L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

03 February 2008 Blog Home : February 2008 : Permalink

Skiing on the Côte d'Azur

One of the reasons why the Riviera (both Franch and Italian) is so good is that when you don't feel like lounging at the beach you can go skiing (and I mean skking on fluffy frozen water rather than the Mediterranean). In fact the closest ski station to our house (Gréolières les Neiges) is about 50 minutes and 44 km away as the driver drives and about 30 as the crow flies. Probably the best skiing (Limone just across the border in Italy) is little more than a couple of hours drive away (and 120 ish km). In other years it has been well worth the drive to Limone, this year we're having enough snow that there's no point - at least not if you just like the idea of a short day-trip.

Due to the fact that She Who Must Be Obeyed has noted the development of what the French call "Poignet's d'Amour" on my otherwise Adonis-like form we did the cross country sort of skiing instead of the downhill variety.Indeed SWMBO didn't have to make much of an argument about it, ever since I learned how to do cross-country skiing in Finland I've preferred it to the up and down version. Greolieres doesn't have an enormous area for cross country skiing, but it has half a dozen groomed trails of varying lengths and difficulties, and the price (€12 to rent the gear - €6-50 for the right to use the trails) is right. Even better the staff are friendly and reasonably flexible (although not quite flexible enough to cope with everyone wanting lunch at 12:30).

All in all, an excellent time was had by all and we called it a day a little early due to the fact that more fluffy white stuff was coming out of the grey sky and umm, we were knackered.

One thing that I did notice, and I've seen it elsewhere is that no one know what to wear for cross country skiing - some people use their downhill ski clothes and generally explode in a cloud of steam after 10 minutes, others wear hiking gear, others wear dead posh lycra racing gear - but then these latter group are usually the ones who are expert at the sport. This confusion can be a problem for some people. SWMBO gets all worked up about not wearing the right gear - I think this is her Japanese heritage as I've noticed that the Japanese (and the French) don't think they can play any sport without first going to a shop and buying the right clothing. Englih people on the other hand seem to think that until you commit to the sport (and frequently even after that point) you might as well use some ratty old gear that is only vaguely related.