I've not posted anything for a couple of weeks as I was just lucky enough to spend New Year in the Alps with some very good friends. There was plenty of snow all week and my boarding skills came along well, so a little pat on the back for me, I think.
For New Year, we spent a few days in an apartment in Chamonix. I'm glad we did, as for one, the resorts were bound to have the best snow around due to their altitude and for two, I'd never been to Chamonix and always wanted to experience the Aalpine hustle and bustle. However, it wasn't all rosey. The apartment, which was more box than penthouse, was incredibly expensive, cramped (considering it was supposed to sleep 5, we were lucky their ended up only three of us) and surrounded by loud mouthed and obnoxious Italians. My friend Jim and I were stood outside the apartment, when one Italian guy threw a bottle from his apartment balcony over our heads towards the bins outside, narrowly missing us. Needless to say, a few loud words followed.
After spending an hour or so in a bar, listening to some absolutely battered English guys talking crap really, really loudly, we decided to head back and just drink, be merry and see the new year in our apartment. We went out just after the stroke of midnight for something to eat, and spent about an hour watching idiotic Italians wearing white leather slip-on shoes slipping on the treacherous icey roads. Hilarious.
The boarding was great, as we spent New Years day at Grand Montets and the day after in the powder fields of Brevent.
My friends took me to visit their new house build, in the hills around Fillinges in France and only about 25 minutes from the Portes du Soleil resorts of Les Gets, Morzine and Avoriaz. The view was stunning and I was so jealous, but to be honest, building out there is a now brainer. The French seem to really support this new build idea, by offering such amazing mortgage packages and low interest rates, while the local council also contributes to things like connecting services to the land. Fantastic.
We went to see Avatar in English (fortunately) and in 3D, in the Pathe cinema in Geneva. WOW! What a movie, what an experience. I mean experience as in 3D, you literally feel a part of the movie, like you are walking through the forests and giant trees, like you are flying crazy helicopters or riding a winged creature through the floating mountains. I sat there with my jaw open for nearly 3 hours, only moving to dodge the odd flying object which you thought was going to hit you as it was launched from the screen towards you. I recommend this film strongly to anyone, not necessarily for the story, but for the overall experience and the fact that when you walk out of the cinema, you feel like you've earned a rest. And don't be cheap, watch it in 3D.
For the rest of the week, we boarded at Les Gets (Mont Chery side) which was absolutely deserted but also offered some glorious fresh powder; Avoriaz, which was a little bit of a mogul and ice fest, but did include some interesting off-piste tree runs and the hilarious site of one of friends ending up face down, 3ft down in snow under a tall tree after losing it on a tight bend. She had to be freed by one of use unstrapping her bindings and pulling her out. I dread to think what would have happened if there wasn't someone behind. The final days boarding was at La Clusaz, a new resort to us. This was a great day, with fantastic views and some quiet, tree lined pistes. It was a little bit icey, but not unpleasant and you could get some real speed up on the fast piste runs.
A few things wound me up this week. One, the new craze of snowboarders being overly obvious about their consumption of cannabis on the mountain, like loudly talking about it and smoking huge reefers in the lift queue. Does my head in.
I also frustrated myself by singlehandedly cocking up what should have been some quality helmet cam footage, but managing to either miss it by not putting on the button lock on the VIO POV control box, or not cleaning the misted up camera lens. Otherwise, the camera is awesome. User error was rife.
There were the usual crazy ski suits, some real classics.
I met some amazing people while I was out there, including a cool downhill mountainbiker from Sweden who speaks a billion languages, a dutch couple with their amazing house and adorable 4 month old boxer puppy, and a cool american couple from the bay area who are studying law and were close friends of my friends in France.
An now I'm back and focussing on developing the Fidgetsick website for our impending relaunch, but it was awesome to meet some great people with the same kind of passion and interests as me, in being adventurous and leading a really varied and enjoyable life.