Guest Blog: Dancing on Skis

22 Mar

By Stuart, Michael and Michael

Over the weekend we moved from the Italian to the Swiss Alps and were joined by Australian Michael (aka Cookie) and UK Michael (Mike). Sharon referred to us as Los Tres Amigos. We selected Verbier from a long list of potential venues for our next adventure partly because Stuart wanted to renew his acquaintance with the place after an absence of 40 something years and Sharon didn’t want to renew her acquaintance with the boring been there done that kind of places like Val D’Isere and Les Trois Vallees. Some people just don’t know when they are onto a good thing.

We rented an apartment in the high street where we enjoyed home-cooked hearty breakfasts and dinners and could view Mont Blanc from the balcony and whilst reclining in the master bedroom bath.

Every night we religiously planned our route for the next day. We had 420 km of pistes to cover in 6 days. Naturally every morning we ignored our plans. But no matter we had Mapman Mike to guide us through the maze of lifts to the most important part of the day, lunch. My recollection of Swiss food is that it was possibly, in a quiet unassuming kind of way, the best in Europe combining the cuisines of France and Italy. Sadly this was not in evidence on the mountains of the Valais. At least not until we skied way off piste ably assisted by Mapman Mike and found Chez Dany, a rustic chalet in a clearing in the forest.

We arrived at 11.30am whilst the staff were having their lunch but no matter they sat us down at a corner table on the deck overlooking the majestic mountains of the Mont Blanc massif with a bottle of the local white, a luscious and petillant Fendant. Three hours and a few bottles later we thanked the staff for their hospitality and somehow found our way through the forest and back to Verbier. Some of us retired to bed but Mapman Mike was ready for more map reading. Somehow he survived.

One of the major problems in skiing in a group is remaining together throughout the day. With the prospect of a rest with coffee and tart, or lunch at a pre-planned restaurant which had to have waitress service (according to Cookie), the group managed to stay together when we were four. Take away the prospect of a break and put the two Michaels together and things went wrong every time. “We’ll ski to this lift” can easily lead to one or other missing the lift and having to go way down the mountain to take a long ride back up, by which time the other Michael not having seen what happened has decided to go up the mountain to look. Maps are a great thing but…

We should probably mention ski conditions. Despite being late in the season there was enough snow but the quality varied according to altitude. It was hard and fast pre-coffee, fantastic for dancing on the snow at high speed pre-lunch and soft and heavy pre-drinks on the way home. Readers of the previous ski edition please note Stuart continues to be irresponsible but with a metre of snow forecast over the weekend and his fear of skiing when he can’t see where his skis are, there is hope.

We go three ways today, Cookie and Stuart to Grindlewald, Mike to see friends in Geneva and Sharon to Goa, India. Stay tuned for the next instalment on yoga in India.

Left to right Mike, Cookie and Stuart (Note in later photo gallery the general absence of ski jackets. Not needed!)

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Chez Dany>

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