Archive for March, 2010

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‘Girls on the Run’

March 17, 2010

Lorraine came for a second visit of the winter to Chalet Margaritka. This one was a touch more eventful than the first, which made sense because this time she brought the GALS.

Having got their ski legs on the first day we ventured into Switzerland on day 2, descending down the wonderful ‘Grand Paradis’ run to Champery. Of course, on the way down we had to stop off at the traditional Swiss Buvette for one of their spectacular hot chocolates. We went inside because it was too cold. However, before we exited the cloud had lifted producing this magnificent shot of the ‘Dents du Midi’ (Mid Teeth). It is always worth making this descent for the spectacular views of these mountains (Not forgetting the delicious hot chocolate!!).

Having had a few, relaxing drinks in the chalet the previous evening. Spirits were high as we set out on a tour of the ‘Portes Du Soleil’ circuit on day 3. Alas, as we descended into Switzerland from the ‘Pointe De Mossette’ the cloud cover began to become more intense. Seema, distracted by the majestic beauty of the ski host failed to make the important final turn high above ‘Les Crosets’ and ended up in the security netting. Given some firm instructions (DON’T MOVE) and a helping hand by said host, she was soon on her feet again and luckily did not notice the sheer drop which lay the other side of the fencing. Well, not until we got around the other side having descended a bit further. She took it well – all smiles and calm, philosophical reflection.

Having taken the chair before Champoussin upto ‘Pointe de L’Au’ we were high above Morgins. Alas, by now the weather had deteriorated with little visibility and, worse, a vicious wind blowing in our faces. We were to descend the new ‘Didier Defago’ piste named after the new Olympic Downhill Champion who hails from the village. One could feel the girl’s apprehension (Which way now Glyn?) as the conditions on the mountain changed dramatically. Luckily, I don’t think anyone had noticed that the colour of the poles on the side of the piste seemed to be a touch darker than brown in shade ie. black. (Typical, I thought the piste map had definitely said red). Tentatively, down we went feeling the snow and the bumps with our knees. Then over she went. I looked up to see Lorr hurtling towards me spread eagle, face first in the snow. God knows how she managed to get herself into such a position (definitely not in the Kama Sutra) but there was one thing for certain. There was no way she was going to get her edges in to stop her descent on what was a fairly steep, windswept slope. I had a split second to make a decision.

So I moved into her path and just before contact; jumped on her!! We both continued to slide until I managed to get my edges in bringing the ‘express train’ slowly to a halt. I looked up to see the other members of the entourage looking in disbelief, with their mouths gawking with shock at what they had just witnessed. But it did save the day – What a hero!! Didier Defago would have been proud.

A well-earned and shall we say fairly, leisurely lunch was enjoyed at the atmospheric ‘Cafe Des Sports’ when we reached Morgins. A few laughs were also enjoyed by all over the morning’s eventful experiences.

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GROUP psychology at it’s best!!

March 9, 2010

Cosmopolitan, modern - An Eclectic Bunch

In late January, John and his group from all over Europe arrived at the Chalet on the pretext that it was his 40th birthday. Turned out this was actually over a month away. Any excuse to have a good time and a few drinks. 

What can you say? It was literally, a memorable weekend littered with firsts. The guys were the first to go into Morzine for the evening, the first to lose the taxi numbers they had been given and proceeded to be the first to have to walk back to the chalet from ‘Le Paradis’ nightclub (near the Mairie for those who know Morzine). It appeared the next morning that they were also the first to lose one of their number. One went missing in action but sightings (or lack of them to be precise of macho Italians rather than talkative Geordies ) were difficult to confirm since most found arising from their slumbers a tad difficult to achieve. We couldn’t understand why – it only took them over an hour to make it to the chalet on foot (via various GPS consultations on their I-phone) at 4 or 5, in the morning!

Oh what perfect turns; Must have been a good teacher!

However, the rewards for the brave were awesome. Look at these turns amongst the more novice skiers, after expert guidance via Glyn!!  Colin, Paul, Paul and Leigh’s skiing all developed immeasurably during their brief time at the chalet.  All were skiing beautiful parallel turns by the end of their weekend, (well on the gentler blues, definitely!! Another first!!). Let’s not dwell on Martin’s experience who was the first to throw in the towel after a mere 15 minutes on snow, and then became the first to fly home early. One consolation, he missed the Saturday night experience. (Maybe, he was the sensible one and saw the writing on the wall after Tommo and Paul, the irrepressible Geordies and self nominated, alternative, non skiing team joint leaders; were the first to arrive from Newcastle).

John, the party leader and erstwhile 40th birthday boy having lost his skiing partner (Nick the Scouse) to ‘Slumberland’ had the privilege of skiing the morning with Alex, our  7.5 year old son. Yes, just the two of them, definitely a first! Otherwise known as the ‘Tsar of Wales’ (for obvious reasons if you’ve read our website).  He had an interesting morning following the ‘Tsar’ down the very bumpy, off-piste; a perfect way to clear his head and brush off a few cobwebs.

Views from the chalet across the valley

Just in case any of you out there were wondering where the chalet is located given the boys’ Saturday evening escapade. Yes, it is out of the centre of Morzine but the views are stunning. Colin made a play to take the photographic FIRST prize with this shot to go with his most improved skier accolade. He really captures the sense of space which you get at the chalet.

Entertaining weekend boys. See you next time.
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Make your Ski Performance Breakthrough

March 5, 2010
BASS Advantages headerWhen you see someone skiing smoothly, freely and simply, even in complex circumstances, you know that they have tuned into something special.
Great skiers literally have the freedom to create the solutions as they go along.

They earn that freedom by developing accuracy and skill with the key elements of skiing and by blending those elements into a sophisticated, coordinated whole, that fits into their environment.

Want to know more contact glyn@chaletmargaritka.com and I’ll put you in touch with BASS Morzine, or contact them directly:  morzine@britishskischool.co 

Also, check out the videos on BASS TV:

www.britishskischool.com/performance_breakthrough/blog.htm

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They came, they saw, they conquered!!

March 5, 2010

We picked Mark and his team up at Geneva airport. To say that we were a little surprised they were all 40+ boarders was an understatement. It didn’t help that our short wheel based Trafic; meant fitting all the modern, wheely bags (for boards)  in plus their goodselves was a trifle tricky but we managed somehow! Who invented those bloody wheely bags?

They demanded powder but what they got was steep, bumpy, variables. A speciality served up often in the ‘Portes Du Soleil’ and not for the feint hearted, especially if you are on a board. But these guys were definately ‘gung ho’ and new how to use their snowboards in the off-piste. We dropped off the side of Rosa and Ranfoilly in Les Gets. Howard and Keith took one look at the steep, undulating terrain and thought better of it but then group psychology and peer pressure took over – in they went. ”The next bit through the trees is quite tricky, let me go and have a look first” caused much mirth given we were already two thirds of the way down some, very variable terrain.

They also weren’t too impressed when someone suggested a drag needed to be taken to avoid the boarder’s private nightmare – long, flat terrain. ”Get a piste map” was the cry when it became obvious the draglift venture (boarder’s second nightmare) had been totally unnecessary. My only defence it’s not always easy to work out what’s good for a boarder when you are a skier.

The next day some took themselves off to explore the board park in Avoriaz. However, the hard core remained in search of  what the French call ‘La Poudreuse’. High above Lindarets, to the left of the ‘Chaux Fleurie’ chair as you descend from Chatel Linga paradise was found for Mark, Mark and Howard as they cut some big, beautiful curves in soft, still fresh snow.

There was a small incident with a tree which we wont dwell on. Will we, Howard? And some interesting navigation was needed around a stream as we re-entered civilisation close to the Lindarets lifts. But it was all worth it for those few metres of the ‘White stuff’!!

See you next year guys. (I hope!)

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Skiing on TOP of the WORLD

March 2, 2010

Bob and the Boys (Alan & John) visited Chalet Margaritka in early February (the snow was fantastic) and proceeded to ski all over the ‘Portes Du Soleil’ with great aplomb. Grand Paradis, Chamossiere, Super Chatel, Morgins, the ‘world was their oyster’. But these shots taken from the ‘Point de Nyon’, high above Morzine possibly emphasise what skiing is all about and why we love it so much! We felt like we were on ‘Top of the World’ and for those Steve Miller aficionados out there the boys said ”it was like being able to Fly like an Eagle’. What do you mean; whose Steve Miller? Soon after we were soaring high above the clouds as we ski’d some of the trails in between the piste as it winds its way down into Nyon. 

That evening the adventures and views of the day were discussed around the log fire in the chalet, enjoying a tipple or two and sampling the sounds of ‘Steve Miller’ amongst others in Glyn’s retro vinyl collection. A perfect day in the Alps!! 

I know, I know but it is a magnificent shot and deserves to be seen by all.