Saturday, January 03, 2009

Iceski

In my continuing effort to be the perfect mother (*cough*), today I took the boys skiing at Prat Peyrot on Mont Aigoual. Despite the fact that I'm running a wee cold, coughing and generally feeling under the weather, I drummed up the wherewithal to get things together and get out.

Why? Well, I had this innocent belief in the value of fresh air and sport as a cold cure. Blast the bug buggers with some clean, cold mountain air and banish them out of the system. That's the theory. Actually, I can attest that it doesn't work. I'm still running a wee cold, coughing and generally feeling under the weather. Added to which I'm now knackered having been out in the fresh air doing sport.

I'll take a Lemsip later after supper.

Anyway, back to skiing. I did wonder why I was out driving in -4°C at 8am when I could be in bed, but felt the beckoning of snow and pistes bleu, plus the enthusiasm coming from the younger generation who had been nagging about going since before the Christmas holidays.
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We arrived at l'Esperou and hired skis, poles and boots for the boys. I have my own boots although I can announce right now that I will never ever be wearing them again as they are the most crippling and unpleasant things with which to inflict on my feet and, having put up with them for 15yrs have decided It Is Time to hit the sales and buy a new pair.

Thus equipped, we drove up to Prat Peyrot, parked, queued for passes and hit the slopes. Prat Peyrot is only a small station for downhill skiing although it has an international cross-country reputation with black courses and regular competitions. Downhill, you get 15 slopes, no black ones, but some really pleasant greens and blues.

I must admit to not being a great skier. I like to enjoy myself, not dice with death for preference, and avoid falling over at all costs. With my back, I'm sure I'd never walk again!! Or I would, but with a pronounced stoop unless I got my discs stuck together and that's not too cool at 45.

We dashed down some greens so we could find our ski feet again and the boys could go through the trees and over bumps. My youngest is not too experienced either so we are rather restricted by having to 'go as fast as the slowest member'.

I'm not one for sitting on the slopes nibbling at a frozen sarnie or opening a tin of tuna in some ghastly sauce at lunch time, so we went to the caff to buy frites (hot) and sit in relative comfort in the warm. I had taken turkey sarnies (what else?!), and bought a mini carafe of wine and some desserts for a treat.

After lunch we tackled the other side of the station on a couple of slopes that are not usually open. Unfortunately, it was so cold that the snow had turned icy, and what should have been a nice blue slope had become a nasty death trap. My youngest was horrified and terrified and after falling and sliding decided to go no further. I couldn't blame him really, I had no idea how we were to get down.

Luckily, a nice young man came to our rescue. It turned out he was a ski monitor but wasn't working today, and he took charge of my precious son and helped him inch his way down to the bottom keeping to the softer edge. What a hero!

After that we returned to the sunny side of the mountain and had a lot more fun on the easier slopes. By 3pm however, my feet were declaring forfait and announced that they would not go another metre without Severe Repercussions. My eldest was also suffering so it was not difficult to decide it was time to go before the general rush.

We were really lucky with the weather. The sky was that marvellous deep azure blue with not a cloud to be seen, at least until lunch time. The snow was up to 160cm thick which was much more than we've experienced before (in the last 3 years...).

I cannot tell you how ecstatic my feet were to get those damned boots off. They fairly wept with relief!

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