You never know who you will meet and what you’ll talk about during the 7-15 minute ride up on the mountain in the icy wind while in the confined space of a ski lift. Generally there are greetings and pleasantries about the weather and the ski conditions, where you’re from and where you usually ski. Topics are usually lightweight, often playful, always friendly. Over New Year’s we skied two days at Snow Summit at Big Bear in Southern California, then two days at our “home” mountain of Mammoth, then three days at Lake Tahoe.
It was on a lift at Squaw Valley about 10,000 feet in elevation that I recognized that the woman I was squeezed next to had a French accent. She and her husband grew up skiing at Chaminix in the French Alps, she told us, then she revealed that she grew up in Jura and her husband in Savoie.
Delighted, I asked her about the wines of the region and the cuisine they paired with them. Cheese, they said, and potatoes, especially cheese fondue, but what they loved with the wines most was chicken bresse, made with mushrooms and cream which she says she cooks in a dutch oven for 2-3 hours.