It's snowing, blowing and zero visibility, so we decided to take the day off. It has in fact snowed pretty much continuously over the last week whilst our good friends Cath and Dave were here. They'd just come back from the Maldives, and the weather was a bit of a shock to the system for them. Still, the snow situation is now well within the seasonal normal, if not above, and it's still going. Sadly, with massive snowfall comes the inevitable avalanche dangers, and several people have been reported dead or missing over the last week across the alps, amongst them some Swedish riders, apparently prompting the Swedish Foreign Ministry to issue a stark warning to skiers heading down to the alps to heed local notices and take extreme care. Obviously, after weather like this, off-piste is a tempting lure, all untouched and powder heavy, that's hard to resist, but still, at a well published 5/5 level of danger it is somewhat unreal to see fresh tracks across snow fields where the avalanche debris is still clearly visible at the bottom from the previous dump. Some people obviously feel immortal.
We've been honing our powder skills, and Cath and Dave threw themselves into the deeps with gusto. Sarah took the tumble of the week, funnily enough on-piste, and she landed heavily on her face, pulling muscles in her shoulder and neck, knocking her goggles clean off the helmet mount in the process. It could easily have ended her trip, but she dusted herself off, gritted her teeth, and carried on, battered and bruised. The goggles left a 2 inch cut down the side of her face (possibly putting further worries in the way of her future modelling career :). Nothing broken, at least, and a day off should help ease the whiplash.
Cath and Dave kindly brought us some badly needed essentials - proper English pyramidal tea bags being most welcome - and couriered an 'entertainment bundle' from another good friend, Da Goose, a spindle of shiny discs with Scrubs, Boston Legal and last but not least, the beginning of season 5 of 24. Jack's back from the dead, and he's not happy. The problem with 24 is that it's too addictive, and we've already exhausted the stash. Still, from what we've seen, this series is already looking better than the last two. Thanks, Cath, Dave and Goose! Cath and Dave also made sure that we actually left the apartment and went out for a change, to sample some of the lovely Savoyard fayre on offer in the restaurants around here.
By the way, Da Goose is coming to VT to ski for a week at the end of the month with friends Oli and Paul, which almost certainly will be a right riot, coinciding as it does with our last week here. Time really does fly when you're having fun.
Anyway, after writing harshly about vomiting Danes, I got my just desserts in the shape of a bunch of Swedish teenagers from some one-horse back water in the middle of the country who moved in next door. What seemed like about 12 lads crowded in an apartment designed to sleep six, we were treated to the whole spectrum of teenage angst, usually at 4 am most mornings, stemming from them evidently not being able to work out the optimal distribution of two sets of keys amongst 12 people after a night on the lash. They appeared to believe that the only way of gaining after hours access is by kicking door with ski boots, and screaming abuse at the top of one's voice. Sarah sorted them out one night clad only in a towel. As this more than likely is the nearest any of them will ever get to a naked woman for the next decade or so, they were lost for words, and apologised profusely after she told them off in that inimitable way that only the English can - with impeccable politeness, yet leaving a lingering after taste of having been told to STFU in no uncertain terms.