Alpine Mummy

A new life in the middle of nowhere



Oh my goodness, it has just hit home that we’re spending the entire winter in the Alps… What have I done?!


The summer has been fantastic – it felt like the first ‘real’ summer for ages (we don’t get them much in the UK anymore).  A few rainy spells, which really weren’t fun, but my memories of this summer do principally consist of blue skies, ice cream and shorts.  Like a silly old woman, I’m already reminiscing about the last few months with a touch of nostalgia – Alpine Boy jumping in and out of the paddling pool; countless walks up mountains and swims in the lake;  Alpine Girl asleep in the shade, exhausted from a day doing nothing.

Summer walks

Summer walks…

Blue skies

…blue, blue skies…

Trips to the lake

…and trips to the lake

And so, because it’s been so great here, I hadn’t really stopped to think what it’s going to be like when it’s cold and snowy.  I have flippantly joked to my new French friends that I’m a ‘little bit nervous’ about the winter up here, not being used to it and all.  And I have explained to them that in England when there’s more than about 5cm of snow the entire country grinds to a halt and it’s impossible to get to work.  (They laughed at that.  I think they thought I was joking.)  But I don’t think I’ve really thought about exactly what it’s going to be like, stuck here in the mountains, all winter…

So I’m delighted to have my first taster of an Alpine winter!  A week ago we were walking in the mountains in our T-shirts, marvelling at the fact that summer seemed to be sticking around forever.  Today it was a different story – we’ve been walking in the village in our thermals and ski jackets, marvelling at the fact that winter has come before autumn has even had its chance to say goodbye.  The snow started yesterday and has steadily fallen all night – like the little boy in ‘The Snowman’ the first thing I did when I awoke this morning was to rush to the window to see how white the world was.  I was not disappointed – the ground is thick with snow, the wind is blowing, and the birds are hopping around in confusion, as if they’re not quite sure whether this is the apocalypse that crazy bird round the corner has been warning them about for years…


Alpine Boy was out sledging down the driveway first thing this morning (very pleased to be finally allowed to wear his new hat), blissfully unaware and totally not caring that the clocks had gone back and that everyone else in the neighbourhood would be enjoying their extra hour in bed.  We have had a friend from the UK staying for the weekend, who seemed mightily pleased that the snow had made an appearance on the days she chose to be here.  Last night we ate (too much) raclette, in front of the (too hot) roaring fire, in our (very wooden) Alpine chalet, and it really did feel like we must be on a ski holiday.  Perfect, I thought, this is the life.

But our friend has just left, Alpine Papa’s out driving her to the airport, and the kids are worn out from tramping in the snow so are taking an extra-long nap.  I’m therefore all alone in front of that roaring log fire (stuffing my face with Milka).  And as I watch the wind blowing clouds of snow past the window, I realise that this is real.  This isn’t a week-long skiing holiday, in a resort where everything you might need is on tap.  This is for the whole winter.  And we’re in a village in the middle of nowhere.  And I have two kids under four who need bundling into ski-suits (and thermals and hats and gloves and boots…) every time we leave the house.  I think I might have mentioned that leaving the house often takes me three hours.  In mid-winter, there aren’t many more daylight hours each day than that!  I’m either going to have to get more organised (unlikely), or we’re just not going to leave the house (tempting).  Or perhaps I could eschew all forms of heating and just make the children live in their ski gear so they’re permanently ready to go out…

So yes, I’m no longer joking when I say I’m a ‘little bit nervous’ about experiencing a true Alpine winter.  But having seen Alpine Boy’s overwhelming excitement today, and heard him giggling as he slid down that slope, I am more excited than ever.  Having dodged snowballs, and explained to Alpine Boy why he should never eat yellow snow, I can’t wait for autumn to bid its very final farewell.  Winter’s on its way, and hopefully it will be a long one.  In the meantime, throw another log on that fire, and pass the Milka…

Winter's walk

(You do realise I’ve totally jinxed this now, of course.  Apologies to anyone coming to Europe on a ski-trip this year:  if there’s no snow then it’s no doubt down to me wishing too damn hard for that perfect ski-season…)

Author: Alpine Mummy

Now an ex-City lawyer, I gave up London life 'just for a year' to spend my maternity leave in a tiny village in the French Alps. Nearly three years later Alpine Family is still here - the legal career is gone but we're living the dream (most of the time) and skiing and hiking our way through life. Walks and fresh air are now the order of the day - bye bye smog, hello mountains...

17 thoughts on “Snow!

  1. I think the options of leaving the little monsters permanently in their skiing/outdoor gear sounds like a great plan. Talk about being “born ready”!!


  2. ha, that’s brilliant! I don’t know why I didn’t think of this cunning plan sooner! x


  3. It’s so hard to believe you’ve got snow! And so quickly as you have said! It’s meant to be 26 here today, talk about polar opposites! At least you’re not having to commute to work in the snow, I used to hate that about London when everything was turned into chaos due to a few cm of snow! And it would be pretty for the first hour or so until it turned black on the roads & footpaths! Wrap up warm & have fun building snowmen x


    • I know – nightmare! I remember two weeks into my new job, about two years ago, it massively snowed. Being the new girl I thought I should make the effort and get myself in to work. So I got up at 5.30, left the house at 6.30, waited for a train for hours, trekked across London to my office, and was so proud to arrive only half an hour late, at 10.00am. Do you know how many people were in my office? None. No joke. I worked from home the next day…

      Hope you’re enjoying the sunshine!



  4. That’s pretty amazing – one week its practically Summer, the next – Autumn bypassed – its Winter! Well at the very least you are going to get a proper white Christmas which never happens over here. I’m looking forward to more posts about Winter over your way!


    • I know! It’s a bit weird really – especially as the leaves are still their usual beautiful autumn colours, but they’re just covered in snow! Alpine Papa has summed it up better than I ever could – when we got home from our Arctic walk on Sunday he found he’d taken the same photo twice, only one week apart. Check out the difference:

      change of seasons

      The second photo is not taken in black and white – it really looked like that!

      And to top it off, it seems today that spring has come early – the green grass is back and there are streams of water trickling everywhere as the snow melts under the bright sun. Very strange weather…! Am VERY much looking forward to a white Christmas though!


  5. 🙂 You’re thinking thermals and ski jacket, and I felt the winter had started unfairly early this year as I had to turn the heating on yesterday. Somehow the log fire has more appeal though!
    I’m off to a wedding in the Black Forest area of Germany this weekend, please tell me it’s possible to survive an afternoon in the snow in high heels and a party dress! OR do they do posh ski outfits? I wander if we’ll be sledging…
    I do hope you’ll enjoy the season, despite the lack of 24/7 supermarkets!


    • Just wear sheepskin boots with your posh dress – call it ‘winter chic’ or something! Enjoy the weekend, hope your fingers don’t turn blue and fall off or anything 😉

      You did better than us – we left England in June and had already had the heating on by then!



      • he he, I would if I had them. I think I’ll go for enough coffee and cake to give me a massive sugar high, that will keep me warm for a while.
        Talking about heating, you had a tiny baby when you left, I have a boyfriend who only thinks of digging out his winter coat when it truly freezes, so far he’s still only wearing his shirt and suit jacket to go to work! So I looked like a wimp on Sunday with my radiator on and comfy blanket on the sofa 😉 Ho, how I wish for a wood fire!
        Have a good day x


  6. Mmmmmmmmm, Milka! That will get you through the winter!!


  7. The first winter snow, a cracking fire, wrapped in warmth staying indoors…….sounds heavenly!


  8. definitely exciting though, we thought we had first snow in London this weekend but it was just sleet. I love the snow, when I dont have to go out!


    • I do love London in the snow (as long as I’m not stuck at London Bridge station trying to get a train home; and only for those few hours before it all turns to sludge!) – I hope it arrives for you soon! Thanks for stopping by x


      • I’d say be careful what you wish for, but you can wish for snow in London soon and not end up stuck here when you’re trying to fly somewhere else. Or worse, be stranded in a remote Ryanair airport, with a bunch of grumpy Brits, no planes taking of because of snow in London!
        I’ve got too much travelling to do in November, please please pretty please make the snow wait until the 3rd of December. In the meantime you can keep it all for yourself, and have lots of outdoors fun with Leo (and his new hat) and Alpine Papa, and lots of chocolate by the fire 😉


  9. Pingback: Me… revisited | Alpine Mummy

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