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LIVE TR: Les Coches 21st to 28th December 2019

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
This will be our 22nd family trip after:

March 2009 - Les Menuire (3V)
December 2009 - Aime La Plagne (Paradiski) - snowmaggedon on the outward journey
April 2010 - Oz-en-Oisan (ADH)
December 2010 - Oz-en-Oisan (ADH)
April 2011 - Les Coches (Paradiski)
December 2011 - Les Coches (Paradiski)
April 2012 - La Norma
December 2012 - Les Contamines
April 2013 - Les Coches (Paradiski)
December 2013 - Oz-en-Oisan (ADH)
April 2014 - MISSED - OMG!!
December 2014 - Tignes Le Lac - snowmaggedon on the return journey
April 2015 - Les Coches (Paradiski)
December 2015 - Montchavin (Paradiski)
April 2016 - Les Coches (Paradiski)
December 2016 - Les Coches (Paradiski)
April 2017 - Oz-en-Oisan (ADH)
December 2017 - La Tania (3V)
March 2018 - Les Coches (Paradiski)
December 2018 - Les Coches (Paradiski)
April 2019 - Les Menuires (3V)


As you can see above we've been regular Chrstmas and Spring break skiers for the last decade. All have been driving, S/C and DIY. Kids are now 12 and 14. Me and the wife ageing fast wink

Booked the tunnel crossing on 10th August - cost was £86 to travel out 21-50 on Friday evening and £74 to return on th 06-25 on Sunday morning. We will drive the through the night both ways. £75 of the £160 was paid using Tesco vouchers, £85 on CC.

The official accommodation site for the La Plagne resorts and villages was broken when trying to book a couple of weeks ago. Basically whilst plenty of stuff was showing up in the search for the dates we were going, when you tried to reserve it would show not available. We tried 3 or 4 times over a few days, I sent them an email about it but nothing changed. So instead we when direct to the website of a couple of the immo's we have used on other trips - namely GSI and Glacier. Bit clunky but we got there. Booked an apartment in the "Le De 3" apartment block for 543 Euro's.

We have also purchased a 6-day Paradiski ski pass through the agency with our 12 yo being for free and the other 3 passes at 279 Euros - a 10% reduction on the full price. If conditions are good we'll get a pass for the second Saturday from samedijeskie.com.

Couple of days back I purchased some travel insurance from Asda - £48.99 for an annual policy with £9 Quidco cashback! As discussed here MPI have priced me out and after this thread and this thread I have jumped ship to Asda (Insure & Go).


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Mon 18-11-19 9:44; edited 1 time in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Kit wise I had a bit of a result... I purchased a pair of skis off Facebook Marketplace a couple of years ago for £50. My daughter skied two weeks on them and I managed to sell them on, again on Marketplace, for the same price. So effectively free skis.

I think I am going to purchase some new ones from Glisshop now. There is so much tat on ebay and Marketplace I am not sure I have the patience for it. And Glisshop have 15% off and some good previous season skis at discount this weekend so may spring for some on there.

We've already got the daughter some second hand boots - £5 from the charity shop!

Kids snowboard boots need checking for size issues. Not going to get new boards though. My sons should still be long enough and I need to see how much boarding young un gets up to before splashing out.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Layne, most impressed by your careful spending. I suspect it takes a fair amount of time to sort out, but you are managing on a lot less than we did with similar age family. Hope it all goes well.
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@Layne, I'm looking forward to reading the latest issue of 'skiing with Layne'. Your live trip reports are great reading and gave me inspiration to do the same for our first ever European holiday last Christmas/New Year.
I think I will do the same for our upcoming jaunts to Japan (mid December) and USA road trip (mid February).
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Looking forward to following this as ever. Have a wonderful time! Like @sbooker, these were the inspiration for my own live TRs.
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Jonpim wrote:
Layne, most impressed by your careful spending. I suspect it takes a fair amount of time to sort out, but you are managing on a lot less than we did with similar age family. Hope it all goes well.

Yeah, it's kind of weird but I love wheeling and dealing on this stuff, so I don't mind the time it takes.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
More kit updates: purchased a pair of Dynastar Legend X 84 with the Konect binding plate system and Look NX 12 Konect Dual B90 Black Red bindings from glisshop.

Including postage and £15 per £100 discount they swung in it at £304.58. The discount was due to end today but has been extended to Friday. Solid all mountain skis.

Seems both kids snowboard boots are a tad on the small side so looking at a pair on Marketplace for the older one and the younger will get the hand me downs. Boards still still big enough for this season I reckon.

Seems to be plenty of snow about in resort for the time of year, encouraging signs.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Layne, I bought the same skis from Glisshop very close to the end of last season for about £15 more. Only took them out for one day but got a very good first impression. A bit chunkier than my old Skicross 10s from 15 years ago!
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@Layne, had a look at ASDA insurance and it's certainly cheap enough. I think you ski off piste as well IIRC. Will you supplement the ASDA policy with Carte/Carre Neige?
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andy1234 wrote:
@Layne, had a look at ASDA insurance and it's certainly cheap enough. I think you ski off piste as well IIRC. Will you supplement the ASDA policy with Carte/Carre Neige?

Asda covers off piste so need for CN as far as I'm concerned.

My only concern with the Asda insurance is that personal accident or liability is not covered for snow parks. If I have time I will look into ways to mitigate against that otherwise I will have to shoulder the risk.
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@Layne,
Just reading through your past reports. I am tossing up between going to Europe or Canada for Christmas 2020. We’d stay about 3 weeks or so.
The lean years of 14,15 and 16 are a worry! Do you remember if Tignes or Val T offered better conditions those years? As a back up do you know if the snow making is better now?
Maybe we’d be better off starting the other side (Ischgl or Obergurgl etc) and heading to the Tarentaise later in the trip??
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
sbooker wrote:
The lean years of 14,15 and 16 are a worry! Do you remember if Tignes or Val T offered better conditions those years?

For me, Paradiski, Espace Killy and 3V are much of muchness in this respect. They are all guaranteed to be open, they are all guaranteed to have a reasonable amount of piste skiing open. They are all in the same region of the Alps and have skiing at a wide range of altitudes. I wouldn't favour anyone one over the other purely on the skiing available basis.

sbooker wrote:
As a back up do you know if the snow making is better now?

Things do improve a little year on year but there is always a limit to what they can do.

sbooker wrote:
Maybe we’d be better off starting the other side (Ischgl or Obergurgl etc) and heading to the Tarentaise later in the trip??

Not sure to be honest. I've done a bit of skiing in Austria many years ago (a couple around Christmas time). I am not sure anything is more guaranteed. I've heard people say they can work with a smaller base because it's on pasture rather than rock but really I wouldn't be confident answering your question.

Another difficult thing about that time of the year is that it can be very wintry aswell. And personally I like the trees if that is the case and also driving wise to be at lower altitudes. Which is why I like Les Coches so much at Christmas. Les Coches has good snow cannoned links.

I've never been skiing to Canada, I believe it can be extremely cold at that time of year.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@sbooker, there is a slight tendency for - very generally speaking - the eastern Alps to have the edge in early season (cold continental influence, lower humidity which helps snowmaking) and the western Alps to have the edge late season (higher altitude and greater snowfall). This isn't the case every year, but over time I do think this is generally the case.

Of course these are massive generalisations, and there are countless exceptions. But Christmas in the western Alps is risky except in a small number of high resorts - as Layne said, these are: Espace Killy, 3V and Paradiski (and a few other smaller areas). Whereas further east I reckon there's less risk for a larger range of resorts.

Christmas isn't my favourite time of year to go skiing in Europe. But yes, I would favour starting in Austria or the Dolomites, then moving west (or not moving west at all!).
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Layne wrote:
sbooker wrote:
The lean years of 14,15 and 16 are a worry! Do you remember if Tignes or Val T offered better conditions those years?

For me, Paradiski, Espace Killy and 3V are much of muchness in this respect. They are all guaranteed to be open, they are all guaranteed to have a reasonable amount of piste skiing open. They are all in the same region of the Alps and have skiing at a wide range of altitudes. I wouldn't favour anyone one over the other purely on the skiing available basis.

sbooker wrote:
As a back up do you know if the snow making is better now?

Things do improve a little year on year but there is always a limit to what they can do.

sbooker wrote:
Maybe we’d be better off starting the other side (Ischgl or Obergurgl etc) and heading to the Tarentaise later in the trip??

Not sure to be honest. I've done a bit of skiing in Austria many years ago (a couple around Christmas time). I am not sure anything is more guaranteed. I've heard people say they can work with a smaller base because it's on pasture rather than rock but really I wouldn't be confident answering your question.

Another difficult thing about that time of the year is that it can be very wintry aswell. And personally I like the trees if that is the case and also driving wise to be at lower altitudes. Which is why I like Les Coches so much at Christmas. Les Coches has good snow cannoned links.

I've never been skiing to Canada, I believe it can be extremely cold at that time of year.


Thanks Layne.
The west of British Columbia (Whistler and the Okanagan resorts of Sun Peaks, Big White, Silver Star and to a lesser degree Revelstoke and Red/Whitewater) are generally not as cold as the hills closer to Alberta (Kicking Horse, Lake Louise, Sunshine etc).
In my experience I would say similar to what I experienced in Europe.
Jackson Hole at Christmas was very very cold. Consistently under minus 20c for much of the morning.
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@denfinella,
Next year I will be dictated by work ( and kids school holidays) to travel at Christmas and January.
My daughter who is 14 is very into her French that she is learning at school. I would not be popular if I arranged to be in Europe for a few weeks without going to France. (We’ll squeeze in a couple of days in Paris at some point).
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 Poster: A snowHead
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@sbooker, fair enough! In that case, for the French part, I'd suggest you should be aiming for one or more of the list above. Which is basically the Tarentaise! Personally I would say the 3V and Paradiski edge it over the Espace Killy as there are more trees in case of stormy weather. France isn't the only option for speaking French - you could also consider the French-speaking part of Switzerland - but I can't think of too many super-snowsure ski areas there for New Year time. (Someone will chastise me for that Laughing )

Sorry Layne for the off-topic posts.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:

I've heard people say they can work with a smaller base because it's on pasture rather than rock

It is self-evidently true that a thin snow cover is more acceptable on pasture than on rock. What is rubbish is the implication that French skiing is all on rocks. wink
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
sbooker wrote:
My daughter who is 14 is very into her French that she is learning at school. I would not be popular if I arranged to be in Europe for a few weeks without going to France. (We’ll squeeze in a couple of days in Paris at some point).

Not wishing to wee on your bonfire but a Tarentaise ski resort and tourist areas of Paris are probably two of the places least likely to test your French! My missus was an au pair for a year in Paris so speaks excellent French and gets really pee'd off when we go to the letting agent and they seem to just want to speak English to her. Might depend how forward your daughter is also. I have a 14 year old son, who is also studying French but is highly reluctant even to buy pain from the bakery in order to try out his French. He is going to do a two week exchange next Spring where the hosts have been told he must only speak bloody French, unless it's an emergency! Maybe your daughter and my son can "penpal" in French in the meantime lol. I might make the suggestion just for the laugh - "son, I've arranged for you to penpal in French with the daughter of a bloke I've been chatting to on the internet."
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denfinella wrote:
Sorry Layne for the off-topic posts.

No worries buddy, I'm not precious Laughing snowHead
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
pam w wrote:
Quote:

I've heard people say they can work with a smaller base because it's on pasture rather than rock

It is self-evidently true that a thin snow cover is more acceptable on pasture than on rock. What is rubbish is the implication that French skiing is all on rocks. wink

Yeah but I think it's coupled with the climate, as a result of where it sits on the land mass, being a bit colder, relative to the altitude, as well.


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Tue 24-03-20 0:45; edited 1 time in total
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Layne wrote:
sbooker wrote:
My daughter who is 14 is very into her French that she is learning at school. I would not be popular if I arranged to be in Europe for a few weeks without going to France. (We’ll squeeze in a couple of days in Paris at some point).

Not wishing to wee on your bonfire but a Tarentaise ski resort and tourist areas of Paris are probably two of the places least likely to test your French! My missus was an au pair for a year in Paris so speaks excellent French and gets really pee'd off when we go to the letting agent and they seem to just want to speak English to her. Might depend how forward your daughter is also. I have a 14 year old son, who is also studying French but is highly reluctant even to buy pain from the bakery in order to try out his French. He is going to do a two week exchange next Spring where the hosts have been told he must only speak bloody French, unless it's an emergency! Maybe your daughter and my son can "penpal" in French in the meantime lol. I might make the suggestion just for the laugh - "son, I've arranged for you to penpal in French with the daughter of a bloke I've been chatting to on the internet."


I suspected the big ski hills would be very touristy and therefore not very French. Would the smaller villages like Saint Foy or Villaroger or even BSM be better in this regard?
Good idea with the penpal thing! Shoot me a PM if you like. If they hit it off we just may have to arrange a days skiing in December 2020. Laughing
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@sbooker, I rather think that it depends on the individual resort or area, even when considering the larger ones. I've done two seasons in Val Thorens and two in Les Arcs. They are very different places - VT is very cosmopolitan with English almost the default language, while Les Arcs is fundamentally French (excepting 1950 and English bars). My relatively limited experience of Meribel is that you don't need to try to speak French, while the expensive waiters in Courchevel will decide what language you will speak pretty quickly.

Les Arcs appeals to French families, so more people expect to speak French. Val Thorens appeals to the young of many countries, so there is great flexibility in language. Meribel is targeted at the British, so English is more important than French for many operators. Courchevel just want your money, so they'll try to speak whatever they think you want.

Having said that, in Les Arcs I find plenty of French who can't/won't speak English and I welcome that (despite having to collar a tradesman in the street this morning to discuss the repairs to my plumbing, or rather the absence thereof. How many know the French for "Cistern"?)

Generally, speak French to the French and stick to speaking French even if they reply in English and you'll get good language practice. Replying to a Frenchman's English in French is almost guaranteed to encourage further correspondence in French. Unless your French is particularly bad, in which case it will guarantee further correspondence in English.

Quite contrary to what many believe, the French do aim to please so if they realise that you want to speak French they will be happy to oblige. Just don't try that in Meribel, where the staff are probably English.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Dynastar Legend X 84 skis arrived back end of last week. Nothing like a nice new shiny pair of ski's.

Also picked up an almost new pair of Salomon Launch Boa snowboard boots for £95 off Facebook Marketplace. Even though they are 11.5 my 14yo isn't far off filling them. Scary!
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Come on @layne must be time for the latest installment, has the car broken down again? Have you started packing yet?
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ansta1 wrote:
Come on @layne must be time for the latest installment, has the car broken down again?

Funny you should mention that but we have had some minor car trouble!

There was what I would describe as 'creaking' from the underside of the car at slowish speeds and when manoeuvring. At first we thought it was from the inside, maybe the drivers seat but then after doing some checking/wobbling we figured it was external underneath. So we had Richard the mechanic out on Tuesday. Theory was that there was some pipe/cable where the clip had come loose. Could have been caused when we had some new Winter's fitted a couple of weeks back (service in The Garage in Wolverton gone down the slammer it seems). So anyway a cable tie was used and I was told by the missus it was sorted. However when I went on it to volleyball training it was still as bad as it was. So Richard is back today. I await news.

ansta1 wrote:
Have you started packing yet?

Nah, bit soon. We have double checked snowboard boots are going to be a decent fit for the yoofs. And they are. Now need to adjust the bindings. I am not a snowboarder so no idea how to do that and I think the missus did it the last time.
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Quote:

Funny you should mention that but we have had some minor car trouble!


Damn, I must be psychic........ Funny you mention that as the last I heard was that 'The Garage' had gone downhill also. Not sure if they have new owners will have to check, not that I use them myself.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
ansta1 wrote:
Quote:

Funny you should mention that but we have had some minor car trouble!


Damn, I must be psychic........ Funny you mention that as the last I heard was that 'The Garage' had gone downhill also. Not sure if they have new owners will have to check, not that I use them myself.

The guy who was front of house was brilliant and he has gone - and it seems as a result of that things have slid. Question of course, is why he left. We'll be going elsewhere in future.
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Apparently there was an heat shield under the car where the corner had degraded away leaving the screw behind and the shield loose. It's been screwed back in place so hopefully creak conquered!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Good stuff. But something tells me you were worried about something that didn't need worrying about.


Anyway how's the snow/weather looking, confirmed as off to alpe d'huez next Saturday with the boys now Mrs ansta1 got her results from a breast cancer scare (-ve) which we've been having a mild panic over for the last 3 weeks.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
ansta1 wrote:
Good stuff. But something tells me you were worried about something that didn't need worrying about.

It's what I do, you know that wink Laughing

ansta1 wrote:
Anyway how's the snow/weather looking

By all accounts pretty good. Been some good snow already and a dump due in Monday.

ansta1 wrote:
confirmed as off to alpe d'huez next Saturday with the boys

It's a cool place and you should have a blast I reckon.

ansta1 wrote:
now Mrs ansta1 got her results from a breast cancer scare (-ve) which we've been having a mild panic over for the last 3 weeks.

That's a good outcome. Actually had something a little bit similar just a couple of months back. Stressful.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Heat shield still wasn't sorted. Apparently there was a clip that was attached to the shield not the body. Seems all quiet now... third time lucky.

Meanwhile I've got jaw ache. I kid you not. I've had it for nearly a week now. Been to the dentist today who says there is no problem with teeth or gums in the area of path (lower back right). Almost feels like I've torn a muscle. Can you tear a jaw muscle? Eating is quite uncomfortable and I can't sleep with the right side of my head on the pillow. Dentist said I should see a doctor but getting GP appointments is a nightmare.
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Hello - I'll be in Montchavin-Les Coches with my family starting Dec 21 2019. I've skied a good deal at Les Arcs but have not stayed here before. It looks like we will be near the base of the Montchavin lift (or is it a telecabine?). It's not clear to me how easy it will be to get to the main slopes of La Plagne or if we are better off taking the Vanoise Express to Peisey-Vallandry/Les Arcs. Can we expect the Montchavin lifts to be open, and to provide access to La Plagne?
It's also hard to decipher where the shuttle bus goes and if this will be of much help to us.
Thanks in advance for any advice!
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@Alice_in_Virginia, I'd ask that question here https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=148502#3495782
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@Alice_in_Virginia, There are two lifts out of Montchavin. A chair lift and a small telecabine. After that you are three lifts away from being in the main La Plagne domain. The Montchavin lifts will be open - they open this Saturday.

Montchavin-Les Coches is ideally placed to ski either La Plagne or Les Arcs.

You shouldn't need the shuttle. There are pretty much the same facilities in Montchavin and Les Coches.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Alice_in_Virginia, I skied in les Coches a couple of times in the last few years, although stayed in les Coches rather than Montchavin, per se.
We were within about a minute's walk of the piste and skied down onto Plan Bois, taking it and then Bijoulin up into the Dos Rond area. It was very accessible and one more lift took you over onto the main la Plagne area.
We also needed that first lift up to get high enough to drop down onto the Vanoise Express and a quick look at the map suggests you will need to do the same. I don't know about how busy the Vanoise Express will be during Christmas week, but you need to remember you have to get another lift on the other side to get up into the ski area proper.
So, the way I see it, you are probably looking at four chairs to get into la Plagne as opposed to two chairs & the VE to get into les Arcs. I'm not sure there'll be much difference.
On a separate note, the little bar at the la Plagne side of the VE (Joli Bois) does a mean white vin chaud - the perfect end to a day and then a gentle tootle back into resort.
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New ski porn - these are my son's latest pair...

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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
So these evening we did some last minute boot fitting with our daughter. We bought some boots in a charity shop a few months ago. We were thinking they might be a bit big but it seems she has grown again! Had to take the insoles out as they seemed to be custom and quite stiff with it and used some spare insoles we have in the cupboard and some thinner ski socks. But anyhow the real news she's fkd up the side of her big toenail and it looked like the toe was infected. So the missus has taken her down A&E where apparently it's a children winter flu apocalypse.

After taking some ibruprofen last night and this morning my jawache seemed to ease off. Still not right though.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@cardweg, Thanks so much for your helpful response! Excited to arrive in the Alps and will no doubt try the white vin chaud!
Thanks as well to @Layne
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Both me and the wife off today whilst kids have had a morning at school so fairly chilled.

When we put air in the tyres discovered the front left - newly fitted 6 weeks ago - was significantly low on pressure. So had to make a dash to local tyre shop who diagnosed a leaky valve.

Most stuff is packed, kids are home. Had lunch. Just getting last bits together and we will be off!
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So we had another last minute hitch. My daughter has an infected toe due to poor nail cutting and hygiene. She is at that age 12 where you think they can look after themselves but still find weird ways of proving otherwise. Wednesday night was a late night visit to A&E where she was told to use antibiotic cream but we were worried about how it looked today. Fortunately the doc she saw in A&E was the father of her bestie so he was willing and able to bring antibiotics straight round. On the road at 16.20. Traffic on M1 running fine at the minute.


Last edited by Ski the Net with snowHeads on Tue 24-03-20 0:51; edited 1 time in total
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