It's closing party time here in Alpe d'Huez and as the snow recedes up the hill to hide away for the summer, there is no such hiding from the après ski in the town.
The finishing of the tour operator season in town means the majority of season workers will be making the long coach journey home and so most people take the option to go out with a bang.
With the Grand National, the US Masters and plenty of football happening over the weekend, I naturally found my gaze drifting away from the gorgeous mountain scenery and into the plethora of bars all too happy to show live sports, but fortunately I did manage to find some time to try out some of the other activities Alpe d'Huez has to offer.
Since the slopes have been closing thick and fast, there have been quite a few little amusements popping up around town as well as the ones which have been there all season.
It dawned on me last week that I was yet to make my yearly trip round the Grotte du Glace at DMC 2 to see the ice sculptures for this year. It only costs 4.50 and the theme this season is famous faces so I spent the day hanging out with Laurel & Hardy, Marilyn Monroe and Ghandi. Well worth the money!
During the summers, I like to spend most of my free time chasing a ball round a field spoiling my good walks so with Tiger Woods and co. still on my mind, on Sunday I decided to try my hand. Unfortunately the greens of Augusta are not available to me (and I don't think they allow bright orange salopettes) so I had a trip round the crazy golf course which is now located on the Route du Coulet. Having shot a 1 over par round of 37 I then went up to the outdoor pool on the high street for some R&R.
Sunday evening was time for my last cheese fix of the season and Lounge 21's spicy fondue was very much on the menu. After tasting a few glasses of wine and eating far too much, the chaps and me headed down to Pacific Pub for the last open mic night of the season followed by a few drinks at the Underground.
Since the night sledging has long finished with the departure of the snow from resort, we now have a luge track open on the Eclose slope. Like the crazy golf, it's free to use with your visalp lift pass, and the chairlift makes for an easy trip back to the top of the run.
Tuesday night was the first end of season party, and Smithy's Tavern was the venue. There was music from Dr Bruce in their last performance of the season and they certainly didn't disappoint as a bar rammed full of seasonnaires and a few remaining holidaymakers danced the night away and made the most of the fantastic deals. Followed by drum and bass DJ Dkat rocking out the Igloo through till 5am. Although it was their end of season party, Smithy's is still open until the end of April and has singer-songwriter Harry Houseago performing on Friday night.
Last night, it was Pacific Pubs turn for some closing festivities. Following the Champions League football and me screaming at the TV, there was great music and even more great deals to be had as many seasonnaires enjoyed their last night in town.
Over the next couple of days we have the closing party of quite a few other bars, tonight is O'Sharkys bar on the high street where local rock heroes John & Morse are providing the music and there is sure to be all the festivities we have come to expect from our favourite Irish bar.
The big night of the week is to come on Saturday however with the closing party of the Underground Bar, there are certain nights of the season in Alpe d'Huez which you look forward to and dread in equal amounts. The usual suspects are Christmas, New Year, St Patricks day but topping that list is definitely the Underground closing party. I won't tell you too much, but let's just say expect there to be a lot of drinking and have a change of clothes at the ready!
Remember, we're not here for a long time; we're here for a good time!