I have spent over a year of my life in a town called Verbier, high in the Swiss Alps, yet on a set of skis have the coordination and talent of a baby rhino. With clubbed feet. I’m really terrible – like unsafe terrible.
I thought one of the positive by-products of doing ski seasons would be that I would osmotically soak up gnarliness and grace on the piste. Pity then, that I discovered when I got there that you have to actually ‘Go up the mountain’ (ski bum parlance). Which, and I’m sorry gnarly ones, is a right old pain in the derriere.
It’s the kit you see. Its awkward and uncomfortable and makes me look not so much like Bambi on skates, as a drunk gorilla. Uni-cycling. I hate it. I get all sweaty (which is quite a feat at minus 20), the blood flow is cut from my lower legs and my goggles get all steamed up. Then you have to queue for hours, with precocious Swiss 2 year olds on giant slalom skis and Guccied-up Euro Trash with diamond-encrusted sun glasses and all-in-one ski suits made from used bank notes.
When you eventually get on the piste there is every chance that you will maim, shatter and crush yourself or a plethora of others. The physics invoved in me HURTLING down a MOUNTAIN, given my size and almost utter lack of control is beyond my scientific comprehension. Add previous night jaeger bombs and the cringeworthy memory of pathetic 4am flirting* with 18 year old girls called Camilla, and by the time you get ‘up the mountain’ you feel physically and mentally decrepit.
I loved everything else though- I love cooking in stunning chalets, I love the nervous wait for that week’s guests- Ahhh Americans….. cha ching….. Boooo Russians….. withering disregard and contempt….. I love the beauty and majesty of the mountains and the friends for life that you meet in them. I adored some of my guests and am still in contact with many of them. More than anything else, life on a ski season is life in a bubble. You forget for 6 months, council tax, mortgages, meaningful relationships and vegetables and instead cocoon yourself in an existence of booze, hedonism, hard work and melted cheese.
If you are fighting against life’s current, moping at it’s soporific advance then go and do a ski season. I did my last one at 30 when my friends were getting married and having babies- I was a bit sad and directionless and it gave me the opportunity to think about what I actually wanted to do. You have to be able to justify it though- you have to network, make contacts and be sitting on the plane on the way home with a clear plan about the future. You will meet, in equal numbers, the interesting, the crashingly dull and the clinically insane. You will have stories that in time will fall into legend. You will be sick of the sight of pukingly handsome ski instructors and bored of back-combed teens in skinny jeans and hi slung g-strings saying how wu-ked everything is.
You’ll love it in the end, you’ll hate it at times and if you do it right you will be a slightly better skier and a slightly worse person.
* ‘Yes Camilla, Lady Ga Ga is AWESOME WU-KED I really dig her moves yeah? Of course I love ‘The Hills’. Yup, and ‘The OC’- its ab-so-lutely wu-ked. Soooooo… ski instructors… they’ve got STD’s. Almost definitely.Yeah, so apparently Chefs are the new Rock n Roll stars. Whats Rock n Roll?!? Jesus. Do I have any kids of my own……? Oh Christ.’ Bed time. Now.
If you do want to do a ski season contact Bryony at www.skiverbier.com