France: A Weekend in the Alps

I am currently in my second week of school and it is very different from what I pictured.  Sad to say it is harder than I expected. My French class was far above my level, so I have moved down to a lower course.  Literature and History are okay and slowly getting better each day. I am also in a Psychology course. My most relaxing course is wine studies. It is exactly what you think it would be, a weekly wine tasting for free!

Though school is more difficult and time-consuming than I expected the extra activity benefits make it all worth it. This past weekend my school took all 200+ of us to Les Orres in the French Alps.  I had no idea what to expect, but it absolutely blew my mind. After a thrilling 2-hour bus ride and 30 minute climb up the mountain we arrived at our hotel. It was snowing so much when we arrived it was by far the most snow I had ever seen. The hotel we stayed in was so great they even left me a used tissue under my covers! Thankfully it was warm enough that I was able to sleep without using the comforter and pillow so I was not too grossed out.  Friday night consisted of hotel dinner, and relaxing in the lodge bar with people from our school.  I was once again in a situation that I couldn’t imagine happening at home. Our school Dean and staff were in the bar kicking back with a cold beer with all the students. I really like how relaxed the culture is here.

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White Out

Our Saturday began with waking up in a total white out. It was snowing so hard it was now a new record of snow I had seen! My roommates and I were very unprepared in the clothing department, but bundled up as best as we could and ventured outside. We had been told that cheese fondue is a specialty of the area so for lunch we found a place to indulge ourselves. I ordered a hot chocolate, which was basically hot fudge in a cup so I was extremely happy with that. The waiter brought us about a half-gallon vat of the most amazing cheese fondue we had all ever had. We had no regrets in consuming all the cheese and saw it as a carb load for our afternoon snowshoe tour we had signed up for.  When we left our restaurant we were blessed with clear blue skies setting us up for a beautiful tour. Once we were able to see the surrounding mountains and all their beauty we decided we could not pass up this free trip to the Alps without taking full advantage of the opportunities.  Though I had only skied once before in North Caroline and my roommate Jess had never been skiing before we were confident we could pick it up. So after snowshoeing we went to get a ski pass for the next day. I successful skied the Alps!

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Les Orres Ski Town

On Sunday morning we woke up and prepared ourselves for skiing. My roommates and I were so excited and optimistic. Once we walked outside that quickly changed. It was snowing like crazy once again. I felt like I was either going to throw up or black out for a good 30 minutes. The nerves hit us all while in line for the ski lift but we had no choice but to get on when our chance came. Lets me just say the ski lift was one of the most terrifying 10 minutes of my life. Jess and I were placed with two French boys who thought it was quiet comical that it was Jess’ first time skiing and were bouncing the ski lift! When we got to the top of our run things went crazy.  Immediately I uncontrollably flew almost into a barrier. Jess was pitching a fit sprawled out about 5 feet from where we started. One friend Wesleigh had already disappeared.  The other two were trying desperately to help Jess.  I wish I had video of our first run, which by the way took an hour and a half, (yep you read that right). I probably wiped out 15 times. At one point into 4 feet of snow, another resulted in me sliding backwards sitting down about 50 feet down a hill. It was such a disaster I did not think we would make it down the hill again. But, I am thankful to say we got better and better each run and made the most of our day. It became a whiteout again for part of it, which was very scary but we did it all and I am so happy with our day.

 

 

This was our first official trip and it far exceeded my expectations. I cannot wait to see what else lies ahead!

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