Every season, as soon as the first few flakes begin to fall, we tell ourselves the same thing: ‘Never complain about the snow’. Even if it’s dumping down, and you’ve got a huge driveway to clear, the viz is terrible and your toes are cold - we’ve always said that more snow is better than no snow.
This season, however, Tignes is trying its best to put our patience to the test! In an unprecedented start to the season, Tignes has been hit by three brutal storms in almost as many weeks, shutting down the entire resort for days at a time and causing chaos on the mountain, as we’ve been battered by epic amounts of snow, rain and wind.
Trekking into work some mornings, the snow has been over my thighs (admittedly, I’m 5ft 2, so it’s maybe not as impressive as it sounds - but still!). Up higher in resort, as much as 2 metres has fallen in one night. Roads have been closed. We’ve watched avalanches cascading down the opposite valley face. Beautiful powder has landed only to be whisked away by rain and 85km/h winds. Our guests have fallen, badly, and in one case ended their holiday with a broken elbow.
No one that we’ve spoken to can ever remember a time when the whole resort has been closed like this - let alone multiple times, and still so early on in the season. More snow has already fallen than is generally expected in a whole season. And after last year’s fatal avalanche in Tignes, it’s no wonder that safety and avalanche security are the resort’s number one concerns.
But, it’s not all doom and gloom. When it comes to avalanche safety, most people are glad that the pisteurs aren’t risking opening the pistes prematurely. The drama of a storm is pretty exciting too, and there’s something a bit ‘Shaun of the Dead’ about having to retreat to the pub in the middle of the day to avoid the carnage outside!
It’s also allowed us plenty of time for post-Christmas rest and relaxation. We’ve had the time to recharge our batteries, take plenty of naps, and generally look after ourselves after the most exhausting part of the season.
It’s given us the chance to develop closer relationships with our guests too. There’s nothing like a storm to bring people together, and we’ve found ourselves spending more time in our chalet - staying later after service with our guests; even gambling away our tip money at the card table with one group!
This recent spell of bad weather has really made us appreciate the few bluebird days we’ve had - and we have totally made the most of them when they’ve come. The layers of snow appear to have bonded well and formed a fantastic base for the rest of the season. We can’t wait for the storms to settle, and for the sun to make a come back. But in the meantime, we won’t be complaining about the snow: season life is about making the most of every situation you find yourself in. And if that means we have to head to the pub again, have a pint, and wait for the whole thing to blow over, well... there are worse ways to spend a work day!