Day 103: Haut Valley
New year’s eve is special for Nevache, because it’s the day that they piste the entire upper valley. BF suggested we ski it before too many people walk all over it.
We were a bit late for that though, it has to be said. We got there and there were hundreds of people trudging up the road on snow shoes, ski du fond skis, touring skis, dragging sledges and carrying children.
I had cycled this route a few times and knew what to expect: a bloody great hill. Which it was. It was fun though, and the number of people whizzing or trudging along the slope was quite nice and life affirming. Occasionally we had to dodge a sledge barrelling the other way, and there was a nice feeling of community.
It was a slog though. I was totally out of breath by the third loop in the road. it was a case of one ski in front of the other for a long way. It was relentless.
The upper valley was gorgeous in the snow though. It was totally worth it, and a great workout. On the way along top the skiing was a bit easier and we got a “Salut” from our neighbour Jacques’ kids, who were on their way down. We stopped at a nice wee chapel for a rest and to watch the ski de fonders pass by (there were a lot in the upper valley, although surprisingly little attempting the climb up there). We skied up to the fruitiere – a restaurant about 75% of the way up the valley, avoiding the topmost climb, which would have finished us off.
I was pretty faint by the time we got there – I hadn’t had any lunch. we stopped for a picnic before heading down again. The downward journey was nice and zippy, just like when I cycled it (it is down pretty much all the way). The only difficulties we ran into were walkers seemingly oblivious to the fact that someone was pelting towards them on skis, taking up the whole piste. Luckily we avoided any major collisions.
It was a nice ski and about 18km all told. We were really pooped when we got back.