We’re learning a lot about Charlie in winter conditions. Today’s lesson was that even though you leave the heating on all night, the water pump inside the van can still freeze? Anyway more on that later…

Today Dave is not feeling so good, he is really struggling to shake the cold that he’s had since the start of the trip so we decide not to go skiing today but have a lazy day trying to make this blog work amongst other tasks.

Perfect piste on Le Chalvet

Thursday was a much better skiing day with great conditions especially on the area behind the village on the south-facing slopes of Le Chalvet. This has a relatively new 6 person chair lift that crosses over our aire and gives access to a large pisted bowl that has links to Claviere, just over the Italian border. With a not very brilliant ski map and few places to stop for lunch without returning to the Montgenèvre village, we eventually made our way painfully over towards the Italian side, where we finally found the warm and inviting refuge.

Refuge Gimont (2035m)

We walked in and sat at a table at the back of the restaurant. “Blah, blah Steve Birkinshaw blah new book There is No Map in Hell, blah…..” Dave’s ears pricked up, was that his old orienteering friends Eddie & Cath Speak from Stockport, long time members of Manchester & District Orienteering Club who just happened to be skiing in Italy and had that day skied over to Montgenèvre stopped for lunch, at the same time us, and they were seated in the same back room on a neighbouring table, in the same eatery…. Is that possible, it must be?

Anyhow after a good catch up with Eddie & Cath, some pasta and a Bombardino (for Lesley) the warm fire did it’s magic and we began to thaw out. On leaving the restaurant, we skied down the hill to find another two restaurants…just like buses, none for ages then 3 come together! 

The snow started falling around 5 pm but braving the elements and wrapped up in numerous layers we went in search of pizza. After walking the length of the town, at last Dave got his much requested pizza and they were HUGE.

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