Saturday, June 20, 2009

On Route To...

Eh oui...Bonjour la France-

Calgary, Toronto and a short blip in Montreal...a skip across the pond and now Geneva. A quick car ride down to Voila! I'm settled back in the Splendid Hotel with its 'splendid' view of the lake...ha.

Little tid-bit of info in case you were curious...the 'Tour' is coming here next month for a 40.5km individual time trial - It's too bad I'm not able to keep my room for a while as I think I'd be overlooking the finish line (really!). If you're looking at the map (above), my hotel is pretty much right on the red/white checkered flag!

But, as much as I'd love for this trip to be all fun and games - it's not...I've actually been busting up a few brain cells trying to get up to speed with the 'business' side of Salomon's Nordic category (part of my new job description), analysing past sales figures and putting it all together for a Canadian recap/forecast picture for the head office crew here in Annecy...I've still got tons to learn, but then again, I've never been known to back down on a challenge!

As I sat down to tackle some prep work, the World Cup racing serviceman (Bertrand or Bebe as Team Japan calls him), rounded the corner and after a flamboyant discusssion, he more or less 'forced' me to join his team to go test the latest Equipe 10 Classic prototype ski and binding, fresh off the press! Wow - uh....ok- I'm in! And that was that - I crammed in as much work as I could in a couple hours, grabbed my luggage and off we went to the resort of Tignes, a 2hr drive South-East of Annecy, where a giant glacier allows for year-round skiing!

Tignes resort - You can spot the glacier on the right side of photo (white 'mountain') - The resort typically closes a short period in the spring, but reopens in early June offering Alpin/Nordic skiing for 15 Euros/day.

With only a half day planned to get feedback on various test fleets, we got up bright an early and hit the underground tram to get up to the best snow possible...

The 'mole' as the French call it - Not sure how long the tunnel is (~2km), but we were hauled up the mountain underground and popped up topside with a full sun blazing down at us!

An almost perfect view from 3032m...See the tracks below? Can you also spot Mont Blanc? It's just peeking out on left of center, just to the right of the closest peak-

A better look at the fresh tracks - It was actually amazing skiing...but I won't rub it in.

Just a few of the many pairs we tested today...Bertrand (orange shirt) and Anthony discuss test numbers-

Before I knew it, it was 2pm and we were packing up the bags and heading back out of Tignes - A quick lunch and down the hill we went, passing by other famous resorts such as Val d'Isere. I figure the Alps are just one big ski resort...I suppose some would say the same of our mountains, except that we don't have lift that go up them!

So here I am, back 'home' at the Splendid, pooped from a great day on snow...and trying to get my presentation wrapped up in time for the PV-show tomorrow...nothing but fun times on tap for me tonight!


Tom said...

Wow! That's an opportunity of a lifetime. Like a kid in a candy store, Phil. I wouldn't even be able to hide my excitement if I tried. Enjoy the rest of the trip.

Sunshine Girl said...

I worked in Tignes les Brevieres, at a restaurant called L'Etoile des Neiges. It's the village below the Damn With The Face On It. It was there I was also snow bound for 4 days, when a storm system dropped 2.25 metres of snow and everything started sliding. It took them a while to dig us out. We were forced to eat wine, cheese, salty meat, bread and chocolate while we hunkered and down and waited for a rescue. :)