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Season Diary - Days 16/17: Joy

Updated: May 13

I had planned to write this as two separate diaries. But after these two days merged into one beery, snowy, terrific end-of-season blowout, it became very clear I'd struggle to tell them apart.


To that end, therefore, I've merged them into one. These were two days full to the brim of skiing, far more than you'd expect from an end of season trip. Cruising perfect pistes from first lift to last, allow me to take you through my final days on snow this year.



 

Large letters spelling out "#Tignes" bathed in sunshine
#Tignes
 

The Boys Are Back in Tignes


So, back to where it all started. Work has decided to throw us an end of season fling in Tignes, a couple of days to stop and take stock of what has been a pretty phenomenal season and spend some time with colleagues and friends.


Tignes was where it all began, as I am sure you'll remember, way back in December. There we found some of the best snow we could ever remember, smashing powder line after powder line and having a phenomenal time all round.


What would end of season Tignes have in store? More of the same? Surely not ... it's April, and the season has been weird to say the least, with spring conditions dominating in mid-winter.




 

A group of skiers on a whiteout background
Mid-winter conditions down Les Lanches
 

Spring In Our Step?


The forecast called for -10°C and 20cm of snow across higher ground in the week leading up to our arrival.


As a result, the resort was in fine form, with pistes in perfect nick and pretty much the entire area open, even down to lower resorts bases. That meant close to the full 300km of slopes available for us to romp around.


And romp we did.


Thanks to the SkiQuest app, we went on a treasure hunt around the resort. Tick off checkpoints at lift stations - revealing letters to solve - and completing challenges like building a snowman or skiing between someone's legs, this was skiing at its simplest, most fun best.


And what did we do when the skiing was said and done? Drink the town dry. As the end of season approached, many bars and restaurants were closing their doors for the final time. That meant they had to get rid of any remaining beer and other potent potables on their shelves. Enjoying some of the cheapest beer we've found in resort, the party went on well into the evening.



 

A pair of goggles sat next to a pint of beer
Apres Joy.
 

Joy


Tignes and Val d'Isere is effectively my skiing home. It certainly is for the Ski Club of Great Britain, who take over the resort early season for season opening weeks and Reps courses. And of course the week I spent in Val with close friends, skiing the pants off the area and making sure no corner of the map - and plenty off it - goes unskied.


I don't think it's unfair, therefore, to call this my skiing home. I shared this with my colleagues, helping them explore every corner, too. The shared fun we had over these two days, at times bathed in sun, at others encased in cloud, were brilliant for us all, helping recharge batteries after a long but ultimately good season.


The times they are a changing, too. As we made it over to the Vallon area of Val, the main gondola was shut, sealing off the bottom of the valley down to Fornet. The top gondola station was already in the process of being knocked down, to make way for a new, modern affair, with doors that close properly and without holes in the floor (seriously). Home will be different next year.



On the plateau above Tignes Le Lac, where Tovieres gondola and Tommeuses chairlift meet, their is a sculpture in the shape of a mask, a broad smile on its face and adorned with every colour of the rainbow. It has its back to the stunning scenery of the Bellevarde sector, looking at you as you gaze out on the scenery, as if the mountains are smiling back and sharing this moment with you.


The sculpture is simply entitled "Joy". What a wonderful metaphor for what we do.



A sculpture of a face with a broad grin, decorate with an array of colours
Joy

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