PlanetSKI’s Autumn Trip to the Alps & the Pyrenees
10th September 2023
Last modified on September 16th, 2023
We’re always in the mountains for the Winter & ski into Spring. Then we’re back in the Summer. Now we’re in the mountains of France for the Autumn. Plus taking in the Rugby World Cup. UPDATED
We’re in France for the Rugby World Cup for a month or so.
More of that later as there are some ski connections that may surprise you, so it seems rude not to head to the hills in between matches.
After the rugby on the first weekend in Bordeaux we went to Ax-les-Thermes in the French Pyrenees for a spot of biking and hiking + a look ahead to what is on offer this winter.
It is one of our favourite spots in the Pyrenees and PlanetSKI has visited a few times over the years in the winter.
It is interesting to see it outside of the winter months.
See here for our full report as we rolled into town, and went hiking then e-mountain biking.
We’re in Nice this weekend for Wales v Portugal on Saturday, then England v Japan on Sunday.
Next we’re heading up to the Alps and hoping to swing through Verbier, Chamonix, Morzine and the mountain town of Chambery.
With a visit in between out alpine adventures to St Etienne and Lyon for Argentina v Samoa + Wales v Australia.
In the Alps we’ll be looking at what autumn offers and seeing what’s in store for the coming winter.
We’ve also got some work to do as we set up plans for winter coverage on PlanetSKI, sorting out a few contracts and setting up resort visits.
Now, what about the Rugby World Cup?
Our content editor, James Cove, supports Wales as his family came from South Wales.
He is a member of the Wales Supporters Association and is at all the group matches :
- In Bordeaux for Fiji
- In Nice for Portugal
- In Lyon for Australia
- In Nantes for Georgia
Plus the quarter-final if , and it’s a big IF, Wales get out of their group.
“I booked the tickets and then thought to myself that as I am in France anyway following Wales it would be good to see a few other matches and perhaps follow another team around.
“I studied the fixture list and discovered that many of the Argentina matches take place in the same area and on the same weekend as the Wales matches.
“So, I am now a proud member of the Argentine Supporters Association too.”
- In St Etienne for Samoa
- In Nantes for Chile & then Japan
James is a huge fan of the skiing in Argentina, especially in Cerro Catedral near Bariloche, so there is a tenuous ski connection to his new-found team.
Four years ago James was in Japan for the last Rugby World Cup, where he also took in some summer visits to the ski resorts.
See here for some of the PlanetSKI coverage from 2019:
And we asked the question:
Last Sunday, at the 2023 Rugby World Cup, it was Wales v Fiji in Bordeaux.
The fans gathered ahead of the match as Bordeaux changed from green to red (Ireland played in the city the previous day).
James and his wife Kisia, the social media supremo of PlanetSKI, arrived early.
What a game.
Right from the start.
Through the match.
And then the end – what a result: 32-26 to the Welsh.
“I have been to many top sporting events and I genuinely can’t think of a more exciting contest,” said James.
“It was full on from the start, and what a finish!
“The atmosphere was incredible and when Wales finally managed to win, after looking like clutching defeat from the jaws of victory, the Welsh supporters went wild.
“Barely a Welsh player on the pitch celebrated at the final whistle – they all slumped to the ground in utter exhaustion, before dragging themselves to their feet as they tried to take in what they had just achieved.
“The crowd too was trying to process what they had just seen.
“Every supporter in red seemed to be hugging and high-fiving another random person in red.
“Suffice to say the supporters’ celebrations went on long into the night and we made the final tram back to our hotel at 01.28 by a whisker.”
Rugby proceedings began on Saturday in the fan zone in Bordeaux with England v Argentina in Marseilles on the big screen.
Though the Welsh and Irish in town didn’t seem overjoyed with the eventual English victory.
Over in Marseilles, PlanetSKI reporter Marie Taylor was at the match.
Now earlier we mentioned a few ski & rugby connections.
Here’s one: Ski France is running a special trip to Meribel in conjunction with the Wasps Legends Charity.
The CEO of Ski France, Richard Green, is chairman of the Wasps FC, so has strong ties with the Wasps Legends charity as well.
The trip is going to be hosted by Damian Hopley.
Ski France will be donating some of the takings back to the Wasps Legends charity too.
We’ll be bringing you a full report on the trip later.
Here’s another: 3 ex-rugby players from the Exeter Chiefs plan to, er, tackle Mont Blanc in aid of mental health support charity, LooseHeadz.
Former teammates Greg Bateman, 34, Phil Dollman, 38, and Kai Horstmann, 41, are hoping to climb Mont Blanc early next week.
They have raised more than £10,000 for the foundation so far, with the aim of ensuring “players, coaches and staff of the present and of the future have more resources than what we had”.
Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in western Europe at 4,809m.
We’ll be doing something slightly more gentle when we pass through on our Autumn tour of the Pyrenees and the Alps as fill in the gaps between rugby matches.
PlanetSKI’s Jane Peel is also in France and by co-incidence is close to Bordeaux.
She is attending the European Senior Waterski Championships, which start on Wednesday.
Do check back for PlanetSKI’s Autumn Adventures: in the Alps, the Pyrenees, the Rugby World Cup or on some sand….