Day 5. Skiers are doin’ it for themselves

Day five brought with it the growing realisation that, released from lessons and Michael’s helping hands, we now had to ski. Properly. On our own. Luckily, it appeared that we were capable of this, and after a morning’s victory circuit of all the available green runs we placed ourselves at the mercy of friends and attempted our first blue. This involved an extremely exciting ride in a ‘Gondola’ (not a boat.) and a surprisingly straightforward ski down a slightly steeper slope.

Flush with this victory, we attempted our first ‘apres-ski’: mulled wine followed by a less-steady-than-usual ski down towards our accommodation. The evening brought Varsity’s Comedy Night (which plays twice during the week), which featured the well-chosen Orlando (fresh from his Gap Yah) as MC and a host of other comedic delights.

We arrived home to the sight of a huge homecooked meal by our flatmates, and spent the rest of the evening enjoying vast quantities of cheap red wine and an enormous meal for the princely sum of 3 Euros a head. Who said resort food had to be expensive…


Day 6. Sun? Sun?! Sun!

For the entire week, skiers, snowboarders and NUCO reps alike had all been united in the dream of the much hoped-for ‘Blue Day’. Having little to no awareness of what this was, your two newbies set out on the slopes with not so great expectations and soon found that the sun was out and, omfg, we could see where we were going!

We then spent the afternoon with vastly more experienced skiers in the form of two veteran Cherwell-ites that dragged us up and then down again some of the hardest (well, one step up from the day before) slopes that Val Thorens has to offer. It was with these weathered and experienced companions that we finally hit the beacon of any Varsity-goer’s week: La Folie Douce. Nestled halfway along a particularly bumpy blue slope, it is probably one of few clubs where everyone wears helmets and lots of warm clothing. It plays music from 3 till 5 every afternoon, closing early but not before it is considerably darker and you are considerably less sober than when you decided you were able to conquer the very bumpy slope on the way home… You only need one pint at this altitude, kids!

Returning home in the dark, for once after our pro skier friends (yes, admittedly because we’d had to walk part of the way down the final slope…) we readied ourselves for the ‘Twisted Circus’ themed Final Night Party. In the inauspiciously named ‘Centre de Sportif’ the Varsity crew once again put together a great night, finished off by a headline set by Rob da Bank. The real headliner, however was a video that had been filmed through the week and was a montage of skiers, partygoers and reps singing along to Fatboy Slim’s ‘Praise You’. There was not a dry eye among the over-tired, drunk and over-emotional crowd, all of whom were convinced they were featured, however fleetingly: “I’m in that bit with the skiers in that bit before the end!”

Day 7. Pastries and packing

After an incredibly successful day’s skiing on Thursday – and an incredibly successful night’s drinking – we realised that, Absolute Beginners as we were, we may have got a little ahead of ourselves. The weather outside was frightful and inside the camembert was quite delightful, so we watched Mean Girls in our pyjamas. However, the week had instilled in us a spirit of adventure and, feeling ready for a bit of danger and excitement, we decided to go on a long and physically exhausting walk through mountains, valleys and a shopping mall. Our final destination: a gorgeous little patisserie.

At the end of the day came our biggest hurdle: the big pack and the return coach journey home. Highlights: the white chocolate oreos that we found in Carrefour, and the overheard story: “So she got with her coach rep called Jamie, and then the next night she got with her room rep who was also called Jamie. She then went back with room rep Jamie and found that he shared a room with coach rep Jamie, so that was awkward.”

And thus, after 7 days of fun, on Broad Street/a zone 6 tube station our Varsity journey came to an end. It had been a week of ups and downs. Quite literally.