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Passo Tonale 2019
Sauze D'Oulx 2017
Les Arcs 2008
Andorra Dec 2005
Andorra March 2005
Other Ski Holidays
Schladming Mar 2022 Schlad Weekender
Friday 25th - We stay in the Radisson Blu, the alarm goes off at 3:30am. David drives down in the morning. We fly on time on a Ryanair Boeing 737 Max. We transfer in two Taxi Maxi minibuses, a bit of competition between them. We arrive in Schladming at about 10:45am, we are staying at the Brunner hotel. They have upgraded us to the best room in the hotel, room 206. We get ready quickly and walk across to Tritscher and then collect our three day lift passes. Mark and Sarah arrived yesterday from Canada. Nobby and Flipper also arrived yesterday. I am tired and not in a good mood. We go up at 11:40am, Robert and a few others wait for noon to tick over. We go straight and do the Paradise run. The resort is very empty. Have lunch at OWH, Annette and I enjoy sharing the crispy pork and dumplings. Sit outside, bright blue skies. After lunch we do a couple of spins down Red 5 and 12 and up the Larchkogel. We have a dreadful tea schnapps and some Reindeer cum. I go to the Tenne with most of the party for some more Après-Ski drinks. Most then go to the Niederl, I leave them too it. We go to Maria’s Mexican for food, we enjoy chicken wings to start, and then I have the chilli wrap. Bed early and sleep well.
Saturday 26th - We are both at breakfast for 7:30am with Brian. We get the Gondola at 8:25am, I do a run down the Red to the bottom, very crunchy and I just sideslip most of the way down. I then wait at the top whilst Annette does a club run to the bottom down the Red. Dick Barr changes from a board back to skis. We go down Black six and across to Hochwurzen. Up to the top and then down Red 33, very cut up, even at the top. We go to the Seiterhütte for 11's, sit outside. I have a beer and then do Red 31 with Annette, Robert, Dick Barr, James and Laura. I point my skis down the slope and actually enjoy the run. Go up the Hochwurzen II chair. Do Red 31 a couple of times, getting faster each time. The rest stay in the bar. Down to Tauernalm for 1pm. Blue skies all day, I have lasagne for lunch. I go to the top with James, down Red 31 again and then head back. We catch up with the others and go straight to the Almrausch. We have a large beer tower, Rhiney and Hilly are both working there. The place is rammed and absolutely kicking. The girls leave and ski down to middle station just before the dancing girls come out. We have more beer and quite a few Flying Hirsch. The dancing girls come round selling more Jaeger and a picture just happens to get taken of them with David. The bar shuts at 5pm and then the carnage begins. A lot of other people can barely walk, we see one lad on a snowboard in trainers. James’s blades have gone missing, we have ‘BladeGate’ inquiry to try and get David to confess to where he has put them. After about 30 minutes we give in and Robert helps James borrow a long pair of skies from Thomas, the bar owner. We all ski down, the snow is a bit lumpy, but still good fun. The girls go to the Finale bar from the Gondola for more drinks. Some guy unclips out of James’s blades right in front of where the girls are drinking and gives them a little wave. Suspicion is that this little prank only cost David 50 euros. More shots when we all arrive in the Finale bar. David decides that Deb has had too much to drink and needs to be taken home. We all go to CK Planaistub'n from about 8pm. We seem to get trays full of Jaeger Red Bull on repeat order, only 110 euros a round. It does not take long before we are all dancing on the benches and tables. I enjoy 'Highway to Hell'. Annette drags the last six of us to Siglu for a last drink. I go to the Sausage bar with Flipper. Annette gets a kebab with Nobby. In bed for 12:30am.
Sunday 27th - I sleep very little and my pulse is racing all night. We lose an hour due to the start of daylight saving time. We see Brian for breakfast at 7:30am. I struggle down an orange juice and some coffee. Brian is on the first lift, we are just behind. I nearly throw in the top station toilets. Most of the gang set off towards Haus. Annette and I are about two minutes behind them, have a great run over. We arrive at the Gumpen bar just after them and Annette joins them for 11's. I go up both chair lifts and have a great run down the big Blue. Back to the Gumpen bar for a large coke. Dick Barr is keen to do the Blues so we go up with James and blast down. Up again, this time Robert wants a toilet stop so we go upstairs at Bergschlössl. I chew down a small beer and a frozen princess. Some of the party have six pints as their race preparation. Push on back to the Planai. We all head to the start of the slalom. James has a tumble just before the Märchenwiese. Annette has a fall on Red 2 just above the slalom, both skis off, strains her neck. We do the race, James goes off first, then Brian and David. David does not even pole at the start. I feel a little warm, so I give my coat to Annette to hold. I ski well and I am pleased with my time of 39.1 seconds. Debbie goes well and gets the fastest lady. Nobby gets the fastest boarder. We go down to the Fastenberg and then down Red 9a and thus to OWH. As we arrive Pusey just knocks into a rack of skis, one board goes shooting off into the woods. I walk down to try and find it. The whole rack then proceeds to fall over. I walk almost the whole way through the woods looking for the board as Annette directs me from the bus stop at the top. The snow is waist deep in between the trees and it is very difficult to move. I struggle to get out from the woods back to the piste, I then front point all the way back up the piste, pulse gets to 165. Dave Pusey is very grateful for our efforts and buys us a large Prosecco. I have grandpa's soup. Fishi presents the medals and prize money. We have a quiet session, only a couple of schnapps. We all lose track of time, and the girls have to rush for the last Gondola down. I have a nice and easy last run down with Robert and Dick Barr. Take the gear back to Tritscher and get ready to go out. Most of us get to the Winter Garden for 7pm. David and Debbie wander in at 7:30pm. The Comical waiter is serving us. Annette has a fantastic lump of beef. There are some very interesting conversations about diving with Flipper, and guns and drugs with Mark and Sarah. We are both tired and don't feel the need to go follow them to Niederl. The party continues there into the morning.
Monday 28th - We go down for breakfast for 8:30am, sit in the window and really tuck in. Brain and Janette join us. Annette goes off to do a little shopping and I wander round to the Niederl Café and see David and Deb having breakfast. It is Mark’s birthday, and they have one more days skiing. Taxi Maxi picks us up at 10:30am and we transfer to Salzburg. Good views of the Hohenwerfen castle and Untersbergbahn cable car. We go from Terminal 1. Our plane is 30 minutes delayed I track it on FlightRadar24. We are very fast out of the airport and to get our car. Home for 8pm.
Passo Tonale December 2019
Prof, Annette, Holly,
Saturday 28th December - Drive to Manchester airport, terminal two. We sit in the Cabin bar and drink expensive lager. Me and Holly watch the planes. Brian & Janette join us in the bar. We fly at 13:40 to Verona. We eat some tapas and cheese with wine. Land on time at 5pm local. Long wait to set off on the coach. We sit right at the front. We drive up the valley of the river Agile, past Trento. I realise that we are very close to the Brenta via ferrata. Arrive in resort at 21:30. We stay in the hotel Vittoria. They give us a great plate of cold meats, and beer and wine..
Sunday 29th - Down for breakfast for 8:30, great selection. Bit of grief getting boots for Holly. Have to queue up twice to get lift passes, Holly is free, with documentation. We start on the travelator and then do a drag lift and then a big chair. Holly skies very well. We eat in the glass house, very hot. I have pasta. Meet up with Brian & Janette in the morning. Meet Team Laura at lunch. We ski a bit more in the afternoon and then Janette and Holly are tired. Me and Brian head up the large blue and the two big reds at the top, great runs. Meet up with the rest in the Magic bar. Couple of drinks in there, loads of good fun. Laura has skied the Valley Blanche! Back to hotel for evening meal, very good, four course meal.
Monday 30th - Get Holly over to ski school for 8:30, she is with five other English kids. We walk back to the main area and meet up with Laura and family. We go up Valena and then the big blue lift. Great conditions, we enjoy the ski down. Ski across and meet Holly from her lesson at 11am. Have a terrible queue to go up the drag lift. Ski onto blue 18, Holly goes really well. We get to a gondola, but it is mid station, and they are all full coming up. Absolute melee. At the top we then walk across to the glass house. I queue for beer, then a terrible queue for burger and hot dog. After lunch, Annette decides to rest. We head up big blue. Go up Vittoria first and try to ski across, Holly and Marc give it a good go, but we give up and decide to go up Valena. I go on the big blue lift with Holly. She tells me that she was dreaming about skiing. She loves coming down, she almost goes too fast. Brain meets up with us. I have a quick hoot round at the end, we do the two big main lifts. Brian comes back to our bar for a beer. We eat as the restaurant opens at 7pm. Good food, Holly enjoys the ice cream.
Tuesday 31st - Up for an early breakfast and get Holly to ski school for 9am. We leave her promptly at 9am and head up one forest large lift and across onto the Reds above blue 18. Do a couple of great runs. Plan to meet team Laura at 10:15, at the top of blue 18, but problems with the plan. I ski down blue 18 and then the red and black into Ponte di Legno. Up on the gondola, two large Germans squash me. Meet up with Annette and Holly at glass house, early lunch at 11:45, pork and roast potatoes. Holly wants to swim, so I go off with Brian. Head up to 3000m, fantastic views from the top, do the red and blue twice. Black down is OK. Navigational error means we head to Ponte di Legno again. Up the gondola and just manage to do the big red. Holly changes her mind and wants to do more skiing, first time with just Annette on the lift. We all meet up in Magic bar at 5pm. Two beer towers. Back to hotel and gala dinner from 8pm. Bed from 10:30, Holly is tired, lots of fireworks and what's app chatter.
Wednesday 1st January - Up as usual at 7:30am, I am rather tired and my legs ache. We go up Vittoria and ski across for Holly’s lesson. There are a few missing. Me and Annette head up into the sunshine and do big red. Fantastic at the top, Annette does not like the bottom part. After 11am we meet up with Laura and head up the glacier. Straight to the top. Have cheese and ham toast and a beer for early lunch. Laura comes down the red with me, it is a bit too steep for her first red for a long time. Do the blue a couple of times. I do the black as they go down in the gondola. Keep up and wave to them. Down blue 18 and do the loop via Ponte di Legno. Back on the main slope, we separate and we follow Holly on a couple of lifts of her choice. We do the travelator, I bend over to pick up someone's pole and fall over. I end up on my back with my skis in the air. A few ski instructors enjoy a laugh. Me, Holly and Luke go up Vittoria and do the red 29. Holly goes racing off, far too fast, I catch her just as she has a big wipe out. Her first proper fall. Lots of tears, I carry her down a bit and then she gets on again. We have a drink upstairs in La Baracca. Brian joins us, he has skied the whole resort today. I feel better after a beer. We eat as soon as the restaurant opens. Bed from 9pm.
Thursday 2nd - Drop Holly at ski school at 9am and then head over to the big blue run. Laura and team joins us. I have a quick spin down from the top. After two goes we head back to collect Holly. The class have been up Vittoria and Valena today. We try La Baracca for a drink, but too full. We move nearer to blue 18, have a hot wine in the large circular bar. Then try sitting outside, but the sun goes in. Eat in the square glass building even nearer blue 18, probably called bar Paradiso. Open fire, lots of space. Luke enjoys a spaghetti carbonara. We start to ski blue 18 and I mention to Annette that we could do a red and a blue team. I go with Laura and Luke onto the Reds near big red, do the run twice. Annette, Holly and Marc continue down blue 18. Luke skies well. We meet up again in La Baracca for a hot wine outside. They walk across to Magic bar and I ski the long lift a few times, meet up with Brian. Music is loud in the magic bar. A lot of people are dancing. We have a beer tower again. Holly enjoys the music. Back a bit latter for tea. Very good food again.
Friday 3rd - I have slept well and enjoy lying in bed waiting for Holly to wake up. Drop Holly off for her ski school at 9am as usual. It is cloudy and the light is bad all day. We do a few runs on the main slope and then I have a spin down big blue. Annette watches a helicopter land near to her. Laura and gang have taken their skis back. We all meet at the open fire bar at noon. I enjoy the carbonara. We do a couple of spins down blue 18, the first one with Brian and Janette. On the second run I take some good footage of Holly doing a tuck. Bad light helps us call it a day from 3pm. We investigate the hotel pool, bit of a fag but good when we work it out. We meet Brain & Janette in the Magic bar for a few last drinks. Team Laura have an early tea. We enjoy our last meal, very good food. Bed for 9pm, I read till 11pm.
Saturday 4th - We have a late breakfast, then Annette packs from 9am till 10am. We leave the cases and wander round town. Holly buys a couple of fridge magnets. Meet up with Brian and Janette in the Redival for food. I have pasta tubes and bolognaise sauce, Holly has most of mine. I walk up to the Italian war memorial. When we get on the bus we are told that there will be a significant delay. We sit right on the back seat, I enjoy the views as we drive down the Noce and Adige valleys. We check in as normal at Verona and settle in a café to make a slice of pizza and beer last a long time. We land at 10pm, and don't manage to leave the airport till 11:30pm.
Sauze D'Oulx Jan 2017 Brian's 50th Birthday and Spondon Lot
Prof, David, Brian,
Wednesday 25th January - Brian picks me up at 18:30 and we head to Rolleston, David drives us down to Stansted. We check into the Radison Blu. Have a few drinks in the bar and watch the Wine Angles. The Belper gang joins us, Bob Mac, Snowy and Pete. DT is amused by a couple of small holes in my underwear, goes on about it for the next two days. I have a fantastic sleep from 1:30 till 5am, I snore a lot apparently.
Thursday 26th - Walk across to the airport and take off on time. Use paperless boarding pass for the first time. Luca from Snow Cab does the transfer to the Hotel La Torre. When we arrive nothing has changed with the hotel. We get changed outside the toilets and head up. The ski hire shop will not give David 150cm skis, because they are for children. He has to risk going to 160cm skis. The first thing that we notice is that the disused chalet on the run from the Marmot is how open, called La Capanna Mollino, with a nice fire. Also the lift past the Marmot bar is not running. Do a few runs, spend some time in the Great Bear bar at top of Cotes. Meet up with the Spondon gang in the Village bar, great free food on the bar. Pusey has got the fever, so I have to leave a pint. DT and Pusey go on to the Grotto, and we try the Ghost bar, great atmosphere. We all move on to the Derby bar later, have a few PVRs.
Friday 27th - David seems to have some problem remembering where he put his helmet and gloves. He has just brought a new set when Bob Mac finds it in their room. The four of us ski together and we head down to Sansicario. We eat at the Soleil Boeuf. After lunch we head down to Sansicario itself. Work our way back up and do a run to the half way station on the Sestriere cable car and then back up. Foggy at the top and we nearly take the wrong path. Go to the Ghost bar straight from the slopes. I have a walk down to the Gran Trun, closed for the night. Later on Brian falls asleep in the Derby bar and the Spondon lot just leave him there.
Saturday 28th - I make a mistake with my shoes and just leave them in the foyer. Do a good few runs. We meet up with the Spondon crowd in Sportinia and eat three pizza between us in Capanna Kind. Do some more in the afternoon, I enjoy the run towards Jouvenceaux. Have drinks at the top of the mountain. Back to the hotel for a shower and to change and pack. Walk back up to the Schuss bar, have some beer and food off the bar. I go with the Belper gang to L'Assietta and have a large T-Bone steak, very nice. Have a last one in the hotel bar with the Belper gang and Brain joins us for one.
Sunday 29th - Alarm goes off at 5:30am. Have a small breakfast in the hotel. Heavy fog on the drive into Turin, lot of hanging around, fly on time at 9:55am. David drives us back to Rolleston and then Brain home.
Cervinia Dec 2013
Me and Annette.
Sunday 22nd December - Wake up at 1:30, leave at approx. 2am. Drive up via Alderley Edge to Manchester. Fly on time at 6am, wait for an hour to get luggage at Turin airport. We have a very good deal on our taxi ride, so quite pleased when we meet him. Get into resort for 12:30, enjoy the views on route. Check into the Hotel Furggen. Walk into town and hire gear, buy an international ski pass. Do a few runs mostly blue five. Find the way back to the hotel. Have a small sleep and then walk down the hill into town. Have a drink in Ymeletrob steak house. Have Aperol Spritz for the first time. Eat at Jour et Nuit. We sit at the bar and watch the food being cooked, Annette has a fillet, I have mixed grill. Fantastic food.
Monday 23rd - Good breakfast, fresh eggs. On the slopes for 10am, blue sky. Head over to the top and down towards Zermatt. Stop for drinks at 11:30 at the ice restaurant. Message from Duncan about Boeing data. Ski quite a lot on that side. Go up the Matterhorn cable car, very cold tunnel at the top. Miss the left turn back to Italy, go down and get the T bar back. Down to Gran Sometta bar to eat. Very good frying pan full of egg, ham and cheese. Rather cold ski down and back to the hotel. Drinks in the hotel bar. Three from Woking join us. They have been to the same resort and hotel a few times. Walk down into town, go to Pizza Falcone, very average, 36th out of 38 on trip advisor. We both have cheese fondue.
Tuesday 24th - Up a little earlier, good breakfast. On the slopes for 9:30, have a bit of a problem finding the correct cut across to the chair lift. In the end walk down to the gondola. The mist starts at about 2500m. The plan was to go to Valtournenche. But the required chair lift looks a bit cold. Have van chaud at Plan Maison lift station. Do a few reds above blue five and then planks bar for dinner. I have spaghetti, Annette has lasagne, with some red wine. In the afternoon the fog comes a bit lower down. Do the same lift a few time and enjoy the reds. Wiz down blue five a couple of times to finish. Back to the hotel, have a couple in the bar, get a lift down. Just get to the supermarket in time to buy a universal plug. Walk to the Metzelet bar by the golf course. Have raclette and tartiflette enjoy the meal.
Wednesday 25th - Heavy snow, a bit of a lazy start to the day. Watch the snow plough on the street. Have a long breakfast On the slopes for 11am. The new snow is very soft. Start with blue five, very busy with ski school. Ski to Plan Maison and stop for hot wine. Up on the gondola and down the red to the village, follow some instructors. Stop for cheese burgher a top of first chair. Enjoy the reds above there. Stop for more wine at Chalet Etoile. Do that run again. Just as everything is closing, meet a group lost in the mist. We guide them to Plan Maison. I then get stuck waist deep and struggle to get out, Annette follows me. Ski down and miss the 4:30 lift. Decide to go for a drink in our usual cocktail bar at top of street. Get lift back to hotel. I have a sleep, Annette does her hair. Get a lift down to the village, walk up to Jour et Nuit. I have massive T bone steak, Annette has the lamb chops, very good. It keeps on snowing. 1m of snow has arrived today.
Thursday 26th - More snow, have a long breakfast. Lots of lifts are shut. Only the small chair lift is open. A bit windy, and poor visibility. Ski down into town to start with. Ski the blue a couple of times. Ski past the hotel a couple of times, very deep. Very deep cutting across to the lifts, get rather stuck. I jar my back when my ski comes off. Call into the chamois bar, for a beer. Do another couple of runs. And then another beer. Ski till 4:30, good fun. Go to Metzelet for tea, I have lamb chops, Annette has the braised beef. I don't sleep very well and dream that I become a bazillionare for inventing some new software.
Friday 27th - Have an early start, almost first on the lift. Blue skies, no wind. Rather disappointed that very few lifts are open, do the red back into the village. Sit outside for 11's at planks bar. Stop at Chalet Etoile for lunch, large lasagne, sit outside. Annette discovers the joys of off-Piste. Good fun. Walk into town and go to super market and then Pizza Rustica, rather sweet.
Saturday 28th - A little late for breakfast, on the slopes 10:30, blue skies. Head over to Plan Maison, Annette has a collision with a small boy, he skied straight into her from a lift queue. Decide it is time for 11's, go to Chalet Etoile, for hot wine. The mist closes in. Then head to Plateau Rosa, it is in the mist, and not very nice. Ski down and stop at Chalet Gran Sometta. Have lunch there, same as the other day, and potato omelette. John and Kay from Huddersfield are there, they have been there before. Have a good chat about all sorts of things. Have a few champagne with strawberry grappa, till 4:30. Set off down the mountain in the mist. Kay and then John go for the Ski-Doo option. We enjoy the ski down. Take back the ski gear and go for one in the usual cocktail bar. Back to the hotel for 18:30. Annette packs whist I rest. Back to day and night for 8:30 pm. I order the kebab, but end up with fillet steak. Back to the hotel for 11:30 More snow in the night.
Sunday 29th - Alarm from 6am, taxi arrives at 6:45. He was expecting to take us to Milano, so I have to tell him Turino !. Blue skies for drive home.
Chamonix January 2013
Prof, Annette, Thomas,
Saturday 26th January - Heavy snow is forecast, decide to leave at 1:30am, heavy snow in Kilburn, Little Eaton and on the A52. By the time we get to the M1 it is not too bad. We see a few snow ploughs going up and down the M1. Stop at Toddington, sleep from 3:20am till 5:40am, continue the journey to Luton and do Meet & Greet. Have a good breakfast and fly on time. Laurent has driven from Bern to Geneva to meet us. We then continue on to Chamonix. Me and Thomas are keen to ski on the first day, however a few navigational problems slow us down. We get our ski gear and head up to Le Brevent lift, walk up a very steep hill. They tell me that there is no point going up, in the end we ski on the Green runs near the village for an hour and a half for free. Meet up with Laurent and Annette, we walk into town to eat. Stop at La Tablee, for Savoyarde food. Thomas and Laurent have Fondue, I have tartiflette, Annette has lamb chops. I am tired and sleep from 11pm.
Sunday 27th - Good breakfast from 8:30am, Annette has been out for bread, etc. Walk down to the bus station for 10am and get the bus to Flegere. Buy ski passes and go up, blue sky. Good easy skiing. At about 12:30 we head over to the Brevent area. Eat at Altitude 2000, table service, The lasagne is fantastic. The boys go to the top of Brevent, no view, Black run back down to Altitude 2000. Ski down from Flegere. Laurent leaves us to drive home. We walk into town and meet up with DT and Dave Pusey in Bar'd Up, they are just leaving. Have one in the Munster Bar on the way home. Annette and I stay in and have Italian meats and cheese, with a bottle of Red wine. Thomas goes back out to the Munster bar.
Monday 28th - Annette goes out to buy breakfast, she says that there is a foot of snow in the village. On the bus to Le Tour. Fantastic power skiing and blue skies. Lots of long blues, go to Tete de Balme. Great run back into le Tour. Have a drink at L'Olympic bar at the bottom. Long wait for the bus. The driver is a young boy and wants to makes up a lot of time. Straight out to meet up with DT and crowd in Bar'd Up, good banter. Thomas talks to someone who recommends the Comedy club. at The Jekyll. We get changed and go there. Eat very good pie and chips in the roof and then get seated for the show. Almost everyone seems to be Brits who live or work in Chamonix. Markus Birdman and Benny Boot. do the jokes, very funny.
Tuesday 29th - Out of bed for 9am, breakfast and at bus stop for 11am, bus to Bellevue, go up the cable car. See the old Bellevue hotel straight away, still looks exactly the same as in 1997. Do lots of reds and blue, the snow is fantastic. We see “La Ferme” restaurant from the chair lift and decide to go there. Very French atmosphere. Me and Thomas have omelette, Annette has tartiflette. Demi litre of Red seems the thing to drink. Very nice place. Me and Thomas ski down the fantastic Kandahar Black run, lose Annette for a little while. We all ski down to the bottom of Bellevue. Bus comes straight away. Meet up with DT in Bar'd Up for one. Move on to Le Privilege for one, rather nice place. Then Chambre Neuf for one. We then walk back to La Tablee again and have hot rock. Very good food.
Wednesday 30th - We have a slow breakfast. Head to the Aiguille Du Midi cable car for 11am, unfortunately the top section is shut because it is too windy. We decide to get the bus to Le Brevent lift. Ski it bit there and then traverse across to Flegere. Thomas goes to Chavanne bar for one, me and Annette go up a couple of times. Eat at the top of Flegere lift, I have pasta. Annette goes down. Me and Thomas head back across to Brevent. Do the Red from the top. We ski down, Les Nants, Black run, to the bottom. We have to ski over a couple of small avalanches, and loads of rocks. Meet Annette in the Flame Bar, Le Kioske, for a couple. We wave goodbye to DT, he will be home by midnight. Annette buys loads of food from Spar and we eat in. Fondue, pizza, two bottles of red.
Thursday 31st - Thomas goes out to buy breakfast. We are at the bus stop for 10:35, but the bus does not turn up. We get the 11 o'clock one over to Les Houches. The runs are very crispy, corduroy, almost un-skiable, We find a few runs which we have not done before. Eat early at Prion hotel, I have lyonnaise potatoes, and chips. Annette and I ski down a red with a sign saying Very good skiers only, very firm snow. Collect Thomas and we do Kandahar to the bottom. Leave Annette in a bar whist we do it again. Ten minutes, top to bottom. Very icy. Meet the Spondon lot in Bar'd Up for a couple. Move on to Elevation 1904, opposite Chambre Neuf, as soon as we arrive Annette is given a shot. The barman then decide glasses are not required and pours it directly down our necks. Move on to the Moo bar for a couple. Get a kebab on the way home. When we get back Thomas cannot find his phone. We walk back round all the bars looking for his phone and coat. Find his coat in the Moo bar, and his phone back at the apartment. It is 2am, before we get back.
Friday 1st February - We look at the forecast and it is heavy rain at low level and the lifts are shut at higher level due to wind. We go out for a bit of a wander and along the main street. Annette and I call into Bar Nash for French onion soup.
Saturday 2nd - We catch the Alpy bus at around 8am to Geneva. Fly back to Luton, I drive back up. Go to a BBQ at David's
Pitlochry December 2010
Me and Annette
Wednesday 29th December - Leave Derby at about 11am, route is Stoke, M6, M74, M80, A9. Annette drives till Scotland, I drive the rest to Pitlochry, arrive at 5:30pm. We do a bit of the A822 scenic route and follow a snow plough. Annette keeps on calling it Pitlochry. Stay in an apartment behind the Claymore Hotel, very nice, looks almost brand new. Walk into town after unpacking, go to the Auld Smiddy for food.
Thursday 30th - Up at 7:30am, drive east to Bridge of Cully and then North to Glenshee. Hire skis on the way. The weather is misty in the valleys and clear on the tops. Pay £27 each for a lift pass. Annette falls off a button lift. I go to the top of the mountain, fall with both skis off on the way down. Ski most of the west slopes in the morning. Early dinner of Lasagne and Bacon roll. Cross the road and ski the eat slopes. Blue skies all day, no wind. Go back to Pitlochry, we eat in and have Italian meats to start, followed by Spaghetti Bolognese. Takes a while to work out how to operate the oven, roast a pork joint for tomorrows sandwiches. Keep David in suspense as to whether we have gone to Schladming or Scotland, in the end the lack of an overseas ring tone gives the game away. Borrow a DVD of Dream Catcher from the hotel and then turn in.
Friday 31st - Up at 8am, breakfast of chocolate twists and orange juice. Set off at 9:15am for Aviemore, arrive at the bottom car park for 10:15 and get the bus up to the top car park. A bit windy and poor visibility. Day pass is £30. Hot chocolate at the bottom and then up the funicular to the top, very poor visibility. Do a few greens and blues, have pork and stuffing cobs for lunch. Two Scottish lads feel the need to explain to me in detail how the queuing system works. Enough skiing by 3pm, head down into Aviemore. As we are walking along the high street, see a shop selling Dave's insanity sauce, rush in and buy some. Walk down to MacKay's for 8pm, for Hogmanay. Good food and drink followed by some fireworks. Almost disappointed at the lack of bodies on the floor.
Saturday 1st January - zzt.
Sunday 2nd January - zzt.
Monday 3rd January - Tidy the place up and get on our way. Walk down to the Pitlochry Dam and look at the Salmon ladder, very icy. Loch Faskally is almost completely frozen over. Leave town at about 11:15am. Stop near Torness power station to look at some seals, which turn out to be surfers. Stop at the Purdy Lodge for traditional English breakfast. Listen to the 60th anniversary episode of the Archers on the way. Follow down the A1 and across on the M18, home for 7pm.
Les Arcs December 2008
Me, Annette and Thomas
Wednesday 24th December - Wake up at 8am. Taxi at 9am. Fly at 10:45, arrive at 13:55. Great views of the mountains coming into Geneva. Investigate travel options and it turns out that the trains will take two hours longer than the coach and require four changes to get to Bourg-Saint-Maurice. Taxi up to le Petit Auberge, we somehow end up paying extra for the luggage, sets a pattern for the week. Rather small hotel, greeted by a welcome message from Becky. Eat in the Petit Auberge. Some debate about what to have, we all go for beef fondue, very good. Comes with very good Gratin potatoes, chips, etc.
Thursday 25th - Annette gets up at 7:15, breakfast at 8am. Thomas was still ready on time. Short walk down to the bus stop, decide to carry on walking down to the Funicular. Get the ski passes and hire skis from Polaire Star, run by Gordon and Rosie. Up the funicular to Arc 1600 at 10:10. Ski to Arc 1800 and then have a long queue for the TransArc. Some English bloke is very rude whilst pushing onto the lift at middle station. Ski down to Arc 2000. Walk into Les Chalets de L'Arc for lunch, when they ask if we have a reservation decide that it is not the place for us and go into the Snack Bar downstairs. Sun comes out in the afternoon. My ski boots feel too small all day. Annette has negotiated for Rosie to book us somewhere for evening meal. Wander round town to try and find the place, end up in Le Tonneau for a drink. Walk back to the hotel for showers and then down to the Hostellerie du Petit Saint Bernard for 8pm. Get some help translating the menu from Gordon and Rosie, who are on the next table. Me and Thomas have the venison and Annette has the halibut, very good.
Friday 26th - Breakfast at 8:20am, observe and hear strong winds whilst having breakfast. Walk down to the Funicular and up to 1600. When we arrive there is chaos and we eventually work out that all the lifts are shut. They tell us to get a bus to 1800 so we join the queue. However a bus arrives from 2000 and everyone gets off with the intention of skiing at 1600. We get on and miss the queue. At 2000 almost all the lifts are shut, but the Marmotte is open and makes a decent run. We get rather cold and stop for vin chaud in yesterdays snack bar. The lift to the ridge is open so try that one, get very cold on the lift and then ski down a very cold windy valley run, straight to the same bar for lunch. After lunch decide to go over the ridge to 1800, less windy, do some good runs. Thomas tries to ski over a small valley and lands on his head. Big queue to get back on the lift to 1600, we all then rush for the Funicular down. Drink at Le Tonneau. Walk up to the Central bar for one and then back to the Pizzeria for food, very good. Back to the hotel for 10pm.
Saturday 27th - Thomas gets up at 7am, breakfast early. Down to the Funicular for 9:20am. Most of the runs at 1600 are out of the sunshine. Go over the ridge to Arc 2000, more sunshine at the top of their valley. Annette stops for 11's at the top of the TransArc. Ski down to Vallandry and then up again and down to Plan Peisey. Catch the Vanoise Express over to La Plagne. Rather disappointed that it all seems to be in the shade. Go up one lift and decide to head back to Plan Peisey, which is bathed in sunshine. Stop at La Solan for dinner. Me and Thomas share a bacon pizza and a couple of large beers and Annette has bacon panini. Enjoy sitting in the deckchairs in the sunshine. Lift up and ski in the 2000 valley for a while. Back in the ski hire shop Gordon says that we look as we have skied a lot and we agree. Walk along the Le Tonneau again, I play speed cards with Thomas. After some debate walk back into town after showers. Eat at the pizzeria again, we all have a plate of meats followed by pasta. A gas canister bursts in the kitchen, one waitress runs straight out of the front door. Strong smell of gas, interesting with the open pizza oven. Annette has a very large Irish coffee, with almost no coffee.
Sunday 28th - Wake a little later, Funicular at 10am, bright sunny day, head up the Mont Blanc lift from 1600 to start with. Two English girls are dumped off the chair lift as they are getting on, very funny. Stop in Arc 1800 village for lunch, hot dog and vin chaud, have to move table to ensure that we stay in the sunshine. Head up the TransArc and up to the top of the Aiguille Rouge at 3226m. Great views of Mont Blanc and down to Arc 2000. The run is more black than red, but we get down OK. Head towards Villaroger, stop at the Chalet du Solliet for some more vin chaud. Lifts back up to 2000 and then take the Comboreiere lift back to above 1600. Watch lots of people struggling to get down a very moguled black beneath us. Down on the Funicular, rammed as usual. Call in to LeTonneau on the way back, more speed cards. Walk up the main street, call in for one at Brasserie du Bon Coin. Walk up to the take away pizza van for tea, but it is shut! Back to the hotel for chocolate.
Monday 29th - A bit later again, all tired. Go to Lidl in the morning, amazed by the contrast in prices. Go up the Funicular for 10:20. Stay on the 1800 side all day. Follow the long blue down to Plan Peisey. Stop for panini and beer at Chalet du Solan again, warm up a little in the sunshine. Lots of large queues for most lifts. Very cold, almost all day. Back to the hotel to change and then walk down to the Refuge at 810m to eat. Pink salad dressing is rather interesting, good meal.
Tuesday 30th - No breakfast at the hotel. Do the packing and pay the bill. Walk down to near Lidl for breakfast. Catch the coach at 11:15, the sky is cloudy so the views are not as good as on the way down. Fly from Geneva at 6pm. Get a Europcar from Gatwick and I drive back.
Dolomites March 2008
Me and Annette
Sunday 23rd March - Leave Kilburn at 1:30am, drop the car at Stansted at 4:20, Annette drives. Arrive at Treviso at 9:30. We pick up the hire car, a Renault Scenic, I drive up to Vigo di Fassa, go up the Autostrada to Belluno, over the Passo Pellegrino. Quite a lot of snow on the road, we should have taken snow chains, but didn't bother. Arrive after 2½ hours. Stay at the Hotel Cristallo. in the Val di Fassa. Get boots, skis, etc. from Ski Edy in Vigo di Fassa. Go up the cable car from Vigo di Fassa. Rather a small ski area at the top with a lot of polling, but OK for a start. My hire boots are rubbish so buy a new pair in the evening. Look at some piste maps and learn about the Sella Ronda. Eat in La Grotta, Italian meats and rump steak with sauce, very good. Very tired, in bed for 10pm.
Monday 24th - Up early, breakfast for 7:30. More snow has fallen overnight. Have to use a brush to clean snow off the car. Leave the hotel at 9:10, most of the snow has been cleared off the road. Park at Campitello. Buy the Dolomiti SuperSki pass. Queue for 40 minutes to go up the 125 person cable car. Follow the green Sella Ronda signs. Rather foggy on the top. Ski down to Lupo Bianca and up the other side. I am puzzled that we seem to miss Pass Pordoi. Nice ski down into Arabba, the church bell is familiar. Bad light and unpisted snow limit peak speed. Eat at Rifugio Fodom, very busy. Take hire boots back and get some inner gloves. Eat in La Grotta again, I have pizza. Annette starts to develop a cold. Have a beer to end in the hotel bar.
Tuesday 25th - A bit later for breakfast, the weather looks better. Drive to Campitello and go up for 10:15, brighter that yesterday. Ski towards Val Gardena. After the Pass Sella it gets very cold and we shelter at a Rifugio for glühwein. After 30 mins we carry on, but still cold. A few good views, some sunshine, -11 degsC most of the day. Have more glühwein at Rifugio Piz Seteur. Eat in Rifugio des Alpes and watch the snow blowing past the windows. Decide to knock it on the head and go down the cable car at 3:30pm, cold. Back to the hotel for shower and sleep. Drive to Canazei and then decide to push on to Arabba for pizza. Start driving up towards pass Pordoi. After we pass the hotel BellaVista the snow is being blown onto the road and driving becomes difficult, limited visibility. Push on towards the top of the pass. Get to within one turn of the top and we come across a pair of Italians in a car which is sideways across the road. We get out and give them a push. I decide that maybe Arabba is not such a good idea and turn round. The Italians stop us and tell us that they are very worried and can they follows us back down. Slow drive down to Canazei. Stop to eat at Hotel El Ciasel, I have pizza, Annette has lamb cutlets, very average. Pick up an Italian hitch hiker on the way back. Back to the hotel for 11pm.
Wednesday 26th - Wake up refreshed to a blue sky. Breakfast and up the Campitello cable car for 10:15, follow the orange Sella Ronda clockwise, great skiing, blue sky, +2 degsC, so different to yesterday. Good ski down to Selva and then St Cristina. Go on an underground ski train and up the Col Raiser. This is yet another great ski area, have a fast run down their black. Have a rest late on just down from Piz Seteur, enjoy sitting in the sun, bratwurst and chips. Ski till the lifts shut. Exchange Annette's boots after a big bruise develops. Walk up to La Grotta for another good meal. Longer chat with Eric, the bar manager, beer and whiskey in the bar.
Thursday 27th - Late breakfast. Drive over the Sella pass to Plan de Gralba, start skiing at 11am. Follow the orange Sella Ronda. Go past Rifugio Cir where we had been in the summer after doing Piz du Cir. Ski down to pass Gardena, see Tridentina and the bridge. Quite fast through Corvara and on above the Campolongo pass and down to Arabba. Stop for a glühwein in Mister X and look at the map. Realise that we are halfway round and decide to carry on and go all the way round. Very misty above Arabba, ski fast past Lupo Bianca and on to pass Sella. Quickly down, could have been back at the car for 3:30 but go down to Selva for a last run. Drive back, stop for a couple of drinks at Bar Miro, rather quiet. Eat at Grotta again, OK.
Friday 28th - Late breakfast, after a lie in. Drive towards Passo di Fedàia, cash machine refuses to give me any more money. Get to the pass for about 11am. Start off by skiing down to valley to Malga a few times. Annette stops at Rifugio Fedàia for coffee, while I go up onto the Marmolada glacier, takes 15 minutes on T-bar. At the top the T-bar connecting to the cable car is shut. Eat at 2pm at Rifugio Padon, dumpling soup, decide to ski down to Arabba and back. Annette skies down to Malga Ciapela to end the day, I drive down. Realise that we are at the top of the Sottoguda. Drive back and have a couple in the bar at the bottom of the Vigo ski area. Back to the hotel, Annette fetches some beer from the bar and stay in.
Saturday 29th - Wake up to bright sunshine. Drive to Corvara, takes about an hour, from 9:30. Head towards La Villa, lots of reds and blues. Sunshine stays most of the day. Problem ordering Tiramisu at Rifugio Uita. Problem with the horizontal chair lift, fail to get off at the middle station. Ski down towards Corvara, stop at Rifugio Marmotta for usually glühwein. Ski until the last minute. Drive down from Colfosco to Corvara and park. Have one in the Piz du Lech underground bar, empty, and then onto the Fornella restaurant. Very good meal. Drive back at 8:30pm. Couple back in the bar with Eric.
Sunday 30th - The hour goes on overnight and I do not realise until the Sat Nav Pocket PC tells me that it is adjusting its clock. We are thus a bit short of time to get to the airport. Drive down to Moena and over the pass Pellegrino. Good views of Monte Civetta on the drive back. Have a bit of a delay on Stansted when the meet and greet does not work very well.
Andorra Dec 2006
Me, Annette and Thomas
Friday 22nd December - Get up at 5am. Fly at 07:15 from East Midlands to Carcassonne. Wave to Alex and Emma when we arrive. Get Alex's car from the car park and drive up to Pas, via Limoux and Quillan. Takes 2 and a half hours, book into Hotel Eslalom. Get ski gear and head up the mountain. Get to the James Bond bar. Very cold on the way back. El Carlit for a meat fondue, followed by chocolate fondue for me and Thomas.
Saturday 23rd - I buy a new pair of gloves and wear more clothes. Do the red run down from the James Bond bar mostly. Go to the Bond bar for lunch, I have a rather good chicken curry. Eat in the El Carlit, I have a pizza. Move onto Mulligans for beer, pool, darts and racing later. Annette talks with the pair behind the bar, they have only been there a few days.
Sunday 24th - Cheap burger for lunch in Grau Roig. Have a good hot bath when we get back. Paddy's for a quick beer, rather noisy. Move onto Auteuil to eat, Thomas has an entrecôte, rather ropey, memories of Ben's terrible steak. I have a fillet, very good. Move on to El Carlit for pudding. Mulligans for more beer and racing. I win a couple of races.
Monday 25th - Drinks in El Carlit after skiing. Back to the room and watch the start of Bridget Jones's Diary. I feel very full, but still go to Chez Paulo for evening meal, we all have a Pave, very good meal and relativity cheap. Back to the room and watch Thomas's DVD player.
Tuesday 26th - Ski the usual area, I have a small fall when landing a jump. Beer at James Bond bar. Buy a Samsung X680 for 149 euro. Some debate about Annette or Thomas are going to get a iPods or a video iPod. Beef fondue in one down from El Carlit. Back to the Hotel room and watch Fellowship of the Ring and drink cheap schnapps.
Wednesday 27th - Leave Pas at 7am. Easy drive down. Take the route via Quillan and Limoux, I enjoy the drive, Annette and Thomas sleep. Get to Carcassonne with plenty of time, end up driving into the centre of the city and see no signs for the airport. Get to the airport with only a short time to spare. impossible to find a car parking space. Leave it right on the end, for Paul and Emma to pick up. Taxi back for EMA, tired in the afternoon. Watch some telle, etc.
Andorra Dec 2005
Me, Annette and Thomas
Thursday 22nd December - Leave at about 8am. There are problems on the M1 due to an accident. Take a detour across onto the A14, helped by Jane. Pay £60 over-weight. Fly to Girona, get there at about 3pm. A few problems finding the right direction. Arrive at the hotel Sporting at about 10pm. Park in the underground car park, go down in the car elevator. Eat just opposite the front door of the Sporting.
Friday 23rd - Enjoy a good breakfast in the hotel. Hire skis and get lift passes, first up at 10am. Have dinner in the James Bond bar. Thomas does not like his cold burger, so I have two, red wine not so good either. Have a walk round town with Annette, eat in a small place near Mulligans, very good duck.
Saturday 24th - Ski over to the bowl above El Tarter, disappointed by the food choice again. Drive over to Andorra La Vella. It is dark when we get there and heaving with people doing last minute shopping. Eat in McDonald's. I enjoy the drive, park in the centre of town, lots of space.
Sunday 25th - Open presents in the morning, not get skiing till 11am. Ski down to the bottom of Soldeu for the first time, go over a bridge and up a lift. Eat there, nice views, food not so good. Up in the gondola from Soldeu. In the evening eat in the restaurant underneath Chez Paulo, only ones in. Thomas and Annette both have steaks and enjoy them. Back to the hotel bar and playing a bit of Trivial Pursuit.
Monday 26th - I don't sleep very well and feel ill and tired most of the day. Ski down to Soldeu and then also down to the bottom of El Tartar for the first time.
Tuesday 27th - Ski from 10 till 3.30pm. Lose Annette for a while when Thomas and her ski separate directions. I phone Paul Moorhouse to tell him that I will not be joining them next week. Ski down to Soldeu again, just to go on the lift. I enjoy spaghetti and chicken wings in the James Bond bar for lunch. Queue for an hour to get out of Andorra, a little concern that we might not make it on time. Head for Barcelona, take the tunnel de Cadi. Stop and buy a map to find the airport. Dump the hire car in the airport car park. Only pay 32 euros overweight this time. Arrive back to a covering a snow at Stansted. Hire a car and I drive back. Back for 3am.
Andorra Mar 2005Me and Annette,
Paul Moorhouse and Kirsty,
Ben and Alex.
Friday 11th March - Annette arrives on the 15:35 flight, pick her up from the airport, go to my hotel to get my stuff and then up to Pas de la Casa, roads have deep snow at the side of them. Arrive at about 9pm. Paul Moorhouse and his girlfriend, Kirsty have found a couple of hotels, book into the Sporting for the first night and the Casada for the second night. Go out for a meal and some drinks. Ben and Alex arrive later, I start calling him bad boy.
Saturday 12th - Headache in the morning. A lot of queuing to get skis, passes etc. Start at about 11am. Spend a lot of time on the radio, calling bad boy. Fantastic days skiing, very impressed by the linked area. Not very impressed by lunch stop in La Tartar, bowl. Annette is a little unsure to start with but does very well, has a great day. A couple of beers straight off the slopes. Geoff takes us to the his favourite restaurant in Pas, Chez Paulo, very good food, BBQ.
Sunday 13th - Get going for 10am. Do some very fast runs with Ben late on. Stay for a meal and drink in Pas with Annette and then leave at 7pm, back in Toulouse for 10pm, tired. I have a very burnt nose.
Courchevel March 2001
Me, Andy and Helena, Gilly, Sal, Jayne and Dave, Mark and Amanda, John and Suzi, James.
Saturday 10th - Check in at 5am, fly at 7am, ski at 2.30pm with Andy. Drink a hip flask full of Baileys and Cognac between us. DT phones us just as we are just going up Vizelle, he was almost hoping that we had got delayed by a bomb scare at Manchester airport. We stay at the hotel/chalet Isba. I am very full of myself at dinner, good food. Play a lot of bar football in the bar downstairs.
Sunday 11th - First full day. We all ski together. Ski high up on 1650 for a while. After some debate we go to the Kalico for lunch. I hurt my back on take-off over a small jump. Lots of pondering about the organised bar crawl. Eventually decide to go along with Andy, Gilly and Sal. We go to the same places as last year.
Monday 12th - I don't feel very well in the morning. Ski over to Val Thorens for lunch. Very poor snow in Mottaret. Feel much better after a beer for lunch. Ski back with Andy, very slowly. The others only just make it back before the lifts shut. Talk with Andy and Helena in the bar mostly. We all have a snowball fight till 1am.
Tuesday 13th - Stay in bed with a bad back most of the morning. Do one run before lunch. Meet the others in the Kalico. Ski a good afternoon. Physio comes round to sort out my back, she says that it is just a stiff back, it feels completely cured when she leaves. Down to the Jump bar before lunch. Very good fish for tea. Play computer games with Andy and Dave. Pool with Andy and Helena, a very long game. Down to TJ's for a late one.
Wednesday 14th - Wake up in agony at 3am, decide to sleep on the floor. Just lie there on my back. Lie there most of the morning. Struggle down to the doctors. He gives me an anti-inflammatory injection, more physio appointments and a certificate of unfitness to ski for ten days. Lie in bed and wait for the physio. After she goes I feel much better. She says that I must never let my back be stationary all evening. Go up to the Altibar for the fondue and torchlight descent. I go in the bus with Helena. Drinks in the hotel and then dancing in the Kalico till 3am. Keep my back moving all night, even though it looks silly when I am sitting down.
Thursday 15th - Lie in all morning. When I look outside at the sunshine I decide that my back feels much better. Walk down to the Tremblin to meet the girls for lunch. Andy gets out of bed and meets us at 1pm. Enjoy the afternoons skiing, nice weather, good snow.
Friday 16th - Full days skiing. Go over to 1650 mostly, very good conditions. Lots of talk about staying up all night. In the end me and the girls stay up till 2am in TJ's drinking.
Saturday 17th - Fly back early on. Andy goes playing Lacrosse. I go with Gilly to watch Man Utd. play Leicester. After a lot of time with the ball in Leicester's half Man Utd end up with two goals. David Taylor and Helen Smith drive up from Derby and arrive at about 7pm. Go for an Italian meal in Wilmslow, then to the 'Samuel Finney' and then 'The Rectory'. Very lively pub. Move on to Brasingamens, later, very up market night club. There till 3am.
The next four pictures are courtesy of Steve Wheeler and are from a ski trip to Courchevel 1850 in March 2000. The first shows the full team enjoying a Fondue at the Altibar. We had lots to eat and drink for an extremely reasonable price. We then skied down carrying a flaming touch, except for Andy who had the wrong boots.
This is Steve trying his best with Melissa the rep.
The Sunglasser Boys, from the left David Taylor, Spuddy (John Judson) and Steve Wheeler.
Sal and Gilly in a queue at the Col du Loze. Me and Andy in the background.
This bar served the cheapest beer in the resort, £3.30 a pint.
Courchevel Jan 1999
Andy Higson, Steve Wheeler, Andy Cookson (Cookie), Gill Oxley, Sallyanne Ellis, Jayne Burrell, Justin Schroder
Here is one of me and some friends at Courchevel 1650 during a weeks skiing in January 1999. I am just about to order Steak Tartar. I knew that it would be raw, but I did not expect it to be cold !
Saturday 16th January - Get up at 4am and drive to Manchester Airport. Meet most of the GenRad ski team, Andy, Steve, Cookie and Gilly. Andy phones me in the airport to find me. It was Steve Wheeler's 30th birthday party last night and the boys come straight from the club. Arrive at the Chalet Triolet at about 5.30pm. Meet our Chalet Maid Lizzie Culverhouse. Meet the American Justin, he arrived at about 3pm. Andy, Steve and Cookie go to bed to catch up on the sleep. Walk down to the Ski shop with the girls, we call in at L'Equipe for the first time, have three 'Van Chaud' and I am in a good mood. Back for the meal at 8 o'clock, good meal and lots of red wine. Me and Sally take on Cookie and Gill at 'Spit it out' board game, lots of sexual innuendo and laughs.
Sunday 17th - First skiing day, We all stay together except for Jayne who has ski school all day, every day. I fall above the Verdon station on a steep slope and loose my Ray Ban sun-glasses. I lead the way go over to 1650, take the girls down a steep slope into the Parmeruel Station. Justin and Sally do not like the drag lifts. Meet in the Kalico for lunch, great burgher and a couple of pints and sit outside. Meet Jayne after her ski school in L'Equipe for three more 'Van Chaud'. After tea go out for a quite drink. Go to the Kalico, the rounds of beer are expensive so we drink Champagne instead. I am in a good mood and we dance till 4am.
Monday 18th - We get going by about 10am. I feel very ill at the Meribel gondola and nearly don't go up. Get over to Val Thorens for lunch but I can over manage a couple of bites. Just manage to get my tea down. Feel very similar to Sauze D'Oulx last year, I decide that I am allergic to red wine. Andy and Justin go back to the chalet early. Decide to drink Cocktails in L'Equipe all night.
Tuesday 19th - We have a slight navigational problem in the morning, after a few phone calls we find each other, but they are not happy. Ring Helen for the first time this week, on the mobile. Lizzie knows someone living in International House. After tea most people say that they are staying in so I go out with Gill and Sally to TJ's for a couple of cocktails. Andy and Cookie come down later.
Wednesday 20th - The girls decide to navigate today. They always seem to ask me which way to go before they decide. Lizzie's day off. We go out for a meal Carpaccio du Boeuf starter and Hot rock for everyone to follow. The boys are most unhappy with the meal and walk out. Me and the girls go up to TJ's and they moan about the boys. Meet Andy and Cookie in there. Try to go to the Kalico later but the queue is too big.
Thursday 21st - Ski in 1650 in the afternoon. Helen phones whilst we are at a restaurant for a coke in 1650 Call her back in the evening. Take my skis in for a service after a slide on the ice a lot. I try to demonstrate to Sally how to go through the trees, start by falling over and then get my skis either side of a tree. I hurt my knee and Sally dies laughing. Go to Le Kalico with the Girls, meet the others and we watch 'The Shawshank Redemption'. Out with Andy and Cookie till 4am drink more Champagne, Gill gets followed round by a French lift operator.
Friday 22nd - I feel good all day but Andy and Cookie both feel very tired. Go to Mont Vallon in the Meribel valley in the morning, meet Jayne at noon in 1850. Ski over to 1650 for lunch. The service in very slow so we change to another place. I order Steak Tartare after Gill tells me what it is, raw meat, eat half of it with chips. Take Jayne right up to the top of the valley and then over to the 1850 side. I guide Jayne most of the afternoon. Me, Gill and Sally go for a couple of last runs on Coqs. Go shopping after the last run with the girls, I buy a Fat Face fleece for Helen and a White Stuff top for me. Go for a drink in L'Equipe.
Saturday 23rd - Wake early and catch the bus at 6am, have a good sleep on the bus. Gill gets increasingly ratty with me towards the end of the holiday. Spend a lot of time wandering round Geneva airport. I don't feel the need to buy anything and there are no chairs. I am bored, tired and just want to get home. The take-off is delayed as always. I get home for about 6.30pm.
Courchevel Jan 1998
Andy Higson, Jane (his girlfriend), Steve Wheeler, John Judson (Spuddy), Steve Lockyer, Rob Pallin (Ex-Gen Rad), Gill Oxley, Jayne, Me, Mark Reeve (RR), Craig (GenRad), Julie (his wife), Mike Longworth, Dave (friend of Andy), Debs (his girlfriend), + 5 of their friends from the South
Saturday 17th January - Mark Reeve arrives at my house shortly before midnight. Set off for Sale. Go via Macclesfield, Wilmslow, A34. Arrive at Steve's at about 1.30am, go to bed for 2am. Taxi arrives at about 4.45am. Some of the others go straight to the airport from the night-club, "Brassers". Take off at about 6.30am. fly to Grenoble, very good weather there. Ski in the afternoon with Andy, everyone else has a lot of problems getting their skis. Go up to the top of the mountain on the Saulire lift, 160 person cable car. Meet Steve, Gill and Mark later at 1850, go for a drink in a small French bar. We have had no food so get quite merry, ski back down to the chalet in time for tea. Stay at the Ruffier II chalet in Courchevel 1550. Everyone is very loud at tea time, drink lots of red wine. Manage to stay up till about 11.30pm.
Sunday 18th - Wake with a slight hangover and a bad back. Ski with Steve Locker, Andy, Craig and Gill. Meet in the Calico bar for lunch, French onion soup followed by Chicken Tikka Masala, very good. Drinks in the French bar at 5pm. It is Steve Wheelers 29th birthday so we all go down to the Chanrossa Bar (also called Jackson's) for more beer. Walk down with Julie and Craig, push Julie in the snow a lot. Try to push Steve Lockyer in the snow but end up bending my glasses. Home for about 1am.
Monday 19th - Welcome meeting from the boring rep Simon. People from the other chalets come round. Get about 3 feet of fresh snow overnight. Down to the same bar, talk mainly to Julie, back for some Port and bread.
Tuesday 20th - Lots of us go down to La Praz to start with, race along a small path, some close over-taking. Spud forgets his lift pass. Go down to La Tania for the first time. Everyone agrees to meet at a rather smart restaurant on the piste. Me, Craig and Steve arrive there and decide to go on after seeing spag bol for 145 francs. The others turn up and have a great meal there. We made a bad call. Walk down to the Brigens Hotel, has a hole in the roof with snow coming through. Phone Helen for a long chat on the charge-card.
Wednesday 21st - Bad visibility, do some of Courchevel 1650 with Craig and Steve L, very difficult to see. See Spud on his skis for the first time, very good. Meet him, Wheeler and Andy high up above 1650. Fall to the deep snow, realise spuddy is so much better than me. Go over the snow-board jumps in the afternoon, great fun. Tamsin's day off. Hot rock night at the Calico bar. Rush to catch the 6.50 bus up to 1850. Lots of beef and chicken cooked on the hot rock. Have another drink in the bar and then I buy a bin bag for 5 FF from the bar and the others use sledges to go down the blue run to 1550, fantastic run down in the dark. The people on the bus hear and see us coming down. Home to get dry.
Thursday 22nd - Wake up to brilliant sunshine. Andy Higson is keen to ski to the fourth valley. Have lunch at the restaurant there, sit outside in the sunshine. After skiing go shopping with Steve Lockyer at 1850 wearing all our ski gear. We buy a green White Stuff top for Helen, purple Fat Face top for Rachael, red jump suit for Alistair Ben. Phone Helen on the way down to the bar, they are watching football. Try to teach Mark who Alan Shearer is.
Friday 23rd - More great weather, ski with Spuddy, Wheels, Steve, Andy and Craig, go through the Meribel valley and Val Thorens and up the glacier, unfortunately the top lift is shut. Craig heads back to meet his wife, Andy and Steve head off for lunch. Me, Spud and Wheels decide to skip lunch. We go off and do some great off-piste deep snow. Ski the last couple of hours by myself. All but the girls go up to 1850 for a Tex-Mex meal, excellent chilli. The girls invite their Dutch friends round to eat half cooked duck. We have an early night.
Saturday 24th - Up at 4.15am Take off at 11.30am
Banff Canada January 1997
Steve and Dave Wheeler, Andy Higson, Martin Lunt and Mike Longworth
Sunday 26th Jan - Get to Andy's house for 6.20am. Meet the other lads at Manchester airport. Some beer in the departure lounge. Take off at 9.30am, 8 hour flight to Calgary, it is -35 degs C when we land. Drink Tia Maria and whiskey on the plane, get told off for drinking our own supplies. Two hour bus ride to Banff. We stay in the 'The Inns of Banff'. Go out to the 'Beef House' for a meal. I have a massive steak. Meet Steve's brother Dave, he works for Microsoft and gets paid a fortune. It is my first time across the Atlantic so I take my lead from the others and have a few drinks, get very tired by 9.30pm, and go to bed. I sleep for a few hours and then just lie there from 1am onwards. Perhaps some coffee would have been a good idea. I room with Mike.
Monday 27th - We all go down for breakfast at 6am, unfortunately everyone else could not sleep either and there is a large queue. Catch the bus to the Lake Louise ski area. Do a lot of skiing from the top to bottom of the first lift. Martin starts on a snow board. Go with Dave for a few runs through the trees. Very busy at lunchtime. Catch the 4.30pm bus home, very busy. Back to the room. Order room service and early bed, still cannot sleep.
Tuesday 28th - Breakfast at 7am, enjoy eating lots of food. Catch the bus at 8am. A lot of hanging around in the morning and then some good runs before lunchtime. A lot warmer ( -2 at lunchtime ). Go to the White Turn restaurant, good cheap food. Go right to the top of the hill, ski down with through deep snow with Andy, Mike and Steve. Go down and try the back bowls and the Larch area. In the bar for 4.30pm, have a huge bowl of nachos. Catch the 5.30pm bus home, go straight to the hotel hot pool. Catch a taxi into town and go to the 'Rose and Crown', a few beers and go on the skiing game. Me and Mike come back at 1.30am. Other have suicide tacos. I still feel very tired all evening.
Wednesday 29th - Only Me, Mike and Martin make it for breakfast. I am very tired and hung-over. Only Me and Mike go skiing, do lots of runs, good conditions. Go over the far side, sleep on all the chair lifts. Do the long blue, 39 a couple of times. Go out for a huge Chinese meal, eat loads for $25.
Thursday 30th - Still not sleep well, catch the bus to Sunshine mountain, very windy and snowy. Twenty minute gondola ride to the base of the mountain. Only one lift is operating when we arrive. Have lots of fun in the powder. Another lift opens and we go up there. Stop for lunch at 11.30. I get through to Helen on the phone from the bar. After lunch ski down to the bottom of the gondola, very disappointed to find that we cannot go back up since it is shut. Back to the hotel. Have a long soak in the outdoor hot tub.
Friday 31st - Decide to go to Sunshine mountain again at the last minute, very good weather. Do some runs on the Goat's Eye mountain, some very steep runs. Also do some runs on the Continental Divide mountain, very good skiing. Get to the hotel for 4.45pm. Have some fantastic cheese and bacon skins. Go night skiing on Mount Norquay. Have a big wipe-out and break my ski pole. Everyone on the chair lift cheers. Go down town and meet Steve and Martin, they have been to the sushi bar. Stay in the 'Rose and Crown' all night.
Saturday 1st February - Only Mike goes down for breakfast, I am very tired. Only Me and Mike go skiing, excellent weather, clear blue skies, crisp snow. Meet Andy and Martin at the Whitehorn lodge. Take Martin over the top of the mountain to the back bowls.
Sunday 2nd - Land at 5.30am at Manchester. Home for 9am. Go straight to bed.
Flaine March 1996
Saturday 16th - Anna comes round at 1:30am. We get to Steve’s for 4am. Anna has flu. We are staying at the La Cascade (now called Le Lapiaz).
Sunday 17th - Misty start. Get the ski passes. Straight to the top with Steve Lockyer and Andy Higson, very misty. Anna stays in bed in the morning. Go over the top, come up the Lan Lanche lift and have to ask for directions home.
Monday 18th - Start sunny. Go straight over the top and down to Les Carroz, a bit shaky. Good fast run down. Anna skies my herself. Bar craw round Flaine. La Perdrix Noire, Diamant Noir, Le Michet, White Grouse. Anna is tired so I walk her home. Slide back down from Cascade on my shoes. Go into a night club, very quiet, home for 2am.
Tuesday 19th - A bit difficult to get Andy out of bed.
Wednesday 20th - Alex and Sharon come with us in the afternoon. Go to the Lapiaz run. I fall on Fred, the last run due to deep snow. Pizza for tea. We give all the olives to “Team Olive”. Play bottle and Pass the Pigs. Drink a lot of schnapps.
Thursday 21st - Go on the Black run near Fred, called Agate, all the moguls are filled in with fresh snow, a lot of fun. Go through the trees after the Lapiaz run, lots of fun. Get a snow board in the afternoon with Alex, Andy and Mark, have a lesson. Stay on the easy chair for the lesson, then go on the nursery dray lift. Do a lot better than last time. I twist my knee quite badly. Go very fast on the board.
Friday 22nd - Snows all through the night.
Aviemore Feb 1987
Heather and Clive, Min and Me
Saturday 31st January - Pack all the gear in the morning. Min goes round to Heather and Clive's first to get their stuff. Gets to my house for 10.50am. Min is driving the Chrysler Alpine, pretty battered. All of a sudden the car starts juddering, Min said that the fan belt was loose. Stopped to tighten it up and then had great trouble starting it again. Had dinner just up from Scotch Corner. Very cold and clear day. Tried to ring to find somewhere to stay but could not get through, eventually stopped at the Cockburnspath Hotel at 6pm, about 30 miles short of Edinburgh. Have a meal in the hotel and a few drinks and watch Telle. Very good place for £11 per night.
Sunday 1st February - Get up at 8am and go down for a very good breakfast, we are the only people staying there at the time. Get the things into the car and then try and start it. Push it down the car park and then up and down a small slope, change the spark plugs. Eventually use some jump leads to start it. Drive through Edinburgh over the Forth bridge and then through Perth. Have dinner at Killiecrankie, Little Chef. I drive for a bit. Have a look round Aviemore and get Min's ski's and boots. The man says that the snow is very hard. Drive up to Grantown-on-Spey and get into our house. Very nice, fully central heated, colour T.V., fridge, washing machine, cooker, everything looks new. Watch ski Sunday. Have a huge tea set up the settings on a set of points, work for a long time on loosening the front bindings on my skis. After a lot of hammering and some oil they come loose. Go to a local bar for last orders. As we walk in the barman says 'This is not the place for you'. We have one drink, there are a number of bodies lying on the floor. We ask if there has been a party and the barman says this is normal.
Monday 2nd - Get up a 7.30am. Have a good breakfast. Have a little difficulty starting the car. Get to Cairngorm chairlift for about 10am. Everywhere looks short of snow. Min goes to ski school. We three queue a long time to go up the main T-bar to the top. I am over-confident, lose my grip, and have to hold on with my hands all the way to the top. Ski some easy routes and meet Min for dinner. Do a few runs with Clive, getting a bit more confident. Lifts shut at 4.30pm, get to the top of the lift system without noticing it, snow is very sparse. Clive and Min cook tea. Go out for last orders, to an even rougher bar.
Tuesday 3rd - A very little snow falls overnight, hard frost. All the runs are very icy. Huge queue for the chair lift. Do a couple of easy runs and then down for lunch. Min stays at the top for lunch. Gets quite windy on the top. Do two long runs with Clive, great fun. Quite misty on the top. Very tired by the time we get home. Have pasta for tea. Go to the Ben Mhor Hotel, a little upmarket, still manage to get accosted by a drunk, but at least he is wearing a tie. Phone home, Amstrad shares are up a lot, enough to pay for the holiday, goes down again later.
Wednesday 4th - I cook the breakfast. Very windy at the house. Get to the slopes and all but one of the drags are shut. All the runs are very icy. Stay in the bar all morning, watch people falling off the long exposed drag lift. Have our packed lunch, clear blue skies. After lunch me and Clive go up the mountain on the drag. Extremely windy on the top, the hail is very painful. Do the White lady a couple of times. Ski down to the bottom, sheet ice and bare rock. Call in for pizza for tea on the way home. Stay in and play cards in the evening.
Thursday 5th - Raining and very windy. Most of the lifts are shut. Heather insists on going up. Have a coffee at the middle station, do a run or two. Have dinner in the car. Meet Min in the middle bar. Do a couple of runs with him, he is snow ploughing. Watch telly and stay in at night.
Friday 6th - Wake up to the usual weather, mist and rain, get up the mountain for 10am. Heather is not feeling too well. Min and Clive go up the long drag and across to the middle station. Do the West Wall run once again and up the long drag, do the M1 lots of times, the White Lady and Genball. Enjoy doing a lot of skiing. Meet Heather at the middle station for dinner. After dinner do lots more runs, not fall much, go pretty fast. Meet Min at 3pm and do a few more runs. Come down the chairlift as it shuts. Have fish and chips for tea. Go to the Ben Mhor Hotel for drinks, they are still serving at 2am. Quiz Min about the girl at Drum Hill until well gone 3am.
Saturday 7th - Get up at 8.30am and start packing. Have a late breakfast and wash everything up. Very hard frost on the ground. Set off at about 11am. There has been a substantial fall of snow overnight on the hills. Stop for lunch at Kinross service station. Drive into Edinburgh and have a look round Princes Street. We continue along the A1 and find a dreadful, dirty old hotel, Musselburgh Arms Hotel. We have to sign the visitors book, I don't understand why most people seem to have come from the next town and a lot seem to be called Smith? Have fish and chips for tea, since we don't trust the cooking. Heather and Clive put their own sheets on the bed.
Sunday 8th - Get up at about 7.45am. Get a close inspection from a Dobermann Pincher. Go down for breakfast at 9.20am. Heather refuses to eat hers, due to the dogs in the kitchen, so I have it. The whole place smells of dogs. Set off about 10.30am, we were only 26 miles from Cockburnspath. Very sunny day. Stop for dinner at Washington and then Clive drives. Drive through the Tyne Tunnel. Get home at about 5pm.
Bormio Feb 1986
Heather and Clive, Wayland Tansley, Me
Sunday 23rd February 1986 Set off at 8.30am from Derby with Heather and Clive and Heather's dad. Arrive at Gatwick in plenty of time to dump the car. Fly at 15.50 to Milan, foggy most of the way. A 4½ hour coach journey to Bormio. Drive alongside Lake Como for 40 minutes and thru many tunnels. Stop at the end of Lake Como for pizza and beer. Arrive at 11.45pm at Pensione Serena.
Monday 24th - Awake at 8am, breakfast of rolls, on the ski bus for 9am. Get equipped with skis and boots. Take the big cable car, holds 75, up to Bormio 2000. Ski round with Heather and Clive on the nursery slopes. Do snow plough turns early on. Have pasta for dinner. Ski school at 2.30pm till 5pm. Do traversing and snow ploughing. Go to the Hotel Piccolo Mondo for drinks and then meal at our hotel, do crossword books in the evening. Ten lads from a Rugby club are staying in our hotel, they come in at 3am, after a disco. They wake everyone up, I don't get back to sleep.
Tuesday 25th - Rise at 8am, very tired. Walk up to Celso sports shop to pick up the skis. Go up the big ski lift. Do a couple of runs with Heather. Go to 'La Rocco' for dinner. Have at least one hour for dinner, then go down some steep runs with the other three. Go pretty fast, feel confident about turns and parallel downhill. Do a quick run with Wayland before ski school. In ski school do traversing, do a lot more long runs. Very tired by 5.30, beef steak in the hotel.
Wednesday 26th - Go up the Gondola lift and then the single chair and then ski down to Bormio 2000. Go down part of a black run, fall over a lot. Take double chair up to 'Cimino', ski down a blue/red route down to 2000, my first long run, knees and shins very tired. Take the big cable car up to 'Cina Blanca'. Fantastic views, have dinner at the top, pizza for £1, red wine 25p/glass. Ski down to 'La Rocca', sunbathe for a while. Top is 9900 feet. In ski school do Stem Christie turns and then parallel turns. Instructor takes us all the way down to Bormio, temperature at the top is -15 degrees C. Instructors name is Plachito.
Thursday 27th - Have a look at some ski boots in Celso Sport. Go up the gondola lift. Fresh falls of snow overnight. Cloudy in the morning. Go up the chair and ski down to 'La Rocca' do a lot of parallel turns. Have dinner of spaghetti and ham at 'La Rocca'. Do some more practice with Wayland. In ski class go right to the top 'Cima Blanca' and slowly ski down right into the village. Do some slalom practice, go very fast. Evening meal of pasta and hamburger. Go down to the 'Chem Pub' for an evening drink.
Friday 28th - Clive buys some boots from Celso for £60, I buy my hire boots for £14. Quite a misty day. Go up the Gondola and across to 2000. Do one before dinner, at 'La Rocca'. Go to 2000 for the ski school race. All the beginners have their race together, three slalom poles. I fall in practice but go OK in the race, I come 3rd, one second behind the leader. Go to 'Kings Club' in the evening to have the awards presented. I get my bronze medal, have some nice cocktails. Good disco and lots of videos of skiing.
Saturday 1st March - Lie in bed till 9am, Wayland stays in bed. We go up the mountain. Very leisurely dinner at 'La Rocca'. In ski school go up the chair lift and ski down to ski down to Bormio. Walter's ski class stay in 'La Rocca' for a Groller, 10 sided drinking cup. Go to the Piccolo Mondo for a few drinks with Richard. Have a few glühwein and play Clive at chess. Stager back for dinner, veal steak. Talk to a few of the rugby crowd, one is an investment consultant, one a CID inspector, estate agent, etc. Sit in the lounge and watch telle, have a huge vodka and orange.
Sunday 2nd - Joyce, the rep, recommends that we do not ski today since in will be very busy. Wander round the back streets of Bormio, have a proper pizza. Go to an ice skating stadium. Back to the hotel for more drinks.
Monday 3rd - The weather starts off fine and we decide to take the cameras up the mountain. Go up to 3000 and take pictures all the way down. Ski the steep way down to 'La Rocca', fall over a lot in the deep snow. Go up to the top of the long drag and down the north side of the mountain. Go down a black run with Wayland, we are the last ones down, the body man follows us down. Upgrade my skis from 175 to 185 in order to get more speed. Go to the Piccolo Mondo and play Clive at chess.
Tuesday 4th - Bright sunny day, change £60 at the bank, very neat, security doors. Go round the market. Go up to 3000 and have dinner. Outside it is a little gusty and very cold. Use the chair lift to the top a couple of times. Ski down to 2000. Go up the long drag with W, very icy on the way down, fall over a couple of times, feel that I am not getting much grip on the ice, my skis are too soft. Ski down to 2000 with Heather and Clive, even more icy, not very happy. Catch the ski bus and bring my skis back ready for Santa Caterina tomorrow.
Wednesday 5th - Catch the ski bus to the bus station and then the coach to Santa Caterina. Go up a deep sided valley. Long queues for the lifts, very open slopes, pay £1 for a small plate of chips, 20p for a glass of wine. One long drag which goes over the top of the mountain. Snow is in good condition but icy later. Hottest day yet at +5 degs C, do a lot of sunbathing. Do all the slopes by 3.30, bus back at 4.30. Fantastic lasagne starter followed by beef steak. Watch telly and fall asleep in the lounge.
Thursday 6th - Cloudy start to the day. Go up the Gondola as always. Ski down to Ciuk with Wayland to fetch his glasses case, very icy. From 2000 go up the chair lift, Clive falls off. I try hard to get the turns correct by keeping my shoulders pointing down the hill. Have a lasagne at 'La Rocca'. Go up the long drag and down to 2000. My legs hurt first thing in the morning, but recover as the day goes on. Go up to 3000and ski right down to the bottom, takes 55 minutes. Buy a Bormio sweat shirt for 27,000 L at Celso sport and then the Piccolo Mondo for some glühwein. Very nice tea, sample a bottle of Valtellina Superiore Inferno, the top of the range local wine, very good. The memory of this wine stays with me for decades. Heather and Clive stay in our room all evening and chat.
Friday 7th - Snowy start to the day. Clive has a lie in. We go up, do one run, leave Heather at 'La Rocca', do another run before dinner. Clive comes up and goes down with Heather for some shopping. Ski down to Ciuk and then up the drag. Get the bus back at 5pm. Very windy and snowy at the top. Read a lot of 'First Amongst Equals'. After dinner go to the 'Kings Club', good music till 2am.
Saturday 8th - Low cloud. Go straight to 3000, windy, ski down the south side of the mountain. Go down a long run for the first time, via houses and trees, very exciting. Heavy snow by lunch-time. Heather gets caught smoking by her dad. All the lifts are shut because of the snow. Ski back to Bormio. Go down the slalom course but fall over. Evening in the hotel.
Sunday 9th - Only me and Wayland go for breakfast. He first went skiing in 1947 when he was 17. Also tells me about the RAF, he was an instrument mechanic. Pack suitcases in the morning, difficult to get the boots in. Have lunch at 11.30, depart at 1pm. 4½ hours back to Milano. Buy a bar of chocolate in the duty free shop and almost miss the plane. Have to run across the tarmac in the dark. Back home for 2am, back into work the next day with a nice tan.
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