After yesterday's easy drive to La Clusaz, our 4pm rendezvous with Yolaine soon saw us efficiently installed in her and Pierre's studio apartment in the centre of town. It turns out that they have been living here recently due to building work on their home in Annecy, so the loan of the apartment for a week is all the more appreciated. Thank you Pierre and Yolaine.
After moving the car to 'Free Parking' (keeping it in the main car park would cost us €75 for the week) we unpacked then strolled up to La Trace for dinner with Chantal and Joël, together with Yolaine and Pierre. Pierre came after attending the silent march in Annecy following the atrocities committed in Paris last week.
Tartiflette a la Chantal was superb, following luxurious starters (it would be unfair to hungry readers to say more) and succeeded by a chocolaty pudding. There was a bemused look when I told our hosts that my version of Tartiflette includes mushrooms and an alternative to the Reblachon cheese that's hard to find in the UK. "That's NOT Tartiflette" they all assured me.
Returning to the apartment (thanks for the lift Yolaine) we passed a snow machine busy trying to keep the main downhill skiing route into town open. There has been very little snow here, so skiing options are more limited than usual.
Choughs congregated on the roofs below us as we breakfasted on the traditional tasty croissants this morning - somebody must regularly offer them breakfast. By the time we left, the Monday market was in full swing.
A ski hire shop next to the chapel in Les Confins sorted us out with skis, boots and poles for €13 a day each, and piste passes cost a further €7 a day. Only about half of the Les Confins pistes were open today but we managed a couple of laps (Sue is pictured on one of these) of a 2.5 km route before coffees, then we enjoyed the 9 km Bellavarde route up to a minor summit at 1420 metres.
Given the warm, calm, blue sky nature of the day, we could hardly complain about the icy piste. My Porsche skis dragged me down three times on the descent after our al fresco lunch in warm sunshine. Sue miraculously managed to stay upright on her Ford Prefect skis.
The bottom two pictures were taken from our lunch spot and of our lunch spot respectively.
Primroses and (maybe last year's) Carline Thistles are evident and other flowers are in bud. Winter seems to have been by passed by Spring.
After our 14 km ski we changed back into our only shoes for this trip (hiking boots) and strolled around Les Confins, noting several groups of walkers under the strict control of their guides. Is it me, or in these times of affluence are more and more people too lazy to organise even a short stroll for themselves? The majority of people we saw today were with either instructors or guides, which must at least be good for the local economy.
By the way - thanks for your comments, I'm unlikely to reply by way of comment this week as we have to go to an obscure stairwell to pick up wifi from a nearby café, and the phone signal is variable.
Right, I'll try to transmit this from the stairwell, on our way to give the 'huit to 8' shop a bit of custom.