I have learnt (the hard way) the best way to tackle the slopes. I take it easy and that means stopping when I feel the need, descending with wide carving turns and where possible choosing a reasonable gradient. I
have learnt that it is best (for me) to leave the speed hounds to themselves…
Shooting down the mountain at mach speeds is not for me. Joining the speedsters for a slow leisurely lunch somewhere up in the clouds with huge amounts of Alpine ambience – that is something I am good at.
I prefer to ski with a local guide whenever I can, especially if it is an area that I am unfamiliar with. Mostly because it removes the fear factor but also because I am still learning.
Skiing is like that…there is always room for improvement.
I have always had a vision of the ski guide…and perhaps this is the fancy of a middle aged woman…but he (not she) is youngish and handsome in that European, suave ski-tanned-face kind of way.
He is that guy…I mean guide…that makes you feel like you are the only woman on skis, that your parallel turns really are parallel and not lurking snow ploughs, that you are essentially fit and fabulous and one of the best skiers he has had the good fortune to teach.
The accent is seductive and comforting.
All in all, the European ski guide in my mind is a delicious experience and a great morale and confidence boost.
When I met my guide on Monday morning I was surprised to say the least – she (not he) is a 73 year old grandmother.
I am not ageist by any means, after all way back in the day I would have been pushing up daisies at my ripe old age, but I never would have imagined that a woman of that certain age would be still buckling up the ski boots.
Hours of ‘handsome’ time with the guide of my dreams quickly vanished as I clicked into the skis and headed up the mountain with my elderly companion.
Truthfully I didn’t know what to expect so we had a very polite but stilted fifteen minutes as we swung our way up the mountain.
After one run I new that I was in the company of an amazing woman. If that old saying, ‘never judge a book by its cover’ is any way true then it certainly was with my guide from Gstaad.
She is a breathtakingly beautiful skier, an inspired teacher and a brilliant raconteur.
With her, I glide down the slopes with ease and comfort, I make graceful turns and at times I even find the rhythm to ski in sympatico with her…my pole plants and my turns mirror hers and we seem to flow down the mountain together as one.
I am sure the feeling is more in my mind than on the snow but to feel that, ‘poetry in motion’ moment when you are not a natural sportswoman is one incredible feeling…and not one I had ever expected to feel.
She has skied in Gstaad all her life, has taught many famous families and most of the ski-instructors working in the village today…I was truly privileged to ski with her.
In the last few days I have learned some new tricks but more importantly than that I have had reinforced in my mind that age is really irrelevant for a woman.
Fitness, good health, confidence, vitality, an engagement with life and the willingness to try are the qualities that make us sensational woman.
I want to be shushing down the slopes and hiking up the mountains when I am 73 and if I have my way, nothing will stop me…xv