Thursday, 10 February 2011

Learning to Ski, Les Orres

Beginning of February I spent 2 weeks in France, visiting family and the south staying with Neil who's working out here at the moment. After travelling across France from La Roche Sur Yon down to Gap (via car, plane and train). Neil was at the platform to greet me and we got into our Renault Megane to continue to journey to Hotel Le Lac in Embrum. We were all set for a weekend of skiing! Having only sampled Southampton ski slope and an icy Cairn gorm so far in my downhill skiing repetoire, I was very excited to be getting a true Alpine experience. We had a lesson booked for the following morning. Complete with all the ski gear we headed up for our first lesson with Bruno. I'd only done snow plough before, or 'chaisse neige', but Neil had already got pretty good at the parallel turns in his previous trips up there. We had the great lesson and I felt my balance was improving (although had had a few tumbles along the way). It was then time for lunch, at which point I noticed the boots I had on were waaaaay to tight, and I'd actually lost feeling in both my feet, and my calves were cramping up!! I could barely stand up, let alone walk....or ski!! So it was back down to the ski hire shop for the next size up and that was much better. The afternoon was spent trying a few different runs (some easier than other) and was a lot of fun, and by the end of the day I was starting to get the concept of parallel turns. After a good day of skiing, it was back to the hotel for a bit of 6 Nations rugby. I donned my French shirt (sorry Neil ;-)) and watched the France vs Scotland game, before heading to the hotel restaurant for the perfect apres ski meal - La Raclette. All the cheese you could ask for, along with potatoes and cured meats.

Day 2 on the slopes I felt much more like I knew what I was doing. Firstly, I wore less layers! Turns out the French Alps get more sun that the Scottish Highlands?? haha! We had another lesson at midday, so had an hour or so to have a bit of a practice. first This time we had Rico. He was great, and by the end of the lesson I was managing the parallel turns so much better. After a lunch of panini and orangina, and a bit of souvenir shopping, we headed back onto the slopes ready to try our new found skills! Neil even made it onto a red run by the end of the day (with only one fall!) and I finally managed to get down La Fontaine with no falls and both skiis on my feet! I was loving it, and was sad when 5pm came and the chair lifts closed down.

Trying to get my parallel turns! from Jo Kirby on Vimeo.

Neil heading down La Fontaine from Jo Kirby on Vimeo.

We rounded the day off with a lovely coffee and then got in the car ready for the journey back to Aix en Provence. An amazing weekend, and I can't wait to get skiing again! We'll definitely need to hit the slopes of Scotland before the snow disappears!

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