Snow covered mountains are the most incredible place to wake up. You wake up in the most gloriously warm room, pad over to the windows and throw open the curtains. The snow blinds you for a few seconds, but when your eyes adjust you see white. Clean, pure, white. You open the window and the breathtakingly crisp air fills the room reviving your body from a cosy-sleepy state. There’s no sign of people, no cars and not even the piste machine. It’s just dark blue skies, crisp white floors and silence. Utter silence.
After spending the previous day exploring ice-caves I was desperate to get back out on the slopes. The snow on La Plagne wasn’t the greatest and so I had decided to ski down to the cable car and cross over into Les Arcs to see what it was like on that side.
Due to it being unusually warm this winter the conditions were pretty horrific once I got to a lower altitude. Grass patches, sheets of ice and parts where it felt like I was skiing on gravel had me exhausted by the time I reached the bottom, and a trip down the mountain which usually takes 15-20 minutes, ended up taking an hour.
Les Arcs is somewhere I have skiied before, and the cable car across is usually the most serene trip you’ll take. Hovering hundreds of feet in the air as you cross a snow-topped valley really is the thing that postcards are made of, but this year if you only saw a photo you could have easily mistaken it for summer. Beautiful green mountains with only a dusting of snow on the peaks. The warmth may have made skiing a bit of a nightmare at times but my word it was beautiful to look at.
As I got out of the cable car and walked over to the first chair lift it was the most bizarre thing. Grass was everywhere with literally only the piste having snow on it. It was disorientating, but was only because I was so low in altitude. As I got higher the snow covered surfaces were a lot more expansive (luckily). It was strange because as I sat on the chair lift and gained height, I went past the chalet that I had stayed in on a previous trip and the difference in snowfall was noticeable. It makes you realise that global warming is happening, and whether it’s part of a natural cycle of the earth or just a fluke, this year you can see the differences occurring.
Just to the right of the chair lift was a platform with picnic benches over looking panoramic views of the valleys. So many people are scared to go skiing, but once you’ve experienced these views and the freedom you feel as you traverse your way alongside them, you’ll be hooked.
I pulled up a bench and sat snapping some pictures for a while before I noticed a group of people that had walked up the mountain. Yeah. Walked. UP. The. Mountain. I was baffled too. Why people walk thousands of metres up when there is a perfectly good chair lift available and they could ski down, baffles me, but apparently it’s actually a thing which many people enjoy. So I applaud their efforts.
I then ended up being group photographer for a nearby family because I just can’t resist helping people capture that holiday snap. I adore being able to look back at photos and hate it when I think “Oh I wish I captured this shot” so when I see people struggling to get a selfie with the background is, I can’t resist lending a helping hand.
I sat back admiring the views and indulging on a mini picnic of Daim Milka and partially frozen yumyums before making my way around the mountain. The snow was a lot softer on this side of the mountain and even though there were a few falls *ahem* I managed to get in some good runs and a few accidental jumps.
Eventually hunger struck so I skied over to a local cafe and had a bite to eat.
And yes, it really was as delicious as it looked.
After a good few hours on the mountain I started to make my way back to La Plagne before heading for some apres ski! And on the way home, the smell of freshly fried donuts, got me.
Do I care about gaining weight?
After that, it was back to the chalet for dinner. I honestly can’t tell you what my favourite part of this trip was. Sure the lack of snow was a total pain in the ass, but despite that I still managed to get in some good runs. Snow covered holidays are definitely one of my favourite ways to spend the winter.
But what about you? Are you a snow-bunny too? Or do you prefer to escape the cold for a little winter sun?