So imagine, just for a minute, that you are me! Crazy I know because we have never met but I felt at that moment when I decided to learn to ski, that I wasn’t the only person in the world who hadn’t when they were at school, so I thought I would share my story with you!
So I hit 45 and for some reason that got me. I’m not one for numbers, age is just a thing you feel some days and that can happen whatever age you are. Anyway, it kind of got me to thinking, time to try some of the things (yes the bucket list!) you’ve always wanted to but have always been too busy or dare I say it, too afraid. Yes, I can say it because it lives in us all but as I am realising, it’s how you channel it and how you accept that it’s ok to feel unsure and that confidence and how you build it, is a good friend!
So on the list was (running and cycling but that’s another blog!!) skiing, I’d watched Ski Sunday too many times and told myself you’ll never be Lindsey Vonn in fact you’re more Eddie the Eagle but encouraged by my eldest daughter and her partner, I decided to give it a go, cue emoji monkey with hands over eyes.
They had skied before so I felt I was in good hands. We trawled through the websites, offering chalets, catered chalets, hotels and apartments. We discussed at length skiwear, having two grown-up daughters this was definitely a highlight because these days there is plenty of choice and we explored all the options for equipment, lessons and passes. At this point, my advice would be, enjoy this bit because it really is fun and make use of all the information on the internet that offers advice for beginners from where to go and what to pack. DON’T and I use capitals for a reason, read the negative stuff or pay attention to those friends, yep the ones who tag you in those ski lift disasters!
So we (the whole family embraced it, my husband Stu decided he would try snowboarding and my youngest, Louisa, 19, would join me and learn to ski) booked our trip. Morzine was our destination because it was a good place to learn and it would also tick all of the boxes with plenty going on.
I am not going to lie, I was ‘bricking it’ and often questioned myself as our trip got nearer but I had decided to give it a go and I was sticking to it. It’s hard to feel confident when you have no experience of something but I trusted in those around me, told myself I could do this and that whatever I achieved was something I couldn’t do before and so what if I never went again at least I had tried - better to try and fail, than fail to try!
What I did invest in was the best ski jacket I could afford, I didn’t spend a lot but I found one I liked by Protest and made me feel good - I figured feeling good was a good place to start and I suppose that’s why I like Dust & Pine because it’s all about being the best you can be and feeling good about yourself. I also found a ski instructor and if you can afford one do it, having someone by my side helping me to learn and grow in confidence was invaluable. I chose All Mountain Snowsports and my instructor was Mike (my total ski legend with good humour and patience).
Getting to Morzine was so much fun and arriving in the mountains I felt excited and the ‘bricking it’ seemed to disappear. I can honestly say that first deep inhale of mountain air got me hooked. I spent a week achieving more than I could ever have dreamed of - I nailed the snow plough, turning, a little bit of speed and a chairlift and I was ecstatic. I realised I hadn’t thought about work all week, my emails went unchecked and my only social media photos were of me drinking hot chocolate on the slopes or smiling!
As a family we had so much fun, we had time to reconnect and enjoy simple pleasures like cheese and local wine, we did that very well!! We also let the world stop because the mountains kind of demanded it. Fresh air and exercise made us sleep well and we all felt better for playing in the snow.
So would I do it again? Yes, in fact I am just back from a return trip to Morzine. I picked up with Mike again and built on my skills because I had confidence. I didn’t think I would have but then that’s the beauty of trying something new and wandering just outside of your comfort zone - it actually makes you feel good and increases your confidence which you can take through into other areas of your life.
I’m not expecting a call from Ski Sunday but I do watch with a little smile now because I know what they are talking about, just a little and because it evokes a memory of the mountains and feeling brave, confident, good about myself and a new found love of the benefits of taking time out in the mountains!
Hopefully I’ve inspired you to give it a go!