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Off-piste

I am sitting in the warm, drinking a cup of tea enjoying the beauty that is winter sun being harvested by the solar panels dreaming of skiing.

Not eco-friendly at all

I do two terrible things when it comes to the environment: I ski and I have baths. How are these terrible? Well, even if you drive, I live at sea level pretty much and mountains to do alpine skiing are anything but at sea level so energy is needed to transport me and what-ever I am taking to ski, up said mountains.

I never set out to ski. I watched Ski Sunday on the BBC with my folks and thought these intripid people were slightly mad. It looks fun but it’s cold, it’s a hard landing if you get it wrong, and growing up in East Anglia, a mad world away from my day to day.

Then I met my husband, who was a good skier. He learnt as an adult, it was easy once you learnt, he promised me, learning is the difficult bit.

So, I learnt. In East Anglia, I learnt to snow plough (also called wedge skiing) and basic parallel techniques. I have to say, it’s everything I love in a pasttime: it is completely absorbing and you get to travel fast. The clothing does a lot to make harsh conditions tolerable while expending energy. The people doing it are friendly and chatty. The views are incrediable.

There is just one thing I don’t like.

The whole being high up thing. I am someone who does not gamble about on the top of a mountain and think yipee, isn’t this great. It frightens me. I would never dream of climbing up a mountain in the warm and dry. Yet, with a pair of planks on my feet, I willingly do this. I get winched up on a drag lift (does what it says on the tin), or carried serenely up a cabin lift and have that moment.

Or that moment may hit me half way down.

Which wouldn’t be so bad, but I freeze.

Now, I can ski, you’d think that would give me a great deal of confidence, maybe even, a little elan. No, when the fear grips, I turn rigid. Medusa is hitting me from thousands of years ago.

So why do it? Well, I do like everything else about it. I do like visiting places I’ve never been before, I do like being in the mountains. It is an amazing feeling being on top of the visible world. Some trips I don’t get the fear, and it’s just fun. Who knows how long I will be able to do that, from a climate, health, and age point of view?

Carpe diem, follow those piste markers.


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