Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Snowboard holiday part 2

Snow scene: trees and a stream
Have I mentioned how much things cost in Meribel? We had been counting on Italian prices, but these were very French, and the strong Euro didn't help. Snowboard lessons cost an arm and a leg, which may explain why we fell over so much. Lunch on the first day was a bowl of pasta - a very nice bowl of pasta, but it still cost more than 15 euros. We had packed lunches after that.

The holiday wasn't exclusively made of hindsight and "if only..." On Wednesday night, Tim had enticed us into buying tickets to see Rich Hall, by letting us have them at a reduced rate. The hall wasn't large and it wasn't full, and I'm sure Rich Hall is used to playing to much larger rooms, but he did a great job and it was a wonderful show. It was very strange to be at a comedy gig in a ski resort, though.

My favourite comedian, Marcus Brigstocke, is heavily involved in the organisation of the Altitude Festival, and Tim even offered to introduce me to him, but he wasn't appearing until the following week. Doh. I kept an eye out for Marcus on the slopes, and wondered what were the chances of accidentally sitting next to him on the ski lift, but it didn't happen. As I returned from the toilet after a lunch stop on Thursday, Mr A told me that while I was gone, Rich Hall had just emerged from the ski lift, and Lee Mack was still there. I'd have said hello to Rich Hall, but we didn't see Lee Mack's gig so we left him undisturbed to ski away.

On the last day, we woke up to torrential rain, which cleared briefly after breakfast, so we hauled ourselves out. Mr A was feeling very poorly. His whole lower lip had erupted into one huge cold sore, which is usually a symptom of his system fighting off some other bug or generally being worn out. Before we even reached the bus stop, Mr A decided it was too much for him, and threw in the towel. I didn't feel confident enough to be boarding on my own, so I thought I'd exchange my board for skis for the last day. It started to rain again, heavily, and by the time I'd reached the hire shop I'd lost the urge to ski alone, in the rain, so I decided to return the gear and go back to the chalet.

It turned out that at the start of the week we hadn't been directed to the desk where hired goods were supposed to be registered, so returning the board and boots was more complicated that it could have been. This appeared to be my fault, according to the very disgruntled clerk, who muttered something about 'no insurance', while I inwardly relished their annoyance at not extracting yet more money from us. It carried on raining, hard, all day, while Mr A slept on the sofa and I did some homework - vitamins A, C, D, E and K and some minerals too.

So it has been an interesting and mostly enjoyable experience. Crystal has been totally incompetent throughout. Meribel is a custom-built ski village, catering solely to the influx of winter visitors, and is functional, fairly efficient and soulless. And very very expensive. On the positive side, Tim and Hugo turned out well, and we were lucky enough to be sharing the chalet with very congenial people. Spending a day off the slopes would have been awkward in a hotel, but is fine when we can make our own tea and coffee and sit on the sofa looking out of the window revising.

The main mistake we made was that we should have had some snowboarding lessons before we went out, just to get the basics and some balance. We did that before our first ski holiday, so I have no idea why it didn't occur to us this time. As it was, we were a) completely exhausted after about three hours of boarding, and b) limited to pretty much one nursery slope for the whole week. And the resort is HUGE - we took a gondola up to the top a couple of times, so we saw all the lovely slopes that we were much too incompetent to slide down. Perhaps next year...

1 comment:

aims said...

I'm impressed that you stuck with the boarding for the whole week. I would have given up after 3 hours and just skied....but then I grew up skiing - so boarding just seems awkward to me.