The last place I want to feel sick is on the most expensive holiday of the year but yesterday I felt horrible!!! Still managed to ski all day and then slept (poorly) for 12 hours but took the morning off this morning before starting to feel better. In the end it was just a bug but gee it hurt. Feeling much better now and going to make up for it on our last day tomorrow.
I'm not a huge fan of Val d'Isere; the proportion of time spent on lifts vs time spent skiing is painfully disproportionate and the runs don't link up very well. Maybe I've just been spoilt with Chamonix... The snow here is pretty bad but that's not the fault of Val.
Today the sun was shining so we went as high as we could. Du Montet has some very open faces so Seabrook and I went off piste. These faces were so tracked out it made it easy to see where to go or where not to go. But that wasn't good enough. Although crunchy, we wanted our own patch to track out. So we ended up in a thin valley with a heavy drop neither of us wanted to tackle with such shallow snow. The result of which was a tiresome 80 metre hike back out! At 3500m that 80m took us about 7 or 8 minutes. After a humourous breather we found a new line which was just as fun. If there are no clouds tomorrow we'll do it again (correct line this time) with the video camera...
I mentioned La Folie Douce (loosely translated to 'The Mild Madness') yesterday- probably the best aprés ski I've ever seen. Today after a few fast runs over ice and a lack of fresh snow we took the last lifts as high as we could go and enjoyed near empty runs on the way down to a very loud party. The crest above the pub is quite steep and very abrupt so your peaceful glide down the valley is violently interrupted by some incredibly heavy bass. And I love it.
The video I took doesn't do it justice so I've stolen someone else's. Unfortunately that also fails to do it justice but it's closer to how it actually is.
There's really not much I can say about today. The weather came in, we couldn't see much, we skied through minimal snow, stopped for lunch, got free wi-fi (mega win situation) and then did it again.
But late in the afternoon Curty needed his rails sharpened and Wendel had his quads battered out of him so Seabrook and I made for one last run to make the only apres ski on the mountain. Thanks to Owen and Kev who recommended Le Folie Deuce, it was not only nice to be running next to only one other dude (as opposed to four). It was also nice to be pushed harder by someone you know.
Yesterday morning, after a ridiculously early taxi, followed by a ridiculously early flight we made it to Geneva. Things were made easier by the BMI flight manager who, despite looking like Ron Walker, offered us a £10 upgrade and 'overlooked' our excessively heavy board bags. A painful 3.5 hour bus trip with 6 kids lacking any discipline and 4 parents lacking even more made the transfer to Val seem like forever but we had a quick look around, ate some over-priced food and set up our equipment for skiing.
Today we rolled out for a look around and got across to Tignes within a few hours. There were no big stacks but we were all quite conservative due to feeling out of practise but it didn't take long to get back into the rhythm so the rest of the week should be good. Unfortunately there's not much to tell but we're building up a big collection of photos and we're expecting snow tonight...
I had an amazing night in Henley with Carla last night and am flying out to Val d'Isere at stupid o'clock tomorrow morning for a week with Seabrook, Curty and Wendel. I aim to put a small post up each night (providing we have wi-fi) so check back here throughout the week.
Occasionally I pause while walking through London streets and have a look around. Every now and then I'm hit with the realisation that I am in LONDON. Not just a tourist destination for uber-painful Europeans trying to improve their English, or backpackers ticking off their 'mum-said-I-should' list. To me London is up there with the opposite sex for top influences that inspire the greatest music that has ever been produced. So despite being 39 years too late to see some of the music I adore being created I am extremely appreciative that some of the venues that helped make that happen are still open and thriving; and more great music is still being nurtured.
On Friday I went to The 100 Club in Oxford St, a venue with incredible history. With just 10 months left in London I was happy to kill two birds with one stone- I got to see a venue that has played a huge part in live music over the years as well as seeing a band I have heard a lot of good things about. Granted, I've known the lead singer and bassist of Buildings for a while and held them both in very high regard, but I was actually blown away by the quality of their live show.
As their booking agent suggests, "they show a unique and adventurous dynamic style and can boast a sound all of their own". I'm not glib enough to explain their sound and it would simply give other established bands a free ride if I were to liken Buildings to them... I found Buildings completely unique, and I don't get to suggest that very often. I think the music hit me at the right time; when I'm quite contemplative yet on the verge of a breakthrough. To me their verses felt like an inner dialogue, of sorts, and the chorus came together with an epic realisation combined with a burst of energy. That's the recipe for motivation, in my book.
I now realise the best music of all time wasn't limited to the jazz of the 1920/30's, nor the blues of the 1940/50's, nor the rock of the 1960/70's, and I am excited to see that incredible music is still being made today in the same venues.