The start of a road trip is kind of exciting; loading your equipment into the car, packing the snacks and striking out for ski slopes new is great fun. The promise of fresh new slopes to explore, the possibility of a softer, lighter type of snow than you might get back home, it all gets to a travel itch that you’ve been waiting to scratch.
Even when 90% of the journey is motorway, there’s something about a road trip…
It takes one day of dawn-til-dusk driving, or two casual days and an overnight stay in an armpit town along the way to reach the Spanish Pyrenees from the Geneva end of the French Alps. It would be roughly three hours less than that if your home mountain was closer to the Grenoble end of the range, but it’s going to take you a while either way.
That’s the journey I just took. Honestly, it’s brought some good memories back. Mind you, it’s also reminded me of the pitfalls you tend to encounter.
On any given ski town road trip, you’ll encounter at least one of the following:
1. Your slightly old, battered car will suffer a non-lethal injury part way there. It’ll limp the rest of the way, and then immediately be sent to a garage to recover from the strain. You’ll spend your entire time in the new ski town learning the bus timetable instead.
2. One or more roads along your route will be unexpectedly closed, leading to unforeseen divergences and some very sketchy alternatives (complete with terrifying switchback turns)
3. One of your group will have forgotten an integral piece of kit, and you’ll add an extra hour or two onto your drive when you go back and get it. Everybody in the car will hate that person for the rest of the journey (damnit Simon, we could’ve been there by now!)
4. You’ll fail to notice a speed camera, or you’ll just get caught completely unaware of what speed you’re supposed to be doing, and you’ll get a ticket. You’ve almost always been driving for hours by this point, so you care significantly less than you otherwise would.
5. You’ll stop in a dubious looking location along the way, chosen by someone who didn’t do as much research into the trip as they perhaps should’ve. You’ll all be concerned about getting robbed, largely because your car is home to the sum total of about four years of your annual income.
Nothing will happen because everything you own, including the car, is held together by gaffa tape and hope. Such is the life of a travelling ski bunny.