Thursday, 11 October 2007


When the vendors simply wouldn't drop the price further when we were haggling over the Auberge, they started bunging in any other inducements they could think of, including shares in the local lift company (ski, not tower block). So last weekend we went to the AGM - a thinly disguised excuse for a drink (actually, many drinks) and a knees-up. The presentations stretched my powers of concentration in French to the limit but we heard more about the plan to join the ski areas of Zinal and Grimentz (reminiscent of the Alagna-Gressoney link in terms of pros and cons, and what type of skier stands to gain most). Just one speaker from the floor was not happy, making the point that it's a big project for something which doesn't actually open much new terrain. But there's good precedent in the biggest lift projects of recent years - Kitzbuhel's 3S, the Vanoise Express between Les Arcs and La Plagne, and of course Whistler's "Peak to Peak" gondola (actually, mid-station to mid-station, but don't let the facts get in the way of a snappy name) that's being built right now. If Zinal is truly planning to compete with bigger resorts the integration will be essential, no matter how good they make the shuttle bus service which currently gets you back to Zinal after skiing across to Grimentz. And at least this lift will actually go up rather than along like those above. For the meantime there's also the paragliding option which seems popular in these parts.

The more vital link, which I sincerely hope will be in before winter 2010, and not subject to objections from the green party or an avalanche risk analysis, is broadband to our house. Until then we have to hoof up the hill to the telecabine station for the nearest wifi signal. That seems desperate (and potentially chilly as winter draws nearer) if you're used to being on-line constantly though it's amazing how much more productive you are when you sit down at your computer and the world doesn't pour in through port 119, wherever that is on your motherboard, or is it your hard drive? Whatever. You don't have to know how it works to be able to use it.

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