Falling Down a Mountain
Back when I was twelve, I went on a school ski-trip that I didn’t particularly enjoy. A few weeks before that trip, we were taken to a dry ski-slope to practice and I wound up getting my skis caught up and intertwined with each other, forcing me into what I can only describe as a spectacular somersault type deal, the end result of which was a broken left thumb. It was completely shattered.
So I went on the trip and froze up - and I don’t mean because of the weather! I couldn't do it. In my head I was picturing more broken bones and falling my death. I hated the very idea of it. I know now that it’s all psychological, but that’s a pretty tough hurdle to jump over. It also didn’t help that on there were two ski-trips that year running simultaneously and that all of my friends were off on the other one, and the fact that the hostel were staying in was so cheap that the food they served up tasted like excrement and on one night still had veins running through it. Half the guys on the trip wound up with food poisoning. And to add to all of this, we travelled to and from this little holiday to Austria via 24 hour bus rides.
It may sound like I’m moaning and whining and complaining and bitching, but the fact is that I hated that week. I just didn’t enjoy it and with that in mind I was quite content to never go skiing again. Ever.
So they announce a competition to go skiing at work in which we were all split into categories depending on the type of function we perform at work with the top dog in each category earning a spot. Having not earned a spot on any previous trips with work, I was quite comfortable in the knowledge that I wouldn’t be going on this one…. And then business picked up for Scotty, Paul and me. I wound up in the hunt and proved victorious thanks to the opportunity provided to me by my IQAT brothers. Here we go again.
I got ready and was genuinely excited about giving it another shot. Sure, I was nervous too and I think that showed and some believed me to not be happy about the trip. A week before the trip, a real sense of deja vu struck as I nearly broke my thumb (this time the right one) while kickboxing. Thankfully it was was just sprained and although it caused me some problems on the trip when it came to slipping those skiing gloves on and off, it was fine. If anything, it actually helped my psyche in terms of helping me to realise that if freak accidents and broken bones can occur in a sport that I practice every single week, then surely skiing’s not so bad afterall...
I think it’s safe to say that this ski-trip was the complete and total opposite end of the spectrum from my school trip. We flew out to to Geneva and were then driven two hours to Meribel in the French Alps. We were put up in a lovely chalet that would certainly have been out of a school’s price range, complete with a hostess and a chef to look after us. Three course dinners every night, cooked breakfast with fresh croissants in the mornings, cheeses and french sticks, and all that we could drink. It was pretty freaking sweet.
And there was this apres ski in which some people got naked… I don’t think ‘sweet’ is so much the word to describe that one; it’s more like ‘sweat’.
When it came to the actual skiing, I did a lot better than I expected. I wouldn’t say it was good, but it was better than when I was twelve. We had access to an instructor; an Italian names Marco who sounded like Borat and was always taking about having sex with his girlfriend. He loved women, but he hated teaching them. There were four of us who opted to take up the lessons with Marco. The one girl in the group did not get on well - she gave it a go but it just wasn’t for her. The other two guys did a lot better than me and on the third day went off with some of the more experienced members of our crew. I then wound up with one-to-one tuition and took advantage of being able to decide that we only go down green runs. The prior couple of days had seen my confidence rise and fall like a rollercoaster and one of the guys has video footage of me throwing a right old tantrum on one of the blue slopes after having fallen over for the umpteenth time that day. Towards the end of the trip, I was owning the green runs with the help and guidance of Marco, managing to keep my skis in parallel.
All in all it was a sweaty and tiring experience that left my shins screaming at me to never slip on a pair of ski boots ever again - those mother fuckers kill your legs! I enjoyed it a hell of a lot more than my previous skiing experience, but I feel that my skiing days are behind me once more. With that now said, what are the odds this all happens again?