SkiBike Tour 2010-11 - Les Contamines

Posted: Wednesday, 12 January 2011 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: , , ,

We got out of Geneva in good time and decided to source a hire shop in Cluses to get Wilf some skis, this town is equidistant from all the resorts, making for an easy return (in theory).

Having sorted this, we were at Les Contamines and in the gondola by 11am, the valley was warm, misty and moist; but once again at top station level it was alpine blue skies from horizon to horizon. We amused ourselves working our way around the cornucopia of fast runs available at this resort. Eventually we both psyched ourselves up to try the black run, I knew from a previous visit that underneath the innocent looking fresh white snow was a daunting mogul field. I got about half way down with a lot of wide traversing but knew that sooner or later I was going to loose my precious footskis in knee deep snow; I bailed out and headed under the chairlift and back onto the easier red run.
He carried on and made it down, but was unhappy that he had to resort to survival skiing and hadn't made an elegant job of it.

At one point he heard a group call me a "Zigeuner" which in Swiss German means "Gypsy". Hopefully they meant it in the way of "Cool dude" and not "Shit here come the chavs from Croydon, better check that there's still lead on the church roof".

The weather changed abruptly and started to close in, so we moved lower and investigated the excellent and remote back mountain area of Hauteluce, just making it back in time for the final run down from Signal 1900 in failing light and poor visibility.

One very annoying thing happened during the day that I must mention; my ski pass somehow got ejected from the special pocket in my jacket. I had a receipt for the transaction and the lift attendant had spotted me going through the turnstile that morning. The staff in the ticket office, however, would only sell me a new ticket for the day. I am philosophical about such things, it's the first time it has happened to me in many days on the skibike and luckily it was a day, not a month's pass. I still feel somewhat aggrieved that they couldn't just charge me an admin fee or some such, the card could have been easily cancelled by the computer system rendering it useless to anyone that found it.

Over dinner Wilf and I had a debrief, discussed what tomorrow would offer and developed a strategy that if we found an area where skibikes were not not allowed, we would leave the skibike at that point and I would progress on footskis alone. This was to prove a very good strategy and stand me in good stead over the next few days.