Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Island in the sun

Mon 14 Dec 2009 08:59 GMT

Alpe d'Huez is known as l' île au soleil, the island in the sun, and today it lived up to it's name.

We set off from the village here yesterday afternoon to cross country ski at Alpe d'Huez. We wrapped up well as it was foggy, grey and cold. Driving up the 21 hairpins was a very different scene to the last time I was there in summer - unrecognisable in it's shroud of cloud, the cliff faces hanging with icicles. Just as we neared the resort at around 1,850 metres, we popped out of the cloud and into bright sunshine and blue sky, there was still a chill in the air but it was so uplifiting to feel the sun on our faces.

As we neared the highest point on the cross country pistes (around 2,050 metres), we got a spectacular viewpoint towards our valley. It was apparent then how far above the clouds we were as we were looking down on them like a lake filling the valley. See photo top left and below.

Being my first outing on the skis this winter it was good to have the views to distract me from the feelings of exhaustion and burn that came with ski-ing uphill at altitude!

After a good couple of hours we dropped back down into the wintry blanket of clouds and made our way back to the comfort of the log burner where we spent the rest of the evening decorating the Christmas tree.


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