A business trip took me to the French Alps and I managed to escape to the Mageve ski resort at the (excellent) advice of our sponsor. It’s a beautiful place, the winter counterpart to St. Tropez. It is easy to get to from Geneva, though the GPS took us up a tiny winding back road when we trusted it that wasn’t plowed and definitely was not the approved route. The resort is huge and interconnected with other valleys in the European style. There is a good range of terrain, though nothing too terribly difficult. The crowd tends to be fashionable and right now is the holiday season and in France so it is a bit crowded. Rentals are cheap (25 Euro) and lift tickets are pretty affordable too (35 Euro).
The crowd is generally a bit fashion conscious: in fact, everyone I’ve met thus far is a seasonal employee and also works at St. Tropez. Which also suggests something else: the visitors tend to be a bit fashion conscious and with my old gear and less than fashionable presentation I seem to connect more with the local employees than the other guests. There was a very cool woman from Cote d Ivory I met at a Jazz club, and a hilarious photographer I ran into at a bar/tapas place. He spoke pretty good English and had a hilarious story about why he was there having crashed into his friend and broken his snow board while trying to avoid a tourist that had stopped on the downside of a big mogul (bad idea).
Ski School is a big part of the holiday season and the kids fly down the hill like brightly colored ducks in a row. Some are pretty advanced and the instructors take them to fairly challenging terrain sometimes leading them off into the woods: au revoir les enfants.
There is wonderful powder in the Cote 2000 lift area, which takes a lot of traversing to get to and even more to get back from – two Poma lifts back, one of which is the longest Poma lift I’ve ever had to ride. Near the summit after what seems like 30 minutes there is a sign “>50% Grade.” Uh oh. Then, right on that grade, the lift stopped for about 10 minutes to clear some injured off the track. Ow My Ass!
In one of the back country areas there was some lovely off piste deep snow. I was cruising along and jumped a small creek. OK, nearly jumped a small creek. The far side was a nice steep rise and got me quite airborne, butt high. I landed flat on my back skis up in the air which engendered screams of tiny laughs from a swarm of little French ski students. Hey, one of their own had just missed the same jump and was retrieving his skis, so I don’t feel too bad.
Ski School Megeve is an English (British) speaking outfit.