Newest Review: ... as the morning cable cars that take you up to the piste and you seem to wear the same clothing all day in the extreme cold. The Après Ski i... more
Gold medalist no less!
Member Name: thedevilinme
Advantages: Skiing is fun
Disadvantages: Skiing instructors are not
I fell in love with my ski instructor from day one, an Austrian twenty-none-year old blonde with blue eyes and big salapets, her feet meant for snow and ice like a fat hairy Frenchman's are pressing his grapes in Provence. I was determined to prove my affection for her by winning the slalom at the end of the holiday and with just seven short Austrian January days to go it would be a challenge, my first ever ski holiday, she as icy cool as the Alpine tundra. Matild's shy Lady Diana like smile and quiet instruction on the snow was all the encouragement I needed as I set about getting used to this alien environment, the sun no sooner hiding behind the imposing granite skyline as it was peeing over it. Sadly I was 17 and no ladies man though; packing two pairs of cords and a shirt that had the map of England on it for the Austrian nightlife, even bigger collars than Inspector Morse's!
Everything about a skiing holiday is slippy and you do a lot of falling over early on, be it on the ice and snow or from the local booze, confidence sapping when you're not used to it. The bars are as packed as the morning cable cars that take you up to the piste and you seem to wear the same clothing all day in the extreme cold. The Après Ski is not sex and debauchery but just getting home in one piece. Drunken antics in the Alps are far worse than on Croydon high street. Hummm, lets tobogganing through that forest at night with the snowplough clearing the road below!!
Once you're on the mountain and spent half your week's money on hiring ski kit and looking extremely uncool in what you thought was the latest skiwear you set foot on snow on skis for the first time, and immediately fall over. Once you have learned to stand up you form a circle in your ski class and then fall over again and take half of them with you, and that's before you have even learnt to use the dreaded button ski lifts, a device you have to slot between your legs to drag you up the mountain in full ski kit, You've Been Framed time if you get it wrong. You will get it wrong, the key to grab it early and don't lean back or forward. Make sure your skis are secure if you're getting on sit down lift because if you drop on it will find its own way to the bottom of the mountain without you.
By day two it's the same thing and you want to go home. But by day three you can move forward and turn (rather than backwards with a turn) and although your legs are tight and slightly wider apart than Status Quo you are actually skiing. By day four you get it and starting to enjoy the week, the afternoons free to go solo, your walkman on and fizzing down the beginner's slopes to Van Halen with a proud mighty bow wave, the bow wave, alas, being in front of you. That's why they call the beginners legs apart skiing style snowploughing! You're still likely to be mowed down by a snowboarded or the local kids though that put you to complete shame by swinging their hips around the holiday makers with no sticks at just 4-years-old like slalom gates, their obvious cuteness deceptive. But you're no longer that duckling trying to stand up for the first time and even skiing into the ski lift queue without skitiling them.
By day five your trying to chat up your instructor by skiing wit her with your les closer together, the sign of an intermediate skier. But she has seen it all before and waiting for you to fall over so she can keep skiing on. I fell over in a heap. She is employed because she is cute because she knows you will put your name down for the final day slalom race because she is cute, her objective the entry fee, commission to pay for uni, my start number well over 100 and so not one of her favourites in so many ways. But I am a tenacious kid and by the final day I was ready for the slalom with Matild watching on. We had the bleeping gate and sticks and everything and as I pushed off it felt good. I wasn't going as fast as I thought for the exaggerated streamline position I was taking but I was getting around the gates and not falling off after hitting the heavily rutted turns for such a poor start slot. I finished without falling and was stunned to learn I had finished in the top 25 out of 400, winning the gold medal for beginners that week.
At the awards dinner on the last night my ski teacher looked fabulous in her evening wear as she pinned the medal onto Oxford on my mapped shirt and kissed my cheeks as I blushed. I had no chance of winning the real prize but I had my victory. I had given all I had to be the next Conrad Bartelski and ready for my next challenge in life, which was the London marathon the following year; of which I didn't win the gold medal.
Summary: Snow and icy maidens..