So, as it stands, the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has ground the world to a halt, found itself central to the end of our season this year. But, bizarrely, we think it was potentially the best week of the winter.
We had spent the majority of our winter working as instructors in Austria. Our days involved teaching eager tourists how to manoeuvre around the mountain, and our evenings involved propping up our favourite bar, El Dorado’s (cheers Tony, getting the second shout out on this blog). A large proportion of time in the bar was spent discussing all the places we wanted to visit and how we are going to make our millions to make this a reality. Apart from Wednesday. That was reggae band night.
Most of you will know that season 19/20 had not been a strong one for snow in Europe, especially at the lower altitudes. And being in the very affluent resort of Kitzbühel, we had marvelled at the relentless snowmaking facilities and wondering how they were keeping the stuttering season alive (at what environmental cost? That’s a whole other topic). We found ourselves constantly dreaming of fresh powder days, which never really materialised, and wondering why we hadn’t headed to the US for the winter. But at least we weren’t back in the UK contending with the never ending rain and were content to just be in the mountains working from our beautiful office.
Come March, even with the epic effort going into maintaining the resort, the season was already starting to wind down in Austria. It was, however, in full-flow in France. So, after a few weeks cruising round here and there, I made decision to pack up shop and haul ass across to the higher snow-sure resort of Tignes for some end-of-season high-altitude skiing and some hard-earned (debatable) free skiing time. It wasn’t until Jodie had narrowly escaped St. Anton just days before they imposed a lockdown on all season workers, that she decided to join me on my trip. So the pair of us headed out from beautiful Salzburg to begin our trip to the French Alps, and also towards setting up this blog.
After our 11 hour road trip, and a day of blasting around the empty pistes of Tignes on arrival, our trip quickly became anything but normal. The French government took the decision to close all ski resorts with immediate effect. We had however been blessed with 3 whole hours to hit every single bar in resort. Being placed in lockdown high in the mountains with long days of touring, drinking beers and playing cards in the sun definitely wasn’t all bad. As our chats drifted between how lucky we were to be in this environment and what our plans for summer were, we also kept coming back to the same ‘El Dorados’ conversation; despite knowing what to look for online, we could never find the ‘real’ information we wanted on resorts, equipment, even the truth on what season life actually looks like.
With time on our hands, and encouragement from Jodie, we started to move these ideas forward. They had previously been a jokey conversation in the pub that we would never find time to get around to. It was idle chat that we could now put into reality. And so, the plan for ‘LiFed’ was discussed, changed, debated and built up with some pretty big ideas for the future. The starting point, we decided, would be getting a blog on the go.
I had never considered even writing anything, not even a diary, until this winter. It has, however, became apparent over a few lengthy ski debates that I have actually built up a bit of knowledge during my time on seasons. Actually, far more than I had even realised, and some of it potentially even being useful! And so I thought it would be an idea to get this jotted down. What better way than to share my experiences with other people who may find them helpful, interesting or, at least, just entertaining.
And now this is happening, and hopefully together we will push each other towards some of our grander plans! If not, at least it will keep us busy, and hopefully, you might find some amusement from them during these strange times.
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