'Snow Plough, that's it Lara, Snow Plough' words from Brenoir my ski instructor, 'Snow Plough' words which echo in me as I write today. Although I avoided skiing down a mountain in one fell swoop and arrive in a chemist at the bottom of the hill and ask for a pregnancy test, I did feel slightly Bridgette Jones, in one sense, but luckily not to be like a 'Dalmatian on lino' as was remarked by another of my skiing colleagues, in another sense. I did feel however, that I could do anything, anything and everything whilst propelling down the Aravis mountains (at 2 mph).
Not often am I up a mountain on two skis trying to get down it and as my first time I think I did rather well, usually I am very static, parked with my camera lens in a pit lane for an endurance motor race or a theatre for rehearsals (indoors or outdoors, I love people making something from nothing, using engineering or craftsmanship to make a plethora of thrills for my lens to steal).
Well last week this all changed. My very own chauffeur came and picked me up in from my out-of-the way silk weavers cottage to take me to the airport where, upon Business Club Class I was treated to champagne and a (semi) full English.
My ride with Lexus who, not only wanted to show me how one could enjoy a dash of luxury travel, continued to invite me to a fabulous boutique skiing lodge in the Aravis mountains on the outskirts of a small and terrifically original village of la Clusaz, where celebrities such as Sting have often skiied incognito. Arriving on a Friday night we were to have 3 mornings of skiing with our very own instructors, a spot of paragliding and a mix of delicious restaurants to tease our appetites.
Skiing for those of you who do not know is a 'synch'. My first time out on the slopes I took to it like a MG Midget at the Monte Carlo La Rascas bend at 3.30 in the afternoon. Remembering to 'snow plough' and look where I was going I soon learnt that leaning away from the mountain helped me to stay upright. Riding a motorbike helps along with photographing Fraser Nash, Coopers and Bugatti's, helped along with the first corner of the Australian Grand Prix, I can see why skiing is so important to the 'art' of motor racing.
What I found most enthralling about skiing, (apart from the children whizzing past me appearing to know just about everything on the the snow like penguins), it does seem to be one of the best forms of exercise in the world I know this because EVERY muscle and bone in my body ached. I am sure there is more to these skis than just being snow transporters; they have carefully designed edges with the ultimate control in mind that can propel you beyond your expectations and I was simply using them on autofocus.
I had no idea that anything could top this sensation, until I went paragliding, probably the most exhilarating thing I have ever done. Attaching yourself to an instructor and then jumping off a cliff to fly with the wind, swooping through the thermals and with only the strings to help direct your movements, paragliding for me, was a very romantic experience.
From the air above the mountains of la Clusaz with the Mont Blanc tip beside them, you can see how beautiful it is below, snow or grass, there are lakes, forests and an abundance of paths for cycling. The Rallye des Alpes route travels past and I can see why so many people take their holidays here in the summer months.
Back at the chalet (Runard, massages, food and a rugby player dancing to Madonna) with the eclectic bunch that Lexus had concocted together, I can quite honestly say my ski weekend away made me appreciate a few things: When you jump off a cliff with someone who you have just met, you can do anything.
You can find me whittling away at photography and learning the art of blagging more skiing trips at my agency Photofeature.