Sadly though I can't get a lot done in the Swansea valley and apart from the odd couple of hours in a tin shed in a shopping centre I'm restricted to six days of out of control plank sliding a year if I'm lucky. This year high winds in La Rosiere closed the lifts for a day so I only got five. No not enough, not even close.
Handing back my hire skis is always a little sad. Even more so this year when the elements have denied me my full quota. I should be grateful in 7 years of ski trips, this was the first day I'd lost to weather, but even so I felt a little empty so when I was offered the opportunity to go for a few days in Canazei in the Val Di Fassa area of Italy, Well I just had to go.
The latest I'd skied in the year before was the first week of March. This was Borovets in Bulgaria and on the first day I'd have been better in wellies than Ski boots but on the second day it started to snow for 36 hours solidly producing the best conditions of that season. This trip was a couple of weeks later but hey the companies know what they're doing and the snow couldn't be any worse than Sauze D'Oulx had been last year in January. Besides this is Italy at the worst I get a lovely trip to the Dolomites checking out landscape.
Canazei is on the famous Sella Ronde ski circuit and part of the the Dolomiti Superski area, the largest ski area in the world with 1200km of runs. Because it's a big resort you get the benefit of well looked after pistes and of course snow machines which produces great conditions in the morning. It can get a bit mogully in the afternoon so to do the harder runs you'll need to be fit and a reasonably competent skier. I was told I was the former by our host Alice so I was happy enough. Unfortunately my mogul skills weren't that great which resulted in a piggy back off an Italian ski instructor but more of that at a later date.
One of the problems of skiing early in the year is the lack of daylight. If you ski until the last lift of the day, and most of us do, then by the time you've got back to your accommodation and showered it's often dark in the resort. Okay the lights of Tignes, Val D'Isere et al as viewed from La Rosiere have their own ethereal beauty and watching the piste bashers do their thing can be mesmerising but I'm in the mountains, I'd like to see mountains. Going that bit later in the year allows the resort to come alive. Around every corner a new view opens up and be honest with yourself you only usually get this from the transfer bus on the way in.
The added few degrees temperature can make getting around the resort a bit easier. You may not need big heavy snow boots and layer upon layer upon layer to keep warm. This of course varies but I did appreciate sitting eating lunch outside in a T-shirt whilst watching people in ski gear. It was almost surreal.
One of the things I found amusing in the resort was the sight of the road cyclists in lycra weaving through the people clomping along in ski boots, it really felt like the changing of the guard or almost like the best of both worlds. Spring mountains and winter sports. Going later in the year has really opened my eyes to how long the season can be. I no longer have to restrict myself to a few weeks a year and on the spur of the moment even in late March I can hop on a plane and go and make holes in the snow with my head and if worst comes to worst then there's always the infamous Bombardino!
Save a huge 54% per person off a late-season Inghams ski holiday to Val d’Isère
Inghams is offering a seven night holiday on a catered board basis (including buffet breakfasts, afternoon tea and cake, and four-course evening meals with complimentary wine for six days) at the three-and-a-half-diamond Chalet Les Dolomites in Val d’Isère, France, from £479 per person, based on two sharing. Price represents a saving of £570 per person and includes return flights from Birmingham to Chambery and airport transfers. The package is valid for travel departing on 1st April 2017. To book, visit www.inghams.co.uk/ski-holidays or call 01483 791 114