Apart from an hour in the Milton Keynes snow dome, the last time I stood on a pair of skis was 1994.
When we lived in Japan, some pals of ours decided to take us skiing in Nagano for the weekend. We drove up there overnight and were kitted up and out on the slopes as the dawn rose over the mountains - spectacular, if a little exhausting. My ski gear was borrowed from my 6'3" boss and was somewhat on the large side, to say the least. Oh, and there was the small problem that my only idea of how to ski had come from watching Ski Sunday and the odd Winter Olympics. No matter - our friend Masahiro grabbed me by the back of the jacket and bundled me onto and off a ski lift. In rudimentary Japanese, he explained how one snowploughed and then pointed me down the mountain. Off I slid - all very good. Skiing! Faster and faster, until I hit what felt like about 30mph and thought I'd better try the snowplough thing, at which point I discovered that at that speed, it really doesn't work too well, and flung myself onto the ground instead. When everyone else finished howling with laughter, they explained to me that skiing generally involves traversing the slope from side to side, not just heading straight down it. Well, how was I meant to know? That's not what they do on Ski Sunday!
It has taken me nineteen years to get round to going again. But go, we did, last week. And it was brilliant.
The snow was thick and fluffy, the hotel, perfectly placed for easy access to the lifts and ski school and the instructors got us all whizzing along and really enjoying what La Plagne has to offer. Predictably, the boys loved skiing and took to it really well - they are certainly much braver than me, as we discovered when we took a wrong turn and ended up on an extremely steep slope. They flew down, without a second thought when I made the mistake of looking and engaging my brain. Cue 10 minuites of knee trembling and agonisingly slow descent (but I made it!).
One boy child (and I'm sure you might be able to guess which) might have been a little gung ho at one point and managed to ski over the back ends of my skis resulting in a big fall and a colourful bruise.
And the best thing about skiing is that you feel totally justified in eating like a pig at every opportunity. Cooked breakfast - yes please, lunchtime tartiflette - don't mind if I do, 4:30pm - must be cake time, and it would be rude to turn down any of the three courses at supper. My kind of holiday!
Honestly, I'm slightly sad that it has taken me till my 40s to discover what fun a ski holiday is. I'm sure I would have bounced better at twenty something. And I might have stood a better chance of keeping up with the offspring too. Though I don't feel the need to do everything they do...