I haven’t been on what could be classed as a ‘holiday’ for a long, long time. Any extended budget travel certainly isn’t a stereotypical holiday, and weekend breaks have often been connected with some kind of work (I can just hear the protestations now, “What? Work?! BLOGGING is NOT work!”). So when I booked to go on a real life holiday with my dad, his wife and my boyfriend, needless to say I was very, very excited to take a break from real life for a week, relax, have fun and do whatever I wanted to do. A week’s skiing in France? Bring. It. On.
Despite my excitement and anticipation for a ‘real life holiday!?’ it seems that I had conveniently forgotten all of the frustrating parts of a ski holiday. They’re certainly not a holiday in the traditional sense of the word. In fact, they are the most un-relaxing holidays ever, and almost always includes the inevitable: tears and tantrums. There’s something about a ski holiday that makes people revert back to a stage of their life where the only way to solve a problem was to display how unhappy you are with it in unreasonable and illogical ways. Throwing your ski poles down the mountain out of sheer frustration? Sure. Point blank refusing to move from the spot in the middle of a slope that is scaring you? Fine. Sulking, shouting and sobbing at the person trying to help you (or a wonderful combination of all three)? What else?
Unfortunately, unless you’re with a particularly honed group of ski buddies, this scenario is inexorable, especially when with your family. It’s the nature of the game, and it’s easy to see why. When you take different ski abilities and confidence levels no matter what, somebody is always going to feel isolated, under pressure, or just absolutely fed up with not wanting to do what they want to do. Combine that with being cold, having an ever present all-body ache, being tired, being hungover and being constantly full of delicious but extremely filling food, it’s a recipe for at least one minor breakdown.
My ski holiday breakdown was, of course, inevitable, yet it completely took me off guard. I’ll set the scene. Deep, fluffy powder everywhere with the snow literally coming up to my knees. Due to the heavy snowfall, a handful of runs have been closed due to an increased risk of avalanche, including one in particular – an un-pisted, very steep, very scary looking black run. This run was the only run down to our intended destination. Oh, and here’s a fun fact: throughout January and February, the Alps have experienced more fatal victims in avalanches than the previous two seasons combined. Combined. So, what should be the correct decision to make in this situation? A) Ignore the DANGER – CLOSED signs and head down the run anyway or, B) Ask a chairlift man the best alternative route to get to the bottom of the mountain.
Flanked by my crazy snowboarder boyfriend and my off-piste extraordinaire father, the answer was, of course, A. Bloody A?! What?!!?!?!?! In my humble opinion? Insanity. Why oh WHY would I risk my actual life doing this? This was not going to be enjoyable for me, though I could see the anticipation to fly down that bad boy all over my boyfriend’s face. A
few lot of angry comments and protestations later, and I had been bullied (they’ll laugh at the use of that word) into thinking there was no other option. Tears pouring out of my angry eyes behind the (thankfully) reflective lens of my goggles, and I prepared for my impending death…
And then we spotted that one of the chair lifts was taking people down the mountain. End of my existence avoided, we ditched the stupid plan, got on the chair lift and all was well. Well, almost. I was pretty angry at the unfolding of events for an unreasonable amount of time. Hey, it’s a ski holiday! It’s allowed…
But why did this incident take me so off guard? Well, I thought I was past the days where I would even dream of silently crying my way down a run after being forced to do it by someone else were long gone, and, really, they are. But silently crying my way down a run after being angrily told I have to do it by my dad… that’s a different story, and unfortunately, one that will probably never change. Father/daughter relationships don’t drastically transform from the ages of 13-23, and being told off by my dad for being dramatic and throwing a tantrum (even if it is his fault!), is something that comes part and parcel with a family ski holiday.
Although I hated that hour of my trip intensely, in hindsight I realised… it’s really not a ski holiday without at least one bout of tears and tantrums – especially when with family.. and especially when those family members are trying to push you to the brink of your existence. (Fine, I’m being dramatic. But these were genuine thoughts that went through my head as I pondered my imminent avalanche laden ski run).
Ski holidays are not holidays, they’re tiring, frustrating at times and the antithesis of what I imagine a holiday should be.. but you know what? I still love them, they’re still awesome, and I’ll still be going on one every winter. Though I may have to prepare myself a bit better before venturing to the slopes with my dad again…