The distraction of La Balme and constant snowfall

<Photo of the chairlift at La Balme and the untracked snow in La Clusaz at the end of the 2013 ski season >
I took this photo just a few days ago, with fresh, powdery snow covering all of La Clusaz. With so few tourists in the resort at this time of year, it took longer than usual for La Balme and the rest of La Clusaz to get tracked out. In fact, l’Etale is still pretty much untracked, as it closed a week ago.

This year has produced the best for snowfall that I’ve ever seen in the Alps, and I feel very lucky to have been here in the Aravis to enjoy it. However, my balance between sport and productivity became somewhat unbalanced, leading to late nights to catch up on work, and early mornings to catch first lifts and yet more knee-deep powder. I’m not the first to experience these imbalances. An English friend in Méribel chose a completely different path. She was struggling to find time between working, snowboarding and socialising, so she gave up snowboarding. “Something had to give,” she said, “and this year, it’s sport. Next year I might stay in more.” Having spent years as a ski bum, giving up an income so I could ski, I don’t understand the concept of giving up a snow sport. Living here would make it all the more difficult!

The French seasonal workers in La Clusaz are just as much of a mystery. They seem to leave the resort within days of their jobs ending, even with this powder falling and very few people tracking it out. These are ideal conditions, and even the seasonal workers have left! Why would they come here and endure working months of long hours in a bitterly cold and expensive place if they don’t get their own sports bonus at the end of it?

I’m certainly not complaining: it means more fun in the snow for me without the crowds.

The ski season ends this Sunday, so I’ll be back on track with work and blog entries — I promise.

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About

I'm a technical author, journalist and writer from Australia who has been living in Europe since 2000 and exploring the world from there. My passions are writing, snow sports and travel.

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