Tuesday 21 April 2015

Returning to the Alps ǀ 2015

This was supposed to be a complete surprise, and for Pia and Iona it was, they didn't realise until half-way up the mountain where we were actually going to be arriving but me, being a sneaky little thing, sort of had an idea that the final destination may transpire to be a ski resort in the Alps (I think that was the result of buying the full box set of Sherlock...). Anyway I was really pleased because I had been looking forward to snowboarding again for a while and, without this spontaneous holiday I would have been waiting for a lot longer.

I find snowboarding really fun so I was really happy to be back. The hardest part is getting started again. The first two hours or so of the first day is the worst. I snowboard, not too often, about once a year so when I return sometimes it feels like I have to learn everything from the beginning. Fortunately we were lucky enough to have lessons (we kind of needed them:/) and I do feel I made progress since last time. We were able to try more difficult slopes and the sheer drop cliff edge along the lift's pathway didn't worry me as much. The worst injury I sustained was a nose bleed which is not exactly life threatening.

Something that did make me a little nervous was the woman in front of me on the lift; she was about as stable as a giraffe on ice skates. I clinging on tightly the whole way, terrified in case she fell off and tripped me up but, then again, I guess at some stage we all have to be responsible for a pile up - I certainly have been on a number of occasions.  It does get a bit worrying though when toddlers on snowboards are sailing past whilst you're on the floor.

During one lesson, our instructor (Jean-Marc) chivvied us onto the lift and approximately midway up the slope I realise he hasn't followed us. As you can imagine I was just a little bit anxious at having to face tumbling down the slope with nobody to report us falling into a valley or something on the way down. So I risk my life to steal a glance behind me, only to see him peeing off the side of the mountain. The fresh alpine air didn't feel quite as fresh after that although, I was grateful I didn't need to hold his hand for support on the way back down.

We managed to tackle the chairlift in our lessons. It was all great until we got to the end and we were supposed to glide gracefully down a little slope altogether before breaking to a safe and steady stop. As you've probably guessed that wasn't quite what happened: It was more a picture of flailing arms, desperate shuffling and a heap at the end. Kind of an 'every man for himself' scenario. It didn't help that Jean-Marc pretended to be asleep whilst explaining (on the actual chairlift I might add) how we were meant to get off.

Throughout all off the lessons we had an ongoing snowball fight the teams being me and my sisters vs. Jean-Marc. He had the advantage because he could actually get somewhere with two feet strapped to a board. On our last run down we pelted him with snowballs when he was on the lift and couldn't escape. On easier slopes I liked listening to music whilst boarding, it was peaceful gliding amongst mountains hearing nothing but songs.

I had so much fun in that week; there was even a market with a baby goat and piglet one day. It was near to the end of the season so it was really warm; some people were just skiing in T-shirts, no coat. The snow was also nice and soft which was lucky considering all of the times I fell in it.


To read about my last snowboarding trip click HERE

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