A day out with lunch on the mountain by Helen
We head out after breakfast into the sunny but cold morning, and stop for a coffee at the Halte de Pré Chabert (the self-service bar and restaurant at the bottom of Monêtier’s slopes) while we wait for a friend to join us. The ‘Plat du Jour’ has already been posted on the blackboard, today it is Blanquette de Veau which seems to be very popular everywhere this winter. I think we have eaten it twice this holiday already, so we will save lunch there for another day! After taking the Bachas chairlift to the Monêtier mid-station, we warm up with a couple of runs on Cibouit, then head up the Y’ret chair and down the Cucumelle. We head towards Fréjus village and stop for a hot chocolate at the Chalet Pi Maï.
Joining some friends who are staying in Chantemerle, we decide to head back to Monêtier to ski some more; so we head up the fast six-man Vallons chairlift and back to our home pistes. We stay high for a while, some of us enjoying the beautifully groomed slopes, and others heading off the side into the off-piste. Rumbling stomachs tell us it must be lunchtime. If we are in Monêtier, it has to be ‘Chez Dam’s’ for lunch at the Chalet de Peyra Juana, with its woodburning stove and shared tables. There is always a friendly welcome, a few olives and slices of saucisse with your apéritif. The food here is simple but plentiful, with large salads, meat and cheese platters and pasta dishes making up the majority of the menu. The real star of the show is the Plat du Jour, and if you are lucky, a huge plate of Boeuf Bourgignon or Wild Boar stew finds its way out of the kitchen to take away those hunger pangs.
More skiing on the lower pistes of Monêtier this afternoon, and despite the amazing snow, the slopes are quiet and we have them almost to ourselves.
With the sun beginning to disappear behind the mountains, après beers are back at the Halte (Halte de Pré Chabert at the bottom of the ski area), and we put our friends on the ski bus back to Chantemerle. Dinner tonight will be bread and cheese, I’m still full from lunchtime.