Alternative Ski Club Holiday - Les Arcs (Sans Barnips!)
by Dot and Tony Keates
Tony and Dot left it too late to book the January ski club holiday so to help get fit for the cross country holiday later in the year, decided to take the motorvan by ferry from Hull to Zeebrugge. This may have had something to do with the fairly recent acquisition of shares in said company.
There were some advantages in the type of holiday we chose (it did not turn out to be a much cheaper holiday - mainly due to the good deal Paul did, including the ski pass): one of the pros was being able to have our evening meal earlier than is usual in the hotel and get into our beds that much earlier: a consideration, as the years roll on! Another advantage was not to put on half a stone in weight, which would probably have happened if we had partaken in the wonderful food we heard all about.
The disadvantages were the lack of social content. We skied as hard as we could, having caught the first funicular, first lift and skied icy early morning runs: but could not get to Arc 1800 until quarter to ten. There was a free bus service from the camp site to the bottom of the funicular, and although this was almost a personal taxi service most days, the times did not fit in with the main club's meeting times. We did however, on occasions, walk the 20 minute trek before the bus came, and met up with a small group from Manchester. Fortunately we were able to leave skis and boots at the hire shop. It does not feel right to ski with Manchester and not have one barnip!
We worked very hard all week at the telemark turn and one day I overheard a person say the word, so perhaps what we were doing was somewhere near to the style. It all feels so unstable when the back knee drops, as the legs are one in front of the other, and the distribution of weight between the 2 legs is crucial. There seems a great danger of falling over sidewards. I feel that softer snow would have helped, as we did get stuck in the icy ridges sometimes.
All this telemark practise is to help us manage our cross country skis better and we hope that come Easter, when we go to Norway with some of our downhill friends (who are venturing into this new world of free-heeled skiing), we will be able to manage other than green/blue runs - and stop! Another way of stopping than falling over I mean. A friend in the cross country club said it took him 8 years to perfect this telemark turn and we have not been working on it that many years yet.
The camp site was good with excellent drying room and showers. A large room with TV etc. Unfortunately we were restricted to 8 days skiing, and 2 days travelling both ways because, although we have allegedly retired, a desktop publishing course Dot is running meant we could not stay longer and make the trip more economically viable. So next year we must decide whether we have retired, or not. The biggest items were fuel and the site fees - as self-catering was quite cheap, but a longer period there would have made it a much cheaper holiday.