On the slopes in France as the British face a mountain of new restrictions – .

On the slopes in France as the British face a mountain of new restrictions – .

Nonetheless, my return to the Alps, regardless of the ever varying restrictions, has been deeply satisfying. A few harum-scarum climbs and descents on the OK and Orange Haut slopes from the summit of Bellevarde to the Chaise des Marmottes, passing through 20 cm of fresh snow, had a sense of scale that I lacked. And, like a slow train picking up speed, I was soon rumbling alongside my guide.

Val d’Isère, a British favorite since the 1970s, managed to open a dozen runs and 18 ski lifts last weekend, and unlike Val Thorens which was besieged by 17,000 visitors the previous week, it doesn’t didn’t have to rely on synthetic snow. The superb conditions at the start of the season also allowed me to ski its three interconnected mountains and climb the Olympic gondola above La Face, a track made famous by Alberto Tomba during the giant slalom of the Olympic Games in winter of 1992. Looking out, beside pylons throwing up the snowy sky, it was a panorama to delight any skier.

More and more everything about booking this type of ski trip in Europe is a somewhat difficult adventure. Austria (thanks to an ultimate 20-day lockdown) and now Switzerland (thanks to the reintroduction of the 10-day quarantine rule for Britons) are already off limits to most travelers until, well, who knows when. But with ski resorts in France now open and locals excited about the prospects for the coming season, there was a feeling here that The Republic can go the distance.

“We have waited too long for this moment and we have learned to become medical specialists, so we are ready for anything,” said Christophe Lavaut, General Manager of Val d’Isère Tourisme. “People who live in the mountains know how to adapt, it’s in our DNA.


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