It’s been a while since I last posted anything, and there’s a good reason for that, I promise. The ski season in Chamonix is over (excuse me while I take a minute to process…), and all the departures and closing day events have me avoiding my computer. I’m normally a fairly early departure by end-of-season standards, so staying to the end’s been a bit of a trip.
It’s true. Earlier this week, the last open ski runs on the mountain closed.
Now, that’s sad enough at any time, but it’s especially gut wrenching when it comes on a day when it’s snowing so hard that they have to close the top lift early. French labour laws don’t leave much in the way of end of season wiggle room it seems, so closing dates aren’t flexible in the same way that they are in the US. Much to our collective dismay.
We did get a few good spring days in before everything shut, so it wasn’t like this spring was a write off. There were even a couple of perfect bluebird days to be had through April. Sadly, none of that changes the fact that the resort is now firmly into inter season, and everything is shut.
Now, you might be thinking that when I say ‘everything’ I mean all the ski lifts. Not so; the bars and restaurants are closing, specialised shops have been shut for a while now. Almost everyone is working limited hours, and there’s really only climbing and hiking to occupy those of us who are still living here now that Chamonix is operating at a reduced capacity. Luckily, I happen to quite like both of those activities.
Still though, you think the end of season blues are bad when you pack up at the end of April? It’s somehow so much worse when you stay until the bitter end. You’d be surprised how much time you can waste by lamenting the fact that the mountain closed before it was absolutely necessary.
Still though, at least hiking and climbing both tend to be better exercise than downhill skiing. At least I’ll be in good shape when the time comes to get back onto my skis; I’ll need it if I want to get myself into touring next winter. The locals tell me it’s the only way to get to the good snow in this valley. In the mean time, I’ll be saving my pennies to make sure next season is as awesome as I can make it (without winning the lottery, that is).
I’ll be honest; I’ve already started counting down the days until next winter. I don’t know about you, but as far as I’m concerned this summer cannot go fast enough.