Avant ski

I’m writing this while packing for skiing. Hopefully by the time you read it, I’ll be swishing elegantly down a sundrenched slope, laughing with my children skiing along behind, as I wave to the other sportspersons whistling along beside me. More realistically, I’ll probably be piled up in a lump of slush, the kids incontinent with laughter, unable to lift a glove-clad hand to help me.

Packing for six of us to go away is like a military operation. I’m a bit paranoid about making sure everybody has enough gloves, two pairs each, which means that I have to find and pair up 24 gloves. With socks it slightly worse as everybody has nine pairs, shoving the number up to 108, which is a tsock tsunami.

The kids are of course extraordinary helpful. They lie on the sofa giving useful advice, eating up the tail end of the food in the fridge, and making sure the computer stays warm, so if I need one, it’s ready to go. I thought that this year I might have a go at beating their apathy but frankly, I can’t be bothered.

When I first started pareallel skiing, we were instructed to have our feet very close together, which was a sign of good style. It is also a sign that you’re about to cross the tips and going flying out the front. The look lost some degree of elegance as the skis tended to clack together on whistling down the mountain. Now skis are supposed to be about 9 inches apart. I’m not responding to this very well. I’m not sure if this is the prudish nature of my legs or the old dogs/new tricks equation. However, I’m going to attempt to crack this partly so that I don’t look like a complete beginner and partly to avoid looking outmoded. However, in learning to do something new  I may have to accept that my skill level will drop so I will look completely modern as I lie piled up in the middle of a slope.

A friend of mine always seems to get herself into a tangle when skiing. She spent an entire skiing holiday calling her instructor Hugo, as when she asked him his name she had misheard him. He’d actually replied, “you go.” She also found herself in a class with a vicar’s wife who had been instructed to avoid turning her shoulders and skis together, trying to aim her chest down the mountain as well as keeping her weight forward. On her repeated failings, in frustration the instructor yelled at her,”Pretend there’s a naked man on the front of your skis.” “I don’t really know what he means,” she said to Cindy. Resourcefully Cindy replied, “I think he wants you to look away down the mountain.”


Nowadays they seem to concentrate more on snowboarders, creating half-pipes and snowboard parks. I feel there ought to be more emphasis on ordinary skiers. I’m thus going to campaign for a parallel park.

Getting ready for skiing is not the best bit. Avant-ski is overrated. So I’ll be running seamlessly into après-ski, which is hopefully the only thing I’ll be running into.

So must go and get the kids to pack efficiently, arrive with 24 gloves, 108 socks and all limbs intact. I’d rather be blogging.


About alisongardiner1

Writer of YA series of books. Broadcaster/podcaster Litopia After Dark.
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