Copyright © Louise Bostock 2007-2013. Please give credit where credit is due.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Un-deniably un-expected

Two degrees at 8:30am. Foggy with a few rain drops here and there.

After the annual Christmas frenzy is over, being in the foothills of the Alps, many people's thoughts turn to winter sports. Ski bunnies all over town pull out their finest ski-togs and prepare for the big downhill. "Are you skiing?", they ask. "No," I reply. Mama doesn't ski. "Oh come on, it's fun!" "No, thank-you," I reply, firmly. Mama doesn't ski. In fact, Mama is allergic to snow, to the cold, to skis, ski boots, salapettes, snow ploughs and chair lifts.

And dirty Turkish toilets.

In fact the only thing I can think of to like about skiing is the après. Preferably somewhere there isn't any snow.

Why? I'll tell you.


Some (gasp) 30 years ago, the handsome young man at the centre of my life took me one Christmas to stay with his family at Lac d'Annecy. As a mere snip of a girl with not much to say for herself, I spent the several days of our visit in a perpetual whirl of hesitation before the unknown - unknown foods, unknown table customs, unknown languages. Finally, it was decided that we should all go skiing. Not wishing to appear - what? - un-sophisticated, un-worldly, un-educated, I put an un-certain smile on my face and accepted the assortment of borrowed and rented equipment I was offered. Once at the piste, my boyfriend taught me a snow plough, and pointed me in the direction of the drag lift up to the nursery slope, while he headed nimbly for higher ground. Without looking back.
Well, at the top of the drag lift, I predictably fell off, and ended up under a pile of bodies, all swearing at me in French.



Gathering myself up with difficulty, I inched to the top of the slope and pointed my skis in what seemed to be the right direction, but instead of sailing down in graceful curves, I bumped down on my butt, and each time I found myself on the ground, I was assailed from all directions by 5-year-olds in helmets and go-faster goggles, coming at me at Warp Factor Eight. I spent the rest of the day attempting to look as if I was just taking a breather at the foot of the piste, all the time trying, and failing, to control my minds-of-their-own skis.


I never went near another ski slope, and I dined out on a vastly embellished version of my skiing disaster for years, but I never would have thought that, 30 years on, I would have a son of my own and that he would be a little snow-devil in go-faster goggles like the ones who cut me up so badly that day. Well I do and he is, thanks to Bernardinello and the other kind members of Sci Club Cannobio. They have devoted every Sunday since New Year to teaching him and many other children of the combined schools of Cannobio to hop neatly over prostrate and terrified teenage beginners on the nursery slopes of Piana di Vigezzo.

Thanks also to the Comune di Cannobio, who have again this year generously subsidised the classes to the tune of 30% (now there's a local authority that knows what to do with its CCTV budget!). And to M., who gallantly undertook the Valle Cannobina Rally every Sunday at dawn for eight weeks, and who finally persuaded me to come along, giving me a fantastic excuse to be up in the fresh air of the mountains in winter rather than doing the mountains of ironing at home!


PS
AJ, to my - what? - un-expected, un-ending, un-derstandable pleasure, won his age-group's end-of-course slalom competition by sailing down in graceful curves at Warp Factor Eight. Bravo campione!



Images taken at Piana di Vigezzo ski resort; highly recommended, particularly for families in search of snowy fun and a great atmosphere, whether they ski or not.



17 comments:

Woodman said...

Wonderful words and love the cartoons. Bravo AJ that will show them who's the greatest.

Auntie Vanessa said...

Well done little buddy! B. next year!

choirgirl said...

Congratulations to Speedy Gonzales - great for using up all that 5 year old energy!! Perhaps in a couple of years B will follow on instead of making snowmen!!......Although perhaps she will follow in Grandmas and Mamas footsteps with a horror of anything cold......!!!

Louise said...

Cold I can do (have to). Cold and wet is not so goood. Cold and wet and undignified and I'm outta there!

Christine Gram said...

I wish my kids liked skiing. They do not. However, we've recently started the tamer sci dal fondo and all of us love it. Now I'm sort of glad that they didn't take to downhill as I'm sure that once they experienced the thrill of flying down the hill at mock 8, cross country skiing would just seem like too much work.

Debbie said...

I haven't ever skiied. Someone, the fact that I can break bones walking through my house leads me to believe I don't belong on skis.

JOE TODD said...

Love your cartoon "guys"

LadyFi said...

Well done kids!

As for me, I've had many similar experiences to your won... However, cross country skiing is a lot easier and safer... and flatter.

Mama Zen said...

This is exactly why I've never been skiing!

Stine in Ontario said...

Skiing is not for me either...but I do enjoy taking photos at ski hills. :)

LindyLouMac said...

Great article, but such a shame you had such a horrid experience, that put you off ski-ing for life.

If only you had been given a proper lesson I bet you would now be enjoying the sport with your young family. I miss the family ski holidays we all used to have together when our girls were little, all too soon Mum and Dad were left way behind in ability!

Katja said...

Bravo, AJ!

Me, I'm in the 'love' camp for skiing, despite having on many occasions ended up flying through the air, skis and poles ending up at the four corners of the piste, with me, winded but (usually) laughing in the middle. I've wrecked my knees, and have strange lumps on my head which corellate to various trees around Europe, but wouldn't change it for the world.

As a non-skier, have you discovered the delights of coffee/hot chocolate with grappa, while sunbathing at the bottom of the piste? If not, you really should give it a go. Makes the day go eversoquick while you wait for the mad ones in the family to return ...

Caution Flag said...

So we share a similar tale though mine is far less artistic. And like you, when my daughter reached the end of her ski trip last week-end and had not a single broken bone, I was exceptionally proud!

Denise said...

Stopping by from SITS to say HI! I have made a promise to myself to visit and comment on all blogs posted to spread the love!

bettyl said...

I think it's great that kids have a mind of their own when it comes to fun activities. Congrats to the little one. I'm sure you were proud--from the sidelines, where I would be, too ;-)

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Oh, that would have been me except I managed never to put on a pair of skis. But it's delightful that your son now skis and that you have discovered the fun of being in that milieu.

starsimplified said...

Louise, I'm with you on the skiing thing. For me, snow and cold do not equal fun! But you should be very proud of the fact that obviously you didn't pass your fear onto your son. That shows you've let him go his own way. Bravo!

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Un-deniably un-expected

Two degrees at 8:30am. Foggy with a few rain drops here and there.

After the annual Christmas frenzy is over, being in the foothills of the Alps, many people's thoughts turn to winter sports. Ski bunnies all over town pull out their finest ski-togs and prepare for the big downhill. "Are you skiing?", they ask. "No," I reply. Mama doesn't ski. "Oh come on, it's fun!" "No, thank-you," I reply, firmly. Mama doesn't ski. In fact, Mama is allergic to snow, to the cold, to skis, ski boots, salapettes, snow ploughs and chair lifts.

And dirty Turkish toilets.

In fact the only thing I can think of to like about skiing is the après. Preferably somewhere there isn't any snow.

Why? I'll tell you.


Some (gasp) 30 years ago, the handsome young man at the centre of my life took me one Christmas to stay with his family at Lac d'Annecy. As a mere snip of a girl with not much to say for herself, I spent the several days of our visit in a perpetual whirl of hesitation before the unknown - unknown foods, unknown table customs, unknown languages. Finally, it was decided that we should all go skiing. Not wishing to appear - what? - un-sophisticated, un-worldly, un-educated, I put an un-certain smile on my face and accepted the assortment of borrowed and rented equipment I was offered. Once at the piste, my boyfriend taught me a snow plough, and pointed me in the direction of the drag lift up to the nursery slope, while he headed nimbly for higher ground. Without looking back.
Well, at the top of the drag lift, I predictably fell off, and ended up under a pile of bodies, all swearing at me in French.



Gathering myself up with difficulty, I inched to the top of the slope and pointed my skis in what seemed to be the right direction, but instead of sailing down in graceful curves, I bumped down on my butt, and each time I found myself on the ground, I was assailed from all directions by 5-year-olds in helmets and go-faster goggles, coming at me at Warp Factor Eight. I spent the rest of the day attempting to look as if I was just taking a breather at the foot of the piste, all the time trying, and failing, to control my minds-of-their-own skis.


I never went near another ski slope, and I dined out on a vastly embellished version of my skiing disaster for years, but I never would have thought that, 30 years on, I would have a son of my own and that he would be a little snow-devil in go-faster goggles like the ones who cut me up so badly that day. Well I do and he is, thanks to Bernardinello and the other kind members of Sci Club Cannobio. They have devoted every Sunday since New Year to teaching him and many other children of the combined schools of Cannobio to hop neatly over prostrate and terrified teenage beginners on the nursery slopes of Piana di Vigezzo.

Thanks also to the Comune di Cannobio, who have again this year generously subsidised the classes to the tune of 30% (now there's a local authority that knows what to do with its CCTV budget!). And to M., who gallantly undertook the Valle Cannobina Rally every Sunday at dawn for eight weeks, and who finally persuaded me to come along, giving me a fantastic excuse to be up in the fresh air of the mountains in winter rather than doing the mountains of ironing at home!


PS
AJ, to my - what? - un-expected, un-ending, un-derstandable pleasure, won his age-group's end-of-course slalom competition by sailing down in graceful curves at Warp Factor Eight. Bravo campione!



Images taken at Piana di Vigezzo ski resort; highly recommended, particularly for families in search of snowy fun and a great atmosphere, whether they ski or not.



17 comments:

Woodman said...

Wonderful words and love the cartoons. Bravo AJ that will show them who's the greatest.

Auntie Vanessa said...

Well done little buddy! B. next year!

choirgirl said...

Congratulations to Speedy Gonzales - great for using up all that 5 year old energy!! Perhaps in a couple of years B will follow on instead of making snowmen!!......Although perhaps she will follow in Grandmas and Mamas footsteps with a horror of anything cold......!!!

Louise said...

Cold I can do (have to). Cold and wet is not so goood. Cold and wet and undignified and I'm outta there!

Christine Gram said...

I wish my kids liked skiing. They do not. However, we've recently started the tamer sci dal fondo and all of us love it. Now I'm sort of glad that they didn't take to downhill as I'm sure that once they experienced the thrill of flying down the hill at mock 8, cross country skiing would just seem like too much work.

Debbie said...

I haven't ever skiied. Someone, the fact that I can break bones walking through my house leads me to believe I don't belong on skis.

JOE TODD said...

Love your cartoon "guys"

LadyFi said...

Well done kids!

As for me, I've had many similar experiences to your won... However, cross country skiing is a lot easier and safer... and flatter.

Mama Zen said...

This is exactly why I've never been skiing!

Stine in Ontario said...

Skiing is not for me either...but I do enjoy taking photos at ski hills. :)

LindyLouMac said...

Great article, but such a shame you had such a horrid experience, that put you off ski-ing for life.

If only you had been given a proper lesson I bet you would now be enjoying the sport with your young family. I miss the family ski holidays we all used to have together when our girls were little, all too soon Mum and Dad were left way behind in ability!

Katja said...

Bravo, AJ!

Me, I'm in the 'love' camp for skiing, despite having on many occasions ended up flying through the air, skis and poles ending up at the four corners of the piste, with me, winded but (usually) laughing in the middle. I've wrecked my knees, and have strange lumps on my head which corellate to various trees around Europe, but wouldn't change it for the world.

As a non-skier, have you discovered the delights of coffee/hot chocolate with grappa, while sunbathing at the bottom of the piste? If not, you really should give it a go. Makes the day go eversoquick while you wait for the mad ones in the family to return ...

Caution Flag said...

So we share a similar tale though mine is far less artistic. And like you, when my daughter reached the end of her ski trip last week-end and had not a single broken bone, I was exceptionally proud!

Denise said...

Stopping by from SITS to say HI! I have made a promise to myself to visit and comment on all blogs posted to spread the love!

bettyl said...

I think it's great that kids have a mind of their own when it comes to fun activities. Congrats to the little one. I'm sure you were proud--from the sidelines, where I would be, too ;-)

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Oh, that would have been me except I managed never to put on a pair of skis. But it's delightful that your son now skis and that you have discovered the fun of being in that milieu.

starsimplified said...

Louise, I'm with you on the skiing thing. For me, snow and cold do not equal fun! But you should be very proud of the fact that obviously you didn't pass your fear onto your son. That shows you've let him go his own way. Bravo!