Sunday, 24 February 2013

Skiing in Italy ... elegant and gorgeous or roly poly??

I have just come back from a week's skiing in Italy. We have had such a lovely week with blue skies and sunshine every day but one. We went with another family and stayed at a place in Passo Tonale, Italy.

Passo Tonale, Italy.


I started going skiing when I met my husband, about 25 years ago. You would think I would be reasonably good by now!! The thing about skiing is that you don't have to be brilliant to enjoy it ... which is lucky really because I am far from brilliant! I would love to be one of these elegant European types who glide down the slope in Chanel sunglasses and slim fitting ski trousers. However, I tend to follow the Paddington Bear school of fashion when it comes to skiing. I am more roly poly than sveldt ...

This week I decided to go for ski school and booked in for a week of lessons. We all lined up on the nursery slopes infront of a brigade of Italian instructors who judged us as we had to ski down individually. Much to my surprise and delight they put me into the top group ... you could have blown me down with a feather!! The thing with me is that if its sunny with good snow I can ski down most slopes. Sadly, however, the minute it gets icy or the weather closes in I turn into a sobbing, snowploughing wreck.

I am the short Paddingtonesque one in pink trousers - note total lack of elegance!


My instructor discovered this fatal trait 2 days into lessons. It had all been going so well ...

As we skied the first run of the day I just froze on the icy patches and fell well behind the others. As we were going up onto the glacier that day I was demoted to the group below ... Apparently I "have to SURVIVE Sarah!!!" and my demotion was the only way I would reach lunchtime unscathed ...

I had a lovely easy morning with the second group and returned the next day ready to ski with my original instructor. But no ... this time the fog had descended and the lovely Erwine knew as if by magic that I would not be able to cope with the white out. He was quite right ...

As I said earlier, I am fab in bright sunshine and good snow, but the first whisper of bad light and I am a wreck. I used to be ok before I had children, but for some reason now I totally lose both my sense of direction and the ability to tell if I am going up or down, fast or slow. This is not conducive to skiing in the top group ... or the second group ... In fact the only thing that happened was that I totally lost sight of any group and ended up on my own on a chair lift in the fog ... sobbing like a child.

sunshine and snow ... magic!

Luckily I had the foresight to brush up on my Italian and just about managed to blub to the lift man that I had lost my instructor and I wanted to go back to the village. It is hard to look elegant and European when you are dripping snot and tears. I cannot tell you how humiliated I felt ... All I can say is Thank God for mulled wine and chips.

All this trauma put pay to my dreams of winning the end of week ski school race. I, in my head, had dreamed of whizzing down the slalom course like a female version of Alberto Tomba - all fear and Paddington Bearness banished. However, it was not to be...

I don't really understand why I am so full of fear at certain ski scenarios ... And what is more I don't understand how I can be so filled with fear and yet an hour later I cannot wait to get out on the snow again to ski. There is something about the feeling when you get it right ... something about the joy of the mountains, the beauty of the snow and blue skies ...



The last afternoon was so gorgeous ... We all skied together, beginners and experienced alike, and the mountain glittered with sun and freshly falling snow. We laughed and skied and raced to catch the last lift up the mountain. Part of me was glad to have reached the end of the week safely, part of me never wanted it to end. At the end of the day it doesn't matter what you look like or how good a skier you are. What counts is being with friends and family, having fun. Having said that ... if a fairy godmother turned up and gave me a spoonful of courage and a size 8 body ... I wouldn't say no ...


3 comments:

Gail said...

What a delightful vacation.

sarah at secret housewife said...

Yes it was!! Thanks Gail! Hope you are well x

White Space said...

well you're doing better than I ever will as I refuse to ever put a ski on my stumpy little legs. I might be the world's best skier for all I know, but what I do know is that I am the type of person who would break my arm, leg or back within 5 minutes. I'd do a Sonny Bono within half an hour and end up in casualty.

So you can feel smug in the knowledge that you will ALWAYS be better than me cos I'm not touching skiing with a ski pole.