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Looking back... my trips of yesteryear.. inspired by old lift pass pics

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
With C19 lull I thought I'd post a self-indulgent thread with a great snappy title. Thinking of posting one a day until I run out of ski pass pics when the smart card technology rolled in the mid-noughties.

First up is 1991 and the beginning of the journey.



I was working with a guy at the time who had done at least a couple of trips to Austria. I had just turned 25, grew up in the suburbs of a City in a working class family and was starting to get a taste for traveling and adventure. The guy was making plans for a late season ski trip but because his previous ski buddies have baled on him he's planning on going solo. So I ask him if he minds me tagging along. No problem he says.

I take a handful of dry slope lessons beforehand at Swadlincote. My colleague says he's going for two weeks but maybe I should only book for one on account I may not like it. Nah, I reply, I'm all good for a two-weeker! Can't be many people who launch straight into a fortnight's skiing. Not only that but we went via snow train so did 15 days in total. First couple I just used the free lifts hence the 13 day lift pass. Starting on the Monday I did two weeks of lessons with Evolution 2. First week was with Natalie who coined a phrase still used to day "Layne, always wiz zee hands". I loved the whole experience.

We stayed in a catered chalet in Le Lavachet. Can't remember the chalet company. One of the fellow residents was a Brummie we christened "Fat Mike" on account of his build and his love of pizza. He had a room without a window and recounted how he would wake up without a clue what time it was. We did some off piste in the lessons and my mate tickled up the chalet manager for info on where to get some off piste action. Near the end of the second week we did a couple of fairly major routes. All without ava kit. We did get some fairly soon after!

One day riding a chair up on the Motte a short sharp blizzard kicked in, turning my cheeks purple and making my mate laugh out loud. A bought a balaclava at the day market later on. I had the crappiest gear going, as you can see here:



Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Sat 28-03-20 22:46; edited 2 times in total
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Love it!
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Onesie's and rear entry boots all around ?
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1993

Given how I loved my first trip, it's a bit of a puzzle why I missed 92 but anyhow come 1993 I was back out. It was another late one.



Again in a catered chalet, it was with Finlay's, who stopped trading in 2010 but were quite well known back then. The chalet was in Le Praz and hosted by a Kiwi couple - who kept a tidy place and were a good crack to boot.

I don't remember much about the skiing except for one day coming back over from Meribel a little before lifts closing and there were problems with Pas Du Lac and the French f*ckface f*ckers as me and mate liked to call them just gave it the gallic shrug and closed the lift for the day. There was one liftee who was the spitting image of Freddie Mercury. They were some scuffles as they told people already sat in a couple of the open bubbles that they had to get out. Anyhow, we took a punt on Loze, as it's called now, still being open. It wasn't. And rather than pay an exorbitant taxi fare we decided to walk up the piste. It had been a hot day and I hadn't taken out enough water. Skiing down in the early evening on deserted slopes it felt how I imagine a dopehead to feel after smoking some particularly good stuff. After the Starter at dinner I was feeling queasy - basically as I result of being severely dehydrated - so drank lots of water and went to bed. Was right as rain the next day.

The other thing I remember was going to a restaurant on the chalet hosts night off and having one of those shots from a bottle with a snake in it. Still no idea what that is about.

Costings:
Holiday Package £289 (Train/Ferry travel from Dover, Catered Chalet)
Travel to & from Dover £45
Insurance £25
Lift Pass £145
Ski & Boot Hire £90
Spending Money £40

TOTAL COST £634 - £79.25 a day

Postscript: You can see from the photo why I have never grown a beard since. Reminds of the movie An American Werewolf in London.


Last edited by You need to Login to know who's really who. on Sat 28-03-20 22:47; edited 1 time in total
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An American who can’t grow a beard in London?
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Looking at the first photo of Tignes I think we have found the original owner of Prince Charles ski suit!
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@Layne, Nice reading, keep em coming.
£40 spends, how did you manage that? Very Happy
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geoffknight wrote:
£40 spends, how did you manage that? Very Happy

I'm a tightarse Happy

We were in a catered chalet with the standard wine with the meal so just bought a box of beers for before/after dinner drinking. And then we bought baguette, sandwich fillings, chocolate bars for lunch on the slopes.

To this day I very rarely venture into a restaurant or bar on the slopes. Bad for the local economy I guess but good for my budget!
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@Layne, Nowt wrong with that, one of the most pleasurable bits of a ski holiday for me is to have a picnic sitting off piste away from the noise of skiing and to enjoy the mountain and the peace, favourite place is in Flaine, take a right off the DMC on Mephistlo, go down a few 100m and there are some rocks to sit on, south facing and with Mt Blanc in front of you.
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1994 was a two weeker. First week we stayed in Courcheval 1850 and the second week in Serre Chevalier.

For some reason we went peak time 19th February - 5th March 1994. I remember the second week at SC being particularly busy. More on that later.

This was the first time doing complete DIY and driving out. We went in mates Peugeot 209 GTI. It was too expensive to insure me to drive so he did all the driving. Which in some ways was worse for me because I was supposed to stay awake to keep him awake! And as anyone who knows that make of car it's not ideal for driving to and in the mountains. Still, needs must.



1850 was as expensive back then as it is now. We didn't go to many bars! After paying stupid money for ski hire I could barely manage the box of beer and baguette for lunch! But as I recall the skiing was top notch. I recall getting a couple of overnight dumps with lots of bluebird days to seek the powder. Mont Vallon, the 4th valley, etc. Saturday afternoon around 3pm we left the slopes, did a quick change in the car and hit the road to Serre Che. We were still a bit wet behind the ears in terms of the mountains and tried to drive over the Col de la Madeleine. I swear there was no "Ferme" sign. But of course at some point we hit a wall of snow and had to turn back and go the long way round. We were now massively behind schedule. Maybe we looked a bit in need of cheering up when we got to the Frejus Tunnel, as the man in the toll booth, jokingly but with an excellent poker face, told us the tunnel was closed. Seeing the look of horror in our eyes he didn't keep up the pretense too long and gave us a ticket. We then missed a turn and ended up going through the Italian border. Another peage with a gazillion lanes. Fecked for time my mate did a u-turn across all the toll lanes. It was like playing chicken on the motorway.

By now I was thinking there wasn't a cat in hells chance of getting in our apartment and with the Sunday close down I was thinking it was going to be a couple of expensive nights in a Hotel. My mate doing all the driving was knackered. But we made it and amazingly the agency was still open. It must have been getting on for 7.30. They had waited just for us. Who says customer service in France is crap. Final p!ss take was that they wouldn't take Credit Card as a deposit and we had to withdraw a stack of Francs. Finally, after digging out a parking space we got into our apartment and had fried Fray Bentos pies and beans. I kid you not. And the Lagavulin 16yo was lovely too. And so our week in Serre Chevalier began:



I liked Serre Che without being fully won over. Not sure where exactly we stayed but it was on the other side of the road from the lifts and up a bit of a hill. Sometimes we took the bus sometimes we walked. I remember struggling to hire ski's in my length so I ended up on something a bit short. Very playful but not great at speed. It was a sunny week and if I recall the off piste was a bit rank. Spending over two weeks with one other guy can cause a bit of friction/tiredness but it was pretty cool overall. The lift queues at SC were pretty bad at times. As much in terms of organisation of the liftees and the patience of the punters as much as how long it took. Another memory is skiing down at the end of the day on a super busy piste and this nutter comes of a bump at full throttle and does a 360. Cool or stupid I couldn't quite decide!

Cost breakdown (for me only)

Accommodation Week One £162
Accommodation Week Two £220
Ferry & Insurance £86.50
Petrol £75
Road Tariffs £35
Lift Pass Week One £142
Lift Pass Week Two £100
Ski & Boot Hire Week One £132
Ski & Boot Hire Week Two £47
Food & Spending Money £60

TOTAL COST £1059.50 - £70.63 per day

How the hell we did two weeks self catering for £60 each I'll never know. That did exclude the Lagavulin though!


Last edited by Ski the Net with snowHeads on Sat 28-03-20 22:48; edited 1 time in total
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@Layne, I am enjoying reading this. Great thread, thanks. Madeye-Smiley
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+ 1.

reading this, i wish i had had the foresight to keep all the paraphernalia and store the facts/memories of all my ski trips. Well done @Layne, a great thread amongst all of the negativity around at the moment Cool
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@Layne, nice thread. You had some absolutely shocking gear. Reminds me of the sort of stuff I was wearing around the same time!
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You know it makes sense.
Great thread.

But how on earth do you remember all your costs or keep all your expenses 25+ years later Shocked Shocked ?

Can I employ you as my accountant? I lose some receipts and invoices every month...
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DJL wrote:
@Layne, nice thread. You had some absolutely shocking gear. Reminds me of the sort of stuff I was wearing around the same time!

I'll dig out a full body shot of that suit in the next day or two. It's a killer.
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horizon wrote:
But how on earth do you remember all your costs or keep all your expenses 25+ years later Shocked Shocked ?

I think it started partly because I was splitting costs with a buddy and partly because I got a bit skint in the mid-nineties so was counting the pennies a bit - and then I just kind of kept it going. At least for a number of years.
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@Layne, Mrs dode kept lots of passes, they are now made into framed collages, if I could post a pic I would.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Anyhow moving on to 1995. We had a stroke of luck. Some guy we worked with was organising a trip for a party of 16. And inevitably a couple of people dropped out. So we got on the trip for cheap. It was to La Tania:



The trip was with Crystal and we were back on the snow train - disco carriage n'all. It was a good crew although I seem to remember we got split 8 and 8 in the accommodation so got to hang out with some more than others. I remember there was a girl on the trip who was as tall as me (6'4") and a great crack. The food was awful. We had this novice Welsh lass who used to stick the veg on while we were afternoon tea and cake getting back from skiing!

The skiing was pretty good. I remember we had a storm come through which restricted us for a day or so. And after it blew over the Mercury dropped so drastically my hands and bum stuck to the chairlift. Some great skiing conditions though.

Costings:

LA TANIA (LE TROIS VALLEES)
7th -14th January 1995 (8 days skiing)
CRYSTAL

Holiday Package £171
(Train/Ferry travel from London, Catered Chalet, Insurance)
Travel to & from London £21
Lift Pass £156
Spending Money £50

TOTAL COST £398 - £49.75 per day.


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Sat 28-03-20 22:48; edited 1 time in total
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Loving this. I have all my lift passes as a montage on the wall in Tignes. Most people's reaction is: you sad bar steward. But 5 minutes later it turns to "i was with you on that one"; "that was a great holiday" and then come the inevitable comments on hair density!
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There is the hint of a reverse "Dorian Gray" to this thread!
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@Layne, great thread.
Your outfits look pretty cool compared to those I wore in the 80s and early 90s snowHead
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Epic
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@Layne, great thread and some great experiences. My first time in the Trois Vallee was the day you left in 1995!

I was sat on a chair the other week going back into La Tania with a guy from Oz who'd been to the Trois Vallees nearly 30 years ago and I was trying to explain some of the changes I could remember over the years. Making me feel old Very Happy

edited to add who Oz is / was Shocked


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Thu 26-03-20 20:36; edited 1 time in total
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Before we hit today's installment here are some pics from '94...

Breakfast in the apartment at 1850

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Airborne in Serre Chevalier

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On the balcony of the apartment in SC

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The suit and the skis of the mid-90's

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@Layne, that’s more like an iconic ski jacket of the era! Very Happy
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Lagavulin nightcap in SC

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Oh an all in one. Even better. Anneka Rice would be proud.
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So following on from La Tania we did a second trip in 1995 to Argentierre and the Chamonix domain.

The trip was with a TO called Snowline, who I believe were subsequently bought by VIP who are still going today.



It was a small chalet, there were 4 of us plus a couple of junior doctors. The chalet host was a no-nonsense Saffer lady who kept the place spotless and cooked like a demon. Us and the doctors hired a guide to do the Vallee Blanche. The smell of the bogs at the top station sticks in the memory. I know was bricking the ridge for sure! We had some great skiing but did lose a day to the weather - it was just too windy. Invented the Roquefort and Pate Baguette. Cost breakdown.

Holiday Package £269
(Flights, Catered Chalet)
Insurance £28
Travel to & from London £10
Lift Pass £140
Ski Guiding & Spending Money £75

TOTAL COST £522 - £87 per day
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Layne wrote:
The suit and the skis of the mid-90's



OMG ……….... Salomon 9000 Equipe 2S skis in Power 8

game-changing skis. snowHead
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skimastaaah wrote:
OMG ……….... Salomon 9000 Equipe 2S skis in Power 8

game-changing skis. snowHead

They were my mates.

I bought some Super Force 9's a year or two later. No doubt pictures to come.

Those ski's look like fcuking match sticks now.
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@Layne, Brilliant.
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Layne wrote:
The suit and the skis of the mid-90's



Stunning Very Happy
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@Layne,
Great thread.
1994 pic is Phil Collinsesque. Very Happy
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You could easily have raided my Back Catalogue......which goes even further into the past.

Great stuff.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
So we're now onto 1996. And we're back to a two weeker. First week we stayed in Brides-les-Bains and the second week in Belle Plagne.

We booked with Motours who did crossing and accommodation packages but ceased trading in 2003. It was the first time we'd used the channel tunnel which had opened a couple of years earlier. Funny how I still view the tunnel as a new thing. Pretty sure we went in the Pug again. If I remember right my mate had bought a roofbox by now.

One day we went over to the 4th valley and the weather closed in as the day went on. Vis went down to the end of your nose. Skiing down to Val T at one point I skied straight into a snow bank. Like in one of those cartoons I was imprinted. It started to get quite serious though as we had to ski down Lac de la Chambre which has a few ravines of the side. Remember that poor Fitzwilliam who perished in Val D'Isere season before last in similar circs. We had to loop around each other to reach the next piste marker. A story that I recount to my wife and kids with tedious regularity. Just before I ask them how you know from the piste markers what is the right side and left side of the piste. Ohhhh dad, not again.




Unlike the last time we did this the transition to La Plagne for week two went smoothly. I should think so, it's only up the road. These were the days before the Vanoise Express. I hadn't been to La Plagne before and for some reason wasn't super keen on it. It's now my most visited ski area. We met up with the Kiwi couple that chalet hosted in Le Praz back in '93. And he showed us a couple of the easy access off piste runs he'd sussed out.



Costings:

BRIDES-LES-BAINS (LE TROIS VALLEES) and LA PLAGNE
23rd March - 6th April 1996 (15 days skiing)
MOTOURS

Holiday Package £615
(Shuttle, AA cover, S/C accommodation for 2 weeks & 15 days lift pass)
Insurance (Carte Neige) £35
road tariffs & petrol £140
Spending Money (including supermarket food) £75

TOTAL COST £865 - £57.66 per day

Doing 15 days skiing on the spin is a weird experience. Having two planks attached to your feet becomes more normal than walking. Your skiing certainly improves with the mileage and intensity of training. There is a little bit of boredom for sure. I'd be inclined to take a day or two out these days, especially if the vis or weather was sh!te


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Sat 28-03-20 22:49; edited 2 times in total
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@Layne, great pic for your Brides Les Bains pass. A touch of the Rik Mayalls. Very Happy
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@PeakyB, it looks like Ken Dodd to me. Great thread BTW
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