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Freedom of Movement 18 - Tignes.

Simon and Alex.

Simon is British. Alex is American, though she now has dual US/UK nationality (“I aced the citizenship test”, she tells me “I memorised the whole book!”).

They met while Simon was on an exchange programme at her university in the US, and decided to marry so they could at least be together. “It was a risk, and we both knew it. We took the decision knowing that, and decided that if it didn’t work out there would be no hard feelings” Simon tells me over breakfast. Well, that was over 20 years ago, and they’re still together. Simon and Alex sold their software company four years ago and now divide their time between Tignes, France (they are extreme/off-piste skiers, ski mountaineers, ski tourers,  alpine, rock and ice climbers. In short, they love the mountains, and Tignes is at 2100 meters, giving both fantastic scenery and topography and a very long and reliable ski season) and their home in Leicester, and wherever else they feel like travelling to in their VW camper. It’s an enviable ‘retirement’, and only made possible by their freedom of movement.

Also, and I feel I absolutely have to point this out, Alex makes awesome curries. 

Simon is in love with powder skiing. I’ve never met anyone so concerned with or knowledgable about snow types and states, but I guess you have to be if you spend your life off-piste, launching yourself down couloirs, abseiling with skis. Anyway, as a result of all this knowledge I let Simon decide where they would like to be photographed, and we get to a spot with clean sightlines of the sunlit Dôme de la Saché behind them and pure, untouched powder in the foreground. Nothing seems more appropriate. Simon is giving himself a week or two away now to go ski mountaineering in La Grave with their friend Ben.

Yes, I am envious. But in a nice way. 

Nick Rawle