In these hectic times, we all dream of escaping and gaining a little perspective. Chalet life is all about getting cosy in front of a roaring fire and cuddling up under a blanket with a good book - let the dream commence. The magic mountain. As in Thomas Mann’s novel, while we are only ensconced among the majestic peaks for a short time, this breathtaking winter’s dream seems to last so much longer, almost to infinity. Time slows down.
Safe inside our chalet, the falling snow calms the mind, the inviting warm interior soothes the soul, and family and friends enjoy each other’s company in a haven of calm. And you don’t need to be an ornithologist, water diviner or forester to enjoy the simple pleasures of birdsong, the melody of a waterfall or the symphony of the wind. On the mountain - the earth’s cathedral - we can catch our breath while our sense of hearing and sight are heightened. We become one with nature with no need for the artifices of modern life.
Chalet life is about the beauty of altitude, and feeding our need for perspective to help us become wiser and more enlightened. Tucked safely on the slopes, without an Icarus complex, we can meditate, recharge our batteries, and abandon our fears as we set off to explore. Whether walking or skiing, one’s sense of freedom is boundless. And you don’t need to be an expert mountaineer to experience this.
The chalet is the perfect refuge and a much deserved escape from the madding crowd. Without mountains, our lives would be diminished - without exhilaration. Perched on top of the world, we rise above the hustle and bustle of the city to listen to the silence of the mountains, which is "more interesting than a meeting of philosophers", as one lover of mountains once remarked.
Yves Thréard, deputy editor of the Figaro