Last week in La Clusaz, this was the scene down at the Champ Guiget area down by the ice rink in La Clusaz. Can you tell what’s happening? Is it a battle of machines against humans? Is there going to be a really odd game of hockey?
On the left are the piste bashers (aka, groomers, mogul munchers or in French, dameuses). On the right, are the crowd of people who have just downed the freebie vin chaud, hot chocolate and Reblochon cheese. The queue half an hour earlier at the stand offering the freebies was massive, and I wondered if the crowd would stay once they’re received their free drink and cheese. Stay they did. So, are they ready to do battle?
There was no battle.
There was no puck.
There was no ballet.
Dameuse ballet was promised, and I’m pretty sure that promise killed a ballerina somewhere in the world. The damesuses made their way, one-by-one, down the hill, then lined up side-by-side. The ballet — I think — involved a couple of the snow ploughs at the front of the machines getting lifted a few centimetres into the air and being wobbled around. I’d been expecting a few swift turns close to other dameuses, or at least some appropriate music while they reversed backwards and forwards. I wondered if maybe there would be a few girls in tutus on skis twirling behind the big machines, or jumping over them from big kickers doing ballet moves at the same time.
The drivers turned off the engines and got out. That was it. On the upside, the crowd was allowed to climb into the drivers’ seats and get a feel for what it must be like to drive one of these things. This was the highlight!
Next year, La Clusaz, can you ditch the whole ballet idea and just go for joy rides instead?