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Report 918: Skiing Val d'Isere and Tignes

By SeaJay from Virginia, Winter 2005

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Page 3 of 13: Friday, January 21 - Arrival

The pilot had claimed he would make up the delay in the air and he does. We arrive in Frankfurt, Germany on schedule and in the dark at 0630. They usually give us a pass for the envoy class arrivals lounge but this time they don’t. When we see a sign for the lounge we present ourselves with our tickets and are welcomed. We do not take advantage of the showers since our carry-ons contain only our ski clothing. Carol naps again while CJ samples a real “brewed in Germany” Lowenbrau. It’s very disappointing and not as he remembered from many years ago. He suspects the beer is the same and that his taste and recollection have changed.

We misjudge the distance to the connecting gate and barely make the Lufthansa flight to Genève. We must check our carry-ons since the BAE 146 is very small. The shuttle bus delivers us to the plane that CJ has seen often in Europe but never been able to identify. The BAE 146 is a small plane with four jet engines attached to an over wing. Following the turbulence of the low attitude winds of take off, the flight is very calm and the plane relatively quiet. Although all of the seats are the same, first/business class is the first seven rows and we get a breakfast of cheese and meat. The landing in Genève is as bumpy and terrifying as usual. Although it takes a long time for our plane’s baggage to arrive we are pleasantly surprised. Our past experiences have been that either our luggage is the last off the aircraft or it doesn’t arrive as happened a few years ago when we waited an entire day for our luggage to arrive on any of hourly Swissair flights only to be disappointed. In contrast today, our luggage is among the first off the plane. Having retrieved it, we find our ski’s also among the first to arrive.

It is about 1100 when we clear customs. Having been through this process so many times in the past, we have our bus tickets, have visited the ATM (albeit having received Swiss Francs (CHF)), and must wait nearly an hour for the arrival of the bus. Typically we worry about making this bus since the next one is about three hours later.

Shortly after noon we are on the way to the mountains. The rains come down very hard. It is still raining when we arrive in Moûtiers. There is only rain and still no snow when we depart Moûtiers. It is reminiscent of our 1990 visit. We are now in separate rows on the bus. As in 1990, CJ can’t stand the anxiety caused by the possibility on not having snow and passes into sleep. Carol engages in French conversations with the French Canadians from Quebec and the driver who now shows renewed interest in her since she is speaking French. She now has made a friend for life of the bus driver.

CJ awakens as we arrive near Tignes. There is much snow just like in 1990. We drop off folks at Tignes Les Brévières, below the dam. Next we cross Tignes dam and climb up to Tignes le Lac and deposit more skiers. Now we make the final trek to Val d’ Isère. Carol’s best friend, the bus driver, recommends two restaurants in Val d’ Isère: La Corniche in the main village and Les Tufs in La Daille. He claims he dines at Les Tufs every Saturday evening.

We must schlep our stuff to the hotel from the bus depot. No one can really direct us to our hotel. We make a relatively direct route dragging three rollers and a ski bag through the snow. We stop twice to solicit the help of police officers for directions.

Our hotel, La Gallise, is very nice, especially for a two star hotel. It is near #83 on the map. The people are very nice and helpful. Following our check-in we go in search of our lodging for the rest of the week. During our search, we find La Corniche and make reservations for 7 pm. Any earlier would be inconvenient for the staff but would allow us some much-needed sleep. We ask directions two more times and finally locate Les Bouquetains, our lodging for the rest of the week. It is across the street from #59 on the map.

Carol’s new boots are absolutely useless! She cannot walk on the snow without slipping and falling. We note that they have a tread that is cut perpendicular to the shoe. Every time she takes a step, her legs slide out to the side. What a stupid design! She is hanging onto CJ and dragging him down. We stop for a drink and decide to return to the room for a change of Carol’s shoes.

It continues to snow and the balcony of our room gives us a good view of this quaint village.

CJ enjoys a marvelous venison dinner while Carol has tartiflette.

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