20 / 03 / 2013

A week of mixed fortunes

In Shakespeare’s Julius Ceaser the lead character is warned to ‘Beware the Ides of March’ This date is notorious in the Roman calendar as it saw the assassination of Caesar and effectively the end of the Roman Republic and the dawn of the Empire.

The Ides of March refer to the 15th which in 2013 passed off without with out any truly earth shattering events. It can be argued though that 3 days later on the 18th a line was drawn in the sand in the life of the Via Lattea ski area.

This was the day that the unprecedented strike by lift workers took place. In my 25 years of skiing I have never heard of lift workers going on strike anywhere let alone in our small corner of the skiing world.

The reasons seem numerous depending on who you talk to and in the lack of any official word on the Via Lattea website I have to go with the general opinion that it is because the lift company are owed money by the regional council to the tune of €4 million. The council seems unable to pay them and therefore lift closures are the unfortunate inevitable result as the lift company tries to balance the books.

Lift closures are a tad annoying for people coming out on holiday, In fact a couple from America who had booked ski rental through me were here for just 2 days, one was the day of the strike. Not good but let’s not lose sight of the fact that the closures also mean that people get laid off and when the season is only 4 months to be out of work for 25% of that time can be a serious deal.

I guess this is another example of collateral damage from the economic melt down caused by greedy bankers and toothless politicians. I make no apology to those bankers reading this or indeed Tony Blair or Gordon Brown. I only mention them as I know they both pay great attention to this blog.

It’s because of you lot that I now have to walk 5 minutes to the Sportinia lift as opposed to skiing down to the Clotes lift. As cheesed off as I am though it cant be anything compared to those poor guys who have lost their jobs.

Unless the money is forthcoming then the 12 lifts that have closed in the Via Lattea (Clotes being the only one in Sauze) will remain shut for the rest of season. It’s a good job that the snow is soooo good at the moment or else we’d all be burning our lift passes in protest (maybe).

The pistes are skiing great after a very nice snow fall at the beginning of the week. The temperatures are remaining cold helping keep snow in tip top condition. Off piste is fairly tracked out but still there’s fun to be had dropping in through the trees. I’m trying to remember if the snow has been better at any other stage of the season and the answer is probably no.

The forecast predicts that the colder temperatures are set to continue at least until the mid part of next week. We may be fortunate enough to get more snow too at the weekend which should guarantee the good conditions remain with us until the end of March.

So whilst we have reason to hacked off about the lifts, be cheered by the fact the snow is great at the moment and also please spare a thought for those that have been laid off. To the bankers and politicians responsible, I hope you choke on your caviar. Viva La revolution!

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