I always thought that learning to ski wouldn't be for me, I considered it to be a pretentious sport, something my lack of balance and fear of speed would prevent me from doing. Then, one day in my late twenties I found myself on a dry slope, with a group of like minded people taking the initial step's of learning to ski.
I felt a little bit like Bambi, although with less grace and no marketable appeal; think more frustrated female who is torn between her desire to ski and the idea of stopping for hot chocolate. On the other hand, if we don't try something new, how will we ever know if it's for us? If not now, then when?
You can learn at any age and within a sensible budget
Whilst some people have the good fortune to learn to ski at a tender age, for those of us learning in the later stage of life it can feel intimidating. I started (like most people) with a lesson on a dry slope, it wasn't all that fun and it most certainly didn't feel 'natural'. Had my mind not been overflowing with the memories and thrill of being in the high mountains from my day's of climbing, I may have just given up.
Thankfully due to the increased popularity of skiing, learning while on your trip is more accessible than ever to people with smaller budgets. Gone are the days when you needed a 40% tax bracket income and a double barrelled name to head on a ski trip and thank goodness for that?. Many package companies include huge discounts on group lessons allowing you to budget for a successful trip, learn to ski, and have a great time without returning bankrupt.
For those who like to be prepared, I understand that there are many YouTube videos offering guidance on learning to ski. I'm told these can be extremely informative, but I wouldn't know I'm too busy googling variations of 'stylish discounted ski wear'.
"You can't buy happiness, but you can buy a lift pass"
Skiing makes you look cool - Imagine the selfies?
Once you get into the flow of skiing, it's almost impossible not to feel pretty good about yourself.
Let's break it down, the sun is shining, you are whizzing down a perfectly groomed piste with rosy cheeks and good company. The best bit? If you are anything like me, you'll be wearing 50 shades of whatever was in the sale, without a care in the world.
Please friends, if you do take one piece of advice from me, let it be this - Don't stop and selfie in the middle of the piste, I could be at the same resort as you and I'm not very good at stopping..
Food, glorious food...
Winter is the season of comfort food, I'm not interested in prancing around with a kale smoothie and a bowl of watermelon, I ski don't you know?
You can start the day with a hearty bowls of oatmeal, hot toast smothered with butter and jam and don't forget to make space for some cheese and ham. Due to the fact I'm very British and I've spent all my money on clothing, I take sandwiches and healthy bar's in my rucksack for day time fuelling. This also helps when I don't want to stop, which vaguely translates to the fact I don't like queuing. Rumour has it, those who stop for lunch dine on wholesome soups, pizza and sandwiches (I imagine their sandwiches aren't squashed from acting as an airbag all day)
'I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that"...'
At the end of the day, I always look forward to a hot bath, followed by venturing out into the local town to stretch out my weary legs and sample the local produce. I have been known to seek places which specialise in large amounts of cheese and meat and the key word 'nutella' in the dessert section. On a more serious note, whilst I may have only made tracks in France and Switzerland, the general opinion is finding a good meal is never a problem.
Are you gluten free, vegan or dairy free? Fear not, fortunately many places are now offering alternative menu's to cater for all dietary requirements.
Skiing provides a great workout, without you even realising!
You have kilometre after kilometre of snowy landscape to explore, with confidence and a little experience you can cover a huge amount of ground in a short amount of time.
I find on a good day the hour's just fly by, it's the workout that doesn't feel like a workout. Once you've returned to your accommodation it then hits you... Have I ever used these muscles before? everything aches! However a good nights rest and somehow you'll manage to forget any pain the following day.
Visiting the mountains is good for your soul
Spending time in the mountains is something everyone should do, for that moment of peace as you sit quietly on the lift pondering what emotion skiing down the next slope will bring. When I'm in the mountains, I allow myself to let go of my troubles, I'm no longer stuck in the mundane reality of being sat at a desk, in a traffic jam or supermarket queue.
The joy of returning to a picture perfect town, surrounded by the protection of snow capped mountains is something you can't describe, choose the right location and you will find a whole new world.