It's been an interesting year for me and the family: My partner of almost 30 years had enough of me and left - can't say I blame her really when I sat through the personality assessment she gave me. I don't entirely agree with it but when the relationship gets to that stage there's not a lot of use arguing the point. F21 is about to get engaged to her BF of 16 months - he's been living with her at our place for most of the year anyway so that makes sense. He's a nice guy and I think she's done well. He has about 2 weeks of total snow riding over a long period, skiing and boarding, so suffice to say we've had a lot of entertainment at his expense so far this trip. M13 started high school and has survived his first year unscathed. And I got the best Xmas present I could hope for, I met and have recently moved in with a lovely lady 19 years my junior. She doesn't (yet) ski. I would love her to learn but there's no way I am risking the relationship by attempting to teach her! That is something I am happy to pay someone else to do. So in the end the family ski trip ended up being me, F21 and BF, and M13. We flew out of Sydney at 9.45pm on new years eve and lobbed into our French place about 2.30am on January 2nd Sydney time. 30 hours total travel time door-to-door, and about 3 hours sleep on the plane after a whole day awake. Needless to say we all felt seriously buggered on arrival, and then had to deal with jetlag that still hasn't let go. So we arrived in St Jean d'Aulps to find great snow up high and very little or none at all at lower altitudes. We are in the northern Alps, pretty much due east of Geneva and 48km due north of Mt Blanc. There is a blocking high off Spain which isn't predicted to move for a week or two, so there's very little new snow on even the long range forecasts and meanwhile further East they are getting a lot more. So we were a bit worried to see that a lot of the lower runs looked a bit like Dream Run at Thredbo after a warm month. To boot, we're used to the thermometer on our balcony reading between -10 and -15 in the mornings, this week it's been more like 0 or -2. The surprising thing is that the snow a little higher is actually really good, if a little thin in places. The Europeans seem to like their pistes packed down so it's dust-on-crust, but the warmer temperatures have meant that in a lot of places the snow is actually soft to enough of a depth that it's actually great fun to ski on. Not quite hero snow but enough loose powdery stuff to a sufficient depth for the edges not to not hit the ice underneath. But of course, then you ski into the shade and it's often golf balls and tennis balls, so I wouldn't say it's ideal everywhere. Our local ski hill (Roc d'Enfer) is normally all open at this time of year but the lower slopes are all closed. We had a few warm-up days there to let BF get his ski legs (and to have a few good chuckles at his expense), and once he could deal with the icy bits on the red runs we have ventured further afield to Les Gets and Avoriaz. To our great pleasure, the less than perfect conditions have meant that the slopes that are normally busier than Pitt St Mall at lunchtime, crowded and literally dangerously so, are actually manageable and safe. Today we skied over to Les Crosets in Switzerland and the snow there was the most skiable I've experienced in 4 seasons of coming here. There's bugger-all snow in the forecast for the next 2 weeks and the temps are a bit marginal for snowmaking at lower altitudes, but up high it's holding up well. So I have another 2 weeks here before heading back to the heat and bushfire smoke in Sydney. In the meantime I get to ski on some lovely snow with my kids amongst some gorgeous scenery while getting fat and lazy manging le fromage and le pain and bouvanting le vin. Life could be a lot worse! So now my heart is torn - do we sell the apartment here as part of the property settlement or do I keep it? My head says sell, my heart says keep. Some pics. The 2020 crew: Mt Blanc, F21 and BF: Holy crap, I love this place!!!