You, Me and Teddy

Parenting adventures and activities in and around Neuchâtel, Switzerland.


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Sun, Snow and Skiing (and a little sadness)

Hello, we are finally back after a couple of weeks in the Alps.

We were very lucky with the weather as it was mainly sunny for our whole stay and I was able to do a fair bit of ski touring up on the glaciers in between getting E comfortable on skis.

This post is going to be more of a photo gallery as I thought I’d share with you some of the beautiful sights we saw along the way.

The first photos you can see here were taken on my outing up the Glacier de Gébroulaz in the Vanoise National Park. That day was seriously windy and so they shut the chairlift which normally takes you to near the top of Glacier leaving you an hour’s skinning up to start of your run. This meant that we had to walk up the piste too in order to get there. The wind kept us cool during the climb and deterred many others from joining us so we had a beautifully clear run down.

Glacier de Gébroulaz decente

I loved looking at the spectacular ice pleats on the glacier. I had a Guide with me to make sure that we are safe and stayed well away from the crevasses but even in this image you can sense some of respect we had to treat the glacier with.

Glacier de Gébroulaz views

On our way down to our next climb: After the Gébroulaz we headed across to climb back up to 3153m and go down the Glacier du Borgne which you can see just the top of right in the middle.

View from the Glacier de Gébroulaz

That was my biggest hiking day but we did spend most of the time as high as we could as the valley was starting to look distinctly green.

La Masse

Here is the Bouquetin statue up at the top of La Masse. The Bouquetin is a type of Ibex and is the logo of Les Menuires.

Les Menuires Bouquetin (La Masse 2804m)

We went on another off piste adventure along the corniche by the Pointe de La Masse in order to do a descent down the Vallon du Lou.

Pointe de la Masse Pointe de la Masse corniche

Many people forget how stunning the mountains are in the summer too and most are pretty well sign posted for hiking. It always feels a bit odd though coming across a sign post up at the top of a mountain.

Walk in La Masse?

We came across a little Cairn (a man made pile of stones to guide travellers) before we did our final climb.Cairn at the top of La Masse Cairn and the valley

The snow was starting to melt fast towards the end of our stay and little streams started to spring up out of the rocks.

Melting snow

Rivers forming

E’s confidence on skis grew as the week progressed and she very excitedly came on trips to restaurants in different valleys. We are very much gourmet skiers in Les 3 Vallées and lunch is as much a part of the experience as the skiing. My favourite restaurant in the world is based in Saint Marcel in the Belleville Valley. It is called La Bouitte and we have been going there for over 20 years. Originally it was a very simple but excellent Savoyard family restaurant but over the past 10 years or so the father and son duo have been working on more innovative and creative dishes. The little restaurant has been expanded and a hotel built and they now have 2 Michelin stars. They have kept the relaxed mountain charm though: the dress code is mountain wear and slippers and even my mad little girl was made very welcome.

Towards the end of the week the skies clouded but I did snap the giant Bulldog at the top of Courchevel for you before we left.

Top of Saulire (2700m)

Unfortunately our week had to end on a sad note as we headed off to Haute Savoie. If you haven’t guessed my family is into skiing in a fairly major way. My grandparents were skiers and took my father and his little sister skiing from young age. My aunt passed away very suddenly at the end of last year and her wish was that her ashes be scattered at the top of Les Grands Montets in the Chamonix Valley.

It looked to be a miserable day for a sad task but as we got to the top the clouds parted and we found ourselves on a beautiful sea of cloud.

Aiguille des Grands Montets (3295m) Grands Montets

View from Les Grands Montets

Once again we had a qualified mountain guide (also a family friend) to take us onto the Argentière Glacier to remain safe. The glacier changes daily and snow bridges formed can be deceptive.

The clouds opening

 

I understand completely why she would want to be scattered in such a beautiful place.

Glacier d'Argentière

So we left my aunt to complete her final descent of the mountain and continued on to complete ours.sea of snow

The ice is stunning but frightening as you ski past huge cracks, pleats and shards.

ice shards

The glaciers in Chamonix are a different league to the 3 vallées ones.Ice crumpling under the weight of the glacier

Here you can see the foot of the glacier crumbled under its own weight.The foot of the glacier

 

It was a holiday filled with experiences and moments I will never forget.

I hope you have made yourselves some happy memories over the holidays and I look forward to our next adventures.

 

 

 

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Lauberwhat?

So as I mentioned this weekend I was pretty quiet as I was off in Grindlewald watching the Lauberhorn Race.

lauberhorn ticketThe Lauberhorn is the mountain between Grindelwald and Wengen in the Bernese alps. The actual race is one of the oldest downhill races in the world and is know for being particularly picturesque.

We had some beautiful weather on the day we arrived but the rest of the weekend wasn’t so great.

Mountains & tree Mountains

Unfortunately on the day of the race the start position was changed at the last minute leading to delays as it was seriously windy up at the top. However the atmosphere was something else which made up for the miserable weather. The Swiss are a hugely patriotic nation but not in the way that I feel we do it as Brits (eg with the whole “2 World Wars and one World Cup” style chant). Anyone is welcome to join in with the cheering and everyone gets a cheer (albeit it a lesser one if they have bumped a Swissie off the top spot).

swiss flags

Despite the wind there were some pretty amazing aircraft acrobatics going on:

aerobatics

Oh and I just have to share some fantastic picnic apparel too! The Swiss will really do fondue anywhere:

fondue

The locals were all pretty chuffed as a Swiss claimed the title for the downhill. My photos didn’t come out too well but I did get a good shot of this US team member on the big screen:

us team

We had a lovely time although I did really miss the kids but we were kept up to date with their various antics by email and SMS. The kids obviously missed us too however I am not sure if E was happier to see the flag we brought back for her or us.

Once we got back though I started planning our next activity inspired by our weekend. It’s currently drying so I’ll fill you in tomorrow.

Hope you all had a great weekend too.

mountains setting