VERBIER – 26-30 November 2015 – Temperatures -12, fresh snow and empty pistes – BLISS… a better start to last season when it was warm and did not snow properly until Christmas eve!

26 November 2015 – Luton / Geneva with Easyjet as no flights yet from Stansted. We picked up a Fiat 500 which is a great car for midgets. Myself at the wheel accompanied by Joyce Reid/Peak ski – a Verbier veteran for over 30 years + Melissa in the back- many stories were shared about the last quarter of a century.

Sunrise and snow

We arrived in Verbier covered with snow and colder than -12 degrees C. So it was off to the Pub Mont Fort for their in-house burger, washed down by beer and dole blanche.

27 November 2015 – woke up to Crystal clear skies and a wonderful sunrise over the Mountainbeds after days of snow – trees creaking with the weight…

Sudden alarm – I discovered that my lack of skiing last year meant my kit was no longer in Verbier but tucked away at home. Much to Melissa’s horror, I had to dig out my 1980’s ski pants and top it off with my everyday fleece jacket.

Melissa had always vowed she would never be seen skiing with me in those ski pants in Verbier but after 10 years together I finally got my way and much to our amusement no-one even noticed!!! In my brand new atomic ski boots fitted by No1 and 35-year-old ski trousers, I never expected to be a trendsetter in fashion.

35 years old pants but new boots!
Sunset over Creblet

We worked most of the day then snuck up the mountain for a late ski at 3pm – empty pistes, cold air, fresh tracks galore – an epic start to the ski season and a wonderful sunset over Creblet on our way home.

Friday evening brought us down to earth with a cold shock – a quick trip to the agency to collect the key and open up Chalet Larzey for the Household Cavalry turned into an 18 hour challenge. The chalet temperature was -1 degrees C and when we turned up the radiators there was no improvement. Ice cubes dropped from the kitchen sink so we had a problem… keys to the boiler room were finally tracked down by about 8pm and we discovered the boiler had locked out/no hope of starting.

We sat shivering for about 45 minutes in the old chalet where Melissa had worked in 1990 and more recently arranged for the chalet to be used in the series Ladette to Lady. The trusty boilerman was called who fortunately managed to kick start the boiler and change the oil feed – My french plumbing vocab has definitely improved and we shut off the water keeping everythiing crossed that the chalet would defrost for the arrival of the cavalry at midday on Saturday. An 08.30 meeting with another plumber resulted in my discovery of a great swiss technique of defrosting pipes by passing an electric current through the pipework with a machine which looked like a small electric welder. This process worked BUT not completely…

When the ski team of the Household Cavalry arrived we still have frozen pipes and about 2 hours after we had a panic call to say that the kitchen was flooded and water was pouring into the downstairs bathroom -The trusty plumber returned to confirm that the plastic pipe to the dishwasher had burst and the dishwasher was now KAPUT… we had narrowly escaped a flood and the soldiers good humour saved the day and the good news is they will have a brand new dishwasher. NO skiing for us on Saturday.

Sunday 29th – A great morning ski before cramming in lots of chores for the rest of the day… Finished off by an evening walk under a clear night sky to a delicious dinner washed down by Dole Blanche at Le Rouge.

Melissa Skiing
Melissa Skiing

Monday 30th – After 28 years of skiing in Verbier, Melissa finally managed to get on the first lift in the morning and we were even there waiting for the gates to open.

We rattled up and down from Attelas/James Blunt chair 9 times on freshly corduroyed empty pistes till 10.30 – when the British army hit the slopes for their assessment it was time to evacuate – a fabulous morning and a great way to start the week.

It was very satisfactory to be back at our computers at 09.30 UK time!

AN EPIC START TO THE SEASON 2015-2016 – let’s hope it continues in the way it began.