Monthly Archives: February 2010

Le Casque

A lot has changed in the skiing world since Franck and I last skied about fifteen years ago. Now that I think about it, a lot has changed in our lives too – least of all the creation of the bevy.

The new shorter, more manageable skis are a huge improvement, same goes for faster lifts and non-fog goggles. But there was one new development that made Franck balk – helmets.

Fifteen years ago there was nary a helmet to be seen on the slopes, but now everybody – and not just les enfants – seem to be wearing them.

Franck found out about this disturbing state of affairs on the second morning of our ski adventure as he was leaving to rent his equipment. He didn’t need to rent a helmet, my brother-in-law said kindly. He could surely borrow one – everyone wore them now.

“Helmet?” Franck snapped to attention. “I’m not wearing a helmet!” And then he muttered something about us Canadians and our overzealous control needs under his breath.

And yet, what was he wearing when he and I headed out to the slopes the next morning?

Un casque, bien sûr.

When I pointed out this fact as we were whisked over the treetops by the fast lift, he didn’t even have the good grace to look sheepish. The French are truly gifted in the audacity department.

“It keeps my head warm,” he said. “Besides, remember how I’ve always said that les casques were an excellent idea?”

Grumpy (and Messy) French Biathletes

Believe it or not, I survived the ski trip.

The packing drove me half way mental, and Clem did her darnedest to finish the job by being a defiant, danger-seeking 2 year old demoiselle all weekend. She consequently spent a good chunk of her weekend in the “coin” – which I had decided would be the stairs, because there was no room to set up a chair facing a wall without everyone tripping over it – casting baleful looks in her mother’s direction.

Her general obstreperousness led to a rather gnarly and very public fight between Franck and I on the second night, but that is not the topic of today’s blog (maybe tomorrow).

Rather, today’s blog is about the grumpy French biathletes.

Before leaving to go up the mountain we had found out that the French Olympic cross country skiing and biathlon teams were training on Mt. Washington. Quelle cadeau!

So the second morning Franck and the rest of our gang headed down to the Nordic lodge while I looked after Clémentine, Treya, and Manon, doling out several mugs of hot chocolate and basically banishing Clem to the coin every half hour or so. I am thrilled to report that it seemed to have absolutely no dissuasive effect whatsoever.

Franck was initially delighted to see his fellow countrymen who were doing some very serious biathlon training. But when he tried to talk to them they were incredibly rustre (read: rude and gave him the brush-off).

At first Franck thought perhaps they were so rustre because they were preoccupied by the utter lack of snow over in Vancouver. However, he finally decided that non, it wasn’t that, it was of course explained by the fact that all of those biathlon guys were “les gars de la montagne” aka “mountain boys”.

Apparently the gars de la montagne are legendarily rustre (I should have known this, Franck implied), in stark contrast to les gars des vignes like Franck.

“They were messy too,” Franck said. “The German and Swiss teams had these helpers armed with buckets who cleaned up the bullet casings after the shooting part, bu the French just left them strewn all over the snow. It was embarrassing.”

I ask you – could my husband possibly be morphing into a Canuck?

La Folie

When we went on a snow weekend last year in the Jura, I promised myself I would never put myself through such packing hell again.

And yet here I find myself…packing for a 3 day ski trip up at Mt. Washington (where rumour has it that the French Olympic team is training – stay tuned).

I have no idea how we are all going to fit in the car with our stuff and, more importantly -some things never change -our FOOD.

I’m now at the stage where I’m realizing I’m crazy for even trying this again – but then again, besides the packing, we have such great memories of our Jura chalet trip last year. I even getting nostalgic about not being able to find the chalet in the pitch dark and about 20 feet of snow with thirteen spilling grocery bags full of our stuff.

That, mes amis, is what we call la folie