Long time no post! It was a wonderful (if exhausting) trip but I'm very happy to be back. It was almost two weeks ago that I met Pasticerra (Marla) and her husband Fabrizio on the sunny slopes of Sauze D'Oulx, and she was much more prompt with her post about it, but I have the excuse that I've had no decent net access until today. There was a solitary, ancient Toshiba laptop in the hotel where I was staying, and it was almost as unreliable and slow as the positively antique, dust-encrusted 1998 "desktop" (it needs a desk the size of a snooker table) I have in my London flat. When I tried to let the main "Redacted Recipes" page fully load on it I crashed the thing completely. It's not only good to be back home, it's good to have the use of a real computer again!
We were lucky with the weather during the week I was in the Alps. The snow had been pretty sketchy in the weeks prior to my visit, and when my companions and I took a few quick runs on the Sunday we arrived it was clear we'd be dealing with plenty of patchy, icy conditions unless we got some more, and soon. Fortunately the 8-10 inches predicted for the following day came to pass, and we spent that day enjoying fresh, fluffy snow both on and off piste, much to the delight of my companions - snowboarders all. For the rest of the week we had nothing but clear blue skies and cool but pleasant temperatures, as you can see from the pictures. That single snowfall just about saw us out nicely.
Fabrizio and Marla
On Thursday Marla, Fabrizio and I met for lunch in one of the central parts of the Sauze D'Oulx ski area. I recognised her immediately and we settled down for a chat over panini and the sloppiest burger I have ever eaten (it was very tasty, though). Marla surprised me with a gift: a lovely box of Italian chocolate liqueurs and a sweet little bottle of truffle oil (you can see them in the picture on yesterday's post). We swapped stories about our histories, chatted about blog-related matters and then decided we should do a couple of runs together. Now, I can ski okay - in that clumsy, graceless way we once-a-year Brits tend to have - but as soon as I saw Marla and Fabrizio zoom effortlessly away it was clear that skiing had been part of their lives for a long time. Indeed, Marla had skied as a child growing up in Colorado, and had also spent several years as a ski rep. Fabrizio just skied like someone fortunate enough to have been around the mountains all his life (I don't know if this is actually the case, but it certainly looked like it!) He had a casually energetic style that reminded me of my first Italian ski instructor, and it was obvious he was greatly enjoying this rare opportunity to get away from work and enjoy the slopes and the beautiful weather. I felt pretty pleased just to be able to keep up with them (although had they decided to put the hammer down I'm sure they'd have left me eating powder in no time).
I began to feel guilty for not meeting up with my friends after lunch (as we had half-agreed to) so I said farewell to Marla and Fabrizio as they set off for a few more runs, then attempted to contact my group via walkie-talkie. Over the course of the trip these gadgets proved invaluable - so long as all you wanted from them was the opportunity to hear a bunch of snowboarders saying, "Dude... where are you? Where? Dude... you're breaking up... *KZZZKKKKH*... Dude?" However, if you wished to arrange an actual meeting, they were as much use as the proverbial chocolate teapot. So, after a couple of trips to the top of the lift ("We said the bottom, dude!") and a couple of runs down to the bottom ("Dude! We're on the way up to meet you at the top!") I decided to give up on them. As I prepared to ski down from my final wait at the bottom of the lift ("Dude! We're at the top!") I saw Marla and Fabrizio again as they were about to make their way home. We said a second farewell and I headed back to Sauze D'Oulx where, a couple of hours later, I finally located my friends. No walkie-talkies were involved; I just searched the town bars. The application of common sense can sometimes make technology superfluous.
It was a great day. Thanks again for the gifts, Marla!
Jack and Marla