Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

Feeling a Bit Piste


I’m off skiing on Saturday. Not my greatest talent, skiing. However, having stunned both Austria and Italy in years previous with my abilities on the piste, I have decided to share the love with the inhabitants of Switzerland. The good burghers are already preparing the essential cheese fondues and hot chocolates that are necessary to keep a skier of my remarkable and note-worthy skills upright on the piste. In other words, reward! The only reason I ski is so that I can enjoy numerous, sumptuous, guilt-free hot chocolates afterwards. Oh, and to keep an eye on my children whose skills are far superior to mine. Not only do they gloat over their pristine German, but they gloat over their pristine parallel turns while laughing mockingly at my inelegant snow-plough and tendency to spend a lot of time sitting down.

Little buggers. They are so lucky to be learning to ski as kids, while I have to do the same as a not particularly fit nor agile adult who grew up having beach holidays. In Africa, there was not a lot of snow happening. Give me a beach and I fit in nicely: I do the book, sunglasses and towel thing spectacularly well. I even get in the sea and shriek, and have been known to toss a frisbee. But snow is foreign matter, and strapping myself to some planks in order to get down a mountain at high speed with only my muscles between me and disfiguring accidents, even more so.

As a last-ditch attempt to prepare myself, I joined a gym a week ago, and have been there every day, trying to build leg and stomach muscles. I have generated a lot of sweat, but can’t see any new muscles. It may have been too late, but I am hoping they are there, subtly lying in wait under my skin ready to transport me towards the next hot chocolate.

As another form of comfort, I am taking a large pile of books, including Jane Smiley’s wondrous A Thousand Acres, which I have just started and am loving. I will be leaving my laptop behind, but taking my notebook and pens in order to work on Chapter Three of my novel, which is 22,000 words long and showing no sign of stopping. I have started dreaming about one of my characters, which is convenient since the next chapter is about him. In the last dream, he was baton-twirling in a newly-threshed field of corn, which is not entirely relevant to the action, but never mind.

So wish me luck, dear blogging friends. I hope to return intact, having mastered the parallel turn and rewarded myself accordingly. Also if I could be spared jeers and mocking laughter, that would be good too.

Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

26 thoughts on “Feeling a Bit Piste

  1. Have fun and do enjoy the chocolate and fondue! I’ve never skied (kneecap dislocations in my teens plus lots of extra fat and not so much muscle have conspired against me, plus growing up nearer to the beach than the mountains) but my husband dearly loves it. I’m sure my kids would also love it and put us all to shame, darn them!

  2. Mmm, fondue and hot chocolate – the food of the gods. I hope you have a marvellous time, and perhaps you’ll figure out how to include a baton-twirling scene into your plot!

  3. Good luck! I am always ambivalent about downhill skiing (cross-country is a different story) but fondue and hot chocolate do make it all worth it.

  4. It sounds lovely — have a wonderful time! I’m longing for a hot chocolate now …

  5. Have fun, I envy you the fresh air, the guilt-free hot chocolates and raclette but not the actual skiing. I have not skied for years since finding myself stranded at the top of a black run which was way beyond my capabilities. I was rescued by one of the pisteurs and shamingly found myself being given a lift on a snow plough. The humiliation was total! My DH and friends have never let me forget it and still regard it as an amusing anecdote to tell at dinner parties. You are right, we Africans just don’t do winter sports.

  6. ha ha ha… I can just picture it all! Yes the skiing is probably best left to our darling European cherubs! But then my kids have no idea about a decent beach… they long for “those white stone beaches… you know moooom…the ones in Greece”. Enjoy the hot chocolate and cheese!

  7. Oh, good luck! I would never, ever strap on a pair of skis (that would be a one-way ticket to six months in traction, I’m sure), but I think I’d love sitting around and sipping that hot chocolate with you.

  8. Have a wonderful time! I went skiing once and was soooo hopeless that I devoted all my time to apres-ski, which is the best bit after all. I adored that Jane Smiley book, so I’m very glad to know you like it too.

  9. I think I’d feign injury just to get more hot chocolate. No one’s ever accused me of being “athletic.” 😉

    Hope you have fun!

  10. Scrape away the sweat and you’re bound to find muscle formation underneath. It’s geological fact – well, probably. Good luck.

  11. Enjoy…however I’m with you. Give me a book, a towel and some sunblock and I’m in heaven. Snow, mountains, skiis…not so much heaven as it would be descending into one of the circles of hell, only much, much colder.

    Oh well the hot chocolate and fondue might make it all worthwhile.

    Happy writing!

  12. Have a wonderful (and productive) time!

    I’d skip the skiing (if I want to spend the day on my bum I’ll stay at home and read, thank you very much) and head straight for the rewards. Mmmm hot chocolate.

  13. Have a great trip – here’s hoping you get clouds of fluffy powder…

  14. I am a ‘sit down’ skier too… I have a mortal fear that I will one day fall and continue to roll, gathering snow like a giant cartoon snowball – until I finally end up in the valley 2000 mtrs below. My dear hubby has tried on many occasions to show me that this is not possible, to no avail. On the other hand, I am at Olympic level in fondue eating and schnapps drinking!

  15. Living in Colorado, it is mandatory to at least pretend to ski, which is what I do. Really I am just flinging myself down a hill, filled with abject fear.

    I do enjoy a nice Irish coffee in the lodge, however. It almost makes the skiing worth it.

  16. Ahhh! The thrill of the slopes, the cold crisp air… perfect inspiration for your new created character. I’m sure that brisk cold air will have you sleeping soundly with lots of fantastic dreams…

    I can fake the ski thing — stopping has always been my problem.

  17. I don’t do skiing, but I perfectly understand the irresistible attraction of fondue + chocolate! Have fun! I loved Smiley’s 1000 acres. After you finish it (and made your mind about it), make sure to read Litlove’s take on it, it’s one of my favorite posts of hers.

  18. really good one and thanks for it. for indian matrimonials

  19. Oh enjoy! I have to admit to not having learnt to ski yet. Eek.

  20. Hey, ab auf die Piste! Have a great time!

  21. Did you know Charl, that schnapps during or arès fondue is actually healthy and required to help you digest all that cheese, and fresh mountain air and excercise helps evaporate that fuggy feeling the schnapps might give you, leaving you feeling fantastic. Anyway these pearly drops of wisdom are too late as you are now surely on your way down one crisp white slope after the other, lithely skiing through the snow-laden pine trees, after that black polo-necked character from your book.. in one of those hot chocolate-fired dreams of course… 😉

  22. That’s the best thing about skiing… the chocolate and also the hot tub! Have fun and I’m tagging you for a meme.

  23. Oh I’m sure you’re gonna knock everyones socks off with your hidden talent!

  24. Ooooh, very impressed with the book’s progress – you go girl. And wildly jealous of the ski trip. All my Christmas ski trip did for me was make me desperately want to go again, ASAP. I’m so with you on the disadvantage that Africans have on the snow. All these European types seem to be born with the knowledge of how to carry skis gracefully, use a chair lift, and laugh off humiliating falls on the piste. Bastards!! :o)

  25. Best of luck to you…. growing up in Florida I am not that great on snow, but water …now that is a different story. Thanks for your blog. I find it extremely interesting, informative, and entertaining!

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