Winter Wonderland

Ugh, things have piled up again in the last week, and so my backlog-clearing attempt hasn’t gained much ground. I climbed more in the past seven days than I did in the middle 6-8 months of 2014, and I’m pushing myself to improve my level, rather than just staying happily at the same level that I am after a six-month no-climbing hiatus due to the terrible summer that we experienced over here (it’s not just you, Britain!)


Unlike in England, where as soon as Christmas is over we start to think about spring, and eventually summer (and all those long, balmy, imaginary summer evenings) in Switzerland, Christmas is just the start of the winter, and the skiing season. In fact there is an official school holiday which roughly coincides with the spring half-term holiday, that is actually called the skiferien, or skiing holiday.

At the weekend I made another attempt at learning to ski, which went a lot better than the first round a couple of years ago. This time we managed to find a hill with a manageable slope, and without family onlookers, come to watch the ausländer struggling to stay upright on her skis. Like a newborn foal trying to stand, only less successful. This time however, I actually managed to stay upright on my own, and more than half of the time without holding onto The Boy. Which I count as an unqualified success. (It’s very rare here to see people older than about five having any trouble with skis: knowing how to ski is just part of Swissness. Like knowing when to give up on your national sports team, open another beer and accept defeat is part of Britishness.) On the downside, I’m still so bad at balancing that I can’t use the ski lifts, which meant we had to walk up every hill that we wanted to ski down, so the leg muscles in the top of my calves (which I didn’t even realise existed until yesterday!) are pretty angry with me, and aren’t having any more of it for now. They’re demanding r&r.

So I will leave you to enjoy the snowiness of the Swiss winter in abject jealousy.

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4 thoughts on “Winter Wonderland

  1. I learned to ski when I was about 46 and have only been twice since.

    You just have to insist on staying on an (almost) level bit where, with any luck there will be a beginners’ school. Hang around and watch.

    Trouble with learning from a good skier is that they will never remember learning and having not studied how to teach.

    If you spend long enough on the level, your brain will sort out the balancing – eventually. It’s definately worth it.

    That feeling when you are whizzing down a bit of a hill is just priceless. Scares me shitless but I love it.

  2. I feel your pain! I was quite keen to ski when we first moved to the French Pyrenees having been quite good at it on a school trip back in the mists of time. However! I can’t bear all the faff it entails with equipment and clothing and, after spending a completely miserable morning on the nursery slopes with my youngest daughter who apparently has absolutely no coordination in her body at all, I decided not to go down that road – which is normally icy and slippy and scary in any case. The scenery is good though isn’t it?

    1. It is a faff to put on, and to get hold of without breaking the bank into tiny little pieces. Luckily The Boy has a large family that I can borrow from! I’m still determined to learn though, and the higher pistes are almost worth going up just for the view. If the worst comes to the worst I can take the skis off and slide down on my backside…!

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