SkiBike Tour 2013-14 - Morzine Perimeter

Posted: Saturday, 22 March 2014 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: , , ,

Kevin told me yesterday that he needed to practice his skiing this morning, so we arranged for a 10 O'clock rendezvous in (gasp) Morzine, for skiing. Having written previously about how it is one of my least favourite places, perhaps this would be the ideal chance to find something positive to say for a change.
It was raining on arrival, so that immediately put a dampener on things, pun intended. Kevin rocked up moments later wearing comfy boots and street clothes seeming surprised that I would even consider skiing in the rain, he has definitely been in France too long.

So I went for a few solo circuits, with the possibility that Kevin might join me to ski together later. Sat in the gondola with Pippa and Jemima, clad in their chic pink outfits that probably cost more than my skibike, I learned a great deal about how the other half live. Giles had committed the social faux pas of driving here from Chelsea in a Hyundai, I mean everyone knows it has to be a Range Rover, Jemima says that Imogen thinks that the new Evoque rocks! Poor Giles, I guess tonight won't be his lucky night after all. So what other pearls of wisdom did I glean from their conversation? Apparently if a man goes bald before he's thirty, he will never have a full head of grey hair, I don't know how I will manage to carry on burdened with this gold mine of fatuous information.

Feeling near suicidal, I went for a couple of runs down the face, it was horrid in the rain, but at least the snow was soft and I totally failed to top myself. I am really getting to grips with this late season "water ski stance", I could see the E.S.F. instructors shaking their heads and trying to cover the eyes of their young students, lest they learn bad habits from the nasty "Rosbif" on comically short skis. Vivre la difference I say and if you don't like it, just let me ride my skibike you stiffs.

I asked the lift attendant about skibike access and he seemed shocked at my audacity and simply barked "Nyon" at me. At first I thought he meant "Non" meaning no, but Nyon is a cable car located on the extreme edge of the Morzine domain. I am surprised that things have changed so much here, neighbouring Les Gets has never allowed skibikes but I was skibiking here in Morzine only a few years ago and using all the mountain (see Breakin' the Law).

Morzine - was skibike friendly back in 2011

I decided to ski over towards this "Nyon" area, experience a bit more of Morzine's pistes en route and get confirmation from the horse's mouth. The Vallee de la Manche is only a few Kilometres away from Morzine's; baubles, bling and gaudy displays of disposable income, but it immediately feels like the natural, rougher side of the Alps that I love so much. Jim Morrison's line "Out here in the perimeter there are no stars, out here we are stone(d) immaculate" springs to mind.
There's no charges for parking here, in fact there's not much of anything; save a few apartments, some camper vans painted to look like an Australian's nightmare and the lift station. A pair of mono skiers emerged from the gloom, wow I think I might have discovered the ancestral homeland of my tribe of ski weirdos, freaks and deviants.

Here on the outer limits, maintained firmly at arms length from the civilised folk, it seems there is a bit of a free-zone where anything goes. The regulations allowed me to use this one cable car and the single red and blue graded piste beneath, but that was my limit. OK, if that's the game, how could I spice things up a bit? It was tedious hanging around for five or ten minutes between one uplift and the next. But if I legged it out of the top station, could I make it down before the lower cable car began its ascent? On the first run, it was way ahead of me, on the second I saw it leave from the end of the piste, the next time I was almost by the station entrance and on the final run I made it, still huffing and puffing, the doors closed and I was off for my final victory lap of honour.

Later as I emptied the melt water out of my boots and packed away the last of my sodden gear, a young chap on telemark skis slewed noisily to a halt at the bottom of the same piste. He unclipped briskly and strode over to a waiting quad bike, placing the skis on the fuel tank he then sat on top of them, fired it up and rode off. Morzine, you naughty girl, perhaps there's hope for you yet.