I got my first introduction to the joys of skiing outside of Charring Cross station in London. Invariably one doesn’t live next door to a ski lift so it means transporting whatever you may need with you, and believe me you are going to need a lot.
On that cold February morning I was waiting with a case full of warm clothes for my fellow travellers.
I had seen an ad. in a London evening paper about a holiday in Leysin in Switzerland, organised by an army ski instructor.It was cheap,- and that was the first priority for students like myself,- so I toddled along to the orientation meeting.
We were to travel in a mini bus and stay two weeks at the Club Vagabond,which as I learned later said all.
I happened to be sitting next to a young woman teacher, who unlike the rest of us had her own car and was willing to drive it, as the trip with the mini bus had proved to be very much in demand. Being a nice sort of person who also tends to like comfort I offered to go with her, and it wouldn’t have been England if two Gentleman hadn’t insisted on accompanying us. To protect us from the Heathens en route of course.
So there I was waiting apprehensively for I had never been skiing before.
The car proved to be an old Ford Anglia! There were already three pairs of skis fastened the wrong way round on the roof.
This is the first problem with packing for a ski holiday,the ski and sticks have to be fastened to the car roof so that;
a) It doesn’t take off on the motorway
b) By a sudden stop the points don’t go through the rear window of the vehicle in front.
c) They are not scattered along the way causing devastation without you even realising it.
Nowadays there are of course good ski racks, but they don’t entirely eliminate the problems.
In the boot of the Anglia was of course already the luggage and ski shoes of the other three. How the hell was I supposed to get mine in.
Naturally everything had to come out and we had to figure a way of fitting it all back in again.
This is the second problem when going on a ski holiday, it involves taking a load of stuff with you. This problem increases of course if children are with you. Then you will also need to pack their sledge or (help) sledges,along with everything else from ice skates to diving gear for the indoor swimming pool. My husband drove a stationwagon for years because of winter holidays.
Much later the four of us, plus a guitar,were packed tight in the little Anglia and off to the Continent. We were of course later than scheduled and because of the heavy traffic in the Blackwall tunnel missed the car ferry at Dover and the mini bus which we should have been following to Switzerland. It was the start of quite an adventure.
It was the beginning of my skiing career.
My advice to anybody considering starting too, is, unless you can live with the unexpected, the discomforts, the wet, the cold, the pain and the expense