I can french fry the whole way down! We started off pizza-ing our way down very very slowly, then built up to pizza – french fries – pizza – french fries, and ended the week french fries everywhere.
I have just got back from Tignes, France where I spent a week ski-ing with 4 friends and my brother at Chalet Chardons. I’d never skied before and was a little apprehensive about the whole thing, wondering if I would have the co-ordination necessary to stand upright wearing ski boots and skis, let alone to be able to ‘shoop shoop’ down the slopes.
I wasn’t alone though as my best friend (‘from school’ as we always get introduced) hadn’t skied before either, so we both had 5 days of lessons to help us on our way. Our instructor, Ellen from ESF, was fantastic. She took the time to translate the lesson into 3 different languages (English, French and Dutch) was always helpful and never patronising. We learnt how to stop or snow plough (schno-plow), how to turn by putting your weight on the ski opposite of the way you want to go and how to side-step up the slopes (v tiring and slow). As an aside, apparently the army in Tignes never use the ski-lifts and you will see them plodding up hugely steep slopes in their skis… perhaps they have some secret knowledge of how dangerous the ski-lifts are.
After you learn how to schno-plow (which kills your legs) we progressed onto parallel ski-ing. This made you feel like you knew what you were doing! Now you can imagine you are a world class slalom champion… right up until the moment you hit a patch of ice, suddenly you are wobbling around like a new born deer (but at what feels like 50mph), arms flailing everywhere (looking cool!) then skis go in random, leg breaking directions and boom you are flying down the slope face first through the snow then you lay there trying to look like you meant to do it.
Our day consisted of waking up, having breakfast, getting our ski gear on, getting the ski-lift up above Tignes les Lac, ski down to the town, have a chocolat chaud, ski a bit more, have some lunch, lesson, ski down to Tignes les Breviere, shower, eat dinner and start drinking for the evening. It was a routine, but it was such a contrast to the normal get up and go to work and sit behind a desk all day, we had such a good laugh. I want to go back! In the last 30 minutes that we had left my mate and I were considering either quitting our jobs completely, or at least taking another week off and staying up there.
We won the Underground bar’s pub quiz on Wednesday, hosted by Nico, a little reminder of home and the G’Abbot quiz we usually do. We won a round of gorgeous strawberry shots and a bar card worth eight whole Euros (4 pints at happy hour). This day was also my brother’s birthday and I think I suitably embarrasssed him by getting the barmaid to bring out a cake and getting the bar to sing ‘Happy Birthday’. Friday was fancy dress night, although if you’d seen the bar that night you would have thought it was a Room 12 fancy dress night. We were the only 6 there in fancy dress, quite humiliating, but enjoyable at the same time – we got another free round of shots. We spent the evening drinking and laughing lots. This will sound weird, but we played cards for most of the time, it was actually a very social game and we got a lot of our table joining in. Everyone was so friendly.
Memories of the way we were
Things to remember: Gustaf, barmaid doing naughty stuff in the laundry room, the bar staff & longstays trying to put sleeping peoples’ hands into bowls of warm water, Ellen, Nico, weird ski-lift guy, moody restaurant staff (yes we are cheap and just want tap water), Del-boy Jo saying ‘Bonjour’ to a waiter as we were leaving, nearly crying with fear while taking a ski-lift, table-football, garlic and chilli shots, camera guy (‘want your photo taken princess?’.. wish I had known ‘piss off’ in French), crazy frog and chick every 2 minutes, Amstel, fake Smirnoff, champers on the Eurostar, Chris’ board getting stolen, all the people we met at the chalet, the intermittent showers…
Help me out here, what have I left off? Pictures will be coming soon.