I’m sitting in the Bel Air overlooking Courchevel, there must be hundreds of people milling around on their skis – occasionally the confident skier flies across the junction of pistes. But I’m looking hard – I’m scouring the crowd for Prince William apparently he’s in town, I’ve heard that he will be easy to spot since he is being hounded by hundreds of paparazzi.
This curiosity was all brought about over an earlier lunch at the Rond Point with fellow skiers from our chalet. I had my fill of over-weight middle-aged skiers telling us about the fantastic role they had with top companies in the city – you’d think that they’d single-handedly saving their firms from the credit crunch. Don’t you find it funny how completely competent over-weight skiers are? I guess it’s a little like the whales in the sea, graceful and very fast.
While they drooled on. I filled my time reading the literature on our table – it consisted of flyers for special offers in the Alp (two pitchers for the price on one) and various concert fliers. The Meribel Music Festival staring The Feeling (never heard of them), DJ Norman Jay (was that fat boy slim? nope, I don’t think so) and Sophie Ellis-Bextor (‘Murder on the Dance Floor’). The music festival was running all week and I though hey that’ll be fun dancing with a pair of ski boots on.
As I turned to my wife – I suddenly noticed on the table next to us was Sophie Ellis-Bextor and her family. I’m sure I didn’t embarrass myself taking picture on my iphone and raising everybody’s attention while incessantly pointing at her. I’ve seen and met a lot of famous people, but why is it that they are much smaller than they are on TV? Weird.
We left with a friend overhearing a member of her group asking a member of staff if Sophie could have a ‘high-chair’ – I know she seemed small, but I’m sure it was her young child?
When on holiday my laptop and Blackberry are not too far away. I try (actually it’s not that hard) and steal time to keep in touch with work – I do believe you can pay for time off work before you leave and when you get back. (previous blog) To be honest, it helps keep me sane and on top of things, I guess it’s just the way I’m built.
Being away from work can also be a great time to recharge and reflect over what has gone well and what hasn’t. It’s a time that lets me refocus on what is important and what’s not – achieving that ‘work/life balance’ similar to skiing – fun but can be hardwork.
I remember the first time I put on a pair of ski boots, it was so unnatural and really hurt – without even getting on the slopes I felt my legs were broken. You do realise later, this was all part of the the skiing experience. Sometimes I feel like I’m a passenger on my skis – they know exactly where they are going, regardless of what I do with my arms, hips, knees and legs – I’m destined to go where they are going, which is not usually where I want to go. I’m sure my skis and gravity have it in for me.
Skiing can be like going to the gym, you start early – skiing all day and finish quite late … completely knackered. Later, when you manage to get to sleep – suffering stiffness and pain in places you wouldn’t imagine, you fall into what I can only call a form of ‘death-sleep’, awakening to bright sunshine with great mountain views and then … you start all over again! phew …
You find that skiers like to compare, in addition to ‘black runs’ they have conquered, the chalets they stay in. It surprises me what people put up with and call a holiday! They stay in little cubicles for rooms and mill about their ski/boot rooms that whiffs of decades-old gorgonzola cheese. Skiing is a holiday, a break from your normal day-to-day life – why put yourselves through that? Spend a little more and upgrade to the lifestyle you are normally accustomed to – either match what home feels like or beat it for some luxury.
Although, I can understand why some of us may sacrifice our creature comforts, the views, the snow, the skiing can make up for it. Where good food, the atmosphere and apres-ski can leave you feeling a sense of accomplishment.