La Plagne – skiing day 1

I normally only blog about running, swimming or cycling but have decided to write about skiing as we’re in La Plagne enjoying a week on the slopes.

A quick recap of the first couple of weeks of January though.

Having been I’ll over Christmas and with the pools closed and no Tri club swim sessions I had a week out from training. After the long run which incorporated the Lakeside visit for Eastleigh parkrun, I thought I’d got my training on track but then started getting an achy hip which I felt during the following days and I cut back my running accordingly to try not to make things worse.

At last week’s Run Camp session on Tuesday morning, in the intervals I felt every step as we rounded the bends. Each time my hip ached. I’d been foam rollering and that helped a bit so guessed it must be a muscle issue. I didn’t run for the rest of the week as I didn’t want to jeopardise my skiing holiday.

On Thursday evening, I had my first ever sports massage with Tiff. She’s currently studying to be a sports massage therapist and as part of her course in Southampton, Tiff has to provide 100 hours of sports massage. I was very happy to be able to help her with her training and revive a free massage in the process.

Tiff did a great job and found plenty of other achy and tender muscles in my left leg in the hour long session. Her knowledge of the muscles, how they all worked together and connected to the skeleton was very good. Her professional manner, sporty background and enthusiasm were great and I think she’ll excel.

If you’d like a sports massage, please consider asking Tiff. It’ll be free but please consider a little thank you gift or some petrol money. LRR members especially welcome due to location.

Anyway, back to skiing.

On Saturday morning, I woke up at 2am to start the day. Our flight was at 7:30am with a 2 hour check in. That meant arriving at the airport at 5:30am. We left home shortly after 3am. I thought getting up for the Wednesday morning STC swims was a challenge.

The journey up to the airport was uneventful and we got to the parking facility by about 4:40am. The boys were awake for the whole journey and in good spirits particularly given the time.

We got the coach from the car park to the North Terminal and arrived at 5:05am. It didn’t take long to find our travel companions, Tiff, Steve and their 4 year old son Harrison and Tiff’s parents, Paul and Christine.

We’ve been on several holidays with Tiff and Steve including numerous camping weekends, several visits to Centre Parcs in Longleat and a week in Tenerife. We’ve also skied and snowboarded with them and Paul and Chris once when we had a 2 centre holiday in Canada in 2005 when we visited Banff and Lake Louise. In fact, that was our last skiing holiday before starting a family. Prior to that, I’d skied several times with week long holidays in:

– Risoul
– Les Deux Alpes
– La Plagne
– Val Thorens
– Tignes
– Austria (I forget which resort!)
– Banff and Lake Louise

I think I’ve been to La Plagne twice but I am not 100% sure about that.

Our flight left on time and took less time than expected (less that 90 minutes). We then had the usual wait for baggage. Eventually we got on the transfer coach and hoped for a quick getaway. This wasn’t to be as we waited for over an hour for two passengers who never turned up.

Fortunately, the transfer was only scheduled to be 2 hours. Unfortunately, we broke down after an hour and had to wait for an hour before being put on another coach.

At this point, we were about 45 minutes from our resort and made good time up the mountain to our accommodation at Plagne 1800.

Our chalet caters for 10 so with 9 of us, we had the whole place to ourselves. It was a short walk from where the coach dropped us off to the block the chalet was in.

Having dropped off our cases, said hello to our chalet host, Claire, consumed the delicious cake and changed into skiwear, we walked down to the ski hire shop to pick up skis and other equipment for the boys who were both skiing for the first time.

We had hoped this would be a quick trip and we’d be able to get out on the slopes but the ski hire shop was very busy. Oh well…

After about an hour, we got our equipment and headed back to the chalet our hopes of a cheeky slope or two dashed.

Once we got back and changed out of our skiwear, it was time to crack open some beers and await the evening meal. It was delicious. It was amazing just how full of flavour every course was. The meal was accompanied with several glasses of white wine. Possibly not the best idea the night before the first morning on the slopes.

Although Denise and I have skied several times and are intermediate skiers, with 8 years without skiing and a couple of the years prior to that using snowblades, we had decided to have lessons to help structure each day. Daniel, Connor and Harrison also had lessons as did Tiff and Steve although they were snowboarding.

Having dropped the boys off at their lessons, we headed back to our meeting point to meet our instructor.

We had 5 in the lesson and 2 instructors. After our first slope, one of the group was split out and got some one-to-one instruction from one instructor whilst George and his wife, Denise and I formed the other group.

It took a slope to find my skiing legs and remember all the technique. That was a lot am quicker than I expected and the 8 years soon vanished as the memories of skiing flooded back. It was as if we’d never missed a season.

We skied several blue runs of differing terrains and difficulty and I loved it. The instructor was excellent and didn’t really give me much feedback. Either I was a lost cause or was doing things right. I think it was the latter! Denise did really well too. She has good technique but is a little cautious on narrow and steeper slopes.

It was great to see several familiar slopes and just how big the ski area was. Conditions were very good and the resort was very quiet.

At midday, we returned to pick up the boys who’d enjoyed themselves and found a conveniently placed bar for some lunch. Conveniently placed can be roughly translated as expensive but never mind. 7 euros for a pint of Heineken is all part of the experience.

Once lunch had been consumed, it was time to find a nursery slope for the boys. I looked after Connor and we went up on a button lift before I snowploughed down the slope with Connor between my skis. We did that a couple of times before we went on a green slope to the bottom of a 4-man chairlift back to the top of the nursery slope. By this point , I was skiing with Daniel with him holding my ski poles. We got on and off the chair lift with no issues. The same can’t be said for Connor who was with Denise. For some reason, Denise had thought that holding his hand as he got off his first chairlift would work out well (after pulling down the safety bar onto his leg earlier on the lift). Needless to say, Connor face planted as the chair went over him. The lift operator helped him up, put his skis on and they both skied over to us. I’m not sure that helped Connor’s confidence on the slopes!

I skied down to the bottom of the nursery slope with Daniel holding onto my ski poles again and we met up with the rest of the party. Tiff, Paul and Chris headed back to the chalet via the slopes while we took the bus back to Plagne 1800 (after spending 25€ on some new gloves for Daniel. I had considered getting some gloves but they seemed to be priced upwards of 89€ so gave that idea a miss.

Once we got back to the chalet and changed, there was time to do some homework with the boys before the evening meal which again was delicious. I avoided the wine and beer to ensure a clearer head for my second morning on the slopes.

I plan to

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