Sainte Foy Tarantaise

So first up let me start by saying; if you ever had the opportunity to go skiing as a child, you are so flipping lucky!!! I swear ever since I have been able to walk, my parents have promised me that they would take my sister and I skiing, but unfortunately it just never happened (I can see why looking at my bank account right now!)

Anyway, with the bitterness out the way, and with a huge thanks to my friends, dads, friend (I know, very confusing) who owns a ski chalet, I was eventually lucky enough to go skiing with a pretty sweet discount deal.

So after a 4:30 start to get to London Luton for my 12:00pm flight to Geneva, I then ended up delayed a further 3 hours (3 hours 32 minutes to be precise but more about that at the end).

You have to have some bad thoughts when you see this from the plane window whilst you’re waiting to take off:

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As if I wasn’t having bad enough luck already?!

Anyway, in an attempt to keep us happy on the plane, the flight attendants allowed something which I thought was now illegal – not that it stopped me – and were letting people into the cockpit.

cockpit

Here I am looking pretty pleased with myself because the pilot was very attractive and asked me if I wanted to be co-pilot (I wish!)

Eventually we made take off. In compensation for our delay the flight attendants offered us free food and drink but unfortunately by the time they made it to us, we were preparing to land so we just had a load of Twix’s and four-finger Kit-Kat’s lobbed at our heads. Although I bloody love flying this experience was not quite so pleasant.


Once landed, we had to pick up our hire car. For some ridiculous reason I had agreed to drive the 205km journey across a foreign road system.

However, after a sticky situation involving being stranded on the French motorway with no headlights, trying to maintain the correct speed by constantly shouting ‘what speed is this in mph?!’ and possibly accidentally bypassing the Swiss-French border passport checks by going down the wrong section of the road, we eventually made it to our chalet where a delicious dinner was waiting for us.

After surviving the trip, exhausted and full, we headed to bed to get some good rest, ready for our first day of skiing.


So with my only knowledge of skiing coming from television programmes and a grand total of two sessions on a dry ski slope when I was younger, we decided the best option to help me learn was to have a two hour private lesson and then just wing it for the rest of the holiday (what’s the worst that could happen?!)

And that’s where Patrick and his stick came in.

Patrick was a British man who had quit university to come out and do a couple of ski seasons and 13 years later was still living and working on the slopes, married to a french woman. I very much liked his attitude to life.

Anyway, after a few slides down the nursery slopes surrounded by four year olds flying past me, he took me up the ski lifts (they are terrifying!) and down my first blue slope!

ski

It was a nice little relaxed one and if I ever went too fast or too close to the edge, Patrick would hold his stick out and stop me.

Following the lesson, we attempted the same slope a few more times, finished up and went back to the chalet to relax in the hot tub and sauna.


The following day my mission was to tackle the rest of the blue slopes off the first ski lift. I donned a pair of my moms very vintage, very retro ski socks which she wore in her twenties to ski, in the hopes they would somehow improve my skills.

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Overnight there had been a massive dumping of snow which made the ski conditions amazing and also provided a lot of amusement. My friend was desperate to do snow angels:

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And throughout the day we had several white outs:

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I know you can’t actually see anything in the picture but it was amazing! All of a sudden it would go from perfect clarity to barely being able to see your hand in front of your face!

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We did have a risky moment on one of the slopes where, as we were going down, a serious white out occurred. My friend and I both just came to a stand still and were screaming each others names over the wind to check we were okay. Fortunately we lived to tell the tale and made our way to the bottom as fast as possible.

So on the second day I completed my challenge of tackling all the blue slopes on the first lift and once again, returned to the chalet for a gin and tonic in the hot tub and sauna.


Overnight ‘intense snow’ had been forecasted. Now considering there had already been a couple of feet, I was so excited to see even more!

Each day a summary of the weather was put out with an avalanche risk which as you can see, was pretty high!

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My mission for the third day was to go up the second lift and try the blue runs up there, but due to the avalanche risk it was initially closed. Fortunately they opened it later in the morning and we made our way up even higher!

The views were amazing!

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And I had possibly the most scenic lunch I have ever had in my life!

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I managed to slide down a couple of the blue runs and even had my first fall (and a few more) of the week.

Unfortunately this night we weren’t getting our usual four course meal of the week (poor us!) and so we went off to a nearby restaurant for our dinner following the ski.

This was where I made possibly my most life-threatening decision of the trip. I ordered Tartiflette.

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My initial thoughts were ‘yum, potato, cheese and ham must be a winning combination’ however, when I discovered that the cheese ratio was high enough to induce diabetes on the spot, I soon changed my mind.

It was pretty much death by cheese.

My dessert was good though! One of my favourites, creme brûlée!

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On our final day of skiing we made a shocking discovery! After going, once again, up the second lift we found that the exact slope we had been skiing down the previous day had had an avalanche not long after we had been down it!

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You can see all the bent metal poles and mesh at the top showing how damaging it had been. Fortunately nobody had been hurt and they’d managed to clear the slope following the disaster.

My last challenge of the week was to finally attempt a red slope. So I ended up doing two!

My legs were on fire by the end from pretty much snow ploughing the whole way down, but I was so chuffed!

And that completed my skiing endeavours! It was once again, time for the hot tub and sauna and one last sleep before the journey home.

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The following morning we packed our bags, said our goodbyes to the lovely people we had met and started the drive back to the airport. It was a significantly less stressful journey even though we still  managed to bypass passport security and overflow the car with petrol.

Our flight back was (thank god) on time and we have recently been given compensation for our delay on the way there. So overall, an amazing experience with the most incredible ski conditions, a top chalet and we’ve even managed to make a profit on the trip!

I loved skiing and would quite like to go back and try snowboarding. However next time I doubt I will be volunteering to drive!


Song of the trip is one that kept popping up throughout the holiday and always makes me think of my friends, hoping we’ll all meet up when we’re fully grown:

Disco 2000 by Pulp

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