Being in the Alps doesn’t just have to be about the skiing and the apres-ski, although those things are GREAT. It’s also about exploring the mountains and trails on foot or just taking in the atmosphere.
A trip to Piessey-Vallandry last week saw me as a foot passenger on the Vallandry Chair lift which goes just over 2 kilometres. Travelling on the chairlift sans-skis has seriously got to be one of the oddest things I’ve ever done. And by the time I’d got to the top I’d decided that if I had had some Valium it would have been good to take it before I got on the chair.
Simply put it’s a deeply strange feeling sitting on a ski chair, in Winter with snow and skiers all around you, minus your own skis. Feet dangling in the air. Getting on and off was pretty simple, just remember to pick and lift your feet off the ground when you get on. and as it’s arriving lift them up again until you are sure you can stand up. Then run/ jog your way off the chair. All at the same time as avoiding skiers.
At the top, find the nearest restaurant with a sun terrace, sup your demi-pression, take in the rays and the views. The views are spectacular.
So now for the return journey, take a deep breath, wait for a chair to come round, sit down, lift your feet well up off the ground (you don’t want to get them dragged under the chair and fall flat on your face), bring the bar down, and settle back in for the ride.
The ride down is a lot cooler that you’d imagine, a slight breeze, you travel through the trees and into the shade. But the view across the valley to the next mountain ridges is stunning, it’s mid afternoon, the sun is still out there, and there is plenty of snow. You watch the skiers coming up the mountain, singing, chatting, fiddling with their ski gear.
But because I’m not skiing, not all my lights are on today so i don’t have my gloves on, and my fingers start to get chilled to the bone. It’s bitter! It feels like minus ridiculous, but probably isn’t all that cold, if you are wearing your gloves. Thank goodness I did have my sunglasses on otherwise I’d be a streaming wreck by the time I get off in the centre of the station.
Enjoy the ride back down!
I started the fitness regime half heartedly in the summer, then after August Bank holiday it hit me only 3 months to go. In early December I will be packing up and heading off to the Alps for the ski season so it’s got to be down the gym 2 or 3 times a week to get fit. I don’t particularly like gyms but sometimes needs must, besides I like running and swimming less.
Best we get ourselves and some of the larger lardy parts of our anatomy into gear; when I say gear I don’t mean the latest gym gear, I am not talking Lycra frankly that doesn’t bear thinking about, no I am talking baggy sweatshirts and shorts well over the knee.
When I start something I like to get some advice and check out the latest information. I’ve got a load of questions; what are the best exercises for skiing – apart from actually skiing that is – how often do I have to do them, how much time do I have to commit to the fitness regime, what does “Tomorrows Nutrition Today” mean – do I have to eat my breakfast before I go to bed and if I do then wont I be hungry in the morning?
I think these dietary supplements must be for professional athletes who burn several thousand calories a day or people who spend soooooo much time in the gym they haven’t got the time to eat real food.
I figure I need to improve my stamina, gain some core strength and reduce body fat. So where do I go for information? Well as with everything else these days there seems to be a plethora of it; Fitness Magazines such as Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness etc, general fitness sites and ski sites with fitness articles / pages on the internet and personal trainers to name but a few sources, the problem seems to be sorting it into the good the bad and the downright silly.
Research here I come.