Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A white Christmas in France

With a ski in/ski out chalet in the French Alps, piles and piles of fresh snow right outside our door, a roaring fire, Christmas carols sung by the crooners, awesome company and food galore, our white Christmas of 2010 was pretty special. We reunited our trekking group and so the 6 of us spent a week in the little village of Les Houches, France to celebrate the holiday season.

We randomly chose the location earlier in the year, not because we'd heard anything about it (but figured we couldn't go too wrong being in the Chamonix/Mt Blanc valley) but simply because it was one of the few places where we could find an available chalet for 6 people over Christmas. Our home away from home was gorgeous, basically on the side of a mountain right beside one of the ski runs & chair lift - handy for the skiers in our group.

Our chalet

Views from the chalet - it was pretty spectacular on the days when it wasn't snowing so heavily that we couldn't see the mountains!

Part of the ski run beside the chalet

Mitch skiing in for lunch

Other then the necessary trips down the mountain to buy groceries in the village, everything we needed was right outside our front door - skiing, a nice driveway for toboggan races, some fields for snowman building & snow angel making and of course, lots and lots of snow to stockpile some snowballs from. When the boys went to pick up their skis on the first day, us girls waited behind a mound of snow and built ourselves a wall of snowballs, ready to bombard the boys with as soon as they hopped out of the car. Sadly, they spotted our massive pile of snowballs a mile off and so a snowball war began as soon as they hopped out of the car...

--- Stockpiling our snowballs while singing what ended up being our theme song for the trip & like 'om mani padme hum' in Nepal, it's still stuck in my head :P ---

Although I was off the skis this year, I still managed to get up the mountain on the pedestrian lift on a beautiful sunny day. I wasn't alone thankfully as Tiff also wasn't skiing, so the two of us spent plenty of time playing in the snow and watching the others make their way down the mountain.

Making our way up on the cable car

We made it!

Mitch on one of the chairlifts

The skiers :-)
--- The skiers making their way down the first run of the day ---

After Tiff and I had buried me in the snow, attempted to toboggan down a hill or two (fairly unsuccessfully as the snow was too deep) and made little snowmen, the others joined us for a quick break off the skis in which time Julian became a human snowball (sadly missed on video) and Roy rolled us a nice big snowball down a hill...

After some very heavy snowfall (it snowed for a couple of days straight!), we were basically snowed in to our chalet as even with our snowchains (sooooo thankful we bought some, otherwise we wouldn't have made it off the mountain!), the steep windy drive down was a bit dangerous. Being snowed in didn't bother us a bit though as we had plenty of food and plenty of entertainment with all the piles of snow outside...

Our car was snowed in after Christmas!

With all this snow to play in, we naturally had to make a snowman.... Thank you to Roy for his awesome snow man skills - yes, he truly is the Edward Scissorhands of snowmen!!!

With two toboggans handy, many races down the driveway took place on Christmas Eve & Christmas Day. The four of us who were spectators decided to make the races a little more interesting and bombard them with snowballs...

We also decided it would be a good idea one day to bury Aurysia in the snow - and so the little one became a buried Eskimo, much to our amusement!

I love having a Christmas tree and although we had a great one this year in Holland, I was keen for one in France too - and so our snow Christmas tree became a reality. On Christmas Eve, we piled up mounds of snow and after some careful shaping, a gorgeous tree emerged. We lit it up with tealights and stood around it listening to carols, drinking hot Milo and finished the evening off by setting some fireworks off the top (because yes, you can buy them in the supermarket here!).

A work in progress

Re-lighting the candles for our group shot

Merry Christmas!

The finale

After starting the day off with a big fry up for breakfast and talking to our families back in Australia, Christmas Day was lovely & relaxed, filled with more fun in the snow of course. We topped off the day with a big vego feast (as most of our group is vegetarian) - I thought I'd be missing my prawns & ham, but not in the slightest! (although I must admit I was craving rhubarb relish & ham on toast for breakfast - a Gerritsen tradition nowadays).

Perfecting the snow tree

People from the other chalets all came and posed with our tree!

I don't think I'll ever get sick of looking at snowflakes - it still amazes me how perfect they are

--- Snow bowling on Christmas day (please excuse the sideways video!) ---

Aurysia perfecting her Ninja skills after a day playing in the snow

The roaring fire in our chalet (which was awesome when it wasn't smoking us out)

Christmas dinner

This is what happens when Mitch leaves the camera unattended on the tripod on the timer function

Photo bomb!!!!!!

Thumb lady!

Aurysia and I playing worms

On their final day on the slopes, Mitch took the camera up with him to snap some photos of the scenery. He hadn't fallen over all week and was doing really well - but as luck would have it, as soon as he skied with the camera, the falls began - luckily we have a seemingly indestructible Canon that has even survived falling off the back of a cantering horse (not in it's case either!) so a few falls in some soft snow did nothing (phew!).

It can be hard being away from family at Christmas time but I can't think of a better bunch of people to spend the holidays with while we're away. We had such a great week playing around in the snow, I wonder what our next white Christmas has in store???


  1. I love the photos Lu! A wonderful way to spend Christmas that is for sure!! I loved talking to you on Christmas day!! :)) much love, Martine

  2. It was a lovely week away, although we missed you guys! Christmas isn't quite the same without watching the kids open all their presents (and waking up at the crack of dawn!). It was great talking to you, I wish we could have recorded that xmas webcam as a keepsake hehe :-) Love lots & c'mon Junior! xo


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