Wanderings, travel, photographs and skiing…

Day 2: First day skiing Courmayeur, Italy

By on December 22, 2008 in Italy

The first day of skiing Courmayeur, Italy.

Dinner, last night at the hotel, was very good. It was a buffet style meal, with a very good choice of food. All the solo skiers were on one table, so it was a good chance to meet people. The meal included wine.

My room was still far too hot, even with all the heating off, and I spent the night with the door open (as I was on the ground floor, not a good idea).  Plus, it appears the path out the back of my room is a rat run for hotel staff moving between their rooms and the main part of the hotel. (I later discovered why the room was so hot.  I was skiing with the hotel handy-man, and he said the room was directly above the boiler and the boiler had been faulty when I arrived.  It was something to do with it not being winterized, that is re-configured for winter use. Hence it was working far too hard and therefore pumping out a lot of heat into the boiler room (and my room), but not to the rest of the hotel.)

From the town of Courmayeur, you reach the main ski area using either a cable car or a gondola (There is also another cable-car outside of town).  However, the main cable car (5 minutes walk from the Chalethotel Cristallo) was out of action, and everyone had to use the gondola, which was about 20 minutes from the hotel. The walk was risky as there was no direct route through the town, there was a dodgy roundabout at the bus station to negotiate, and a tunnel with no pavement. I was very happy not to be carrying skis and boots (see Day 1: Courmayeur and Chalethotel Cristallo, Italy for why I was not carrying skis and boots.)

Today I found out what had happened to the main cable car.

The cable on the main cable car had to be replaced, and this work was scheduled for the summer, with a completion well before the start of the ski season.  It appears that the French company contracted to do the work fitted the wrong cable.  By the time this was discovered the company had gone bust!  The town then had to find another company to do the work, and they had run into some problems.  We have now have been told the cable car will be open on Christmas Eve (24th December).

Main cable car - Courmayeur, Italy

Main cable car – Courmayeur, Italy

Once I got up the mountain, I discovered excellent snow conditions.

Skiing Courmayeur

Skiing Courmayeur

The ski guide/hosting was good, and I was hosted by Ross the Hotel handyman from Scotland as the main ski host has a broken thumb.  Ross was an excellent skier, and we managed to ski most of the mountain in one day.

We stopped for lunch at Christ, and the food seems very expensive €10 (£10 or $15) for a small lasagna. The drinks were also very expensive, €16 (£16 or $24) for two beers and a mulled wine. However, as the skiing was great, so I don’t really care at the bar prices.

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Nick's continued wanderings can be followed on Twitter: @nickswanderings.
 

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