This was my first skiing holiday. I’d always fancied the idea of going skiing and fancied myself hurtling down the slopes of the Matterhorn. I had to make do with the ski school in Andorra.
Sister Tina and her family had already had a couple of goes and I’d been persuaded to tag along. It was a much needed diversion for me as I was recovering from a breakdown following the breakup of my long term relationship, the death of a close friend, stress at work and various other complications.
Together with sister Coral and family, we enrolled in the ski school and set to work learning the basics of skiing. Despite my fear of heights I found that I took to it pretty well. Each morning we had a class, followed by lots of practise in the afternoons. There were lots of falls, lots of laughs and lots of bruises. My biggest bruise came at the end of a ski lift when I forgot to put my skis down as the seat neared the top. It was about to turn to go back downhill when I panicked and launched myself off the seat, falling some distance and landing on my ski pole which ended up bent.
Tina and I also ended up in a heap on one of the drag lifts. These consisted of a T-bar which you sat on one side of while your skis remained in contact with the ground. The idea was to push the bar away with your right hand when you got to the top as you skied away to the left. Tina and I had decided to share a lift. As we neared the barrier at the top we realised our mistake, I was trying to push the bar one way as Tina pushed in the other. We ended up in a tangle of legs skis and poles trying to roll out of the way as the next passenger bore down on us.
The best part of the holiday was possibly the après-ski. Everyone got together in the evening to share stories over a few beers or a bottle of wine (or both). I couldn’t remember the last time I’d laughed so much, I don’t know what was aching the most; my body or my stomach muscles!
The worst part was probably the hotel. It was basic but comfortable, the all-inclusive food was decidedly average, but what really let it down was the plumbing. During a cold snap the pipes froze and it became impossible to flush any of the toilets. Everyone was hunting around the neighbourhood trying to find a toilet that hadn’t been used or blocked!
This was the start of a series of ski trips. Our group got bigger every time with friends and extended family joining in. When we returned to Andorra three years later, we had all become quite accomplished skiers.