L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

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

22 February 2008 Blog Home : February 2008 : Permalink

Gréolières - Azur Skiing

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about doing cross country skiing at Greolieres. Well I took the afternoon off work and took She Who Must Be Obeyed and one of the people who went skiing last time back there. This time it was warmer, sunnier and the camera was happy so I have photos (~sry - you happy now?).
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We left home (~ 150m elevation) where I took today's olive tree blogging photos in early spring and drove the 40 km roads to get to Gréolières les Neiges over 1000m higher up. We were a bit worried on the way because there didn't seem to be too much fluffy white stuff when we started looking at the North facing slopes we realized we were silly to worry. There was plenty of snow, although it was defnitely not the wonderful powdery stuff we had last time.
P2220045 The advantage of owning one's own kit is that one gets to stand around in the snow taking photos of the surroundings, which may include dogs that are left to lie in the snow by their owners, while the others rent their kit. As I mentioned last time the prices of cross country skiing are a lot more reasonable than they are for the Alpine variety so it is highly attractive to take the odd afternoon off and head up to the slopes so long as there is snow. I think we might try this again next week too.

She Who Must Be Obeyed had never done the cross country skiing thing before so she was a bit nervous but it didn't take more than about 2 minutes (most of which was spent trying to get the boots to attach to the skis) for her to be swooshing along like a pro. I guess doing downhill skiing and rollerblading, not to mention a decent sense of balance, is kind of handy.
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Once we'd done the introductory oval to prove that yes we could do the basics without falling over we set out on the longer loop. At the top the views were spectacular. Even more so if you think that this is so close to the glamour of the Riviera.
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Although if you looked closely northwards towards the next set of south facing slopes the lack of snow was striking. Also, and probably not visible in the photos, it was possible to see a bit of the brown pollution haze if you looked in the wrong direction.
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As an expert I was forced to venture off piste to demonstrate my skills.
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Then it was downhill for a while. SWMBO discovered that cross country skis are somewhat lacking in those edge things that make it easy to goe downhill with alpine skis. Fortunately most of the downhill parts have the same tram track things so as long as the skis stay in the tracks and you don't panic at the speeds acheived, descent is a doddle.
When we got the bottom though we discovered that one of the trails back was suffering from the punctual lacks of English so we had to take the other way back to the start.