced guests happy might have been a difficult task but they were more than up to the challenge and didn't disappoint with food at all.
We couldn't have eaten any better if we had been in restaurants every night and breakfast was
pretty good too.
We also met Phil, our Rep, who as it turned out was a pretty good bloke who couldn't do enough to help us enjoy our stay! So without wanting to blow Skiworlds trumpet too much the whole deal was excellent and made even better by Ben, Sophie, and Phil's efforts during the week.
So onto the resort and the main reason we had all descended on Tignes for a week! The first night from memory was a quiet affair for most. We made it to the saloon bar around the corner and a few with more stamina than the rest carried on the night in veronica's, the melting pot and various other dubious French establishments which we were all going to become more familiar with throughout the rest of the week!
The first day on the mountain was perfect, the sun was shining and thanks to some bad weather before our arrival the snow was near perfect as well! Very little ice and a bit of powder so everyone was happy. After a few delays with skis not being returned to the shop and decisions on who was
going to ski with who we all made it to the lifts for the first run just after 0900hrs! Not a bad start!
The day was spent exploring the mountain - predominantly in Tignes - and under the expert guidance of Rich who was volunteered to show us around as he had been to Tignes once before so was bound to remember everything.
After one comedy fall from me trying to show off by cutting corners and ending up somersaulting onto the piste we all regrouped for a delicious lunch of burgers, salads and sandwiches in Tignes Le Lac. The rest of the afternoon was spent cruising around and enjoying the weather while it lasted!
The next day was one that will be remembered for all the wrong reasons! Having gotten our ski legs back we became a little more adventurous and wanted to seek out some more challenging runs and ski through fresh powder which seemed to be in abundance all over the resort.
Following James over the side of the sache black run we were presented with a lovely run through virtually untracked snow. All agreed
Worlds greatest Explorer, Ranulph Feinnes eat you rheart out
that it was the best run of the day but we were to pay for that shortly!
Trying to find a way out of the gully the only way is down appeared the best option. James made it passed the first hurdle on skis, Ali and Polly followed and Will took a short cut with some gymnastics en route. The majority of the group were down when Paul and Ben were next to go. Paul lost a ski and we all watched as he slid on down the slope following his ski which lodged into some branches over hanging a drop (or cliff depending on who you listen to). A few heated conversations followed and then the decision was made that the better only way would be back up! Skiing through fresh powder is hard enough - walking back up through it is another story!
Rich and Rich had carried on on piste and the inevitable phone call followed asking where we were. An estimate of 2 hours to get back on piste wasn't far off and without labouring the story too much we all made it out minus one ski and with plenty of stories for
gentle Ben "sweet"!
dinner that evening!
Our spirits not damaged by the experience (and only a few nightmares which would fade away as the week progressed) we carried on with the rest of the week with a little less recklessness but certainly no less skiing and if anything a bit more challenging terrain when the weather allowed.
We went over to Val D'Isere which was to present the next event of the trip! Ben decided to follow others over a kicker on the side of the slope only to go straight up in the air and land pretty awkwardly. My first reaction when people fall over is to laugh but Ben stopped that quickly when all we could here from the crash scene was groaning and very little movement.
No-one knows what actually happened or what he hit - Ben certainly doesn't as it took him most of the day to remember anything of note other than his name! Luckily all was well and no long term damage was done as far as we know!
Skiing followed on for the rest of the week in the same vein, fewer serious crashes
but plenty of miles under our belts. The weather closed in towards the end of the week but we were pretty lucky with the days we had had.
Off the slopes we managed to enjoy the delights of Tignes swimming pool and wellness centre. Me in my pants as I'd forgotten my costume, Rich spending longer than most on the kiddies slide and everyone getting a very strange thrill from the ice cold bucket of water after the steam room!
The mid week quiz will not be forgotten in a hurry, not least for the team names:
1 - The Silent Ducks
2 - The Inbetweeners
3 - Bu**ki
4 - Team B (classic)!
I can honestly say I learnt more from the team names than anything else in a long time - the addition of the Spider Man question ably answered in detail by Jen completed the hat-trick of obscenities!
A couple of very large nights out were enjoyed by all! Following the quiz we all descended into the melting pot and bar a run in with James and the DJ a good time was had
by all - not sure if Ali's wallet will agree with that but it was well used that night.
The finale of the week was the infamous fancy dress.
The theme "song titles" was presented and most had kept their choices close to their chests until revealing the costumes in all their glory!
Rich - Dude is a Lady
Rich - It's raining men - with an unnecessary addition, or reduction to his jeans!
James - Another Dude is a Lady - following an impromptu purchase in Tignes Le Lac
Polly - Hit Me Baby One More Time
Nick - 99 Red Balloons
Becky - Eye of the Tiger
Will - Grease
Ben - MC Something
Paul - It was OK in the 80's
Ali - Bananas in Pyjamas
Ali - Kiss Kiss
Nick - Turning Japanese
Kate - Dancing Queen
Ed - Spaceman
Jen - Girl from Mars
................and not to forget a late entry from Steve as Man in Black!
We were treated by Phil with some good wine (well at least it was in a bottle), and after another delicious meal and a few sharpeners headed to the Saloon Bar and obviously the melting pot afterwards. We linked up with our very own Ben and Sophie who enjoyed wearing various items of costume throughout the evening and proceeded to drink and dance for the rest of the night and into the morning!
The snow continued to fall throughout the last 24hours of our stay in resort and the last skiable day was a white out. Only the brave and least hung-over ventured out into excellent snow conditions but zero visibility! For the rest a day of terrible films and sleep ensued.
The last night was a sober affair with the exertions of the week on and off the slopes catching up with most. An early (ish) transfer back to Grenoble on the Saturday and sad farewells between the North/South at the airport saw everyone on their way home with lots of happy memories, some new friends and only 52 weeks before we hopefully do it all again!
Thinks he's turning Japanese
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