A plan was hatched late last year when Nick suggested that we head across to Geneva to visit him and go skiing for a weekend at one of his local resorts.
Tim and myself travelled out together, meeting one of Nick’s friends from uni, Martin, and one of Martin’s friends, J, at Luton airport on Friday morning as we were all on the same flight. Landing in Geneva, we collected the hire car and headed to the resort of Le Grand Bornand.
Le Grand Bornand
Snow and sunshine…. beautiful
Martin and J went off to do some harder runs while Tim and I stayed on the easier runs. Before this weekend, Tim had only had a couple of hours experience on skis – a lesson at the Tamworth Snowdome – so we started off on the nursery slope. We rapidly got bored of this and decided to take on a green run. Towards the bottom, this run became narrower and twistier. At the bottom we realised that this we because we had taken a wrong turn and accidentally gone down a blue run! Friday night we met up with Nick and Rich – one of Nick’s friends from back home – for dinner followed by some pool and beer. A-M joined us later on after flying up from Nice. She would have been with us slightly earlier but she managed to get on the tram heading in the wrong direction!
Tim enjoying a break
Saturday we met up with Ilya and Jonathan – a couple of Nick’s friends from work – and headed back up to Le Grand Bornand for another day of fun. The start was delayed somewhat due to having to organise hiring skis and getting lift passes, but we eventually made it up to the pistes for around midday. The afternoon was spent learning a bit more before Martin, Ilya and Nick headed off to do some more challenging runs leaving Tim, A-M, J (who was now on skis), Rich and myself to enjoy some more blue runs. The day ended with Rich, J and I deciding that we fancied a go at our first red run in order to ski back to the resort. This turned out to be a challenge with each of us enjoying a couple of falls. Saturday night we headed out for dinner of all-you-can-eat prawns.
Nick lining up to launch himself off the mountain
Rich taking a tumble
Anne-Marie trying to look cool
Nick making a jump
Martin attempting a 180
Tim and Anne-Marie
J and me
The red run that Rich, J and me finished the day with
A well packed hire car
Waking up on Sunday morning we were greeted with the sight of a few inches of fresh snow on the streets of Geneva. Heading up to the resort it became clear that today was not going to be as bright and sunny as the previous two days. The cloud made seeing contours in the snow much harder than when it is sunny. The aim was to start the day with a long blue run right at the other side of the resort. To get to that run, however, required us to take cable-car, followed by a chair-lift, followed by a red run, followed by another chair-lift, followed by a blue run, followed by another chair-lift to the top of the run! We did this long blue run a couple of times before heading back to the main part of the resort for lunch. The first part of the afternoon was spent on a nice blue run we did a few times on Saturday before we headed across to another blue run we discovered at the end of Saturday. A couple of runs down this and it was soon time to head back down the mountain to the car. Ilya, Rich, J and myself took to the red run back down, whilst Tim and A-M took the cable down. The fresh snow had built up some moguls (mounds of snow on the slope) which proved to be a downfall for me as I hit one and ended up descending part of the slope head-first on my front! The rest of the run was relatively uneventful, but was a fantastic way to end the weekend of skiing. We said goodbye to A-M and Rich as they had to fly home for work on Monday and the rest of us went back to Nick’s for some dinner before going to the bar for some more pool and beer.
Sunday was cloudy with fresh snow
Waiting to get the lift to the top of the long blue run
The long lift to the top of the long blue run
It was harder to see the contours in the snow when it was cloudy. Tim making his way cautiously down the mountain
The plan for Monday was for Tim and myself to head into Geneva for some sight-seeing in the morning before catching our flight back to Luton in the afternoon. Nick was going back to work and Martin and J were heading back into the mountains for another day of skiing. Our plans were scuppered due to Mother Nature’s intervention – when she covered Southern England in snow. This caused our flight to be cancelled, followed by queueing for just over two hours in order to rebook onto another flight – Tuesday morning to Gatwick – before we headed back into Geneva for another night with Nick, Martin and J.
A bandstand in the middle of Geneva
An old tram in Geneva
Jet d’Eau coming out of Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) – 140 metres tall!!
Our trip to the airport was much more successful on Tuesday, with our flight only delayed by ten minutes. Getting to Gatwick, however, was not the end of our journey. From there, we had to get up to Luton in order to collect my car from the car park there. Eventually, I made it back to Ealing only 23 hours late.
Snow in South Ealing on Tuesday afternoon
More photos from the weekend are available at http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/wicks.andy/SkiingGenevaJan2009