"She was having a good time," a friend tells PEOPLE. "Under the circumstances"

By Peter Mikelbank
January 03, 2010 11:45 AM

Ideally, the situation should have been relaxing: A New Year’s Eve celebration coinciding with a birthday. Spent with family. In one of the most fashionable ski resorts in the world. At a favorite restaurant known for casual and informal dining.

Except for one mitigating factor: The guest of honor was Elin Nordegren. Mrs. Tiger Woods.

After an isolated Christmas, Nordegren surfaced in the company of her twin sister Josefine in the French Alps. The pair, along with Josefine’s husband, Daniel Lönnborg, arrived last Sunday, Dec. 27, at Switzerland’s Geneva Airport, according to reports, and spent a largely unobserved week with friends in a rented chalet in Les Houches, just outside the ski resort of Chamonix.

A five-man French security team, hired for the week, assured the group’s privacy on the slopes.

A Special Menu

On Thursday evening, New Year’s Eve, Nordegren surfaced at a celebration in Chamonix. The party – which included a special menu at the Swedish-run restaurant Le Munchie on the resort’s Rue de Moulins – was attended by eight, including Josefine and Lönnborg, as well as several other friends and relatives.

Sources indicate the mood at the table was bright and animated as Elin, who has been to Le Munchie on previous trips, spoke a mix of Swedish and English at the table and with staffers.

“She was having a good time,” a friend tells PEOPLE. “As good of a time as possible. Under the circumstances.”

The cozy and small restaurant – which considers itself “untraditonal French” – features Asian fusion cooking. And while it has made its reputation with such eclectic dishes as duck teriyaki, Malaysian curry, Hickory smoked BBQ ribs and a signature “Gooey Chocolate Mudcake,” it had a Réveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre special, a five-course New Year’s Eve menu set for the evening when the party of eight arrived around 7 p.m.

Stayed Late

At midnight, Elin and Josefine and friends rang in the New Year’s with a champagne toast, beginning a low-key celebration of their mutual 30th birthday. “They stayed on quite late,” one eyewitness tells PEOPLE.

The following day, after sleeping in late, Elin was out on the slopes in the company of Lönnborg. Reportedly, a quiet birthday dinner, prepared by the chalet’s staff, was held inside the rented chalet by the vacation party, which had already begun packing for departure.

On Saturday morning, Elin and Lönnborg were spotted back out on the ski trails.

Reports circulating in the area indicate that Nordegren left Chamonix on Sunday, heading back toward the U.S., where 2010 awaits her.