Wanderings, travel, photographs and skiing…

Day 3: Bad weather and the morning lift Les Deux Alpes, France

By on March 8, 2007 in France

Day three of the trip, day two of skiing.

In the morning the weather appeared to be OK in the town, but when I got up the mountain (after what now appears to be the usual wait for the first lift of the day) it was awful. Foggy and a howling gale with driving snow. Although looking at the photos, they suggest the weather was not too bad – however, all the pictures are taken at low levels.

Yesterday (see earlier post) I had a great day skiing, but on the second day of skiing, it was tough due to the weather. The morning was particularly bad. However, the conditions improved during the afternoon. However, as I only had two days left, I decided to ski as much as possible as there was no way of telling what the next day’s weather would bring.

Morning lift Les Deux Alpes

Morning lift Les Deux Alpes

And the reason for the long wait, an old and slow four-person bubble

And the reason for the long wait, an old and slow four-person bubble

During my skiing yesterday I never made it to the top of the mountain and on to the glacier. I had heard that the top was worth a look and that there was a railway that took you from the last lift… this needed investigating….

The four-person bubble vanishing into the clouds

The four-person bubble vanishing into the clouds

Two hours after leaving the hotel I finally made it to the highest restaurant. However, the weather was so bad that I could not see the top of the mountain or any sign of the railway. Eventually, around the back of the building, I found a sign to funicular railway, I followed the signs and came across a small car that descended from the restaurant to a lower level. Surely that was not it?

I took the car, and at the bottom, I found I was in a building which housed the real railway, and not only was it a railway that went up the mountain, it went under the mountain! I took the train (5 – 7-minute journey) and at the end took a lift back up to the slopes. Now, the question is, why did they build such a thing? It must have cost a fortune, and the day before I had been on a couple of brand new lifts, plus there seemed to be a whole new area of the mountain opened up this year. That is a lot of investment? Why hadn’t some of that money been spent on upgrading the four lifts (or even installing a new lift) from the town?

The underground (funicular) railway to the top

The underground (funicular) railway to the top

When I emerged from the funicular, I realised just how bad the weather was at the top of the mountain. (Is this the reason they built the underground railway is because bad weather would prevent lifts from running?) Even inside the railway building, I could hear the wind, and once outside I was hit by gale force winds and driving snow. Visibility was nil; it was impossible to make out where the sky met the snow. Everything was white. By looking carefully I could just about make out where the piste was, and once I was on it, I had to navigate from pole-to-pole. Not fun. I hate skiing in conditions like that; it is impossible to tell what is happening, and what is up or what is down. I had no idea where I was skiing, or where I was heading.

Eventually, my fellow train passengers and I made it back down to an area of the mountain where we could see what was happening. Looking back up from where I had come all I could see was cloud.

In the afternoon conditions improved. Still not great, but so much better than in the morning!!

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