I’ve just returned from an incredibly snowy ski trip to Val D’Isere in the French alps!
Joining Alex’s family on their yearly ski trip, I have to say I was quite apprehensive about the whole thing. Skiing is something I’ve never tried before, always being too scared to try thanks to horror stories from friends and family.
I mean I swear at least 8 out of 10 people I know who have ever been skiing have broken something WHILST skiing. It feels like these things are correlated…
But you’ve gotta try these things once, right?
(And I’m happy to say I returned home safely and undamaged by the way!)
The funny thing is that actually, at the start of the week, it looked like I might not have even got to try skiing after all! The day after we arrived, Val D’Isere and surrounding ski resorts saw an incredible 100cm of snowfall overnight, leaving all slopes and lifts closed, as well as the town and roads outside our chalet!
Considering I’ve never been to abroad to anywhere ‘cold’, or seen snow any deeper than 3 inches (remember that ONE time in Cornwall, circa 2007?), this was pretty exciting.
We awoke a stunning white landscape of thick, powdery snow. Beautiful to see, especially as it continued to snow throughout the day and following night too! It meant we were stuck indoors and were instructed not to go outside due to avalanche risks (although we couldn’t get anywhere anyway due to the roads being piled high!).
This was fine until the second day of being snowed in, when we’d well and truly run out of food and started getting hungry after two skipped meals…
After hours of messaging and calling the tourism office, keeping an eye on the weather and road closures, they FINALLY took notice of the fact that everyone up in Le Fornet area (our chalet area, based a mile or so out of town) had been sectioned off without access to roads/shops/food, and had someone deliver a ‘care package’ of pasta and wine to us at around 6pm!
The next day was slightly better, but the roads weren’t cleared until after lunch, and the lifts/slopes that we needed for me learning weren’t open at all.
^ Alex’s jacket from The North Face
And so that left us with just 3 days of actual skiing in the end! We headed to the nursery slopes to start with (literally the ones with 4 year olds learning to ski on… perfect for a very cautious me!), where Alex set about teaching me the basics of stopping and turning etc.
I felt triumphant at what I achieved after the first day, but the second day I admit I hit a block. We progressed onto a proper green slope (the beginner level, but still looked bloody steep to me!) and I had a few freak outs and break downs – getting frustrated with myself. On the last green slope of the day, I fell over half way down and really struggled to get back up… I felt utterly EXHAUSTED all of a sudden.
Since we’d arrived, neither Alex nor I had been sleeping very well. I’m usually GREAT at sleeping, but for some reason for this week it was taking me hours to fall asleep, and when I did sleep it was very disturbed. We suspect it may have been the altitude that was causing this, but who knows!
Anyway, that didn’t help things on that second day. I was mentally exhausted from learning something new, but I was ACTUALLY exhausted from lack of sleep too… so overall I didn’t feel very positive. I nearly convinced myself that skiing wasn’t for me!
The lack of sleep and tiredness obviously caught up with me, because that night I slept much better, and on our third and final day of skiing, I felt way happier and more confident! Something finally clicked and by the end I was actually enjoying it.
I look forward to going again next year and practicing more – I’m not sure if I’ll ever be very good but I did enjoy the experience and the whole atmosphere of being in that incredible landscape, and the delicious food and drink that came with it! From vin chauds, fondus and raclettes – it’s basically a wine and cheese lover’s dream come true.