Even with the most meticulous preparation, things do not always go according to plan. Our Secretary, Kathryn, recounts …

We arrived, all three of us, Jean-Marc, Alexis and I, at the storeroom long before the appointed hour to get ready for our big day in Siviez. Together, we went through our long checklist from Annick, our technical manager, checked several times that we had all the necessary equipment with us for our outing with Gérard. Mittens, sheepskin, handwarmers, ties… we had a bit of a debate as to whether to take the warm-weather cover or sleeping bag: we knew that Gérard measured 42cm at the hip and Annick had warned us that it would be a bit tight for him in the Tempo’s bucket seat. We decided to defer the decision and take both. We were ready for the off!

Funispace out of order! What? But the Funispace never breaks down! We still had time … we diverted to the La Chaux Express and the Jumbo for Gentianes.

Jumbo out of order! What? This can’t be happening! Not today!

Back to the original plan: Lac des Vaux, no entry! What? At this point I really started to worry! I could feel my stress levels rising as we awaited the decision of the head of security … permission granted. We were finally on our way to Siviez. A few drops of oil fell on our lovely orange jackets from the old chairlift but it doesn’t matter, it, at least IT is working!

As Jean-Marc eyed up the beautiful fresh powder on Chassoure I could read his mind.

‘No, Jean-Marc,’ I said. ‘There is no doubt in my mind that you can ski Chassoure with the Tempo in the powder but, with the luck we’re having today, we just can’t risk it’.

He nodded and, not without regret, we all bundled into the gondola and took the sensible, if less fun, way down Chassoure.

We arrived in Siviez just at the same time as Gérard and his family – phew!

From then on, the day went as planned and the whole team had a great day with the Joris family. We installed Gérard in the sitski without a hitch and, in the end, we opted for the ugly sleeping bag over the smart purpose-made cover. It wasn’t very pretty on the photos but it kept Gérard warm and comfortable all day and that’s what matters.

Joris Family

Our return trip to Verbier was uneventful, with Alexis and I struggling to keep up with Jean-Marc, who drove the empty sitski faster than we could ski despite being totally unencumbered. We got back to the storeroom in record time.

But then things started to go wrong again: the wine had disappeared! Now I was really panicked, where on earth, in these Covid times, was I going to find something to offer to my two heroes to celebrate this very special day, successful despite the worst of starts?

Oh, the jokers! My two ‘heroes’ had hidden the bottle that morning, before we set off on our troubled travels! Impossible to be annoyed with this pair – Cheers!

Two heroes