When a lot of people found out I was going skiing in the French Alps just 10 days after arriving home from an 18 month trip away, they probably thought it was pretty indulgent. Many people wrongly assumed that the last year and a half had just been one big holiday, and now I was going on a week long holiday again, yet honestly after arriving back home and adjusting to all that coming home brings with it, I think it was the best thing for me. Coming home was a shock to the system and going skiing with my parents and my best friend allowed me to catch up with the people closest to me, hit the reset button and not stress about the little things, and I got to experience an actual winter for the first time in two years.
We went to the cute, small resort of Valloire, nestled in the French alps. Valloire is not a loud, party resort, or a posh pretentious resort. It is cute and rustic and has a traditional French feel. It is pretty quiet but after not skiing in 9 years, I was so knackered every evening after a full day on the slopes I was grateful for the chilled out vibe.
We were also super lucky with the weather. We were told repeatedly we had the best week of the season. It had been snowing for weeks so there was plenty of fresh powder to ski on, yet most days the sun still shone down, so we had gorgeous views, good visibility, and apart from a bit of snow and strong winds on a couple of the days, it wasn’t too cold.
As for the actual skiing? I hadn’t skied since I was 14, but I picked it up again pretty quickly. We had lessons every morning and practised every afternoon, each day pushing ourselves a little more until we were skiing red slopes and feeling pretty proud of ourselves. I’m hardly an expert, but the ski routes themselves were beautiful and varied. We skied through tree lined valleys, through graffiti filled tunnels, and played around on smaller slopes on the summit of the mountains. I can definitely say I have got the skiing bug and can’t wait to go again, to play and have fun but also to further my skills. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll do a season in Europe, Canada, or New Zealand. I feel like just this one week in France has opened up so much for me, as this is something I’d love to pursue further.
What I really loved about our week in Valloire however, was that every single day we would be pushed out of our comfort zone in one way or another, and I believe this is a really important and healthy thing in life. We would go down really steep reds, not sure if we were ready, but with no other choice but to get down so we would simply have to do it. Other slopes we would hurtle down at speed, surrendering to gravity. Even little things could provide a challenge, like getting on some of the button lifts. When you haven’t done those things in a long time, or ever, it can be quite daunting. But throughout the week I just ignored any fears, surrendered, and got on with it.
It could be draining physically and mentally, to constantly be challenging yourself, but it made me feel like I could truly do anything. I stopped avoiding stuff simply because I was too scared. I jumped in and took a ‘what’s the worst that can happen’ attitude. If I fall, I get back up. So I tried to challenge myself. I went a little faster or steeper. And I found nothing but rewards from pushing myself in this way.
If you’re thinking about trying skiing or snowboarding, then I encourage you to just go for it! Even if you only try it once. Yes, it’s not the cheapest hobby to take up, but going skiing doesn’t have to mean spending all your wages on a fancy resort and designer snow gear. Going on a ski trip is the perfect thing to do in winter – the daily exercise, fresh mountain air, and Apres Ski will do you the world of good and break up the dull monotony that winter normally brings.
Have you been skiing or boarding this winter? Where did you go?