I've just had a very good week skiing in Chamonix, France.
The missing 'blog entries I texted would have told you my journey to Chamonix was less than perfect. First, it was a stupid-early-o'clock flight, so I had to be up really early. Then the plane was late, then my skis got lost so I missed the transfer bus laid on by Inghams. Thankfully the Inghams people at the airport were pretty good, and told me I could either wait 7 hours for the next transfer or pay 33euros for a public bus. I opted for that, which actually was a far more comfy bus than the transfer one, dropping me off at the Gare SNCF in Chaminix a couple of hours later.
I got a cab to the Residences des Aiglons, although couldn't figure out how to check in. A call to the Rep, Heather, got it all solved. She demonstrated some excellent customer service, and quite frankly got Inghams off the hook big-time - had she been more the stereotypical rep. (ie. nice, but pretty useless) then I'd have torn a strip off her before moving onto Inghams management.
Anyway, after checking in, the self-catering appartment was decent enough. Inghams sell them for seven people, which is a bit scandalous. We paid suppliments, so were only four. That's also pretty scandalous, seeing as Inghams pay per appartment, not per person. As it was, two of us got bunk beds, one got a double and the fourth got the z-bed in the living room. Not exactly ideal, but thank god we didn't have seven in there!
The next morning, things got much better - there was something like 6" of new snow, and it was still snowing. Despite the fact half of Chamonix's numerous ski areas seemed to be shut because of avalanche problems, we had loads of fun floating about on new snow - fresh tracks to be had just about anywhere you wanted to go. The second day was much the same - even more new snow, and fresh tracks all over the place. We even ended up hiking up a bit to get some virgin snow.
On Wednesday we went to Cormeyeur, just over the border in Italy (through the Mont Blanc tunnel). It was 30euro (organised by Inghams and others), and well worth it. It was warm, sunny and really beautiful. We met up with the two Inghams reps, so got a bit of an opportunity to show off and play about. They took us all over, and introduced us to Bombardinos - a local brew of all kinds of high calorie/alcohol ingredients - worth a try, but you wouldn't want too many of them ;-)
So all in all, I've had a really good week. I'd recommend Chamonix to anyone, although it may not be ideal for beginners. Also be aware that most ski areas are a bus ride away from the accommodation (although you may be lucky and be near one of the "in town" lifts). Also, it's in France, so unlike North America the bus and lift queues are a bit of a free-for-all, with lots of pushing and shoving. They were handing out feedback forms about that stuff, so one wonders if they're thinking about changing things.
Just four little days to go, and I'll be in my beloved Canada for a bit more skiing... ;-)