Skiing in Samoëns and the Grand Massif
The Pick Up
And so, with Fiona bundled out of Knigel (our motorhome) like a criminal on the run, our next mission impossible was to collect Greg’s parents for us to go skiing in Samoëns. Geneva airport was a complete nightmare; we couldn’t stop anywhere to pick them up. Finally, an ingenious plan (yes you’ve guessed it, my plan!). We stopped at the arena, I got out, went to arrivals, surprised my in-laws and brought them back to the arena for Greg to pick us up. Seamless, well not quite but the best we could do.
Off we went to Samoëns. We booked this week way back in the Summer solely based on the campsite being close to the ski lift and the availability of a pitch plus a chalet. It seemed that for us all skiing in Samoëns seemed the best option.
Our New Home
The journey from Geneva was uneventful, busy roads but nothing too severe. We arrived at Camping Le Giffre. Our pitch was right next door to the in-laws chalet and close to the lift, so not much walking involved – yippee!
My in-laws names are Linda and Evan, so I’ll start using their names now. In case you are wondering Evan is indeed Welsh!
So 2 minutes in and Linda comes round to Knigel to ask me to go to their chalet. Oh no, what can I have done already? It turns out that the owner of the chalet speaks no English and so I had to do my Franglish with the nice lady.
All settled in we sorted out house rules, 1) I can use the toilet and shower in Linda and Evan’s chalet rather than the shared one, 2) we will mainly cook at home, 3) couldn’t think of a third but 3 rules sounds better than 2.
Skiing in Samoëns: Day 1
The four of us ventured out early to get all our ski passes etc sorted. The campsite is very close to the Grand Massif ski gondola, which is great. We headed up to the main Samoëns ski area to be greeted by a fair few ski schools. The whole resort seems much busier than St Anton. For our first day skiing in Samoëns, we started off on a few green runs, which Linda and Evan stayed on whilst Greg and I ventured higher up. Our ski legs are feeling confident (but weary) at the moment!
Evan is having some difficulties with his boots hurting his ankle, A LOT! It was red, raw! So, Linda and he headed back down to try and get them sorted. Linda and Evan also enquired at Ski 360o about ski lessons, but they ran Sunday to Wednesday, so no good for us.
At lunchtime we ventured into ESF to enquire about their lessons. They were virtually fully booked due to French and British school holidays. Linda, Evan and I agreed on small group lessons between 13.00 and 15.00 each day, starting today!
So, leaving Greg to pay the three of us headed to our groups.
My Ski School
My skiing in Samoëns lessons contain me, Paul (16 year old French lad) and Cédric our instructor. I couldn’t believe that there were just two of us. Given the different languages we had personal instructions as everything in French was aimed at Paul and everything in English was aimed at me.
Cédric decided that because I hated moguls and Paul loved jumps that we should spend some of our lessons on these runs. NOOOOOOOO!!!!! Day one, off-piste mogul training. You just can’t make this shit up!
Cédric spent a lot of time telling me that I need to feel confident on “bumps” so he would spend time teaching me. Paul and I fell over a few times but no injuries. We then ended the lesson by doing two lots of jumps! Really, at my age? It actually was a lot of fun. Cédric is a nice teacher and makes me laugh. Paul is a lovely lad who just loves skiing. He skis much faster than me too, so I had to speed up so not to lose face.
Skiing in Samoëns: Day 2
Wow, I’m exhausted. I certainly hope that I get a pert butt and shapely legs out of this as my muscles are killing me right now!
Greg has decided that he needs new boots as he is currently using his brothers. He and I were happily sat in a ski shop when we get a text from Evan. It read “we may have a problem I think Mom has broken her wrist”. OMG!!!!! Day 2!!!!
I hurried back to the chalet and assessed, in my professional opinion that Linda had indeed broken her wrist. Memories drifted back to our first week of travelling when Greg broke his wrist skateboarding in France.
We headed off to the clinic in the village. Sitting waiting for 2 hours before seeing the doctor, we noticed that the clinic seemed full of broken wrists. Linda was in agony. Finally, she was called in and I went with her due to my Franglish skills. Fortunately, the doctor spoke perfect English. Unfortunately, his bedside manner left a lot to be desired – NO Gaelic charm was wasted on him. He poked and proded Linda’s wrist whilst struggling to remove her wedding ring. Now mother-in-law jokes are one thing, but I genuinely didn’t realise that I’d hate seeing my mother-in-law being in pain! Sorry Linda, I think you’ve had enough of my mother-in-law jokes whilst sat in a French hospital in pain.
The upshot is that Linda has indeed fractured her wrist, is now in plaster and will be for the next 6 weeks. She was a total trooper, handling it really well. Much respect goes from me to her.
Skiing in Samoëns
Samoëns isn’t the best ski resort we’ve been to. It has a few lift bottle necks and if the lifts to Flaine are closed, as happened one day the slopes get dangerously busy. The snow conditions weren’t great whilst we were there, which is just bad luck. Cédric told me that the weather was similar to their end of March / April weather.
The village though is lovely. I have found most ski resorts to be a bit of a one trick pony, whereas I felt that Samoëns had a bit more soul to it. There is more than just skiing in Samoëns, with a lot of activities going on for kids and a number of restaurants. Samoëns even has a little train, which Steph and Paul who we met last year, would love. Albeit with an apparent absence of après ski.
Remaining Ski School Days
I enjoyed my ski school in Samoëns. I feel that I have learnt a lot from Cédric building on the lessons from Adi (St Anton). The experience was different; fun verses serious but with enough concentration on the improvement of my technique that I am under no illusions of what I need to improve. Unbelievably Cédric took Paul and I to a snow fun park. It didn’t seem to matter that I protested that my age precluded me! I fell on a jump, obviously, quickly followed by Paul. As a good Frenchman Cédric helped me up first, even though Paul was halfway down a hill!
Austrian vs French Lessons
So, there are differences that I’ve noticed between Adi and Cédric that I will generalise as Austrian vs French.
- I do something wrong. Austrian response “Michelle stop snow ploughing into your turns you will crash”. French response “You all might want to consider not snow ploughing into your turns as you are too good skiers to do that”. (there were only 2 of us in the group and Paul didn’t speak English!)
- I fall over. Austrian response “that is because you didn’t have your chest open to the valley that I keep telling you to do”. French response “Are you ok Michelle” and comes to help me up.
- Snow Parks. Austrian conclusion “they are for idiots that want to break something”. French response “Come on Michelle it’s fun, just bend your knees over the jump and you’ll be fine”.
It’s very funny to see the difference. Cédric certainly had the Gaelic charm and Adi the Germanic discipline.
The Week Skiing in Samoëns
All in all, we had a great week. It was lovely to have Linda and Evan come join us for the week, although coupled with the sadness of Linda breaking her wrist. I feel that I have much more awareness of the areas I need to improve on with my skiing. Greg has new boots. So everyone is a winner!
As regular readers (Mom) will know, Greg and I love pretty French village. Due to this, we headed to Yvoire on our way to Geneva. It really was a pretty French village and we had a lovely couple of hours wondering about before heading through Geneva to the airport.
We will be bundling Linda and Evan back out of Knigel (our motorhome) at Geneva airport. Then we head to Grindelwald in Switzerland for a week. Christina (Antarctica) is meeting us there next weekend and we can’t wait to see her. We will then go onto Basle with her to meet up with Paul (Antarctica) too. A great reunion beckons.
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