Day 20/21 Lockdown When Life is Turned Upside Down

Aerial map Serre Chevalier from 1950 - 65


The world has been turned on its head these last 21 days of lockdown in France. But we're fortunate that our view, even from upside down, is still breathtaking albeit frustrating that the snow is so perfect for ski touring...

Standing on my head is just one way to pass the time during Groundhog Days here in Serre Chevalier. I am also running like a rat in a laboratory maize, around Serre Chevalier only going one kilometre from home as per the restrictions, but managing to do a looping, back-tracking 'Isolation 10k' at least once a week.


The trouble is this route takes me up inclines (we are in the mountains after all) and off road on trails, which reduces my pace so doing this within the one hour of exercise permitted is a challenge (which, BTW, I have failed so hope the gendarmes are not checking my Strava and noting the extra five or so minutes!).

But if a guy had to run a marathon on his seven metre balcony and another climb the equivalent of Everest by repeatedly going up his stairs, how can I complain because, hey, we're in the mountains with breathtaking views and fresh air (fresher than it's been our lifetime thanks to the lack of traffic).

Keeping in touch via social media helps with human contact and the world to stay the right way up. But seeing posts on Facebook reminding us that this time last year - or five years ago - we were ski touring in glorious spring conditions, is not helpful. Neither are all those Instagrams featuring powder days and face shots from Hokkaido, Colorado, Bankso, wherever, earlier in the season! 

The weather currently in Serre Che is absolutely perfect for ski touring. Freezing at night, warming up to transform the snow mid-morning. Meanwhile, the mountain is starting to put on her spring robes with splashes of flowers and green shoots in the valley.

Talking of green shoots, the coronavirus deaths, including nursing homes, were 833 over the past 24 hours and the graphs continue their upward curves. Now deconfinement, the word that needs no translating  throughout Europe, seems very unlikely to start from the day of reassessment in France, 15th April.