Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tidbits from Courchevel

When the ski group gathers stories come out. Here are a few from our stay in Courchevel.

Flag of Savoie

The Wayward Bus: We arrived in Courchevel on our 45 foot bus pulling a 20 luggage trailer well after dark on Saturday last. We wound through several villages before arriving at Courchevel 1850, our destination. The bus continued through the village, winding up switchbacks that grew narrower and narrower as we climbed. Finally, in a residential area with cars parked on both sides and no room to pass our bus on either side, the driver stopped. We were lost.

Claudeen called the hotel and the manager agreed to come and guide us on a proper course. But we still had the problem of extricating ourselves from the one we were on. Our Italian driver was amazing. He backed the bus and trailer down the narrow road to the first curve where he found a narrow slot between parked cars and buildings where he could back the trailer and gain just enough room to make a turn around.

Flag of Denmark

Ed’s Danish Restaurant: Ed Meyer, of Danish extraction, was delighted to see a hill side restaurant festooned with Danish flags. The next day he made a special effort to find the place for lunch. They clomped in and were disappointed to see the Danish theme was not repeated on the interior. Instead it offered the ambiance of a Summit West snack bar at Snoqualmie Pass.

Ed, in his best French, inquired about the Danish flags to an incredulous staff. After much gesturing he learned the truth. His “Danish” flags were actually flags of the Province of Savoie, home to Courchevel, not Denmark.

Tom’s Lost Afternoon: Wednesday afternoon Bob and Paul thought they’d lost Tom McGrath when he failed to arrive at the bottom of a run. But, after a wait, Tom came coasting in with a snow encrusted helmet and no recollection of where he’d been. On the chair Bob did the “what is my name, what day is this, how many fingers am I holding up” test which Tom failed. He knew Bob but little else.

From his manner and condition they concluded Tom had left his short term memory in a snow bank on the hill. A visit with ski patrol and trip to a clinic later Tom recovered his sense of self and humor but it is clear he took a serious whack to the noggin.

As the evening progressed he grew so tired of the “how many fingers am I holding up” question that he began responding with a hand gesture of his own!

We can expect to see him in a helmet manufacturer testimonial ad at some time in the future.

The Runaway Ski: Ski brakes are a wonderful invention, when they work. Wednesday Ralph Bladt exited a gondola station and dropped his rented ski to the ground. Off popped one brake and off went the ski with Doug Stevenson in hot pursuit. But a ski without a brake can really move. Doug, who everyone must have thought was a deranged American, was shouting a warning as he vainly tried to catch the accelerating missile. In the U.S.A. Doug would have been joined by a dozen personal injury lawyers looking for business but here he was on his own.

Finally, with great relief, he came over a slight rise and found the ski captured by a ski school instructor. There were lots of near miss' but no injuries. I suspect Ralph had an interesting conversation with the ski shop.

DiAnne the Shopping Guide: DiAnne McDonald, a non skier, has the villages of Courchevel figured out. If she spoke more languages she could easily hire out as a guide. The villages, linked by lifts, paths and shuttle buses can be a bit confusing but she has left and returned each day successfully, an amazing feat considering the scope of this place.

The Golden Cup of Coffee: Things are not cheap in Courchevel. Hillside food is about twice the price of our Corvara experience. In recent days our lunches have varied from 17 to 30 Euros per person. But even that experience didn’t prepare Lorrie Meyer for her cup of coffee.

On a day off skiing she visited the lovely hotel just upslope from ours for a cup of coffee. She was presented with the coffee, a small plate of chocolates and a bill for 23 Euros. It makes Starbucks look like a bargain. (But the chocolates were reportedly good!)

No comments: