Life, COVID and everything else means that it's 6 years since we last went on a family ski trip. Having driven to the Dordogne and back in the summer, we decided on another EV road trip. An early start, a dash for the tunnel and before we know it we're at our overnight stop of Reims
The next day, with late season snow forecast we arrive full of excitement. Over the next few days the girls and their cousins maintain their enthusiasm - fuelled by mountain top crepes and bolognaise! We split our time between Morzine and Avoriaz, and despite the spring conditions there's plenty of runs (and cafes) open.
On our final day skiing there's a sprinkling of fresh snow and blue skies. The slopes are quiet and the kids do laps round a couple of runs - hopping on and off the chair lifts like veterans.
It's a joy to see them catch the skiing bug. I've pretty much failed to pass on any of my sporting passions, despite an almost constant stream of participation and spectating opportunities. Maybe winter sports will be the one that sticks. Six years was way too long, hopefully we'll all be back on the slopes next year.
Mid-March and there's an unusual amount of un-seasonal snow in Northamptonshire. In the morning I'm battling through a few centimetres of snow on the local roads. But by early evening we are driving north from Oslo in -15°, through small towns that have metres of the stuff! A year on from the last trip we are older, but not wiser as my hangover on Sunday morning proves.
Back to Morzine. I remember a springtime visit 10 winters ago, when Richard and Fiona had bought the old barn on the edge of Morzine. I slept on a concrete floor and then Richard and I went up to the top of the Avoriaz and talked about the future. Then we boarded down in the spring sunshine and it didn’t seem real.
Fast forward to 2017 and we are back in the Alps. The sun shone again and this time I’m on chair lifts with my Violet and Hazel. Sitting at the top of the resort looking out over the mountains, still thinking about the future.
Heavy skies, grey and laden with snow. Snow that falls slowly, dampening sounds and flattening perspective. A tramp across the fields, heavy work, snow crunching underfoot - the percussive sounds of winter.
The world seems asleep, but no less beautiful for it. In the fields beyond the pub at the end of the village (where the windmill used to be), there’s little sign of life - just some abandoned old pieces of farm machinery, a couple of very territorial robins and footprints leading out across the fields.
Boarding at Hovden. It’s probably the mountain I’ve ridden more than any other, from freezing night boarding in -20° temperatures to picking my way along in flat flight and great fresh powder days. But this was the first time I’d here ridden in spring conditions. Too warm for a jacket, great views and a brilliant day out on the mountain. Thanks Luke.