Well we’ve all seen the adverts of cool people in great clothes swishing from side to side down the mountain and skidding to a halt in a spray of snow where an ice cold beer awaits.
Now, you have to remember that even the coolest skier fell over to start with and made themselves look stupid so don’t be put off if you are a beginner or novice because if you choose the right resort it really can be fun and safe.
I went to Valmorel to an all-inclusive hotel owned by Cub Med which is high up in the French Alps. The resort is at the base of a long, daunting looking hillside which, on arrival, makes you wish you hadn’t come. The self-doubts ping about like electric sparks...
If I go up, how do I get down?
I will fall over the cliff edge
I won’t be able to stop
I will get lost in the mountains
My jacket is so last year!
These worries are soon allayed by the impressive staff and skiing instructors at Club Med. Skis and boots are personally fitted by well trained staff on the first morning; groups are allocated according to ability; and safety talks are given as well as a quick shot of local liqueur to calm the nerves.
I wasn’t taken up that daunting hill - I went to the nursery slopes and green slopes to learn the craft of gentle turns, weight down the hill and how to stop gracefully. It didn’t take as long as I thought!
That night in the restaurant and in the bar, the atmosphere was relaxed and full of music and dance, and stories of daring-do, as well as shows put on by the staff.
Next morning it was onto the button lifts, then the ski lifts, but I didn’t want to go higher as that is steeper and that is dangerous!
However, to my amazement there were more gentle slopes amongst the steep bits so I could still glide gently from side to side but now I was up high like a real skier and could visit the bars for après ski.
Bit by bit I moved from green to blue and loved the feeling of speed as the wind blew (metaphorically) through my hair - I had a helmet on at all times. I was now one of the cool guys on the mountain but I was afraid my outdated jacket continued to hold me back from ever attempting a red or black run… Perhaps next time!
I would recommend pre-booking any equipment required and, if not travelling with Club Med where lessons are included, I would also recommend pre-booking these
For safety, a helmet is a must
Know your ability/ limitations and ensure the resort is suitable
Get an up to date jacket to look cool when not skiing!