Thursday, 21 February 2013

LET THE TRAIN TAKE THE STRAIN


Living in Italy with close families in England and Ireland we have to be very flexible and inventive with our travel plans. We are fortunate in Bardonecchia to be well-served with air, rail and motorway links so we can be quickly on our way homeward bound. Our favourite route to Ireland involves strolling down the road to catch the morning high speed train from Bardonecchia to Lyon St Exupery airport. If booked in advance with Rail Europe we can keep the cost down to £18pp return. Arriving in the actual airport complex we have time for a relaxed lunch before boarding our Aer Lingus flight to Dublin. With five flights per week it affords us a bit more flexibility than the Saturday only RyanAir flight from Turin, though there’s nothing to stop us from mixing and matching airlines to suit our plans. If we really want the train to take the strain when visiting our London and Kent relatives then we travel all the way to St Pancras. Again by taking advantage of the best Rail Europe deals we can travel for as little as £73 single and the total journey time of under 9 hours even allows for lunch in Paris….. formidable!
Use the SnowCarbon journey planner for detailed information on rail travel from London to Bardonecchia.
February 20th 2013

THE PEAK OF MOUNTAIN DINING

Here in Bardo the fun doesn’t have to stop with the closure of the ski lifts at the end of the day. We are fortunate to have several mountain restaurants offering evening meals with a difference. In collaboration with the ski lift company the restaurants have arranged transport up and down the mountain in Snowcats, the piste bashers which keep our slopes so well groomed. With seating for up to twenty in their cabins the Snowcats give their passengers a thrilling ride as they wend their way methodically around the steep gradients lighting up the night slopes as they go. Our favourite port of call for a great evening out is Bar Punta Colomion at the very summit of the mountain above Campo Smith. Run by Aldo and Rachel you can be assured of the warmest of welcomes, the heartiest food and convivial dining. Fuelled with antipasti, polenta, pasta, roast meats and dolci we choose to forego the Snowcat descent. Instead we strap on our head torches and take to our skis for the journey down on perfectly groomed pistes under starlit skies. A magical end to a magical evening.
February 12th 2013

FAREWELL TO MEAT...HELLO CARNEVALE

This weekend Bardonecchia is preparing to celebrate four days of Italian Carnevale frivolity to mark the start of Lent. Originating in Venice in the mid 13th century to dispel the gloom of winter the spirit of carnival has spread throughout the world. The party kicks off on Saturday evening with a parade of floats around the streets with festive music and a profusion of coriandoli confetti setting the scene. The fun continues until Martedi Grasso Mardi Gras with masked balls, fancy dress ski races and street stalls serving cakes and warm drinks. The town and slopes will be at their busiest as Italians flood in to indulge their love of tradition at the same time as British families arrive for a half-term break. Fortunately a new dump of snow will mean that the pistes will be at their very best and the local caf├ęs and restaurants will do their utmost to meet demand. Our guests will enjoy the best of both worlds by soaking up the atmosphere during the day whilst avoiding too much of the hubbub and mayhem as they relax over their meal in the calm of the chalet during the evening.
For more information on local events take a look at the town’s two websites http://www.bardonecchia.it and http://www.bardonecchiaski.com
February 5th 2013

FROM NURSERY TO NURSERY SLOPES

Skiing has always been a family affair for us when as youngsters we took to the nursery slopes from three years old. But what are you to do with young babies and toddlers before they develop their ski legs? No parent can enjoy their own holiday unless their offspring are happily settled and entertained. With Sofia now over a year old she loves the company of other children and so we take her to the local nursery just a short stroll from our chalet. Located on the same site as the Primary School il Nido (the Nest) is beautifully equipped and staffed by well-trained, sympathetic nursery nurses. A perfect solution for us with a flexible 30 hours of childcare for €225 to use as and when we wish, it’s proving to be a very popular option for our guests with younger children too. So instead of leaving your kids at home or hanging up your boots to gather dust for a couple of years, you can head out onto the slopes with a happy heart.
January 30th 2013

PARASKI EUROPA CUP 2013

 
Thumbs up to the Bardonecchia Comune for bringing a new and exciting event to our pistes next weekend. The second stage of the Paraski Europacup 2013 will take place at Melezet from Friday 25th-Sunday 27th January. Competitors take part in two distinct disciplines, with six parachute descents from a helicopter landing on a small target zone coupled with two giant slalom races. With teams from Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Italy and Switzerland it will be a truly international event and the town will be buzzing. To follow the results to date go to http://www.paraski.org/
January 20th 2013

SNOW BLOWER FUN



So we are four weeks into our ski season and Christmas and New Year seem far behind us. Our season began back in early November putting the finishing touches to the chalet and testing out new recipes as we finalised our dinner menus with Pete the chef. Then we held our breath and waited for the snow and guests, hopefully in that order! Fortunately, both arrived in spades and since then Graeme has been putting his new toy, a snow blower, to the test clearing the drive and pathways leading from the chalet. Although it means an early start to the day and over an hour of hard labour before heading to the kitchen to cook full English breakfasts all round, it’s strange that he won’t relinquish the task despite several offers of help. There is obviously much satisfaction to be gained from tinkering with a temperamental engine and spraying snow into neat sculpted banks with his multi-directional chute. Now I’m not sure when we have a new dump of the white stuff whether his excitement is for a day’s boarding on the slopes or his dawn snow-clearing duties!
January 16th 2013