Our last few days of Skiing

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A short walk along the Via Francigena

The Via Francigena is an ancient pilgrimage route from Canterbury to the Rome. The route is sometimes taken all the way down to the south of Italy where ships would disembark for the Holy Land.

The route enters Italy through the Gran San Bernardo pass, just like we had, although I doubt that pilgrims can walk the route we drove from Switzerland through the tunnel to the Aosta Valley.

I had spotted some Via Francigena signs when we had stayed in Châtillon, so before returning to Cervinia we decided to walk a short section of the route between Châtillon and the neighbouring town of Saint-Vincent.

Châtillon was looking very different from our visit a few days previously. All of the low level snow had disappeared and the sun was shining although the air was hazy with dirty air trapped by the high pressure system over the alps.

We walked up to the top of town where we picked up the route, following a good flat path along next to an irrigation channel for the vineyards, which took us into the higher reaches of Saint Vincent.

A lovely flat and easy path by the vineyards

From here, for a bit of variety, we returned to Châtillon along the valley and through the tiny hamlet of Glereyaz.

Back to Cervinia for our final Skiing days

Given that the weather had warmed up we decided to go back to Cervinia to get access to the best of the snow before we had to return home.

The weather was incredibly windy. All the passes were shut, even the route from Valtornenche to Cervinia was closed, but we managed two days of skiing.

The first day was spent in Cervinia, where more pistes were being opened up and we managed to make first tracks on a couple of runs, including a run down to the bottom of the Plan Maison cable car where we were overtaken by a fast and bold skier who then came a cropper as the piste ended sooner than he was expecting. I’m not sure which of us was more shocked. But I do know that we were definitely less bruised.

Sadly we saw an injured deer while we were skiing, and a couple of ski patrollers discretely heading off with guns, presumably to dispatch it. Generally wild animals steer clear of the slopes during the day and we only glimpse them from afar. It was such a shame to get a close up view of such a lovely animal in sad circumstances..

The second day was spent in Valtornenche where the slopes were quiet and the wind blew the snow around to make huge drifts of powder interspersed with rock hard ice.

Battling the wind in Valtornenche

And that was it. Our skiing trip was over and now it was time to head back to the UK for Christmas and then for work.

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