I was invited along on my brother’s trip to the French Alps for a few days of skiing. I was pretty chuffed but I was also like really, back to France and Switzerland for a third time?! And then I realised how bratty that sounded and gladly agreed. I decided I wouldn’t be my usual bossy self and just go with the flow, after all, I was the guest. Even in my new found chill mode I wasn’t too thrilled at the thought of getting the train from London to Paris, and then Paris to Geneva, and then a transfer from Geneva to Chamonix but I was assured it was all part of the adventure and that it is meant to be a very scenic train ride.
We woke up at 5am, took an Uber to Kings Cross St Pancras and checked-in for our first leg. I mean the fact you can get to London to Paris within 2 hours by train is pretty cool! Once we boarded and I wanted to nap, that’s where the novelty wore off. 2 girls sitting across from us decided to talk for the ENTIRE TWO HOURS about their love lives, their friends and other things I had absolutely no interest in. I mean my friends and I can talk but for 2 straight hours and at 7am? NO THANK YOU. I shot them plenty of dirty looks but it did not achieve peace and quiet.
Arriving in Paris was met with the usual pestering and difficulty navigating the place. We had to go to a different train station than the one we arrived in, and then take the metro across the city to a new station, to then get the train to Geneva. We made it to the next train, which true to form had some interesting characters on it. I slept for most of the journey and did a victory dance when we made it to Geneva and the brother commented “Well B, that wasn’t as enjoyable as I’d anticipated, maybe we should have flown.” YA THINK?!
Our transfer to the mountains took longer as well as we got stuck in a pretty impressive traffic jam. After leaving my place in London at 530am, we arrived at our hotel in Chamonix at 730pm and paid about 170 euro EACH for the privilege. What would have a flight from London to Geneva have been? Around 50 euro each and 1 hour. I’ve been told that in future that speaking up is welcome, hallelujah…
We stayed at Le Croix Blanche, a clean and comfortable hotel located right in the centre of Chamonix. You could not fault the location. Chamonix is an incredibly beautiful and picturesque town at the base of Mont Blanc, the highest summit in the Alps. It borders Switzerland, France and Italy and is a town of about 10 000 permanent residents and reminds me a lot of Queenstown in New Zealand. Amazing vibe, great food, friendly people and mountains, what more could you want?!
On Friday we slept in, grabbed a traditional French breakfast (bulk pastries, fresh bread and terrible coffee) and made our way down to a ski hire place where the people assumed we were a couple and gave us matching ski outfits.. oh the joys of being siblings that look nothing alike. We skied and boarded for a few hours in the afternoon and then headed for the 2.50 euro mulled wine and a delicious dinner. After dusting off the cobwebs on the slopes, we were super keen to put in a big day on Saturday.
Of course Saturday came… and so did the terrible weather! Brodes was getting super antsy about getting to slopes and rushing me. It’s quite funny when his snowboarding persona takes over and he turns in to a massive jock. Here is his snowboard strut…
We bought our day pass and went about our first runs of the day. It became rather obvious that there was far too much snow and far too little visibility to have the amazing day we were hoping for. After one particular stack, it took me a good 7 minutes to get my ski back on due to the amount of snow getting stuck in my boot and ski… good times. We persevered and then at one point while we were on the chair lift, getting rained and snowed on, and freezing our butts off we admitted that the conditions just weren’t safe or enjoyable…. Our faces say it all.
We decided to continue and at one point my goggles fogged over, I couldn’t see anything and I stacked it in front of a group of British skiers. They checked if I was okay and I started ranting to them about how terrible the weather was and said “I never thought I would have a better time skiing in Australia than in the bloody French Alps, but hey, stranger things have happened.” They found it rather amusing & wished me a good day. So polite. Brodes also had a binding break and as a result had to trek it up a hill to get the chair lift back down and was feeling as defeated as I was. The weather reports for Sunday were the same so later that afternoon we returned our gear and discussed in great detail how much bad luck we have.
Luckily our evening was spent eating more delicious food and eating ice cream in a snow storm. We also reminded ourselves that we were getting to hang out in the French Alps, so really, life wasn’t that bad.
On Sunday we woke to much improved conditions, tortured ourselves all day about whether or not we should ski, and then just explored the town instead & had a jolly old time.
Monday was leaving day and we woke up to perfect conditions. It was a bluebird day and the best they had all season #typical. We made our way back to Geneva, caught up with a friend for lunch & had some lake time. The weather was perfect!
The French Alps are beautiful, and Chamonix in particular is a great town but we left reminiscing on some of our better snow days at Thredbo and Perisher, in sunny Australia. LOL.
- Unless you REALLY love trains, fly to Geneva from London.
- Book winter activities in advance. I desperately wanted to go Husky sledging but it was all booked out.
- Don’t Ski when there are avalanche warnings. It’s not a fun time.
- Be nice to your siblings. They just might invite you on holidays.
- Speak up. Always.
- Don’t run with scissors.
Barcelona is up next!