Each year, La Clusaz announces the Full Moon Skiing event. Unlike night skiing, there are no floodlights on the piste: skiers have just the light of the moon to guide them. Of course, this means that in bad weather, Full Moon Skiing is cancelled, and the past few years have suffered that fate.

La Clusaz skiing in the moonlightThis year however, the sky cleared after an afternoon of snow, rain and cloud, and Full Moon Skiing went ahead. Events kicked off with a torchlit ‘mega-descent’ of more than 300 ski instructors and the crowd loved it. When the Patinoire and Crêt du Merle lifts opened at 9pm, everyone flocked to join the massive queues. Staff handed out glow-in-the-dark bendy batons, and many people were smart enough to bring headlamps too.

On the piste

With glowing helmets, my friends and I attempted our first descent. We only made it about 15 metres from the chairlift exit thanks to the Lure of a Radio Meuh DJ at Chez Arthur. We stopped for a drink and discovered the challenge of slippery wooden decking in ski boots when attempting to dance. Not a problem for the local ski instructors, who danced as if they were in their most comfortable shoes. We moved back when one instructor jumped on another instructor’s back and a rodeo-style bucking bronco dance move began. Glow sticks fell off but they didn’t notice.

With the entire deck filling up with beer-swilling ski instructors, we skied down to our next stop, Le Bercail. Back in 2008, Le Bercail had music and a lovely big bonfire to warm up by. I remember taking photos of my friend making whirly patterns with her glow stick while a stranger danced happily next to her. This year, the ambience was more chilled, with a wine bar atmosphere, so we skipped it and continued skiing in near darkness.

La Clusaz, Skiing in the moonlight

As we approached the cheesy Europop music at Le Chalet des Praz, a man on telemarks went past with fairy lights on the front of his skis. Difficult to snap a photo in such dark conditions, his skis are at least easy to spot in the photo.

A quick drink later, we were on our way to La Ferme, with skiers all around making drunken noises — very helpful when you can barely see the piste, let alone other skiers. With Philippe, the man behind Radio Meuh, playing some funky songs, we discovered that dancing on grippy snow is much easier than on wet wood.

Time flies

By the time we left La Ferme, it was after midnight. The party continued in town, but more than three hours of dancing in the cool night air left us readsy for the warmth and comfort of our beds. Yes, we’d done less than an entire run in more than three hours, but that’s how it’s meant to be. Would I go to Full Moon Skiing again? Oh yes!