Des Chevaux Sur La Neige

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Des Chevaux Sur La Neige

Post by Robert Frazer on Tue 1 Feb 2011 - 18:13

Lately I've been back in France for another skiing trip. Seeing as I'm more neurotically obsessive a photographer than the typical Japanese tourist my hard drive is already overflowing with literally hundreds of photographs, and it will be a while before I can sift through them all to elucidate the best for display. However, one particular event in the resort has stood out, and I thought that the rest of the forum might find it an interesting novelty.

Val d'Isere recently held a polo tournament - this surprised me, as polo never struck me as an especially French game. Still, even the U.K. has its own national American Football and Baseball teams, so I suppose in a country of fifty million people you'll find some enthusiasts somewhere! Polo in and of itself is already a fairly esoteric sport - I've never seen a single chukka before in my life - but seeing the horses pant and pad across a field of snow, raised on a plane above an Alpine village and beneath a blindingly white floodlit ice face, it became something really quite dislocatingly eerie.



Me and Le Face have a bit of history. It's used as a racing downhill track during competitions, and in normal service is notorious as a severe Black run which in poor weather can be transformed into murderous sheet ice that can flay you to the bone in a slide from top to bottom. Of course, this meant that my nine year-old self was forced down it several times a day. "Dad, dad, I don't want to ski down the Face" *WHACK!* "Y'going." "But dad, dad, it's horrid and slippery and--" *WHACK!* Of course, now I can appreciate the importance of it for developing my technique, and of course just how lucky and privileged I was to be able to go on skiing holidays in the first place. At the time, though, I just wondered why dad hated me so much and what I'd done wrong. Follies of youth, eh? Wink



The game in action. Polo is actually quite watchable, it's a very vigorous and pro-active and cna get quite physical with lots of barging, although the long pauses between each chukka (period) to change for fresh horses did get a little frustrating. It beats soccer prima-donnas constantly arguing with the referee though, I suppose.



Val d'Isere is notorious for its inflated prices. Food from the supermarket costs no less than exactly double the price in Bourg-St.-Maurice, half an hour down the road, and a single beer will set you back the equivalent of $7-8. I wish I was joking. So does my wallet. Anyway, given this situation, when the kiosks around the playing field announced that they were giving away free food and drink, naturally there was a fair rush for them!



Naturally, there's a retail opportunity to adorn oneself with the raiment of sporting couture - Kara would be all a-quiver with delight.



Should you die... BEFORE YOU WAKE!

My apologies to Alfisti for the dozens of compositional errors that he's been picking out!


Last edited by Robert Frazer on Sun 6 Feb 2011 - 17:44; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Des Chevaux Sur La Neige

Post by Alfisti on Wed 2 Feb 2011 - 5:35

Compositional errors or no... Snow Polo looks like it has to be in the running for "best sport idea ever". Right up there with hard-court bike polo and midget tossing.

That said: I love the shots of the ski-slopes under lights. That just looks fantastic. I think I need to move somewhere cold, because that looks so much more inviting than the hot muggy weather we're getting at the moment.

And finally, that bright orange helmet is making me think "Helmet by Hermes".

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Re: Des Chevaux Sur La Neige

Post by Professor Voodoo on Wed 2 Feb 2011 - 9:29

You have officially inspired much jealousy. Other than the little bit I saw in Paris this December I have not touched snow in a decade.
@Robert Frazer wrote:my nine year-old self was forced down it several times a day. "Dad, dad, I don't want to ski down the Face" *WHACK!* "Y'going." "But dad, dad, it's horrid and slippery and--" *WHACK!* Of course, now I can appreciate the importance of it for developing my technique, and of course just how lucky and privileged I was to be able to go on skiing holidays in the first place. At the time, though, I just wondered why dad hated me so much and what I'd done wrong. Follies of youth, eh?
I hope you will forgive me for laughing out loud at that. It's horrible & hilarious at the same time.
Polo is actually quite watchable, it's a very vigorous and pro-active and cna get quite physical with lots of barging, although the long pauses between each chukka (period) to change for fresh horses did get a little frustrating.
It's a sport I wish I understood better. I imagine those long pauses are one of the things that prevent it from becoming a popular television sport like football.
Val d'Isere is notorious for its inflated prices. Food from the supermarket costs no less than exactly double the price in Bourg-St.-Maurice, half an hour down the road,
The curse of all resort towns, be they high in the mountains or down by the sea. There's a passage about that (inflated prices) in my next E&M episode.

Sounds like an excellent holiday, Robert!

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Re: Des Chevaux Sur La Neige

Post by Totoum on Thu 3 Feb 2011 - 9:11

Up until a few years ago , I had friends who lived in Savoie near Annecy and I always went with them to go skying,not having to pay for hotels made it easier on the wallet,but they moved away a couple years ago.

Anyway nice picks robert

one thing though , I think you meant "Des ChevAux" , not " Des ChevEux" Wink

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Re: Des Chevaux Sur La Neige

Post by Robert Frazer on Sun 6 Feb 2011 - 17:24

I love the shots of the ski-slopes under lights. That just looks fantastic.

Here are another couple of shots of the Face in the evening that I think came out well:



The curse of all resort towns, be they high in the mountains or down by the sea.

Yes, but Val goes well beyond even them - they don't so much gouge as suck the flesh off the bone and then pick their teeth with your fingers. I mean, how many of your local supermarkets...



...sell live lobster?



I mean, six Euros for a Coke! A f**king Coke! It's insane.

I imagine those long pauses are one of the things that prevent it from becoming a popular television sport like football.

It's always been a relatively esoteric sport, so it just doesn't have that level of penetration to achieve 'critical mass' - it's why everyone is watching the Superbowl, and not, say, the Tri-State Lacross Championship. And to be fair, polo requires a lot more outlay which prevents it really being an easy jumper-for-goalposts kickabout for the general public. Back in the Raj polo was one of the languages of social contact and there are multiple instances of civil servants actually losing their jobs because they didn't enjoy it and so weren't seen to have suitable character... but there weren't all that many civil servants in the first place. Related to that, in Britain at least polo is seen as a "posh" sport played by "toffs", and thanks to that curious inverse snobbery that's so prevalent nowadays something well-heeled is to be derided, which prevents it capturing the imagination. It's a shame, because even going into it completely cold (hoho) and with no prior experience, it was genuinely fun to watch.

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Re: Des Chevaux Sur La Neige

Post by Triela on Sun 6 Feb 2011 - 17:26

Those shots are beautiful. I especially love the first two shots in your second post, Robert! It makes me want to go there!! Very Happy

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Re: Des Chevaux Sur La Neige

Post by Piero on Sun 6 Feb 2011 - 20:06

Robert, your post makes me realise just how lucky I am to be within a few hours driving distance of reasonably priced cross country skiing. Laughing Also you do black courses? I usually try not to do anything above blues!

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Re: Des Chevaux Sur La Neige

Post by Officer_Charon on Sun 6 Feb 2011 - 20:53

Nice pics, bro! Like Voodoo, I am insanely jealous.

For the record, though... Wal-marts sell live lobster. At least, here in SAV they do.

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Re: Des Chevaux Sur La Neige

Post by Piero on Sun 6 Feb 2011 - 21:04

I think T&T (a supermarket chain that specialises in Asian foods -Vancouver has had substantial immigration from Asia) has live crabs iirc. Though I guess that's different from stocking live lobster.

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Re: Des Chevaux Sur La Neige

Post by Officer_Charon on Sun 6 Feb 2011 - 21:31

Indeed, good sir! Do, please try to keep your crustaceans in order there's a good fellow.

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