Chamonix Apres Ski ReportPartying on through the blackout, normal service now resumed
2nd May 2012
Of all the exciting things that happened in Chamonix this week, the most exciting by far was the almighty storm that nearly blew us all to Kansas and resulted in a complete black out.
Saturday was shaping up to be a fairly eventful night from the start with two of Chamonix's busiest bars, La Terrace and The Pub gearing up for their end-of-season parties. As I walked through the centre of town I saw a few strange sights including a panda, a human-sized pencil, Peter Pan, a number of pirates and a few princesses; they were all heading off to the fancy dress “P” party at The Pub. The wind had been growing stronger all day and was already very blustery; by late evening there were bits of roof skipping merrily through the streets, along with branches, signposts and anything that wasn't nailed down. Just before midnight there was a flickering of lights, off and then on again, and then off again and then... nothing. Power cut.
Fortunately for me I was in Monkey Bar at the time, where they saved the day by setting fire to the bar and dishing out glow sticks. Probably not recommended in all emergency situations but it did the job, the band were able to carry on playing (acoustically), candles were lit and we carried on – Blitz spirit and all that, I'll be telling the tale to my grandchildren one day.
Other bars were not so fortunate; the more central ones were closed down by the Party Poopers (gendarmes) who probably suspected that a pitch-black bar full of drunk people and lots of booze would probably be a bad idea.
The electricity finally came back on about 5am and Sunday turned out to be a warm sunny day, the calm after the storm. A stroll around Chamonix revealed the extent of the damage; dented satellite dishes that had been ripped from people's roofs lay strewn on the ground, along with tables and chairs that had been flung from balconies. Enormous trees lay across the road by Lac des Gaillands, their massive roots torn right out of the ground. The wind had even picked up an entire bus shelter and relocated it in the river! The foehn wind is a strange thing that whips through Chamonix every now and then, whirling and spinning and throwing everything upside down. Thankfully no one was hurt and it didn't take long for things to start getting back to normal, as normal as things ever get in Chamonix...
The show must go on and so tonight is the night to double up on twice the fun; Monkey Bar will be hosting its last Ladies' Night of the season with special prices for the girls and a fluoro dress theme, while over the road at South Bar it'll be your last chance to catch Pop & Skred spinning and scratching in the Sud for a while so they're offering free shots with every drink to say farewell.
There are a few good food deals being offered this week at Le Vert. They are doing an Early Bird Burger deal with a free demi before 7pm this Friday and Roast Dinner with a free carafe of wine for 4 people on Sunday. The food there is good and there's always a veggie option, so get down there and check it out.
Tuesday 8th is the once-and-for-all-final-closing-party at Les Grands Montets. They've reduced lift pass prices to just €10 for the day, so there's no excuse for not getting up there and getting involved. There'll be all sorts going on including freestyle demos, ski gymkhana, big air bag, snow park, ski joering (getting pulled along by a horse!), rodeo, spa, Tyrolean traverse, wingsuit-flying display, live music, DJs, BBQ and bar. Fancy dress is, as ever, highly recommended and the apres-ski will continue down at Les Marmottons bar at the bottom of the home run. It will no doubt continue on long into the night in the many fine drinking establishments in Argentiere.
Other than that, there is still plenty to do once the slopes have closed with many bars and restaurants remaining open throughout spring, so keep tuning in every Wednesday for the latest reports and keep an eye on our calendar for upcoming events.