30th December 2013
An unexpected lunch in the Autumn sun with my step-sister’s husband… a casual question about the skiing they do as a family… within a few days a skiing trip is being organised! My 3 teenage children and I are to stay in their friend’s apartment in the village of Montchavin in the French Alps for our Christmas break. Plane tickets, train tickets, thermals, ski jackets, salopettes, ski pass, ski lessons, hire of equipment. Oh my, not a holiday to be taken lightly, Ebay was very helpful.
The last and only time I skied I was 19, the same age as my eldest son, a spur of the moment trip to Switzerland to join a group of friends already there. I had a fantastic time, loved skiing and thought that was the start of a new sport for me, but a couple of years later I met the man who became my husband (now ex) and the father of our children and skiing was absolutely not on his agenda.
I carried my small sketch book in my pocket and drew up the mountains every day. Sometimes Gaby, my 14 year old drew too, beautiful sensitive sketches; Max, the eldest drew in the evenings – abstract images but very influenced by the mountains. Jerome just skied and skied until he dropped.
Ist day and the 1st of 4 lessons with Cyril our brilliant and talented instructor, very quick to understand our individual characters and abilities, told us he would be “like your Grandaddy, I don’t want to see any of you hurt”
My kids watching a film on the laptop after a hard day skiing
Christmas Eve was magical, the professionals skied down the mountain with torch flames, Father Christmas arrived with them in a sledge pulled by huskies with sweets for the watching crowd. Fireworks on the mountain side followed by mulled wine and hot chocolate.
Christmas Day, on top of one mountain looking over another
On the last morning, Jerome and I left the apartment early, him to ski one last time with Cyril who was taking him to the top of the mountain to a red-run and me to draw.
After our last day skiing all together, we all agreed we wanted to ski again, Max said “I’ve learnt a new skill and that’s the best Christmas present I could have had”