Well it had to happen eventually. Even the best seasons in the Alps start to wind up at around this time, and with the arrival of spring comes the onset of hay fever, warm weather and slush. Not that slush is really a bad thing; spring skiing is its’ own kind of fun, after all. It’s just a shame that this year it’s arriving side by side with the closing down of the resort for the off-season.
Yep, even a town like Chamonix turns into a scene from ’28 Days Later’ during May.
All the seasonal inhabitants of the town are heading off to spend their summers surfing, or sailing or working in a Mark Warner kids club. That leaves the full time residents to spend the down time in-between the end of the winter season, and the beginning of the summer with a whole lot more free time.
That goes double when you consider the sad fact that most of the ski lifts are starting to shut down, and the weather is still too temperamental to go all in on the summer activities. The indoor climbing walls are going to be seeing a whole lot of activity over the next few weeks.
So, since everything is winding down, why not take this chance to look back at the season?
It’s been a blinder.
Personally, this year I skied the Vallee Blanche a few times, saw fresh powder in the Spanish Pyrenees, and got more off-piste done than I’ve managed maybe ever before. It even snowed at Christmas, which was a surprise considering the last three years have been completely snowflake free.
Ok, I’ll admit that I didn’t quite get everything done that I meant to. I didn’t go to the US. I didn’t even end up going to La Grave, sadly. I’m pretty much patching my equipment with duct tape, and if I want to ski the really good lines I’ll almost certainly have to invest in a full touring set up. I still don’t know what I’m doing this summer.
What I do know though, is that I’ll be counting the days until next season. Also, I’m pretty sure I’ll cry on my last ski day of the winter. What? I’m sad that my last day on skis for the next six months is just around the corner. Sue me.
At least I’ll have the memories of this year to keep me going through the long slog towards next winter. That’ll have to do.