Friday, February 8, 2013

Baguettes and skis

Skiing in the Alps has been on my list for a while. So when Rachel, an American in Basel (friend of my dear best friend) and married to a French man, called me up and asked if we wanted to go skiing with them--I didn't even let her finish the question. Yes. Of course! I was so excited. The funny part is that I haven't skied in like 16 years. But whatever, right? I was sure it's like riding a bike. And we also had zero ski apparel, so we borrowed from friends (thank you!). Our outfits weren't the coolest on the slopes, but we're passed that.

We flew into Geneva and had a few hours to kill before meeting Rachel. I hate to say it, but Geneva didn't really impress me too much. I mean the prices of course were impressive. The old town was really cute. The Palais was locked up real well. But the flags were cool! And the chair was...big. Interesting.

Rachel's husband Romain picked the three of us up at the fancy schmancy Intercontinental--where, no joke, a cup of tea was $12. Seriously. We jammed our stuff into the car and headed out. Along with us was Katie, another American and engaged to a Swiss boy. The three of us girls in the back got along like a house on fire. It was non-stop chatter, all five hours. At one point, I totally forgot there were other people in the car, or even that we were in a car. It was so much fun!

After too much traffic, a pit stop to get ingredients for raclette, across the boarder to France, and up a windy road to the 1600m point, we were finally at the chalet. Yes, people, a chalet. It was super cozy and quaint, I felt immediately at home. Even though it was 10pm, we were hungry and itching for some red wine. And raclette. I love raclette.

The next morning, I got up a bit early and went out for a walk. It was cold, but not too bad (20ºF). We then had some breakfast and got ready for the slopes. Our outfits rocked (not), but Romain beat us all. He totally strutted his dad's 80s apparel and even some Dynamic skiis straight from 1983. Sweet.

It turns out skiing is like riding a bike. I struggled a little but felt pretty good. The amazing vistas of Mont Blanc helped. So incredible! The best part of the day was realizing how good a skier my dear husband is. We've never skied together and I was so impressed with his elegance and athleticism on those two popsicle sticks. He made it look so easy!

After about 3 hours of skiing (like tackling half of one part of one mountain) we all gathered at Le Chalet, a restaurant tucked into the mountain. For those curious, this image will give you a sense of the area. 

We ate a huge meal of cheese, potatoes, meat and more cheese (and plenty of local wine, this is France!) and were the last table out of the restaurant. It was only 3:30pm. Still about an hour until aprèsski, the after-ski party. The post-lunch skiing was fantastic and we wound up at another tucked away bar for the aprèsski. My only thoughts of aprèsski consist of this image, an image I used for a themed party in grad-school. It was a success. As was this one. The talk of the party was Romain's outfit. Obviously.

After the aprèsski we skied down the mountain (the only way down!) and stopped at the grocery store for dinner ingredients. We made a lovely spaghetti bolognese with local sausages and salad. Delish. That night, the girls decided it was a great idea to stay up til 3am drinking wine and gabbing. Well, it was a fabulous idea, except for the getting-up-at-9am part. We had a splendid time though. Just epic really.

 The second day on the slopes was less sunny but equally lovely. Rachel and I took it easy on the 'blues' and had the hardest time finding our way to the lunch spot. But we finally found it and ate our hearts out. Another delicious meal. 

After another bit of skiing, we headed to a spa for some very-needed relaxation. It was a gorgeous place and our muscles appreciated the break. When our time was up, we went back to the chalet. We enjoyed some soup and a bit more raclette. Can't get enough. Then it was sleepy time. 

In the morning we cleaned up the place, returned our skiis (despite the 6-inches of fresh powder out there), bought a few baguettes, and loaded up the car. We hit the road at 12:30pm--a little late. Our flight was at 3:30pm. The car ride was very exciting, to say the least. We got to the airport at 3:08pm and still made it with plenty of time. Good-byes were hasty, and I left my pocket camera in the car, but we made it back to Amsterdam safe and sound. 

Nothing short of an epic weekend. I can't wait to reunite sometime soon--maybe in June?! We'll be in need of some Mediterranean sun (and more baguettes) for sure. 

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