New year, new mutations, new lockdowns
There's always reblochon to help us get through
It's been a while since posting. Mainly as I've been busy renovating a chalet in Les Allues - chef lieu of Méribel. But also as there hasn't been a great deal of news to report about the opening of ski lifts.
Ben, last night we received official confirmation from Matignon, the Premier Ministre's residence, that lifts will remain closed for the whole of February. It comes as not much of a surprise to us up in the mountains. Given the spread of new and more virulent variants of the coronavirus, borders closing again, and lockdowns and curfews aplenty, it hardly seems appropriate to encourage tens of thousands of revellers to flood from around Europe to small mountain villages. Talk about a super spreading event.
We also heard news yesterday of mass police raids and arrests in Austrian ski resorts, where would-be skiers have smuggled themselves across borders to get some clandestine powder action, only to be quarantined, and fined for their naughtiness.
Enjoying the wonder of the mountains without skis on
I think we can safely say that this season is a bit of a write off for downhill skiing. But not all lost. For those who are legally permitted*, there is still so much to enjoy in the mountains at this time of the year, and Méribel for one remains open to visitors. And this is the silver lining in all of this madness around us. Flying down a mountain at 50kph while downhill skiing isn't exactly conducive to mindfully taking in the view. Personally, I have enjoyed getting to know the mountains in winter in my racquets (snow shoes), and I've also tried my hips and gluts at a bit of ski de fond (cross-country). This is a whole new way to enjoy the fresh mountain air, and to experience the magnificence and splendour of the region, at a more gentle pace. There are also plenty of people out tobogganing and skating. And for the fit and experienced, ski-touring is possible (and yes, the pistes are still groomed for your descent) - but beware of the current avalanche risk... and wait for the all clear from the ski station.
Hiking with friends is still very much allowed !
For those craving ski action, let's focus our hopes on 2022. Perhaps plan on taking two weeks rather than just one, to make up for lost time this season! Enquires and bookings are already coming in for accommodation across all of the villages of the Méribel resort for next year, so get in quick. Most chalets and hotels are offering flexible cancellation policies and protection from Force Majeur cancellations (including due to Covid-19).
So I'll end with a shameless plug for Chalet LA1150, my own project and new offering to the self-catered chalet rental market. Take a look at the fruits of my labour and vous êtes les bienvenus ! Bookings now coming in for 2022, so get in quick.
Life is good here, with or without downhill skiing.
*Generally speaking, "legally permitted" means you can travel to the mountains only within the same country you are resident. It goes without saying - check the latest rules before you travel.