Sunday, 30 January 2011

Happy New Year in Verbier ..... Jan 2011

New Year Celebrations in Verbier 2011,
complete with champagne on "snow"!!
31 December 2010 - 03 January 2011

After another full days skiing in Bruson, including a somewhat adventurous route back via neighbours gardens and over small (thankfully) walls right to the door of our chalet we were exhausted, this skiing is hard work!!  But it was New Years Eve and Rebecca, our wonderful Swiss host, had offered to drive us to Verbier for the festivities.  Verbier is "one of those places to do New Year", and with a local chaperoning us...,  well it was an offer we could not refuse.  Daniel had an active civic role in overseeing the big evening and was "on duty", so was unable to join us.  Rebecca once again invited us to their lovely home and produced another wondeful pre New Years Eve antipasta before we headed up to Verbier for an excellent leisurely dinner (best eye fillet steak outside New Zealand and excellent local wine) and then onward to the Place Centrale, Verbier's main square as midnight approached.  There were thousands of people milling around in this small area, and it was absolutely freezing but it's an annual event not to be missed. 

Enjoying the slopes of Verbier

What we didn't know was that Daniel had organized an absolute prime outdoor viewing platform for us on the balcony of the tourist office overlooking the square. It felt like our own private members box, and as the clock chimed  midnight, thousands of bottles of champagne were shook up, and sprayed over the crowd, it was by far the driest place to be!!  Alastair and Vivienne had kindly brought champagne with them. No need for a chilly bin here, we planted the bottle in the snow and ice on the balcony and within minutes it was chilled nicely !!.   but instead of wasting it on the crowd, we were much more sensible and drank it.

It was certainly an experience, the scene was one of utter bedlam. The Place Centrale was seething with party goers, partly stripped bodies trying to climb the lamb-posts, firecrackers exploding, fireworks raining down, dry ice pumped out, music blasting, bottles breaking in the streets as the contents were drunk, but amazingly little violence - it was incredible and an excellent night out, another event crossed of "the bucket list".  Huge thanks to Rebecca and Daniel, and the hospitality of the Tourist Office who made it all possible, What a night and one to remember!!
That's Verbier down there,
 and we are going to ski all the way down!

We were in bed by a respectable 2.30am so decided on New Years Day to ski Verbier, utilizing a half day pass that starts at 11.30am.  We caught the bus down to Le Chable then the cable car all the way up to Attelas at 2727m, wow this was very spectacular.  Snow white mountain peaks as far as the eye could see, multi coloured ants whizzing down in almost every direction, a wonderful spectacle.   

The 4 of us skied together for a while on the wide open blue runs then Al and Vivienne whizzed off to explore further afield - never to be seen again!!  They both took rather nasty falls - on a blue run!! - and sadly both of them injured their legs, not too seriously but enough to end their skiing, only consolation was that it was towards the end of the day and we only had one day left.  Meanwhile Mark had come on in leaps and bounds, and was footing it with the locals with happily no falls.  We got a little more confident and discovered a long "red run" that wasn't too steep, connecting with another "blue" and provided about 30 minutes of skiing before another lift which was great.  Towards the end of the day we discovered a "red" that was way too steep, and churned up with lumpy little moguls, but we couldn't go back up and had a hellish time getting down, the only saving grace for our confidence was that there were about 50 others on the slope, struggling with us. 
Just beautiful every day, what a great week
Our last skiing day dawned once again with picture postcard weather. Al and Vivienne were pretty immobile so stayed at the chalet and rested. We went for the late start half day pass again and had an excellent afternoon exploring all the runs we could find that looked "do-able". We were both rather cautious, not wanting to end up like our friends on our last day so just stuck with the "blues" and friendly looking "reds". We did get more adventurous at the end of the day and found the downhill run all the way back to Verbier. It took us about 1 1/2 hours and was a great way to end our skiing holiday, although it had a little kick to it at the end, the last 50 metres was a very steep run, very narrow and icing over, just a little reminder that the mountain is always in charge, we gave it the respect it deserved and escaped intact!!!

We said our goodbyes to Alastair and Vivienne the following morning, both hobbling around with their backpacks on, needing to make 4 train connections as they headed for Germany before returning to their boat Largo Star in Finike, Turkey.  Then we said a big thankyou and farewell to our Swiss hosts Rebecca and Daniel. They had extended such warm hospitality toward us and made our stay so comfortable and memorable.  Then it was off down the valley to the train station - next stop Lausanne.Posted by PicasaPosted by Picasa

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