From piste to crutch Pt I

It’s been a while since I last blogged but thought my recent adventures were worth writing about.

So skiing trip as usual. This year Kim and I and Dave got an apartment in Flaine, France and then Andrea came over for the second half of the week.

We drove to LHR and parked the car. The flight was pretty short and at the other end, we picked up a hire car. We had a small issue trying to change the language to English but then we were on the road. After a stop at the supermarket, we made it to Flaine in time to get our skis.

The apartment was a bit oddly designed. The room was quite small but had a king size bed which was unnecessarily large. This meant to open or close the door you had it push it past the corner of the bed.

On the first night, Kim and I ate at the restaurant, while Dave cooked pasta.

The next day we got up fairly early and headed out. The apartments were ski in ski out. We got our lift pass and sliced locally. Didn’t take too long to find our feet. In the afternoon we went over to the connected Grand Massif ski area.

We stopped to take photos and then Kim realised he had lost his lift pass. We are not sure how this could have happened as he had to have had it to get on the lift and it wasn’t on the ground anywhere. We decided the best thing to do was to ski down to Samoens 1600 and go to the lift pass office. By the time we got there it was coming on for 3:30. It was 3 lifts back so I told Dave to head back so he could come and pick us up in the car if we were stuck.

A few minutes later, Kim came back to say he had found the lift pass office and it was shut. I suggested we went down the gondola so it would be less distance for Dave to pick us up.

When we got down, there was a bus stop with a navette connecting the grand massif villages but not flaine as this was in a different valley. We got the bus to morillon which was a bigger village and nearer flaine. When we got there we found there were no buses to flaine but at least the lift pass office was open for Kim to get a replacement boss. It would take about an hour for Dave to get to us and I was happy to sit in the pub but Kim insisted we get a taxi as it was his fault for losing the pass.

The taxi was slightly hairy. We got to the bottom of the main road and there was a jam so he veered off onto a ‘locals’ one way route through small villages and past a farm.

He didn’t take us to Flaine but dropped us in Carroz where he said there was a bus to Flaine. Another bus came along and we enquired about the Flaine bus and he said there wasn’t one but after about 10 mins. It surprisingly turned up and dropped us very near our apartment. Went to the same restaurant.

The next day we got up early while Dave was a bit slower. Kim and I headed out and up the chairlift.  The snow was really good and the slopes were quiet which gave us a chance to get some speed up.  I managed a top speed of 95kmh and was skiing really well.  We met up with Dave and then the slopes were getting a bit busier so we just skiied normally.  In the evening, Kim cooked some pasta, while Dave and I had a go on his Wii (which he’d brought with him).  In the evening I uploaded my skitracks with my top speed and wondered if I was tempting fate a bit.

The next day we got up and Dave drove us to a different resort Avoriaz.  We got there about 10:30 and found a multistorey car park.  We then went to the lift pass office to get a day pass office.

Avoriaz is part of a large ski area that carries on into Switzerland.  We decided to head there first and followed the signs until we came to the top of a run called the Swiss Wall.  This had signs warning it was a 90 degree drop and mogully.  We edged along and peered over the edge before deciding not to do it.  It didn’t stop us posing for some photos in front of the sign though.  Fortunately, there was another way into Switzerland but when we got there the snow was fairly soft anyway so we headed back to France.

We ended up skiing around a place called Chatel for quite a while.

At the end of the day, we drove down from Avoriaz to Morzine, which was further down and supposed to be a bit livelier.  We walked past several restaurants, which Dave didn’t like.  We then found one he liked but it was completely full so I insisted we pick one of the one’s he had rejected.  We went in and I could see that neither Kim or Dave liked it so I agreed with them we could try Les Gets instead.  Fortunately on the way back to the car, we spotted a little bistro up an alley which turned out to be a great place with some excellent food.  Kim drove us back to the apartment, which was slightly hairy for me at first as he didn’t want to go too close to the centre line, which meant we were a little bit too close to the edge on some of the roads for my liking!  He soon got the hang of it though

The next day Wednesday, we went skiing locally as Dave was collecting Andrea from the airport.  We skiied around the Flaine area and tried to stay high as the snow was not as good.In the evening we had a ready meal from the supermarket, while Dave went to the airport.  They were back fairly late but we said hello before going to bed.

On Thursday, Kim and I went out early on our own as Andrea had to go and get skiis and a liftpass.  We skiied locally and the snow conditions were still not that wonderful. At around 11, we started heading back to the resort to meet Dave and Andrea.  We headed back down the Blue Serpentine run.  We went down the top of the run and near the bottom it appeared to flatten out back to the resort.

I started to speed up but then realised it was steeper than I realised and slowed down again.  I’m not sure what happened next, maybe I hit an unexpected bump but I lost my balance and fell forward.  My skis came off but my left leg was bent under my body and it felt like I was snowboarding on my leg.  The slope wasn’t very steep at the bottom I rolled a little.

Kim was behind me and said he was nearly hit by my skis flying off.  He stopped and put my skis in a cross to indicate an accident and stop someone else running in to me.

My leg hurt but everything else was alright.  I tried to see if I could walk down the slope but my leg hurt too much and I couldn’t do it.

A guy stopped and Kim asked him to call the ski patrol.  Fortunately, he was the ski patrol.  He had a look at my leg but there didn’t seem to be anything obviously wrong.  I was hoping it might be a sprain.  he asked me if I definitely wanted to be rescued and called a colleague.  They strapped leg and then put me in a sled.

We set off at a modest pace going down the mountain head first.  It was slightly weird as I was looking up but could see things like chair lifts passing overhead.

We stopped at the skipatrol station at the bottom and I then had to wait a little while before a short ambulance ride to Flaine Medical centre.  I checked my speed on ski tracks and it came out at 25mph so not too fast.

In the medical centre, I was transferred to a trolley.  They then took all my winter clothes off so they could look at the leg.  I had an x-ray.  The results were that I had a fracture at the top of my tibia.

We rang my insurance company and there were 2 options – have the op in France or be repatriated.The medical centre doctor thought I could have the op that day or the next if we went for French option.  The problem with the UK option was that they take you back and dump you at A&E.  I was concerned that if we went back on the Friday I wouldn’t be able to have the op over the weekend and would have to wait until Monday.  So went went for the op in France.

Kim stayed behind to take my skis and helmet back, while I went in the ambulance.  We had to pay them 300 Euros on my credit card before they would take me (the ski patrol was 400 Euros but this could be paid later).  Kim also paid 100 Euros for bandages.  I was glad for travel insurance!

We set off Sallanches Hospital

















About loderingo

Blog describing my travels around the Americas
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