Thursday, January 7, 2010

Chamonix Part 1

I’ve been in Chamonix now for 2 days. The bus trip was smooth and beautiful. It was still snowing, so made it even prettier. Once we arrived in Chamonix, I had no idea where to go. I followed the signs for downtown since I knew my hotel was somewhere there. It’s adorable. Quintessential small mountain town. Somehow found my hotel and the room was massive. Big bed, view of Mont Blanc and the cute street and huge bathroom. No internet in the room and no elevator, but for $120 a night, its perfect. I went to the tourist center to find out what I could do and she suggested I go to Savoy to go skiing, as that was the best beginner run. And apparently I could walk there. The hotel has a ski rental store downstairs, so got my skis. $40 for 2 days. So cheap! I followed the map to get to Savoy. After walking about half a mile, I realized I made a wrong turn, so turned around. Then ended up passing the street I needed to turn on. One hour later, I find the mountain. There are no signs. No massive lines. Just a little house that says, “Cashier” and that’s how you are supposed to know it’s a ski run. So, I’ve been walking about an hour with my skis, ski boots, poles and backpack and turns out it’s literally directly behind my hotel. Of course. And to make it better, they don’t have lockers to store anything. So, I had to go back to my hotel, still carrying all my equipment, to drop off my backpack and walk back to the mountain. The rate to ski was 13 euros (around $16) for half a day. Tahoe could learn from this town!

Skiing was beautiful. Blue skies everywhere and I didn’t fall, which is good considering my knee is still huge and black from falling in Geneva…… They don’t have ski lifts though with chairs. Instead, they have these disks that you sit on that drag you up the mountain. I felt pretty silly, but at least you don’t have to worry about falling on top of the person next to you when you exit the lift.

After my 4 hours were up, I headed back to the hotel and decided to walk around the town. Apres Ski is a huge thing here. Every bar/hotel has some kind of après ski special and they are all packed. Everyone is in their ski outfits huddled around drinking Vin Chaud (heated wine) or hot chocolates. I found a cute little pub that was run by some Australians, so talked to them for a while. I was starving, so was trying to head back to the hotel, but kept walking by bars that looked way too fun to not stop in. I stopped into a bar with a live band. They were French, but doing covers of Nine Inch Nails and Stevie Wonder. At one point, the lead singer dressed in all leather, started line dancing to NIN. Everyone loved it and I was trying hard not to laugh. I left and at this point, was ready for bed. I had some salami and crackers and yogurt at the hotel, so did that for dinner and passed out. As silly as it sounds, I bought a Swiss Army Knife in Geneva, so was excited to finally use it with the salami. Those suckers are sharp. I ended up slicing my thumb with it also. Not too bad, but definitely took a while to stop it from bleeding.

Sigh……

Day 2 of skiing was intense. Again, I was told to go to another mountain that was perfect for beginners like me and that was walkable. Yes, it’s walkable, but carrying around everything was intense. The mountain was much better than Savoy. Much more difficult and a couple more lifts I could handle. I was hoping to get a lesson, but the office computer was broken, so they couldn’t fit me in. This is small town ski business. If a computer doesn’t work, then there is no backup. The lady packed up to go home. Fascinating. I ended up just skiing on my own which was just fine. I was doing great. Skied a couple hours. Got some lunch. Went back and skied some more. Felt great! Just as I was getting the nerve to try the harder run, BAM, I fell. Flat on my stomach. This always happens. I start feeling very confident, my body doesn’t agree and gives me a reality check on my skiing ability. No idea why I like it so much as I’m really not that good.

After 5 hours of straight skiing, I called it a day and headed back to the hotel. I’m absolutely beat. I’m trying to get the courage to go out, but my room is just so cozy and every muscle in my body hurts. I forgot how much exercise skiing actually is!


Church in town center

Mont Blanc

My hotel

Funny ski lifts

Part of town center


Funny ski lift
video

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