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Teaching a loved one to ski – Part two

Teaching a loved one to ski – Part two

To read part one click here.

It is half way through your ski holiday and you are your non-skiing partner’s unofficial instructor. Somehow instead of this feeling like a holiday it has become a chore.  Yesterday you got some skiing in on your own but this was more due to the misfortune of your partner rather than by mutual consent. When you did finally get back from skiing you found them on their fourth large glass of chalet wine. You persuade them to hobble out for some après ski.

learning-to-ski

You are both a little worse for wear, but the lessons must go on. You struggle through the pain of your hangover and your student struggles through their injury’s and hangover. You have little sympathy considering the near perfect ski conditions. Just when you were considering a temporary separation, something clicks and you now have a parallel turning sweetheart, of sorts.

After lunch you decide that it is the right time to suggest trying something more challenging. But before you can suggest it they get in first. So you choose a route that you think is realistic and set off. You wait a lot. You get cold waiting. Your attempts to cheer yourself up by flicking snow at your exhausted companion is unsurprisingly met with irritation. The lifts stop in forty minutes time. You could catch the free bus back or you could do “one more run”.

The lifts shut the minutes ago. Somehow you are still on one. It has been stopped for over twenty. Which is fifteen minutes longer than your hung over, tired, sore and cold partner’s patience will last. You should have caught the bus. It is dark and you are both silent when you get off the mountain. You are walking slightly in front and carrying two sets of skis. What you both want is a drink. As you enter the bar you spot the annoying couple from the chalet and are delighted.

The next morning you are the first down for breakfast. The annoying couple somehow talked your lovely and wonderful partner into getting a ski lesson. It doesn’t start until 10 but they are having a lie in. Let the holiday begin. Your holiday is soon cancelled with bad news. Flat light. It’s not that bad, but you think of all the good days you have missed. You meet up for lunch. They are having a great day. The instructor announces that they are a natural. You cough.

Over dinner you would be forgiven for thinking that your companion had been skiing all their life. You also find it hard to believe the distance they covered and the slopes they have been on. You should be pleased. If true you will have two more days of incident and fair paced skiing left. You should also be happy that your loved one loves skiing. Instead you feel a little inadequate that your teaching wasn’t very good. You console yourself with the knowledge that you did the hard work.

They weren’t lying. They can now ski at a reasonable level. They are now fast enough that the wait is now an enjoyable rest. The penultimate day is great. You chat, laugh, and even kiss on the chairlifts. You have a long lunch. They are celebrating their new passion and achievement. You secretly toast to the ski holidays of the future. There is even the inevitable chat about buying a place out there and the new equipment you will buy.

The last day is a late start. The new skier’s ability is holding up. You are both having a great time. You have lunch on the move. There is a thought in the back of your mind that you should supress but you can’t. Eventually you come out with how you think they should have one last challenge, you know they can do it. Three hours later you are still on the same black run shouting encouragement. Bad idea.


The Day in the life of a La Tania Navette

The Day in the life of a La Tania Navette

My job is often the most overlooked in resort. I don’t hold the glamour of a télécabine or a téléphérique. I do like to think though,  that we are more popular than the button lifts. I am a Navette or free bus to you British people. I work in the resort of Courchevel and this is my day.

I start early, my first pick up is in Le Praz at 7.05am. I don’t get many skiers this early, most of my passengers are ski instructors, lift workers or chalet staff. They tend to live in the lower villages as it is not as expensive as the main resort. The journey only takes me 25 minutes. If I am lucky when I get back to Le Praz my pal will be waiting with passengers from the village of Bozel.  Bozel is way down in the valley, where my home is.

 

I leave Le Praz at about 8.05am for the second time. It is now that I get more skiers onboard, these ones are eager to get into the main resort early. This is so that they are ready for the lifts to open and they will get to ride the pistes that have been freshly groomed by my piste basher mates.

There are other buses on the same route as me.  We always flash or toot to say hello when we pass in the middle. Sometimes if the snow is heavy we stop and pass on information about the conditions to keep our passengers safe. After 8.30 it gets busy and there are more of us buses to make sure we can move everyone to where they want to go.

I am lucky as I always get the La Tania run. I arrive there at about 9.10am there are always lots of people waiting for me there.  I find this funny because I think La Tania is a wonderful place to stay. They are generally wanting a lift to Courchevel Moriond. This was called 1650, but they changed it. I wish they hadn’t as it confuses a lot of people and they end up getting off at the wrong place or sometimes not at all. I get the La Tania run all day. I leave La Tania at ten past the hour every hour until midnight.

After the morning rush it gets quieter and I only carry a few lazy people who got out of bed late. It gets busier at lunch time. I guess La Tania is great place to lunch, not for me as they have no petrol station. But it is always sunny and I am always dropping people off there to meet their friends for lunch.

The afternoon is full of people that have eaten to much at lunch and are sneaking back to their accommodation for a siesta. My busiest time is once the lifts shut. There are always queues of people trying to get back to the correct village. I would like to blame this on the name changes, but it has always been the case. Sometimes we don’t have a space for everyone, and they may have to wait for the next one.

After 6pm is the most interesting time. It is the end of après hour and we see some funny things, like people trying to ski down roads. We also get lots of singing especially from the English. Despite not releasing  a decent song for 10 years, Oasis is the most popular band I hear on my seats. The busiest we get during the après time is the 7.10 from La Tania. Judging by how happy people are when I pick them up at this time I would say that the Ski Lodge is the best place to go for Apres. I once transported the band  ‘Bring Your Sisters’, and all their kit, they always play in the Lodge. Maybe they play a lot of Oasis, I’ll ask next time I see them.

The worst thing about being a bus in a ski resort is the long hours. We work until midnight. Sometimes people are so tired that they fall asleep on the way down the hill.  Sometimes it can be hard work and as we are free, people don’t respect us. Especially at rush hour when I get hit by all those skis and trampled on by ski boots. Still, it could be worse I could be in Marseille shuttling football fans around.

Click here for the La Tania bus times

 


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