I’m typing this under the covers on a sunday morning. It is still very cold outside, the snow hasn’t completely melted yet and more is forecast for next week. The rest of the family have gone skiing.
What is it about skiing? I know it seems a shame when we live 20 minutes from the nearest ski station but I just don’t get it and, believe me, I’ve tried.
My main objection is that you have to spend the best part of the day in the cold dressed in layers of thin, clingy clothing and topped with puffy jackets and trousers which swish every time you move, only to start sweating profusely once you start doing anything but have nowhere to put all the excess garments. And there is so much more…
Once dressed up in all these layers you, or worse one of the kids, decide you need to go to the loo so another 15 minutes pass while thermal underwear which feels like a fabric version of the iron maiden needs to be rolled down. If this isn’t done before leaving the house you will pay the penalty by having to use the public loos at the ski station where all your puffy squeaky gear will trail in the melted snow – I think that’s what it is – on the floor whilst you keep the growing queue waiting as you unpeel your undergarments.
Then the horrors of the drive up to the ski station must be endured. Where we live, if there’s been enough snow to enable the ski station to open, it generally renders the road up to it in such a state that no sane person would ever dream of driving on it voluntarily. Halfway up, you have to get out of the car and get out the dreaded snow chains. I usually manage to get one set on one side of the car and then the other one just won’t go on which might be because, by this time, your hands have ceased to function as it is impossible to attach snow chains whilst wearing ski gloves.
The ski station itself is, thankfully, not full of ‘poseurs’ (as I call people that can ski) as it is relatively un-touristy – not being tricky enough for the really serious skiers- and frequented mainly by families and by locals still willing and able to pay the fees for playing about in the same snow which they have been complaining about and avoiding all week.
My skiing being as it is, which isn’t much, I am still susceptible to humiliation by everybody else from the age of 4 speeding past me whilst I curse and swear under my visible breath and try to adjust clips and zips and hold on to sticks with great big padded gloves on my hands.
I know that, when the family get home, their damp ski gear will be dumped downstairs in the storeroom – not to be touched until the next skiing trip when, mysteriously, the ritual search for the missing gloves/sunglasses/hats and ski passes will begin. I will then be interrogated as to the whereabouts of all these missing articles as if I had been involved to any extent with any of it.
One of the great things about skiing, allegedly, is the après ski, where you sit around and drink mulled wine and eat warming dishes like tartiflette. Well, I’ve invented my own version of this call ‘au lieu de ski’ * where I put another log on the fire, empty a bottle of wine into a saucepan, chuck a few spices in and read a good book.
Skiing! What a faff!
* Translation for those who don’t speak Franglais like what I do and haven’t got a dictionary to hand – ‘instead of skiing’.