The PA family Portes du Soleil ski trip 2020

Piste Again

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Jul 27, 2000
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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:
2020-01-02 12.59.10.jpg


Mt Blanc, F21 and BF:
2020-01-06 14.57.04.jpg
2020-01-06 15.18.37.jpg
2020-01-06 15.27.06.jpg
20200106_152311.jpg


Holy crap, I love this place!!!
 

Ozgirl

Part of the Furniture
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Jul 5, 2007
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Oh wow! I'm sorry PA.

There's a few of us on the forums that were newly single in 2019!!

And gosh what a decision.

But my new favourite should help you just say "that's future PA problem" and enjoy the next two weeks!! Nothing has to be decided right now!
 

DidSurfNowSki

One of them
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Jan 19, 2014
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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 character assassination 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.
FIFY ;) All part of the play book. Move on, enjoy the time with your kids. Money and stuff is exactly that, money and stuff.

BTW the position of world's worst person is currently occupied, you can only aspire to be the world's 2nd worst person. :p
 

Piste Again

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Jul 27, 2000
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Thanks for the positive thoughts, all. My new ladyfriend has been gold and the emotional soft landing has taken the sting out of the situation. I have to be honest and say that the home situation was sufficiently toxic for most of the year that I was already in the early stages of getting involved with her when +1 left back in October, so I've come through pretty unscathed.

The time with my kids has been great and the Portes du Soleil is a real treat. Each of the individual resorts has its own different feel. We've skied Roc d'Enfer a couple of times, Les Gets a couple of times and did a big tour of Avoriaz, Champery and Les Crosets the other day. The lift ride back to Avoriaz up the Swiss Wall is good fun watching people navigate moguls taller then they are on a seriously steep run. A couple of people fell and a couple of them slid hundreds of metres before stopping - definitely not a run for the faint of heart. Not many ski runs have their own Wikipedia page!

The warm conditions meant that the usual Swiss sheet ice was lovely and soft and the crowds have been way better than we've had in past seasons. I think the locals are staying away - snow snobs!!!

Today was Les Gets. Unfortunately it was also accident-prone day with F21 misjudging her speed into the ticket reader and dislocating her shoulder, something that happens 3 or 4 times a year and she knows how to pop it back in, but she was in a bit of pain for a while there. Then on the way back BF caught an edge on a narrow run and landed in a ditch about two metres lower than the run after about 6 or 8 metres airborne. He was lucky to find a patch of soft snow to land in and went between two trees and just missed a small creek, so it could've been a lot worse.

Tomorrow is Chatel and Morgins. We might head over to Praz de Lys sometime as well - has anybody skied there and is it worth the extra drive?
 

Piste Again

Part of the Furniture
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Jul 27, 2000
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Have always liked your handle pic with a Fender bass

It's a 1995 (or maybe 96) Japanese Fender Jazz. I couldn't afford a US one at the time but it does a great job. I thought about upgrading it a few years back but it sounds just as good as the new ones - it really growls when I need it to!
 
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gareth_oau

Pool Room
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Dec 27, 2008
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Something about closing doors and opening windows?

Though I’m not sure how your new friend would like being compared to a window LOL.

If ever I was in a similar situation I’m not sure if I would just take a punt on someone willing to give snow a bash. Her application would require a full CV of all of her snow skillset and previous experience and achievements LOL

enjoy the holiday and the future
 
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Legs Akimbo

Grumblebum
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Mar 3, 1999
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CG was put through a ski test. This is 100% the truth & she will corroborate.
Did you pass?

The first time I skied with my ex was at Jackson Hole. I was with a group, only a couple of whom I knew well. One of the strangers who saw us together asked for how long we had skied with each other. It was our first run. Kismet.
 

Piste Again

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If ever I was in a similar situation I’m not sure if I would just take a punt on someone willing to give snow a bash.

A few days before heading over here I was sorting a problem for some long-time customers of mine, very keen skiers both of them. The first question was "can she ski" LOL.

She's seen snow, having lived in Canada for a while, but that's it. She found the cold terrible, but looking at her photos I can see why. Gloves would've been a good idea for starters, let alone some proper warm clothes! I might take her to Thredbo for a few days this winter and see how it goes, but I will definitely let someone else teach her. She's 47, which probably isn't a good start, though I first tried skiing at 43 so you never know. I will have to be willing to let it go if she doesn't like it though, I can see how it could be a deal-breaker. I'll just have to go with my kids instead. I can still spend 48 or 49 weeks a year with her!
 

Piste Again

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3 days of skiing to go. The stack count is me (0), F21 (0), M13 (1) and BF (we think 21 but have lost count)

We shouldn't laugh too much. We were all there once, but he's had a couple of spectacular ones off the side of runs and 3 of them have been trying not to clean up the person in front. Each time that's been me so now I make him ski in front, that way I can take photos and help him out of ditches.

2020-01-16 14.02.14.jpg
2020-01-09 13.29.38.jpg
 

Piste Again

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The tree run locks a bit dense! :whistle:

LOL the first was a 2-lane road and the second was 20+ metres wide. They were only tree runs if you stacked if off the edge of the groomer. Which he managed. 3 times so far.

That's what happens when you mix 3 skiers with 10, 17 and 24 years experience respectively with a 21 year old male who has been skiing 3 times and is trying to keep up with his GF who could probably be an instructor. To his credit, he's doing red runs faster than me now, but I am more than 3x his age and rather more respectful of the consequences.

That's why we cut him some slack. But not a lot...
 
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