My First Time Skiing

It starts with that unmistakeable crunching sound of snow under your feet on that first morning before you hit the piste. You've been planning it for months and now you've arrived and you're about to feel the rush as if it were your first outing. The giddying tingle of excitement starts to spread. But on this occasion, it really was my first outing - and I was seriously nervous. I've always loved snow, since throwing snowballs with my friends as a kid - but now I felt way out of my comfort zone and, even as I was getting kitted up, I was trembling with nervous anticipation.



It was my first time skiing and I had been persuaded to come along with a group of friends who had booked a whole catered chalet for us all. Everyone else there had at least some experience of skiing in the past and all throughout the flight to Geneva they were swapping funny stories about past trips to towns and villages I hadn't even heard of - Canazei, La Clusaz, Sainte Foy. While I knew I was in for a really good time, a little part of me was wondering whether I had made a mistake by joining such experienced skiers for a week in the French Alps, when I had never even had a single skiing lesson on proper snow.

We arrived at the chalet in the afternoon and my lessons didn't start until the following morning. There was no way I was going to stay behind and watch everyone else go out to enjoy the slopes without me, so I grabbed my stuff and headed out with the rest of them. Harriet, a member of our group, took pity on me and offered to pair up, giving me some tips on how to get started.

The crunch-crunch sound underfoot gives way to that sleek rasp of skis on snow and I'm away. For all of about ten metres, when I fall humiliatingly to the ground. And again. My mentor is trying too hard not to laugh and I'm feeling a little bit humiliated. Again to my feet, again to the floor. And so the pattern continues until finally, just once, I catch my balance and I'm away. In an instant, I am transformed into some Lord of the Alps. I daren't move anything for fear that my run will come to an untimely end. From a few feet behind, Harriet is shouting something encouraging, studiously trying not to overtake me and spoil my moment of glory. I probably only covered a tiny distance but it felt amazing and I was hooked. Whatever happened over the coming week, my sole focus would be recreating that feeling. Everyone who skis has a similar story to tell.

With proper lessons, I improved quickly. My instructor, Paul, was a really patient teacher and I had a really good laugh with the other beginners. But, of course, I was impatient to join my friends on the more daring runs they were telling me about over dinner in the chalet each evening. Our host, a real veteran of the slopes, listened to all this with a knowing smile, all the while providing more food, drinks and general hospitality than we could wish for. He didn't bat an eyelid when, full of bravado over croissants on the last morning, I announced that I would be joining the guys on the black run that day.

How did it go? Well, this year I chose the chalet and booked our flights to Geneva. I can't wait to hear that crunching sound as I head nervously to the lifts on the first morning.



Chalet Couple
Chalet Couples





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