Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cross Country Skiiing - One Time and One Time Only

My new profile picture says it all. I don't think we need to discuss the issue further...except I would like to note that the background of that picture is a hill. I thought cross-country skiing was across FLAT land. I will post the same picture at the bottom of this post since I don't intend for that to be my profile picture forever.

So moving right along past Day Three, on our final day in Chamonix, our group once again split up. The guys decided against another ski day and instead did the trip up to Aiguille du Midi. K. spent the day exploring town further and resting, and I took a cable car trip up the other side of the valley, using the Brevent lift. I found this to be far, far more terrifying than the Aiguille du Midi trip. That cable car was large and packed with people. Even though we could see just how high up we were, the snow beneath the car gave the illusion of a soft landing, and with all those bodies around, again, an illusion of safety...I might be able to bounce off of one them in the event of a disaster. Not so on the Brevent lift. It's a small, gondola type car which I had all to myself as we went up, up, up over a clear-cut path littered with spiky, tree stumps. There was just no place for my mind to go for reassurance of possible survival. I was quite breathless upon arrival at the top, especially as a paraglider went flying by at close range.

The day was sunny and incredibly warm at the top of the mountain. I roasted in a ski jacket and fleece pants, and the lounge chairs set up for folks to sit and sunbathe at the edge of the mountain made perfect sense. I was also intrigued by the number of people up at the top of the mountain walking their dog around the ski area. These were not patrol dogs, just regular people who apparently put their dog on the gondola and took him/her up for a little jaunt in the snow. But then, dogs were everywhere in Chamonix, even in nice restaurants and bars. France is clearly the place for me and Crazy Dog, but Crazy would have to learn some manners, like the French dogs have. Several of them even carried their own leashes! Meanwhile, back in Naples, our nutso ran away from his BFF's house when a maintenance man left the gate open. He apparently galloped about in a mud field somewhere, or perhaps just the gutters with all the other Neapolitan strays, until our friend's landlord found him and drug him home, with mud covering him up to his stomach. Scully once again earned his nickname, even though at this very moment, he is lying peacefully in his dog bed, looking so innocent and cute. He had a hard morning patrolling our grounds to keep them safe from Sinbad, the one-eyed cat, who cleverly taunts Scully from atop our fence.

But back to the Brevent ski area...following a little wander around, I braved another cable car - this one stretched between two mountain peaks and is a pretty, red box that slowly moves horizontally and slightly up while dangling over absolutely nothing at all. At the top was yet another nice, sunbathing area, a couple of men with a yellow lab who were straight out of an L.L. Bean catalog, and the most panoramic restaurant yet. I'd intended to ride some other cable cars and/or the train that connects the villages throughout the valley, but one look at this restaurant threw my schedule out the window. It was irresistible. Before taking a seat, I availed myself of one of the lounge chairs, planning to read for awhile. However, it was quite disconcerting to sit back in a lounge chair on a bright, sunny day and see only snow-covered, mountain peaks while listening to the clicks of skiers stepping into their bindings. I didn't last long before heading over to the restaurant.

Our last night in Chamonix was lighter fare after the many pounds of melted cheese consumed the previous days. We loved our wintertime visit to the Alps and hope to do another weekend trip in the summer for some hiking among that gorgeous scenery...cross-country skiing, however, will most likely never be attempted again.


  1. I was talking to a woman @ church Sunday who has a place in Colorado. She skis and has for a number of years but never realized how much more control and fun you can have w/ shorter skis. She found out quite by accident so I wanted to pass that info along to you in case you want to try again sometime w/ Nathan.

  2. And you thought Segways would be a disaster!