Tag Archives: mountain

The trouble with skiing…, part 2

View onto Col de Fresse

The view onto the Col de Fresse

Having had a jolly good moan in part 1 about the amount of gear you need for skiing (scroll down below this blog page and have a look if you haven’t already seen it), there is of course another problem about skiing that I have to mention. And that is, that just occasionally, quite by accident, you fall over. In this respect I feel slightly jealous of the kids. Lower centre of gravity, younger bones, less sense of anxiety, they just bounce back up and carry on. When I fall it’s either embarrassing or it hurts. And I managed to cram in both sensations this week….

Immy takes a well earned rest (fell over...)

The first occasion was the more excruciating. I had just got off the ski lift, gently skied down to the map billboard to discuss with wife, brother- and sister-in-law which route to take; I was coming to a halt, maybe doing all of 1 mph, when I slid into 3 stranger skiers who were also standing by the board. I swear everything then happens in slow-mo: I realise I’m going over, grab onto the woman who’s next to me, which means she’s coming down with me; she clatters into the next person who also topples. Embarrassment supreme as this English nitwit manages to cause carnage whilst moving at a snail’s pace (do snails ski?). I remember I was apologising profusely in French as I went down. She’s replying ‘it’s ok’ but her look says: ‘plonker’. Skis & poles everywhere as we try to get up again…. What’s worse – no help from the rest of the family, who have turned their heads away as they crease up in laughter and don’t want to embarrass the other skiers. The humiliation!


My second tumble was not as embarrassing, but was potentially a lot more dangerous. I was piling down the giant slalom course, going as fast as I possibly could, when I lost control. Thump! went my head on the ice floor, off come the skis, and I’m sliding down the steep hill backwards at about 30 mph. I distinctly remember whacking my head (luckily wearing helmet – SO important) and thinking: ‘Ouch! that hurt, I’ve survived but I’m completely out of control, never mind, just go with it, enjoy the backwards arse slide’. By which time I’d come to a stop. Some nice French skier picked up my skis up the hill, brought them to me, enquired if I was ok, and skied off wishing me ‘have a nice day’ (?!?!?) For me, this was a lucky escape…

A tumble

Charles, on the very last moment of the very last ski, manages to fall down whilst taking his skis off. Thank God I’m not the only one…! Also I enjoyed my wife taking out my bro-in-law getting off a ski lift, highly amusing…. And below, the intrepid kids at ski school.

Ski skool!!!

So my last photo from Tignes is a pic of me practising my board jumps. Big squadgy balloon to make sure you don’t hurt yourself. Love it!


The trouble with skiing…, part 1

We’ve just got back from a week’s skiing in France. Thank God we went high (Tignes), because lower down the mountain the snow is gone. But 2100+ ms, it’s still good, at least in the morning before it gets slushy…

View from L'Aiguille Percee, 2750 ms

Once I’ve got my planks on, I absolutely love it. The thrill of zooming around, carving turns, the Schuss, the odd jump with obligatory acrobatic twist, and the snow-shower-slide-to-a-halt. (OK, if that makes me sound good then I should recalibrate: basically I’m very average, one week a year – if lucky – intermediate. But I love to dream!!!)

But there is a problem with skiing – you need so much gear: the skis (of course…), poles, gloves, ski suit, boots (aaaargh!!!), helmet, goggles, sunglasses, lip sun protection, sun cream, money, ski pass, the list goes on for ever. So that was one of the themes of our holiday: Who had forgotten what, and who was going back to the chalet to pick it up?

View from bubble lift over Tignes lac (2100m) towards La Grande Motte

It all started before we left. Our skiing companions phoned from the airport (we were still at home). “Could you pop round to our house, we’ve forgotten Hannah’s ski jacket…” (How do you forget that when you’re going on a SKIING holiday?). So we did, only to find the TV still on as well (?!?). Later on we discovered they’d forgotten babysitting cover for their hamster too (??!!??). A week without food! A goldfish might just survive. Lucky Granny lives close by…

Once at the resort we had a 10 min bus ride to the ski slopes. So no-one was impressed when the kids forgot gloves at the chalet. (Sod it, just buy new ones.)

Charles conquers the mountain

I have to admit I was not immune to cocking up myself. Lipstick sun protection: I dropped it on the ski lift. So that was another replacement purchase necessary (5 Euros a stick in Tignes!). The next day I managed to get to the bus pick up stop without remembering to put in my contact lenses. So everyone buggered off up the mountain whilst I trudged back (the boots, the boots) to sort my eyes out. But it’s all worth it you see, because then you get to go up the mountain, and have incredibly expensive hot chocolate to recover.

Me and chocolate

And when we got back to Blighty I managed to leave a boot bag at the taxi rank on the drive home. Honestly, someone’s should think this through – how to cut down on the skiing clutter. And invest boots that don’t kill your feet!!!

'Eye of the Needle' close up

(If you click on the photos they should take you to see more on Flickr)

So that’s part 1. Part 2 will investigate the dramatic story of who did the most, and the most dramatic, wipeouts. Come back and have a read soon!