On Thursday there was a teacher strike. On Friday all the kids were dressed up in carnival outfits, as it was the last day of school before a half term. And in February, French children get not one but *two* weeks of half term, because it is skiing time. So on Saturday, we went skiing!
"We" were me, Rebecca, Hattie, Elsa (a French friend from choir) and Thomas (her Belgian boyfriend)–Hattie had never skiied before, Rebecca had done one week with the ENS a couple of weeks ago, Elsa and Thomas are pretty seasoned skiiers. We went (on Elsa's recommendation) to Arêches-Beaufort. The coach left Bellecour at 6am, rather too early for our liking, but with the advantage of depositing us in the ski station at 9 so that by 10 we were all set with skis and (in my case) snowboard, and could head onto the pistes. Hattie took 2 hours with an instructor, while the rest of us trundled along a long flat snowy path to the other side of the station where there were a more suitable selection of slopes. There we re-discovered what it was like to ski not only with loads of snow on the ground and a decent angle of slope, but also with snow falling-at times in great quantity-for the rest of the day! Hattie joined us for lunch (mmm sausage) and we did a big blue slope together (it was so white we thought the chair lift was taking us to the end of the world) before taking the long red back to the bus at the end of the day (an annoying piste that was flat, then very steep, then flat again. Grr I don't like flat). All in all the day was muchly fun, and it was lovely to get to know Elsa and Thomas better, and good fun to tease Thomas with tales of mint chocolate (the belgians can't stand even the idea of it…)
Photos of the day can be found in the second half of this photo album (the first half is previous ski-day in january): Snowy fun