This time last year we were all moaning ourselves into an early grave about lack of snow. Grumble, boring, where’s our snow, rubbish season, we’re taking our ball and going home, humph, we all said. Incessantly. Though to be fair, we had a point – looking at my snow reports from last season, I see that we had a grand total of eight days precipitation, and I seem to remember I was scraping the barrel a bit calling some of them ‘significant snowfall’. There’s a limit to how much entertainment you can get from skiing the same motorway-flat pistes for six weeks at a stretch.
Interestingly, the punters were all insufferably chirpy while this was going on. Lovely sunshine, great pistes, having a wonderful time, they all enthused whenever I chatted to them on the chairlifts. Wouldn’t want to be next week’s punter though, gosh no, you’ll need more snow, glad we came this week. Though the following week’s visitor invariably said exactly the same thing – having a great time, glad we’re not here next week. And so it went on until about mid-April, at which point a river appeared down the middle of Cretes and even the most positive of holidaymakers really couldn’t ignore the fact that he was having to slalom around amorous marmots and attractive water features. Place looked like Sunday afternoon in the garden centre.
All of which goes to show that a very large percentage of your holiday enjoyment is entirely down to your own attitude, and if you’re a miserable sod you might as well save your cash and be miserable at home because you’re never going to enjoy yourself whatever you do. It also means you seasonnaire types can all stop stressing over those customer feedback questionnaires with which your slavemsters keep browbeating you, since they’re quite evidently no reflection of your efforts and just an excuse for your managers to trouser your bonus.
This time round, on the other hand, we’ve got more snow than anyone has seen in a generation, and you’d think we’d all be wetting ourselves with joy. But no – too much snow, grumble, snowclearing, grump, where’s the sun, humph etc. Really everyone, take your heads out from wherever you’ve stuck them. If anyone has the right to be peeved this year it’s definitely last week’s visitor, who forked out a wedge of cash, got all excited about new snow and then found himself confined to barracks all week thanks to hurricane force winds, closed lifts and the distinct possibility that were he to venture outside, several tons of the stuff might fall on his head all at once.
Admittedly the wind has royally stuffed any chance we might have had of enjoying fresh fluffy powder, but on the bright side there’s a base which should last to the end of the season and beyond (barring any sudden global warming incidents), and next time it snows, it might manage to do so without attendant wind tunnel effect. The point being that we’ll still be here for next time, whereas your poor old punter has used his winter holiday allowance and has to go back to his desk job. Come on, how gutted would you be?
Still, the lack of fluffy bits is almost worth the pictures we all got once the storm had abated and you had at least a 50% chance of survival if you stuck our nose out of the door. The people who came and shouted at me about lift closures last weekend might want to have a look at some of them. (Yes I’m looking at you, arrogant British bloke in a badly fitting helmet – being rude to the ticket monkeys will get you nowhere.) Not much consolation if you came out last week and couldn’t ski, I know, but maybe you could fake a bout of norovirus and pull a sickie later in the month. Go on, no-one would ever know.
Pictures from Arnaud Guerrand at 2Alpes and the official Facebook pages of Alpe d’Huez and Les3Vallees. Big thanks to all the resort staff who got us up and running and back on the mountain this week.