Friday, May 23, 2008

Ski Bunnies in Saluze D'Oulz Italy

We three little ski bunnies - myself, Danni and Libby, headed off for a girly week of ski fun during March. We stayed at Danni's for the Saturday night and headed out bright and early on Sunday morning to Gatwick Airport to begin our journey across to Turin in Italy. Its not a long flight, about 2 hours only, as its the Italian Alps which are just beyond the French Alps, well at one point skiing we were on the French Italian border, so we were pretty close.

Getting through the airport and the flight was pretty unadventurous, probably the most excitement was when we stayed and had breakfast at the airport a wee bit too long and were running for our flight - much to Libby's distress! We arrived in Turin (this city hosted the last winter Olympics) for bright sunshine and were promptly loaded onto a bus to head up to Saluze, a long windy ride that saw me with a lovely migraine on arrival at the hotel. So that was my first arvo completely buggered up, while the girls explored the town and ate pancakes I puked in the loo and slept - charming!!

Anyway I was a bit better by the evening and just as well too, as it had started to snow and it was just lovely. We all had an early night so we were rearing to go the next morning for skiing.

Monday morning was the first day of skiing and I was awoken quite early with bad news of my mum, but I plodded on and it was only later in the morning, after suffering dramas with ski hire (though all good as eventually ended up with what I would say were possibly the most comfortable ski boots in the world) that I relayed this news to the girls. We decided there was not much to do at that point, we had to wait till lunch to see our ski holiday rep, so off to ski it was (I had missed the start of my lesson and was allowed to start on Tuesday instead).

They were most cheeky and put me on a couple of red runs, while telling me they were blue, so much harder than I thought I would be able to do. It's amazing how you only ski once a year, and my last ski trip was my first, but I was already remembering it all and finding it supremely fun and easy. So we skied all morning, and at lunch time I talked to the rep about flights back. It turned out I would not need them, as I spoke to my mum and was reassured that I should stay to ski, so albeit reluctantly I agreed and said I would ski brilliantly just for her.

That afternoon we were off doing lots of different runs over the resort with our ski guides, the fabulous Ed and John. Danni, Libby and a few of the others did a bit of off-piste (a few years away for me...) and I proceeded to continue with the reds, some of which were very hard. I don't believe I will ever forget, and affectionaly know "Red 19", the home run, which I managed somehow to get down the end of that day. Urgh the slush at the bottom, or custard as its called when the mud mixes up with the snow, was disgusting.

The next day was actually St Patricks day, woo hoo, and also my first ski lesson. I met at the lesson spot at the Triplex lifts and due to my abilities (not modest at all) was introduced to my Italian (don't get excited he was in his 50's easily) teacher...his name escapes me, but he was hillarious and a very good teacher! I was in a group of about 11 other people, all about my level, some a bit slower than others. I got talking with another girl Charlotte and we skied together in the afternoons after lessons with her husband John. He was advanced and she was just a beginner like me, so it was nice to ski at someone at my own level and let the super experts go about throwing themselves down every inch of various resorts. I started learning how to parallel ski, which was my goal to know and be half ok at by the end of the trip.

That night we didn't go out but I don't remember why? I know I ached, and the Tuesday was the only day I did thank goodness. However plenty of the others at our hotel did, and I must say they were much worse for wear the next morning. We had a couple of young, absoultely gorgoeous albeit 19 year old girls from Manchester on the trip and after the events of St Pats night (having fallen into the wrong hands), they were very much taken care of by everyone else in our hotel after that.

So Wednesday was more lessons and more skiing and we did actually go out that night, as there was a live band (actually one guy doing the singing and the bass guitar...but even still), so after yet another 3 course meal of extensive pasta dishes we headed into town. We were Danni, Libby, myself, the two girls and Andy. Andy had been skiing with the girls as part of the group that were with Ed and John, and his two friends had run off to watch the football. Russell and Matt then joined us a bit later on....and well Matt and I got talking, we had things in common, divorce being one of them....and we talked well into the night.

The next day albeit phone number mix ups Matt and I did not actually get to see or talk to each other at all. I still went off skiing, as did he, and it was my last day of lessons and it was to be over at Sestriere, which was a different ski resort. It was quite hairy getting over there, and so so cold, as you go between two mountains (its very windy) on a single man chair lift that is open to the windy. Old rickety and a wee bit scary! Then you get to a bubble lift (gondola) the rest of the way down. Skiing in Sestriere was quite hard too, lots of ice and lots of people to dodge, but I did some tricky red runs and had a gorgeous lunch with Charlotte and John - yummy coffee too.

That night was another quiet one as we knew we had to get up quite early to go skiing in France, that and we also went over to another resort where the bob sledge track is (from the Olympics) and we had a go at that. Really fun, a bit nervous at first as you go really fast, but after just one minute and 3g's in speed, your adrenalin is pumping and you just want to have another go. I managed to get some photos and video of that too.

Next morning all loaded up we headed to France, woo hoo - getting to ski in both France and Italy in one ski trip - to ski in Montegenevre. Lovely and it just started to snow when we arrived. Though that turned into well, quite heavy snow, and by the time us girls got ourselves up the top to do the high runs, it was white out. A bit scary as it means you can see the flags at the edge of the runs, but you cannot see the contours, so you have no idea if you are skiing up, down or on ice or powder, you bend your knees, keep them soft and hope for the best. A bit tricky and was not my favourite point of skiiing.

After that we stayed lower where visability was a bit better as there were lots of trees (and less cliff edges) and we did a few runs there, some were quite good, but it was really really cold and heavily snowing. At lunchtime we'd had enough and headed to a cafe on piste to settle in for a long lunch. We had our food, some wine and with about an hour to go before we headed back to Saluze we tried our luck and did a few more runs, visability was still a bit poor and it had not stopped snowing, but it was much better.

Snow fights, an attempt to build a snowman and fun abounded till we got on the bus, and it was a long bus ride. We were actually stuck on blizzard like mountain roads, with Italian drivers, who being a bit mental, were still driving like maniacs and causing accidents on the roads - you know manic overtaking, speeding etc, as you do. So a 20 min ride became 2 hours and 20 minutes, time was passed with multiple word memory games, and it was not so bad.

That night the girls, Danni and Libby, went in early, and I the single girl went out with Rus, Andy, Matt and the "nieces" as they became affectionately known. We were celebrating Richards (Rich) leaving, as it was his last ski week before heading over to Cypress. Rich was our tour rep.

The fun was just beginning as we were doing a pub crawl and not just any pub crawl - golf pub crawl, which means we all have the same drink in every bar and have to drink whatever it is under par (sips/gulps). Each drinks par, ie one sip, two, three or four was already pre-determined. Well I believe I managed them, not all of them, remember most of the night, lost my handbag, found it again and remember we had loads of fun! Matt and I got ourselves sorted, phone number dramas were averted and we were both ready to ski together the next day.

So Saturday we skied together, with Rus and Andy, then later after lunch Danni joined us as Libby was not feeling that well. The day was beautiful, sunny and bright, with lots of fresh powder from the day of heavy snow before on the Friday, a perfect last day of skiing. I was a bit rubbish at first, however, by the end of the day I had successfully done a few runs I hadn't done before and mastered "Red 19". I also finally did the home run again (the bottom part of "Red 19") after avoiding it during the week - the custard experience the first time - and cheating taking the lifts down.

After dropping off our ski gear, we had a bit of apres ski before heading back to the hotel, via our lovely Abba loving hotel bus driver (no kidding Abba was on in that mini bus day and night), for our final dinner in. We all spent the night in the hotel, playing Jenga, talking (Matt and I into the wee hours) as the next morning was finding us up bright and early to head to the airport, and alas home to London and Manchester (5 of us were from Manchester and 3 from London).

Next morning, I took some final photos of the sunrise on the mountain, planted myself on the bus and promptly slept all the way to the airport. We all met up again at the airport as our flights (we had seperate buses on the way down)were only about 20 minutes apart and continued chatting till then. With fond farewells and assurances to meet again, we were off on our way home...back to London, snow and work, all with wishes to be skiing again sooner than next year.
Two wee ski bunny girls
Mountains...aint they pretty, the resort at the bottom, yes i skied that!
doing the bob sled
Our Chalet Hotel
Lunchtime view
Looking back up
Girls on the bus go around and around...or is that the wheels
A fun night out...oh dear - Me, Rus, Andy and Matt
Montegenevre - France, white out!
Girls in the snow
More of the Bob Sled, yes that is me in it...3 G's baby
Lisa .... end of the trip and a happy bunny for sure!

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