A new life at 67.Can a woman start all over again?

Posts tagged ‘Winter Sports.’

Do you want to learn to Ski?

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



Snow and Sports in Switzerland

It snowed here last night,and this morning there is four centimeters of light snow on the last of the summer roses.

This is when we definitely know Autumn has gone and it is time for the thoughts of the Swiss in a certain age bracket to be centred on one thing, Winter Sport.

This love of snow starts at an early age. Babies who can barely sit in a push chair are parcelled on to a “Davoser”and to their usual delight pulled through the snow masses . Later they get to slide down the next hills on them .

Midday meals will be late or burnt at the weekend because Mum and Dad have to watch the televised ski races,at least until all the top placed Austrians are down.

Children will be given skis for Christmas with the idea if they can walk they can ski.

Newspapers will be full of pictures and articles on the Ski Stars, and answers to why our neighbours won again.

At weekends roads to the mountains will have traffic jams miles long,and in January the mass exodus will begin with the two week school sports holiday,which depending on where you live goes on till March.

Mountain sport is an expensive business,especially with growing children. Nothing fits from one season to another,and skis and boots have to be continually exchanged.

In large families the” hand-me-down ” principle works. Most areas organise Sport Banks where you can bring unwanted clothes and equipment and usually find bargains for the coming winter.

Schools organise Ski Camps in the mountains for children who can’t for some reason have winter holidays with their parents. There is hardly a Swiss child that cannot ski,or at least snow board.

In the south of England we hardly had snow in Winter,and if we did there was total chaos everywhere so I grew up with the idea it was just nice to have at Christmas.

Then I settled down in Switzerland.

My attitude to snow had to change, and I soon saw that you can’t beat them so you had better join them.

I will keep you posted on how I suffered .

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