Skiing done ⛷- La Plagne, Savoie, France

We have had another energetic week in the mountains, this time with ski-in, ski-out from our motorhome in the handy Aire in Plagne-Village. We have made the most of our location since we luckily got the last space last Monday. Since then there has often been 5-6 vans in the overspill parking outside waiting to get in.

It’s been an ideal spot for the last week as we could do a lovely 2-3 mile along Le Dou du Praz path every morning along the mountain tops with the dogs, with views out to Mont Blanc. After our close encounter with the huskies that do the bobsleigh runs at the resort, we looked up what days they are around and made sure we have been out early to avoid them. It seems it was a worthwhile precaution, as we were chatting to another English couple with an older Border Terrier on the Aire and they said their dog had been attacked by the huskies on a previous visit and needed 17 stitches 😱! The owner of the dogs paid for the treatment, they said the huskies were not bothered by their black lab but saw the border terrier as “bait” 😬.

Ski for a while, stop for a coffee, relaxed ski week 😎

We have enjoyed some more leisurely skiing trying to improve our technique, which I think we both have done pretty well. We probably could do with another lesson now to move on further after a week of practice, but time has run out for this season. The slightest changes to your balance and posture make all the difference to speed, control and direction. It has been pretty busy on the slopes with faster skiers flying by you on both sides, plus quite a bit of ice around, due to the lack of snow, which you basically skid over and can be unnerving on a steep downhill slope. However, we are pretty happy with our progress and have really enjoyed being out skiing in the beautiful sunshine and amazing views each day.

On the slopes – self portrait in Kev’s goggles!

We had one fairly eventful morning of skiing when we arrived just after a lady had obviously just taken a very bad fall. Her friends were with her and were calling the first aid team, who arrived on the scene in a few minutes. The trouble was she was literally just below a blind summit on the slope. So with a couple of others who had arrived at the same time, we stood on the crest of the slope with our poles crossed – (the sign of an accident) to slow people down and get them to steer clear. It took probably 15-20 mins for them to put the lady in padded stretcher sledge, three doctors arrived to support on skis carrying their enormous medi-bags as rucksacks. We think she had probably broken her leg, you can’t fault the very professional support service on hand. Once she was in the stretcher, the single stretcher bearer skied behind her down the slope. Luckily there was not far to go as we were close the the motorhome Aire at the time so they were able to get her into an an ambulance there.

Overlooking the motorhome Aire

Generally the other skiers were considerate and slowed down and skied round the accident. As always, there was a minority who approached very close and at full pelt despite the obvious signs of an issue though. They were clearly fully confident in their ability to stop / divert in time and expecting that we, who were stood vulnerably across the slope to protect the lady and the medics, would also trust their skills. They then look shocked and agitated when we all shouted at them to slow down as we were not so happy to take the risk. One woman felt sufficiently energised about our warnings that she stopped to debate how it wasn’t a problem, why were we shouting etc, thankfully in French to the French lady beside me, as I did not really have the patience to explain.

On a more cheerful note, we also located the La Plagne equivalent of La Folie Douce for lunch one day. La Bergerie, which was just behind where we are staying, had a restaurant on one side and a snack bar with live music on the other. The band played on a balcony overlooking the crowd, who by late afternoon were all up on the tables in ski boots dancing. We had only arrived at 2pm for lunch, preferring to enjoy the quieter lunchtime slopes and lifts. By 3.30pm the party was really kicking off as some people were buying magnums of Moët and the crowds flocked in. We obviously had to stay for a dance and a drink after we had eaten and join in the fun. Signs all round said last orders were at 16:45 to make sure people got down the slopes in time for the last lifts at 17:00. We tactically decided to leave a little earlier before the drunken crowds hit the slopes, luckily we did not have far to go.

Clear the slopes – it’s kick out time at La Bergerie

The small resorts of La Plagne are well interconnected, with free coaches running every 15-20mins, though we found it as easy to walk. We did take the Alti-bus, a gondola lift connecting to the bigger La-Plagne Central one night where there is even more bars, shops and restaurants. Though we have been as happy to eat in this week after last week’s feasts.

We have enjoyed life in the resort, seeing the piste-bashers sign-written and owned by each of the on-slope restaurants delivering stock and staff up the slopes at 07:30, then the lifts running at 08:30 delivering the staff up to the top control box before start of day. Fascinating to see what goes into running these towns in the mountains. It’s great to have the comparison of being here in the summer when there was just us and some maintenance staff there to the bustling place it is in season. The slope that we have been skiing all week was grassed over and there was a group of marmots running around. Apparently they hibernate all winter, amazing to think they are sleeping below with all these people skiing overhead!

Summer versus Winter in La Plagne

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