Thursday, February 7, 2008

Home Again, almost

Well, I am trying to be better than I was during our Tasmania stay. At least I am writing to let you know that we made it home (at least as far as Connecticut, where we are visiting family before heading back to Kai and Chester in Lakewood).

Our last few days in Samoens were filled with more skiing and more good times and more good food. I won't bore you with all the details but will just make a few general observations about our trip in no particular order.

--Continental Airlines as an undeserved bad wrap. We even actually received more than just peanuts on the flight from Denver to Newark. Both flights were nearly empty, so full rows for us all the way there and all the way back!

--Contrary to what the Czechs and Bosnian told us about the ski lifts in Europe, the lifts at Samoens were no faster and no fancier than those we have in the States. However, they will stop the entire lift and yell at you in French if you do not lower the safety bar. It took us a full minute to realize that the reason the lift had stopped was not because someone was having trouble but because we had gone about 2 meters from the lift without lowering the bar. How embarrassing and a mistake we did not repeat!

--And yet, there are big pits just off piste across the mountain that do not have any barriers or warning signs. These pits get covered with a little bit of snow, and apparently people fall in them every year and get severely injured or die. So be careful on the lifts, but ski at your own risk.

--I am so not a foul weather skier. We spent one freezing day on the mountain with snow falling and great powder ... for people who know what to do with it. I reverted to my leaning back, hunched up, rigid skiing and ended the day with a frozen nose and burning quads and calves. So much for getting my mojo back!

--"Vous etes ici" (You are here) on a map can be so helpful when trying to find your way back to the group once you are separated from them by taking a wrong turn. But why don't all the maps included this helpful little arrow?

--The French, in an effort to save space on staircases, have come up with some treacherous solutions. Catherine's puzzle-step staircase was nothing compared to the low-rise steps in another chalet. Unless you had a toddler's size 2 foot you could not fit your foot onto the step. I was able to fit my heel and part of my arch and then decided it would just be easier to turn my foot sideways. I'm surprised there aren't more people there with broken legs or necks from stumbling down the stairs during middle-of-the-night fridge raids.

--One night, on the way home from picking up Christine at the airport, we came across a small green Renault van stuck in a ditch. One man was on the phone and the other (apparently the driver, who just happened to reek of gin and other alcoholic odors) was just standing there staring. Soon after we showed up, a Land Rover full of British men showed up. Two people leaned on the side of the car that was sticking up in the air, two others pushed from the front, while the driver revved the engine. Within a few seconds, it was back on the road right as rain. We told Duncan about this the next day, and his response was "Was it the guy in the silver Renault or the green one?" Apparently this was a common occurrence in Samoens and the two men were famous for their sketchy driving.

--As cold as it got on the mountain, I rarely suffered from the cold fingers and toes syndrome I always get in Colorado. Don't know why, but I'm definitely not complaining!

That's all for now. I'm sure there is much more, but I'm hopped up on Sudafed, trying to recover from yet another head cold/sinus infection. Seems I'm allergic to airplane flights!

Hope to see you all soon and catch up in person!
Tara and Mark

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