Village needle in Lez-Arke: Some love more cold
At seven in the evening we were appointed Randevo with Philip. Drops into all the warmest and volumetric, we stood under the starry sky, like three snow women, and waited for him from the Cabriolet lift station in ARC 2000. Next to us settled the French couple in pretty light jackets: they clearly came to admire the night view of a romantic glowing ARC 1950, so that after going to a restaurant for a candlelist dinner. Here, a cute man rolled up to us, he asked for two meters, and asked, peeling from a snowmobile: "You for dinner in the needle? I will be your guide today, my name is Philip!" We introduced themselves in response, a couple of the French, stretching thin caps – too.
"You know, I forgot to take on all the lanterns, so part of the way will have to go in the dark. Do not you mind? There is not far – only twenty minutes", – informed us Philip in French. "A good start!" – noticed in Russian Sasha. Then our scattered guide laid out the snowshoes from the backpack, and we tried to get in them. The French couple quickly coped with the task, we had to seek help to Philip. Well, then everything was, as in a fairy tale about Cinderella: None of the three remaining snow-wind pairs approached us in size – it was necessary to rearrange the following clamps. After fifteen minutes of fighting with sashin equipment, the desired size was exhibited, and one of the cinders finally equipped. On us, the patience of the guide ended, and he suggested going without snowshoes. "There is still everything is recruited, so special shoes do not need special shoes", – Created us, already decently frozen, Philip.
Finally, our group went towards the needle. The road and indeed turned out to be light and suitable for almost any shoes – except that heels would be difficult to go. Most of the route was lit, so we didn’t suffer at all without lanterns, and when the artificial illumination ended, the moon and stars came to the rescue. By the way, the sky was amazingly clear – as in the planetarium or in pictures in the textbooks, and we were able to even see all constellations, which they knew, and found their guiding star.
In twenty minutes of a slow walk, our group approached the needle. So far, the French and Sasha shot snowshoes, Philip told us about the design itself. It turned out that this is the greatest snow housing in Europe: its area is 400 square meters, and 3000 cubic meters of snow goes to construction. An ice sculpture gallery, a bar and a restaurant are located inside, and from this year there have also been a hotel with several numbers – a snow double for hot couples and "dormitory" with a sunbed accommodating to six people (all guests are given warm sleeping bags, calculated to minus thirty, well, and warming drinks from the bar are also not allowed to freeze).
We entered the needle, and were surprised by the fact that inside a snowy hut is much warmer than outside. As Philip explained, it always keeps approximately the same temperature – from 0 to + 3c. But at the end of the spring, the snow begins to melt, and with him and a needle, so every year the village is rebuilt. With the onset of the winter season for two weeks, twenty people create a dome-shaped design, inflating balloons of different shapes, interconnected, and blowing them with snow, then the balls blow up, and empty space is formed – this is future corridors and needle rooms. When all the walls are ready, sculptors on ice create a snowy and ice figures in the gallery for one common topics (each year different plots are selected), and the rooms are cut out the necessary furniture: bed, chairs and even bath, although the latter is, rather, decorative element.
Before you go to a restaurant, we walked around the gallery for a long time, considering the brilliant work of local sculptors on the topic of Vanuaz National Park, with whom the lez Ark is just bordered. Understanding that all these skiers, kissing mummists and shepherd with a herd of sheep, who have every ring of wool was skillfully carved out of the snow, by the end of the season they melt without a trace, we zatali the camera shutters, trying to keep the snow-ice masterpieces at least on the picture.
On the way to the restaurant we had another stop – this time warming. At the bar rack under a funny snowy with a cheerful Jean-Claude distributed to all a cupcake with mulled wine, cooked from white wine (so that the stains from the randomly spilled drink were not as noticeable in the snow). After such an aperitif, it was finally removed to remove gloves and sit down for a snow table, without fear that the hands were talking to the instruments. Soon we brought raw fondue in Savoyardski, as well as a plate with meat cutting, and was still warmer. The French at the next table even removed the light jackets. And we never decided to open a bottle of white savoy wine, cooled to the laid temperature, – passed it to their neighbors, ordering hot tea.
Served us a guide Philip. He was constantly worried that we could eat little and drink even less. To comment that before starting to drink, I would like to find out if there is a toilet here, Philip reacted into his characteristic manner: hearing a familiar "a restaurant" instead of "RESTRUM", He said that, of course, in the needle there is a restaurant for fifteen seats, and was ready to describe it in the details, but then I realized that we were interested in a completely different room, and showed a car with a biothet on the street. Laughed. In general, Philip, which in winter and in the summer drives tourists with hiking routes in the surrounding mountains, and autumn exports groups to Nepal, that evening was a guide exclusively good mood: that neither the phrase is the explosion of laughter from our side.
Finally brought tea and coffee, and to them – a delicious inherday cake, cooked on a local recipe. The French, meanwhile, finished the second bottle of wine, and we managed to figure out the Philip, how much the night is under the snow: the bed on the six with dinner and breakfast, as well as with a walk on snowshoes to the needle and back will cost 99 euros per person, and for checking feelings In the room for two will have to pay 175 euros (a bottle of champagne for courage – as a gift).
Before the reverse road, Jean-Claude poured us again on the machine – now there is already a DJESTIVE for better assimilation of cheese fondue. Having reinforced the fever, we were slightly danced in the disco-hall with light music in anticipation of our couple, which was thinking, and not to stay here for the night. But then they still decided to return to their apartments with hot water, and we all cheerfully stagned back, overtaking the ragners, slowly creeping down the slope.
Entrance to the ice grotto – 5 Euro (daytime). Walk on snowshoes with dinner in the needle – 75 euros per person. Perhaps corporate events and holidays.