Long Weekend in Chamonix

I had posted on my personal facebook page that we had booked our first trip for 2016 and it was Norway. But a little trip to France popped up and became our first trip of 2016. It was a little late planning, so we were limited on possible weekends as well as accommodation options and in some ways reservations for dinner…but despite all that…it was a fabulous trip!

E and I don’t snow sport. At all. Okay, E claims he used to ski and was good at skiing and looooooves skiing, but we’ve been together almost 11 years (or 12?) and he has not skied once in that timeline. Not once. He HAS snowboarded once, with me, and the summary of the story was we went, we fell a lot, the RZA was there, and E drove home while I slept harder than I ever had in my life, and for weeks following my wrist hurt.

So why the hell would we be up for a long weekend skiing and/or snowboarding in the French Alps? Uhhh, because it’s the French Alps obviously.

IMG_2785And what could have been a disappointing long weekend was a fabulous one, despite our lack of snow sport experience. It was recommended that both E and I snowboard instead of ski because of our knee injuries. E thinks next time he’d say “screw it” and ski anyway, but I feel much safer that my kneecap stays in place when both legs are locked into the same plane. That being said, snow boarding is hard. The falls are hard. And sometimes I just want to be able to move my feet! But let’s be honest, snowboarding once every 5 years, it’s not going to be pretty. That’s why going to Chamonix with two other couples made so much sense: there is so much more to enjoy than just snow boarding and skiing.

I will say we were lucky because we had great weather. Not great in that everyday was perfect and sunny. But great because on the first day we didn’t really play on the mountain, it was pretty sunny and lovely with some snow flurries later, the next day we got about a foot of snow which I love, and another day we had some sunshine before a crazy storm blew in. The last half-day before our flight was rainy and miserable…good thing I only planned to eat inside that day.   It also helps to really get along with the people you’re traveling with. Even if those people are breeders. Yeah, I kicked it with a baby for a weekend…kinda. And it wasn’t so bad. Wasn’t so bad …but made me thankful for my IUD still. Traveling with other people is a risk. We hadn’t had any great travel partners as of yet, but this group worked really well. Obviously since I wasn’t there for the snow sports, the time off the slopes was the most important and it was a good time.

And I’m saying that after Air France screwed us, lost our luggage, and I got a disease. Pretty impressive.

We flew out at 5pm on Wednesday evening to arrive at Geneva airport at about 10, and were hopeful to be at our flat in Chamonix at 11:30 or so via our shuttle. Our friends had arrived earlier in the day. We ran about an hour late due to dealing with trying to locate our bags (MIA at Charles de Gaulle, who would ever guess?) and waiting for all of our shuttle mates. And I was really tired and pissy at not having even contact lens solution (I really need to start doing a basic carry on bag, I know, you’d think I’d learn…. luckily our friends found us some tooth brushes) and being tired and having to wait at the airport and starting to feel sick. And then our shuttle couldn’t make it up the hill to our flat. And I kinda thought the trip was ruined. But we were welcomed into our flat with booze (for E, I felt off) and some borrowed clothes and a big bed. It was going to be okay. Although I had this underlying nagging disease that every day grew progressively worse, really coming to full steam on Sunday the day we were to fly home, and continuing for over another week, even after 3 days solid in bed. I digress…

It snowed all night Wednesday night. On Thursday 3 of the other 4 (Lee, Cris & Sam)went to play on the mountains. E and I shopped around for some undies (yeah Icebreaker undies!), sorting out claims for delayed luggage, getting our rentals squared away, and E even rented some snow pants and got on the slopes for an hour. I met up with Kaitlin who spent a long day at home with her not-even-3-month old and we went for a walk, got some groceries, and found a place for some not-exactly-après-ski. Soon the rest of the group came down the mountain and joined us.

The entire crew, apres-ski

The entire crew, apres-ski


Coolest parents I know

Coolest parents I know

We had dinner in. Drank more. Played games. Our suitcases arrived. It snowed all night again.

We all woke up pretty early on Friday. It was snowing. Momma K had a nanny arrive at 8:30 am and we were all off at about 9am. I spent the morning with Kaitlin as she very patiently tried to teach me to snow board, and then E and I split off to the Lodge (which was at the top of the Gondola ride up the mountain, but there were additional chair lifts to take you higher up to additional runs as well) to warm up the seats for everyone to meet for lunch and drinks.

Before getting my ass kicked.

Before getting my ass kicked.

The absolute best scotch of my life.

The absolute best scotch of my life.

"help me Kaitlin!"

“help me Kaitlin!”

Serious discussion going on here...

Serious discussion going on here…

I swear I didn't go down the hill with a pole...I just needed a little help.

I swear I didn’t go down the hill with a pole…I just needed a little help.


After, E and I had a 4-hour snowboarding lesson on a bunny hill. E was clearly better at me, but the lesson really did help a lot…. I mean, after a series of embarrassing falls off the t-bar chair-lift type thing and wiping out entire herds of French school children attending their own ski school, progress was being made. I really tried to just not even start moving when I saw the herd (of school children) were on the move since they travel down the hill in single file, s-swerving lines…but they were EVERYWHERE. I would have never gotten down. Every time I tried to explain to the instructor that I wanted to wait until the path was clear, he would instruct me to carry on and explain that “there are enough French children. Take them out. They will learn!” Dodging all those baguettes was pretty exhausting work so sometimes I would ask for a break at the top of the hill where I would lay down. The instructor kept asking if I wanted to go over and sit on a bench. He didn’t understand how happy I was to lay in the snow and have the snowflakes hit my face. It was still snowing. It was amazing.

Finally at 4:30 our lesson was over and I had made it down the entire {bigger} bunny hill without falling! Success. Turns out E and I were out later than everyone else (man I felt like a BA for about 5 minutes)…but on our way back we walked past this adorable chocolate and macaroon shop…and it was still snowing and just magical out. E went in and ordered 2 hot cocoas and a variety of macaroons and told them we’d sit outside. They thought we were crazy, but other than the fact the macaroons got a little soggy, it was delightful.IMG_2717 IMG_2716 IMG_2703DSC_0468 DSC_0460 DSC_0449DSC_0440


We got home, got dressed. Went out to dinner. It was still snowing. We left dinner and headed to a bar. It was still snowing.   Pretty much at any time you could see a snowball sailing through the sky from one direction or another. At one point we were having a snowball fight amongst ourselves, but when we encountered a group of Brits, ended up in an all out war with them. Halfway through, a man runs across the square with his hands up yelling, “Hold fire! I’m Australian!”12728940_10102555688930917_5585971102045684411_n IMG_2725 IMG_2721 12717654_10102555669584687_3696069848752789269_n

It was still snowing, and it was the best snowball snow I had ever seen. The entire town is a mass of tourists from all over (a surprising amount of Americans even), and everyone is in great spirits and there for a good time. Needless to say, everyone was super nice at the bar. The guys joined a darts game and I befriended the local bar-dogs who cleaned me out of leftover Stella treats that were in my pocket. We eventually made it home with only one disaster of Sam getting hit in the face with a snowball, thrown my none-other than her husband. Words were said.

Saturday we were a little more sluggish than the day before. We needed a little boost to start our day….

avant-ski mimosa

avant-ski mimosa

We decided to take the free bus service to another mountain. E and I decided to go as well because it also had a bunny hill section. This was a bad move. First, the bus ride itself was a hot, smelly, cramped death bus. Second, E had purchased a 3-day pass that we thought we could just upgrade to include this other hill, but we couldn’t so he had to buy an all-new lift ticket for the day. Third, I should have really stuck with the bunny hill I was just getting the hang of. This new bunny hill was actually at the top of the mountain and after a super scary gondola ride where I nearly hyperventilated, the others took off to their real people hills and I tried to take on the new bunny hill with E. On the plus side, it was gorgeous. On the down side, the “bunny hill” (I don’t even know I can call it that. It required an actual chairlift to get to the top. Was full of all kinds of dips, and hills, and big bumps. And was completely iced over) kicked my ass. I made it down 3 times. On the third time, I wiped out, face first, sliding down on my stomach at a wicked speed. Ice jamming into and under my goggles and my legs flinging up back and behind me like some sort of frozen ice scorpion. I threw in the towel.

Our friend Cris found me in a heap at the bottom of the hill (Cris is actually good at snowboarding) and I told him I quit. We all went to the lodge at the top for some drinks and to soak in the views for about 10 minutes before a wicked storm blew in.  It’s a shame I didn’t get more pictures before the storm blew it because it was sunny and gorgeous. We managed a few good group shots before things got real crazy, and then retreated inside to binge on fries, pastries, wine and beer. With the weather picking up, everyone other than me wanted to get a few more runs in since it was our last day.  IMG_2792

watching the storm roll in

watching the storm roll in

E was getting our fries and booze.

E was getting our fries and booze.

Entire group on the last day

Entire group on the last day

IMG_2735 IMG_2737

Lee & Sam

Lee & Sam

Sam titled this: "Ladies who lunch"

Sam titled this: “Ladies who lunch”

I just cozied up with my carafe of wine and soon enough had some male suitors come share my table. Gorgeous views, hot Oregon ski bunnies, and wine?! (I should mention I don’t wear rings when I snow board) It was a much more preferable situation then trying to make it down another hill. At some point E came in because the weather was getting so bad and told me to finish up my wine and take the gondola down before they close it. He was off to attempt to snowboard down the entire thing. I was leisurely finishing my wine and my Oregon ski bunnies seemed a little concerned they were going to have to guide me down this mountain if the gondola closes, so I packed up and walked over, where I found the strongest looking man I could, and jumped into the gondola car with him. He was from Brazil. Hadn’t ever heard of tweezers. And was a better snowboarder than me.

We eventually all met up at the bottom for sausages, wine, and beer. Big shocker. Got the death bus ride home (less crowed and we had seats this time around), returned our rental gear, showered and went out to dinner. I was really starting to feel like crap but came around by the end of dinner. We went right back to the flat after because we had a ton of booze to finish there (obviously). So we just played card games and drank. And maybe the boys drank too much…but not a drop was wasted.

Sunday morning was rough. It felt colder and it was raining (it obviously wasn’t colder but it felt that way). My body was in all kinds of pain from snowboarding and from my growing disease. Sam & Lee left pretty early and the rest of us headed down to the chocolate & pastry shop to get croissants for a light brekkie, and stock up on macaroons for the trip home. We then had planned for sushi, because for whatever reason Chamonix had a sushi place that looked really good and had great reviews, and despite the fact we live on a sea…Aberdeen has no respectable sushi. We walked in right at noon when they opened to an empty restaurant, and they ask if we have reservations. We didn’t…soooo no sushi for us. We then got burgers at Poco Loco, which is hailed to be the best burgers around. They were (rudely) trying to do a In-n-Out burger thing. Not awful, not the best ever, would have been better without the attitude. Cris and Kaitlin head out to get the shuttle back and E and I were left hung-over (E) and getting really sick (me) wandering around in the rain with no place to go. Looking like homeless people camping out on the chairs of some retail store. In hindsight- should have gotten the earlier shuttle with them. After what felt like an eternity between the shuttle ride and 2 flights, we made I home (with our luggage!) and then I spent 3 full days, not leaving my bed.

one of many...

one of many…

While I wish it ended without this disease or bruises, I’m super thankful it ended with no real injuries and great memories.


**Note: About half of these pictures aren’t mine, they are the photo skills of the lovely Sam Mackinnon and/or stranges we harass to take our pics.

1 Comment

  1. Renee @pinkypie

    brave woman! I have been up to Chamonix a few times but only because i was visiting a friend in Geneva. But it looks amazing and you made it sound pretty fun and funny even though you had Death Bus rides, lost luggage and sickies.


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