Winter has arrived!.. The first big dump and fresh tracks of the ‘season’.

Winter has arrived and Up-Stix had their first snowboard session of winter 2020

As you’ve probably noticed… It’s puked! Winter has arrived with the first big dump of the ’20/21′ season.

We wrote on a Facebook post this week that: ‘Whilst you might not be able to come for a slide just yet, you can still dream about it.’ and we hope our snowy posts aren’t coming as a ‘kicker’ but are rather fanning the mental flames of hope and excitement… Keep your eyes on the prize, guys!

There is just nothing like the arrival of fresh snow and I’m pretty sure I’ll still be getting excited about it when I’m in my nineties…

It’s just plain magical!.. For many of us, it sparks memories of the start of so many awesome days: Sledging, building snowmen, digging den /igloos, days with family, days with friends, epic days boarding and skiing not to mention days off school and… Days off work! I could never understand people being disappointed they were going to have to take a day off work aaaand when there’s a bunch of snow to play in… Surely, it’s the universe’s way of putting things in perspective… Or priority…😉 Although that probably says more about me than it does about them, to be fair. 😬

Fresh falling snow completely changes the whole atmosphere, especially at night. It’s like a muffler, dampening and softening the ambient noise. It’s not just the sound though, it feels like the calming atmosphere permeates your being and soothes any agitated emotions as well.

In the aftermath, an otherwise dreary, cloudy day is transformed into a Vitamin D saturated light-box. All the available light waves that make it through the cloud cover get to extend their lifespans and spend the day pinging gleefully off reflective surfaces in every direction. Stunning!

Winter has arrived in Les Gets - Up-Stix 2020
Winter has arrived in Les Gets.

 

The snowfall’s been steady away all week. Thursday broke into a beautiful day and I took the opportunity to grab a bit of blue-sky, snowy-tree drone footage. From the Folliets lift on the Les Gets/Morzine border, I sent it up to ‘Le Vaffieu’ restaurant on the plateau that hosts the Les Gets/Morzine leg of Rock the Pistes. Incidentally, for those of you who like to belt a little white ball around in the summer, Le Vaffieu is on Les Gets’ golf course. Not a bad course location eh?

 

 

On Friday, the snow gods dialled it up a notch and it kept coming and coming… And it went on all night. As we turned in for the night, Nina announced she’d be heading out early with her camera for some dawn shots. Not sure who Dawn is but whatever, good effort, I’ll keep the bed warm. 😊😉

Our car on the morning that winter has arrived in Les Gets after Friday's big dump. Up-Stix 2020.
Our car in Les Gets after Friday’s big dump of snow.

It seems like ages ago that Iz and I were up Mont Chèry with only a few scrapes of snow here and there. Just a week later, we hiked the Chavannes and boarded all the way back to town in sweet knee-deep pow.

I’m pretty sure randonée (ski touring) is on the ‘permitted exercise list’ and I’m figuring ‘hike and board’ should be good. But yesterday we also saw a couple of guys setting off down the slope in kayaks! Haha! I’d love to know if that’s on the French government’s approved list. 😂 They did make a couple of nice channels through the deep snow that we could dip into and keep our speed up over the flatter sections which was very handy. I’m half expecting/hoping for a vid from those antics!

Early morning snaps after the snow in Les Gets. Up-Stix
Nina’s early morning outing after Friday’s snow in Les Gets.

 

All this snow is making it feel very festive. We normally go back to the UK over Christmas to catch up with family and a few friends but unsurprisingly, we’ll be staying put this year.

We’ve accepted a kind invite to spend it with our friends and currently have a shortlist of pre-prepped Christmas dinners to choose from.

Alba, Damien McArthur and Boomerang are currently on the list. They all look pretty tasty and apparently it’ll be a treat for helping our mates move house so ‘get in’! Cheers guys. 😘

I keep thinking about our first Christmas over here. We were invited next door to our friends’ house for some Christmas action, French styleee, and it was quite magnificent.

Snails, garlic sauce, pierrade with venison and wild boar. A huge chunk of the meal was foraged, hunted, home prepped and home brewed by Réné, Marthe and the gang.

Home prepared snails for a French Christmas - winter has arrived.
Home prepared snails for a French Christmas.

I also often think of that experience when the hunting debate flares up after the summer. There’s understandably friction between many hunters and many non-hunters and in an area like this – where more and more people are living, visiting and exploring – the conflict of interests needs much more attention to prevent more tragedies like the one that occurred here a couple of years ago.

Whilst there are obviously a bunch of people who are selfish and reckless there are also plenty like Réné… Dad, husband, grandpa Réné. He’s an all round good bloke. Generous, calm and kind. He’s a man’s man and a gentleman. He’s a big bear with sausage fingers and a hearty chuckle who radiates security and stability to the little ones scampering around the place.

He’s lived here his whole life, before it resembled anything like it is now, before the development and before the hoardes. He knows the land and he’s in balance. He’s out there, foraging, mushrooms, berries, leaves, flowers, hunting wild-boar and deer, none of which goes to waste. He knows where everything is and he’s tuned in to the cycles. He knows what to take, when to take it and what to leave so that everything will be there year on year to sustain him and his loved ones.

He even spends a good chuck of time at the tip, salvaging things that can be recycled and reused. When he spotted a job lot of screws and fixings that someone had binned, he went back with a massive magnet to hoover them back up.

Now, that’s an old boy living an enviable existence. He hunts but he lives a more sustainable, altruistic and low-impact existence than most of us who want to ‘do our bit’ could even dream of.

Dramatic headlines grab attention and these days our attitudes and opinions are constantly being levered to the extremes, but issues aren’t always black and white and that’s why they’re hard to resolve. Despite the disproportionate noise from the fringes, I think most of us lie in the quiet, reasonable middle ground and it’s the middle ground where understanding and compassion grow and where issues are resolved. Hopefully a ‘middle ground’ resurgence is on the way. It might need some sexier branding though. 🤣

Anyway, we did have the priveledge of enjoying the fruits of the family’s efforts that year including a little too much of Réné’s ‘home-distilled’ Genepi and other concoctions. 🤪

A special experience and one which I’m very grateful to have in my slightly fuzzy memory bank.

Here’s the full post from Christmas 2016 – Snails, venison, boar the lot!