I know – I was a little surprised, but I was sitting in my flat watching the snow fall and I heard cow bells. And I thought “Guy, why are there cows still coming off the mountain – they were supposed to come down two weeks ago.”

And I couldn’t really answer so had a look and there was a police car escorting a herd of cows down the road with a few farmers who clearly never read the weather reports. I mean the farmers hadn’t read the weather reports – not the cows. (Anyway, feel free to comment below if you have any views on this questionable piece of animal husbandry.)

But it is snowing in Verbier. There was about 15cm on the cars up at Les Essertes this morning. It’s brilliant isn’t it? I am going to celebrate by going to the Comptoir in Martigny.


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Well, on the advice of Mike, Tobes an I nipped up to Ruinettes to see exactly what Mike, Televerbier and the massive double prop helicopter that’s been hovering over Verbier were up to.

Well, a lot. And very quickly. Because since 7.30 this morning they’ve put up absolutely loads of pylons, and all the running gear. The top station is looking like all it needs is a cable, some lifts and a bit of snow.

The pylons look ready to plonk that cable and some seats on and start rolling.

The bottom? Not so much…

Yeah, there’s some work to do down at the start, but it’s the big bit where they’ve been pouring concrete and building a pretty heavy duty installation. But that’s enough typing, because we have pictures of helicopters and that’s why you came here.

Plus a video. And if it sounds ‘a bit windy’ that’s because it is. Very. Try 100kph coming off those rotors…

Didn’t seem to bother the livestock though.

So, we’ve already firmly established that the Swiss – specifically in the people of the Valais – do a very good line in festivals and parties.

Which means that a festival that’s been established to simply celebrate all things Valaisanne was destined to be brilliant. Just imagine a street party, a beer festival, a farm show and the Ideal Home Exhibition all at once…

(Oh, and if you need to know what on earth you’re looking at just have a look at the picture names):


Yes, it’s that time of year again. The last weekend in September is when the cows come down off the high pastures for the winter and all over the Alps the locals celebrate with a massive party.

Now, how they celebrate differs, but here in the Vel de Bagnes the celbration is done through the medium of cheese. Raclette to be precise, as they inveneted it here.

And as adopted locals we try to help out by eating lots of cheese and making sure they run out of Fendant. So we had another sophisticated evening in Le Chable (very much like last year – see the pictures here)

And if you want to get more details have a look here.

Meanwhile, here’s the evidence…

And by the way, it snowed last night all the way down to resort.


I might have mentioned before the Swiss propensity to celebrate things with cheese and alcohol, and on 26 September 1993 they voted to have another one. Swiss National Day. So every year on 1st August. That’s how it works here – you just ask everyone if they want another bank holiday and, amazingly, everyone said yes…

Now, despite the fact that the weather went from stunning blue skies to cloudy to rumbles of thunder to complete monsoon, the Swiss didn’t let that stop them from having a proper party. And a parade. And – as is the custom here – a full marching brass band.

So we went and helped them out – fortuitously taking cover underneath the canopy of The Pub Mont Fort’s bar. And despite the weather it all went rather well and looked a bit like this…

Kat and Don doing model poses:                   The rain arrives:                                             The band carries on regardless:

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They even seem to enjoy it:                            Finally a load of local kids with lanterns swim past:

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