I’ve been skiing since I was five years old, that’s a long time! Despite my love of horses from a young age, skiing is my ultimate passion, obsession perhaps, and I regularly dream of the white stuff. I never expected to lose this passion when I became a mother, but I do have to admit the way I approach a skiing holiday has had to flex somewhat.
I was your classic ‘Mile Muncher’ for years. As soon as I was out of ski school and loose on the piste there was no stopping me. A normal day for the Mile Muncher went a bit like this:
- After spending the journey discussing the best runs with the Crystal Ski Rep, I was the first up and dressed in the morning, having laid out my clothes ready the night before;
- Breakfast consisted of a quick hot chocolate and a banana as I was getting ready;
- Anyone who was dressed and ready could come down and catch the first lift with me but I didn’t wait around for stragglers – there was something so majestic about being the first one on the chair lift in the morning and looking down at the freshly pisted runs waiting for my ski tracks;
- I was a peak to creek girl – no messing about, I’d be straight up to the top of the mountain first thing, as high as I could go that day, depending on the weather;
- I would aim to cover as much of the mountain as possible in one day and had this little challenge with myself not to ski the same run twice in any one day;
- Once I invested in a helmet I became much more brave and adventurous and would fairly happily take on just about any run on offer, although I always longed to go on a ski holiday to the USA and take on some of their runs, I still tackled plenty of ‘brown pants runs’ – as my dad named them – in the Alps;
- The peak to creek runs created a good dose of leg burn each day – one of my favourite parts of the week! Many skiiers hate this feeling but for me it’s all about getting a good leg burn on, then you know you are working hard right?
- Stopping for a drink was unusual, perhaps a cheeky hot chocolate somewhere, but there needed to be a good view worth breathing in and I’d never stop long enough to unclip my boots, hell if I could still be clipped into my skis whilst drinking I would be;
- I’d make sure each day I challenged myself to something new, be it a mogul field, the blackest of black runs or an annoying t-bar lift – bouncing down moguls with music through your headphones always got the job done much better;
- Lunch was always on the go – stopping was cheating and a total waste of time, there were runs to be skied, why waste time eating lunch?
- I had a piste map all marked out with all the routes I had covered to avoid doubling back;
- I’d ski my socks of all day, I never felt tired, I would never be out of breath and I never, ever wanted the day to end, I was in love – with the mountains, the freedom, the exhilaration;
- I would clock watch, constantly wondering how many more runs I could squeeze in before the lifts closed;
- I’d be on the last possible lift and be skiing back to the door of the accommodation with the piste patrol;
- Of course…there was that one time, ok, so two occasions…possibly three, alright, six times when I had to get a bus back from another resort and carry my skis a long way in the dark! Whoops!
Let’s say things have changed a bit! In my head I am still everything the ‘Mile Muncher’ is but with little people in tow I guess a more accurate description of us would be ‘The Unstoppables’ – we try very hard to be Mile Munchers but the day tends to be eaten by other things and often goes a bit like this:
- I have the best intentions of studying the piste map the night before the first day on the slopes but quite frankly the time is consumed by calming down excited children and trying to make enough sense of all the unpacking so that everyone has clean underwear and at least two gloves that vaguely look like a pair for the first day;
- I still lay out everything the night before but now it’s for six people;
- In the morning, breakfast is not quite as speedy as I’m trying to contend with the fact that our holiday destination doesn’t do the same cereal as we get at home and someone thinks the bread tastes ‘funny’;
- Although I’m still the first awake, I’m the last to be dressed because I’m busy dressing four children and answering the calls of a man who can’t see the socks that are 20cm from his nose and needs them putting in his hands – perhaps dressing him as well would speed things up?
- Once everyone is dressed, I’ve fastened around 50 boot clips and I’ve checked we have 12 gloves, 6 lift passes, 6 pairs of goggles, 6 sets of skis and that everyone is wearing their own helmet, someone needs to go to the toilet. By the time they have undressed to go and then got dressed again, someone else needs to go, and by the time we are actually heading out of the door I realise I haven’t been! In the old days I wouldn’t have worried too much, but after four babies and a pelvic floor that isn’t what it used to be I don’t like to take any chances!
- Ski School drop off is next and is characterised by those who can’t wait to get in and those who cling to your leg – it tends to be pretty 50/50 but we persevere as they love it in the end;
- Once everyone is ‘happily’ in Ski School, we grown ups jump into our skis and hope we haven’t forgotten what to do in our old age and I hope the moguls don’t rock the pelvic floor too much!
- We set out with all the best intentions of doing a peak to creek non-stop and getting back just in time to collect the children from their morning session, but he needs a beer halfway and I need a wee! We still tell ourselves we did peak to creek because, well we did, it just wasn’t quite as intense as it once was BC (before children);
- We ski our socks off and we contemplate the icy black but shucks, we have to get back for the end of the ski school session, as we promised we would watch the last 10 minutes – maybe tomorrow when we have fresh legs?
- After a morning at ski school, the tribe need refueling and lunch takes about 2 hours because so much energy has been expelled I can’t seem to fill them up and there is a fight over the last banana;
- When normality has been restored, it’s 45 minutes to climb back into all the ski gear before grabbing the sledges and heading out for some family fun together;
- A few pancakes and pony rides in the snow later and everyone needs feeding again so we head home for food and baths;
- After all the fresh air and exercise and a quick read of ‘Peppa goes skiing’ there is no trouble getting everyone to sleep, including the main man who is asleep before all the children, probably still in his salopettes!
- After laying out everyone’s kit for the next day, I reward myself with a large glass of wine which I never actually drink because I made the mistake of sitting down to drink it which causes me to also fall asleep.
Things might be different these days but one thing has never changed in all these years – my sheer adoration for the mountain air, the white stuff and the utter joy that skiing gives me!
Some of my happiest and longest lasting memories have been made on the slopes both as a Mile Muncher and One of the Unstoppables! Who cares as long as you can ski, and now I get to share this obsession with my favourite 5 people in the world – I’m certainly not going to let the small issue of 50 ish boot clips stand in our way!