It’s been a while since I blogged, as my rural idyll was shattered when my life took another unexpected turn last year – I moved to a ski resort in the Alps, launched a resort magazine and basically did my first ski season! It’s been quite a change of pace and my experience of French life is radically different up in the mountains. Instead of digging in the garden flower beds, I now dig my way out of the house through snow drifts, and due to all the fondue and raclette my cheese intake has exploded. Typically a “gap yah” student’s game, doing your first ski season at the age of 34 – and with no prior experience of skiing, glacial temperatures or apres bars – is an eye opener to say the least. In case you’re thinking of doing something similarly bonkers, I’ll share with you some of the things I learned…
Ski Slang Can Confuse
Editing a magazine about ski resorts can prove tricky when you know nothing about skiing. Reading through an interview with top snowboarder Jenny Jones, I had to ask my ski expert boyfriend what some of the terms in the quickfire Q&A pullout meant. “Taco or Scorpion?” was the question – apparently it referred to which way you land when you fall. “You know what all the others are do you?” the boyfriend checked. “Goofy or Regular?” “Of course”, I replied. “It’s which type of teeth she prefers.” I was wrong on that one, and even wronger about “Frontside or Backside?”
Bearded Women Are Sexy
Early on in the season, a girl walked passed and I gasped in horror as I did a double take at her face. “That poor girl,” I whispered to the boyfriend. “She’s got some sort of skin pigmentation problem that’s discoloured the lower part of her face, making it look like she’s got a beard!” “That’s a Goggle Tan,” he told me. Wearing your ski goggles in the sun produces this effect, and in the world of skiers it’s highly desirable – the deeper the beard tan, the longer you’ve spent skiing, the gnarlier you appear and the sexier you are to male skiers! In fact, some women have been known to sunbathe in goggles to produce this effect without going to the bother of skiing. If you’re trying to bag a ski bum, working on producing a beard in the tanning salon before you arrive in resort is a good idea.
Sunburned Eyeballs Are Painful
As a novice skier on my first few days out I just wore my sunglasses, rather than goggles, so as to look casual, thinking “I don’t want to come across like I’m trying too hard with all the gear and no idea”. It being a sunny day, the rays reflecting off the snow beamed straight under the shades and the following day my red, streaming eyes peered out from a lobster-red face. I’d also not thought to put suncream on, associating it with hot weather rather than freezing snowy climes. Soldiering on I slathered my face in Factor 50, pulled on my goggles and set off. A few minutes into the sweaty trek up to the lift my eyes were stinging so much I couldn’t see and fell down a hill. The boyfriend thought I was being dramatic with all my moaning, but when he finally lifted my goggles to check what I was on about he recoiled, screaming. The suncream had run into my eyes, making them look as if they were dripping with white puss. No wonder I was blinded. Regularly mopping my eyes with a hanky, I could re-apply the suncream to my burned forehead, so it worked out well in the end.
Never Say “I’ll Just Come Out For One Drink”
This is a fatal error. In a ski resort you either go large or stay home, there’s no inbetween. And sometimes staying home can end up going large. Because it’s a holiday resort there are constant parties, and living here you end up friends with the bar owners and having to go there for a drink to say hello. Last night I popped out to walk the dog expecting to be back in 15 minutes – 3 hours later my boyfriend had to come and collect me from a friend’s bar where I’d ended up on the floor after too many shots. The dog was cowering in the corner with embarrassment.
That’s enough for now, if you’d like me to continue the lesson, I’ll think of a few more for another post.