Wanderings, travel, photographs and skiing…

Day 5: Skiing on Christmas day – Courmayeur, Italy

By on December 25, 2008 in Italy

Skiing on Christmas Day is always a bit special.

Finally, the main cable car in the town is open – so no more long (20 minute) walks to the other lift (see Day 1: Courmayeur and Chalethotel Cristallo, Italy and Day 2: First day skiing Courmayeur, Italy for more information on the cable car problem).

As it turned out, we were on the first cable car of the morning. There was a little opening ceremony and a way we went. All worked OK, and we were filmed as we went up the hill.

The cable car is only 5 or so minutes walk from the hotel and takes only 5 minutes to get up the hill. All very quick and smooth. The capacity of the car is around 60 people. Great…

The Courmayeur cable car

The Courmayeur cable car

Skiing on Christmas day is always different, and at the same time, always the same. Skiing is the same, the mountain is the same, and in the case of Courmayeur, all the restaurants were open. So, what is different is it is Christmas day. To me, and I have skied on many Christmas days, it just feels odd to be on the slopes and not at home opening presents.

The weather was awful. The temperature was below freezing, and there was driving snow and low cloud. On the plus side, the snow accumulated fast on the mountain and made for some great skiing conditions.

After 4 days of skiing in brilliant sunshine to be suddenly in cloud was a shock

After 4 days of skiing in brilliant sunshine to be suddenly in cloud was a shock

The cloud lifting

The cloud lifting

Cloud Lifting

Cloud Lifting

Unfortunately, the low cloud made skiing difficult. Nothing like vanishing into thick cloud (fog) halfway down a mountain to make it a fun run.

Also, one of our group had something happen to his skis which was weird. While we were on a two-man lift ice formed on the underside of one of his skis. This meant that one of his skis would not run. The ice was removed with a ski pole. I have never seen that happen before other than when someone has skied through water on the slope.

On one of the chair lifts ice formed on the bottom of the skis

On one of the chair lifts ice formed on the bottom of the skis

I spent the day skiing while wearing a Santa hat, and it was a shame that the Mark Warner ski hosts didn’t enter into the spirit with silly hats.

The previous day, while I was away skiing Pila, there had been an avalanche of snow, rock and ice on the far side of the valley, the scar on the mountain side was quite remarkable.

Avalanche at Courmayeur

Avalanche scar at Courmayeur

Avalanche at Courmayeur

Avalanche scar at Courmayeur

After a hard and cold, but fun day on the slopes, it was nice to return to the hotel and sit down to Christmas dinner. The dinner at the hotel was surprisingly good.

Christmas Dinner

Christmas Dinner

There was a choice on the menu, and the traditional Christmas dinner was one of them, i.e. turkey, sprouts, roast potatoes, etc. and Christmas Pudding. There were also crackers.

After dinner, I went for a walk around town, and it was very festive.

Courmayeur is a very quaint town. The main street is pedestrianised, narrow and full of little bars and boutique-type shops, and it is all very expensive.

One thing that is odd is the Italians habit of promenading. On Christmas night there were some promenaders out on the town. The women were wearing big long fur coats, and the men were elegantly turned out in fashionable coats, scarves and hats.

Apparently, their numbers will increase with the traditional arrival of the folks from Milan on the 26th.

Courmayeur at Christmas

Courmayeur at Christmas

The evening was finished off with a quiz in the main bar.

All-in-all a fun Christmas day.

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