Writer on Location: Frederieke in Portes du Soleil

I love the winter break. Not just because it means that the semester is over and therefore studying can be set aside for a while. Also because it means that it is finally Christmas time and that I get to go home and spend the days with family and friends and plenty of food. This involves playing board games with my little cousins, answering questions about my (love) life, finding out more about my parent’s past life adventures after they had one too many glasses of fancy wine and enjoying the Maastricht nightlife where people go to shake off the Christmas dinner calories. Once all the food has been consumed there comes an end to the gezelligheid and it is time to face the pile of dishes. And that is when my all time favorite vacation comes in.


In the early morning hours of second boxing day, or the 27th of December, I took off to the French Alps. I have been going on winter sports for as long as I can remember but it was the first time visiting Portes du Soleil, a sunny ski paradise with an impressive 650 kilometers of slope. Ski resorts all over Europe had been struggling with a lack of snow when we left home, and Portes du Soleil was green rather than white. But we started our roadtrip nonetheless and hoped for the best. After only two hours of driving we found ourselves in the middle of an intense snow storm on the German autobahn and could therefore not really make use of the German speed limits (or the lack thereof). However, regardless of traffic, we were more than happy to finally see the world turn white.

Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland

Unfortunately our positivity decreased when it suddenly stopped snowing and didn’t start again for the next eight hours. As we were coming closer to the French Alps and were still surrounded by green trees and snowless plains we feared the worst and started to think that we would be going for walks rather than ski trips for the next ten days. But our prayers were heard and as we started to drive up the mountain it miraculously started snowing. Even though our sight was limited to such an extent that making our way up the mountain was life threatening, we were happily singing along to French chansons.

The last hours of our roadtrip had taken place in the dark and therefore we had no idea where we actually ended up, but when we woke up to this fascinating view the next morning I knew that we had come to the right place.The entire week we were able to enjoy every single one of the 650 kilometers of slope. And even though I had seen a terrifying movie about a couple that got stuck in a ski lift just before leaving, the highly modernized gondola’s and chair lifts made all my fears disappear. I spent the rest of the week racing my sisters, trying to avoid tan lines of ski goggles on my sun kissed face and being in awe of the beautiful sights among which a breathtaking view of the Mont Blanc. Starting the new year in this winter wonderland was amazing and even though the increased risk of avalanches limited the fire works spectacle at midnight on December 31st, there was no place I would rather be.


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