Category Archives: France

Skiing in April… was that a smart move? After slushy slopes in March I was a bit worried. Again I took a plane to Geneva, waited at the airport, got on a bus and stared out the window, watching the scenery change. At Moûtiers we took the road uphill towards Val Thorens. There was still not much snow to be seen and actually, it was raining lightly. As we ascended the rain drops became thicker and turned into wet snow. We passed through St. Martin. No snow. Even in Les Menuires the majority of the snow had already disappeared. But then we turned the corner at Val Thorens and it was completely white. I walked into the UCPA and noticed nobody was wearing a mask. What a change from January! That evening I already met a French girl whom I joined skiing the next day. That morning the grey skies…

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I didn’t sleep well and felt really low on energy. Even just standing straight I felt like my balance was off. I didn’t want to miss out on the skiing, even though I was a bit wary when I followed the group. Today we’d go to Les Menuires, the area adjacent to Val Thorens. We raced down a mostly flat traverse to reach the Masse gondola. At the top we had a very nice view over the Grandes Jorasses. Today we took another long route off piste. After traversing off the slope we had to walk a bit to reach the start and after some more traversing we stood in a quiet snow field. Even though we saw two people who were also hiking up, we were now totally alone. The landscape was pretty gentle, although there were some challenging parts. There was a fair bit of traversing over a…

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With only half a day of lessons I had the morning free to see a bootfitter for new ski boots. I walked into a small shop full of skiboots, pictures and notes with common problems and equipment. The man looked at my feet and immediately saw ‘the problems areas’. He put three different boots in front of me. I stood there for a while, a different boot on each foot. One was affordable, the other a bit pricier. I explained the drama with my last boots, how my toe nail would come off and how I hesitated to invest a lot in new boots. But Jérémy the bootfitter was confident and would make any needed adjustments, even a year later if necessary. The affordable one already felt a bit too comfortable, loose, so eventually, still hesitant, I went with the pricy option. As in my old boots I needed a…

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My first days in Val Thorens After a successful off piste course two years ago, I decided to book another off piste course with UCPA for my first ski trip since COVID started. On the first morning we got our backpack with avalanche equipment and checked everything was working. Taking the shovel, checking the emergency numbers, assembling the probe… everything was in order. After what seemed like ages, we finally hit the slopes. Well.. for a little while. Then we searched for powder. And it wasn’t hard to find! It seemed like I’d chosen the perfect week since there’d been a big snowfall before my arrival and this week the clouds were moving out, making room for the sun. Only on Monday morning it was a bit grey, but the instructors were checking levels, taking us only to short bits off piste. I felt great. My turns were amazing. I…

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Months ago I booked a ski trip because this year nothing would stop me. Normally I arrange my trip and transfers through the same company, but this year I found out they didn’t offer transfers. That was the first red flag. Since the trip had already been paid for, I searched the web for shared transfer companies and eventually found one that could bring me to Flaine in France. A week and a half before my departure I thought it was curious I hadn’t heard from them. I called and found out the transfer had been cancelled, only they didn’t find it necessary to inform me. Let the drama begin. Happy new year! With about a week until departure I looked all over the place again, trying to find transportation. It quickly became clear that it would have a price tag. My flight time had been changed to an evening…

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I am sooooo lucky! In the first week of March I made it over to Les Arcs in France for a second ski week this winter. Corona was coming up, but at this time we had no idea what it would turn into. I was outside doing one of my favourite things, one last week of ultimate freedom before our high season starts in tourism. Little did I know the world had other plans. Within a week of me coming back to Berlin the whole of Europe was shut down. I feel so blessed to have had this week! You can never ski enough!    

The last 2 – 3 months have been a rush. I’ve been flying all over Europe, rushing from one place to the next, barely sleeping in my own bed. At the end of October I was in Romania for Halloween, straight through to Greece for work. Then after one night in my own bed I had my holiday in Iran for 2 weeks. Shortly after work brought me to Barcelona. Then I decided to go back to the Netherlands for Christmas and after a few days at the office, I went on my ski holiday. So much has happened that I haven’t even had time to process it all. At work I’m still trying to round up all summer related things, while also preparing for the next summer. In my personal life I’m trying to figure out how I feel about my living situation, although I’m not sure it matters…

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Five winters I’ve worked for ski schools in different parts of the world, but I’d never been on a proper ski holiday. Spending a winter in the snow is amazing, but in reality there is not as much time for skiing as you might expect. You’ll often work 6 days a week and even though you are on the snow, you’re not doing exactly what you want. During my last season the thing that bugged me most, was living like an 18 year-old in a crowded, dirty house, mostly surrounded by people who were a lot younger than I was. I decided not to do seasons anymore, but to start skiing like most people do: during a holiday. But I’m single and pretty detached from everything and everyone. I live a very different life from my friends and family and therefore I had no clue who to go on a…

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Travel is work and work is travel. As a tour leader I get to see a lot of places. But I also get to see the same places a lot. So when I had two days off in Paris, I went to Rouen. I literally looked on the map to see what was close, googled some images of Rouen and my choice was made. Two days later I’m at gare St. Lazare waiting for my train. My phone beeps. It’s a colleague whose tour I’m taking over the next day. There are issues. So I do my best to problem-solve until my train goes, but then I put it out of my head and enjoy my day.     Just over an hour later we roll into the city of Rouen in Normandy. The tourist information here offers an audio guide that covers the city center, so I make my way there…

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When you are on a holiday, you don’t have all the comforts of home. Often you are forced to improvise and simplify. Especially when you are hiking or camping, you’ll learn some handy tricks to deal with some unpleasant side issues. Your sweatshirt soon becomes your pillow, pegs are used to close and hold all sorts of items and plastic bags become your best friend. This photo was taken in France, where we had a lot of wasps surrounding our campsite. We cut up a bottle, put the neck in the bottom upside down and filled it with sweet syrup. After a couple of days it was already a hot spot for the wasps, and the odd ant.  

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