A couple of days before Christmas, my younger son invited me to join him for a day skiing in the Swiss Alps. Champéry lies in a side valley of the Rhone valley under the Dents du Midi (“Teeth of Noon”) mountain range. I’d last skied there years ago (see earlier post). At less than a day’s notice, I rang the hotel he was staying at and booked a room for the night. The hotels and the ski slopes were half empty because of the Covid travel bans, particularly for the many British who had planned ski holidays in Switzerland and nearby France.
In the photo below, I am standing on the ridgeline which marks the Swiss border with France. Behind me is France. Champéry is part of the Portes du Soleil (The Doors of the Sun) which include the ski resorts behind me in France. The Portes du Soleil is one of Europe’s two largest ski areas, around 1000 square kilometres, with 13 interconnected ski resorts and around 650 km of marked pistes. I’ve skied often with my boys on the French side, which is slightly more accessible from Geneva.
Starting on Christmas Day, it has been raining fairly constantly since, and raining up to well over 2000 metres. Quite a lot of the snow on the mountains around Geneva has been washed away and the many people who flocked to the slopes after Christmas cannot be having a good time. We were very lucky to have excellent snow and clear blue skies.