A high altitude resort with an excellent snow record, no queues, access to 400km of ski runs and a short transfer,  what more could you ask for a ski holiday. This year, 10 COPSErs headed to Montgenevre for our annual ski holiday, staying at the Les Rois Mages hotel. In Montgenevre, the skiing areas are adjacent to the main part of the resort so there was no need to get buses from the hotel to reach the snow. In fact, we had a chairlift directly opposite our hotel and within easy walking/ skiing distance there were other lifts, a brilliant beginners’ area and a drag lift going up 150m to a very wide slope that was a bit steeper than the “green” beginners slopes.
Barry, Deanne and I warmed up on these lower slopes then got the chairlift to explore the upper reaches of the mountain. By now the weather was beautiful with bright sunshine and lovely snow. William said later that he thought this was the best snow he had ever had on a COPSE ski trip.
On Wednesday, we had the option of being taken to an Italian mountain restaurant by skidoo and having a six course meal for dinner. Some of us opted for the mountain restaurant while the others decided to go and find a restaurant locally. Those opting for the mountain restaurant were taken by taxi to the nearby village of Claviere, just across the border in Italy. After a few minutes, the skidoo arrived towing a four seat trailer. As we boarded the trailer, we found that they hadn’t thought to clear the snow and ice off the seats. We tried to clear it off but we couldn’t shift the ice so had a slightly less comfortable ride than expected. One lucky person sat on the pillion seat of the skidoo. We set off at high speed into the dark up the piste with a freezing cold wind and icy behinds. Fortunately, the trip only took a few minutes and I was glad to see the restaurant loom into sight. The meal was very good and we were liberally supplied with wine which came in 1.5 litre bottles.
On Thursday, as a change from skiing, Barry, Keith, Sui and I went by bus to Briançon. It is the highest fortified town in Europe. We spent a few hours walking around and visiting the 18th century church and the old fortifications.
Friday was quite cold and windy and it was snowing in the morning. After doing a bit of skiing on the nearby practice slope, I walked with Barry to Claviere in Italy and had a pizza before walking back to Montgenevre in France. In the afternoon, I went up the the chairlift opposite the hotel for the last time and skied back down a green run that first goes through a forest on a gentle slope before turning right and descending to Montgenevre. This run ends in a dip before a final uphill slope. Getting to the top of the slope is a matter of allowing enough speed to build up in the dip to carry you up the hill. I never quite made it to the top of the hill as I never had quite enough nerve to let the skis go straight down soon enough on the last descent.
After dinner we returned all our ski equipment and prepared for an early start in the morning. Originally, our return flight was scheduled for Saturday evening but this got changed at the last minute to a morning flight meaning we had to leave the resort by 5:45am. We arrived at Turin airport with plenty of time to spare, having had a most enjoyable week.
Bob.