29th June and 16th July
An emerging pattern – leaving it until the end of the month. However it was planned. We just prayed that it did not rain on the day.
Tignes opened for the summer season in mid June. Daughter number one decided that she wanted to come with me – no doubt it would be something cool to talk about with her friends. I’d skied in Chile in June & July many years ago, but this was to be my first experience of skiing in the height of summer.
We set off early-ish. Annecy was gorgeous in the early morning light. We stopped in Albertville for an expresso and arrived at Tignes around 10am. By the time we hired skis for daughter we just missed the 10.30 train up the mountain. There was also a steady stream of skiers coming down the mountain. The lifts open at 7.15 and close at 13.00. We will know next time.
By the time we got up the snow was a bit heavy. It was warm and sunny so we elected to ski in t-shirts. For some reason we were the only ones doing so. Why the heavy ski jackets everyone? The top of Tignes is at over 3500m and you certainly notice the altitude – that and the heavy snow meant that it was quite tiring.
Its a different scene in the summer – there were lots of ski racers in serious training. There were also lots of skiers practicing aerial tricks. We had to make a detour so that daughter could check out if there were any hot ones.
Ski resorts in the summer are pretty depressing places, with big scars on the landscape where the slopes have been made smooth. However, it is rather a thrill to head up out of 25degrees green lush countryside and emerge into the winter landscape.
The July expedition was just me. I got up even earlier and made it onto the snow just after 10.00am. It had snowed just 2 days before so there was fresh snow to ski on. It was a little colder than the previous trip – 9degrees C at 3000m, but not a cloud in the sky. I skied through until closing time. The only thing of note was a full-on face plant on the last run. A ski came off and I remember thinking that this was the first fall of the season and at that least the bindings are set right…