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Report 918: Skiing Val d'Isere and Tignes

By SeaJay from Virginia, Winter 2005

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Page 11 of 13: Saturday, January 29 - Last Morning

Since we must be out of a cleaned apartment by 0900, the alarm is set even earlier than the church bells. For some reason (real or perceived), breakfast must be completed immediately so the dishwasher can be run and emptied before we leave. In the U.S. we just load the dishwasher and start it. Typically it’s the last thing we do before going out the door.

We try to arrange for taxis but none are available for the short hauls down the hill. All taxis have been commissioned for the longer rides to Bourg-St. Maurice and Moûtiers, or perhaps by crazy people like us in 1990. Back then we weighed the transfer from our week with Claude and crew here to our second week at Courchevel and the three valleys by ourselves. Facing the expense of taxis on both ends, a bus to Moûtiers and a bus up to Courchevel, we decided the convenience and small incremental price difference of a taxi all the way was a good investment in time and the health of our backs. Claude and the taxi people thought we were crazy. For about $30 extra, we avoided all those transfers with all that equipment and all that time. Enough about 1990!

We transfer our luggage down to the ski storage room and charge off to waste time and do some last minute shopping. Claude and Marine depart to ski. They will ski at least a half day since their overnight train to Brest leaves in the early evening. Our bus leaves around 1 pm so we have nearly four hours to kill in the sub zero weather. We complete some last minute shopping. CJ gets a hat, headband and polo. Carol picks up her “Parlez lentement – Je suis blonde” (Speak slowly – I’m blonde) t-shirt. Our third visit to Crêpe Vals passes some more time and gives us a reprieve from the cold. The route back to the apartment is circuitous so that we can bleed off some more time and CJ can get some good photos of the mountain. It is a beautifully sunny day and we pass through the area at the base of the mountain where all the Bellevarde and Solaise lifts originate.

How do we get the luggage down to the bus stop? We have three large rollers, ski bag, two backpacks, and the duffle containing all our purchases. The prudent thing would be for us to make one trip down, deposit Carol at the station, then for CJ to return for the remaining bag and skis. So much for prudence! Carol loads the duffle and backpack on top of two rollers, CJ wears his backpack takes the largest of the rollers and slings the ski bag (with two pair of heavy Volant metal skis) over his shoulder and off we go. At least it’s downhill.

The bus ride to Geneva is bizarre. This is a milk run down the mountain. We stop at Tignes Les Brévières and don’t pick up anyone, Aime (serving Les Arcs) and Bourg-St. Maurice, the railhead and also the village serving La Plagne). Our lunch plan is thwarted when the bus doesn’t make the anticipated stop in Moûtiers and continues on. Instead of the usual route through the cities of Albertville and Annecy, we take the expressway route through Chambéry. This is certainly a much longer route but is far more comfortable in a bus. There are no roundabouts, crazy drivers cutting in front of the bus and no stoplights. We don’t get jostled from side to side like we normally do on the other route.

Arriving in Genève we off load the luggage onto luggage carts, transfer down to the arrivals area and wait at door #4 for the hotel courtesy van. We get a great room at the Holiday Inn Express. It’s great, if for no other reason, it has a stand-up shower. Following very long showers, we can’t convince ourselves to go out in the windy cold. Since we have a bottle of white and a bottle of red, we elect to call out for a Dominoes pizza and a salad.

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