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!