Meribel Christmas 1997

The van struggling to get up to MaribelAfter many months planning our looooong winter trip we headed off in an Aurigny plane to France to pick up our camper van which had been shipped over to St. Malo a week earlier. Then driving through the night, we took turns between driving and sleeping in our comfy bed in the back of the van. We arrived in the french ski resort of Meribel just after midday the next day and were greeted by a terrible snow fall making the winding roads difficult to get up. Damian had driven down in his car with his and Steve's friend Joe, Joe's brother Matt and friend Simon. Eva from Sweden arrived by train from Paris and we drove down to the valley to pick her up later on in the evening. The Chalet took up to 12 people but it was only seven of us there which was hosted by a Kiwi, Jason. We had a week of trying to get to grips with this absolutely huge skiing area which included neighbouring Courchevel on our left and Val Thorens on the right. The chalet was only a few minutes walk from the ski bus or the slopes. However a long metal staircase up to the road made it hard to get down in the evening when your legs were ski tired, as Eva noticed when she fell and hurt her knee. The bruise was massive, not to mention the pain.  Sunny and freezing weather for most of the week made the slopes, which only had a few centimeters of snow, well skied and sometimes a bit stony. A day trip to Val Thorens by the whole gang, was diverted when Matt suddenly found his rythm and went shooting down a slope we were not expecting to do and then got stuck by a non functioning lift and had to take the bus up to Val Thorens. We also went for a day trip to Courchevel. Most skiing days were finished off with several glasses of "vin chaude" at one of the slope bars or a few beers at El Poncho, a local bar run by two british guys and themed a la Mexico. One of the nights our Chalet host Jason, had his day off and we went on an organised hot-stone meal which included as much wine and beer as you can handle. As can be guessed, that offer had to be tested and the wine bottles hardly put on our table before they were emptied. Later on we went to El Poncho to finish it all off but Malin, Eva and Matt had had too much and went back to the Chalet. When the rest of the gang went home a few hours later it was noted that Matt was missing. His shoes and jacket were still there but no Matt. If anyone was still drunk at that point they suddenly sobered up and a massive search was organised to find the missing Matt in minus 10 degrees and pitch black conditions.  After a few hours he was found on the sofa of the flat below our chalet. He had gone outside to make yellow holes in the snow and then got disorientated and thought that he got back to our chalets sofa. Malin took a snowboard lesson by a "local" english guy, Stuart. Great fun! A traditional English Christmas meal was served on Christmas Day, while Santa Clause found us, disregarding our relocation, on Christmas eve, as the Swedish tradition dictates. During the last night the snow was falling bucket loads, so when we were about to depart Damian and his car passangers decided to stay for another night, sleeping on the floor of a chalet girl's room they had just met. We dropped Eva off at the train station at Moutiers for the train back to Paris.