As it’s getting to that time of year of wintry festivities, I thought reminiscing over my winter-wonderland experience in Soll, Austria, would be most appropriate this week! Having never skied or snowboarded before (but being raised by parents who love skiing yet never thought to introduce me to the sport until twenty-one years later!) this trip was exciting, but definitely challenging.
Travelling to our lodge, we followed the bends from the natural craft of Mother Nature up and around the snow topped mountains. Picturesque is not only cliché here, but is also a huge understatement! Whiteness dominated the land, from the skies to the hilltops, to the ground we walked on, everything was crisp, fresh, pure – white. The little wooden lodges were illuminated with twinkling golden lights, with the heavy frosted windows offering a sneak peek into the grand sitting rooms warmed by a blazing fire. It was just like a wintry paradise – if there is such a thing!
But now to the fun, (at times horrendous) part – the skiing and snowboarding. Okay, so my parents are ‘’pro’’ skiers but my boyfriend did longboarding (similar to skateboarding) back in his day when he thought he was cool…
Since we were staying in Soll for six days, we decided to do three days of snowboarding and three days of skiing.
Being pretty competitive and quite into my sport, I thought I’d crack it within the first day and be out shredding powder. Wrong. So very wrong. First of all I had to actually learn how to stand up in the snowboard on the slippery, wet stuff, which at first was amazing and beautiful but now was threatening and horrible! But eventually I did it, I stood up, I conquered the day. No, wait, now I had to move, and control my speed, and avoid other humans and stop and oh my, it did not go well. It was so bad in fact that on one particular mountain the black ice was terrible that I decided to take my snowboard off and carry it to the bottom. Stupid. So very stupid. Slipping with my non-grip shoes I dropped the snowboard (around about 800 euros to pay if it was damaged or lost) and watched it shoot down the mountain, off the track and into the unknown. As you can imagine the family were not very impressed. Especially not when they had to climb through knee deep snow to try and trace it. The good news is though, that they did find it! And we all laughed and moved on, though I don’t think that story will ever be forgotten!
I eventually did learn to snowboard however, once I figured out the weight distribution rule, and was bombing hills like a (semi) pro. But, of course, that happened around about the last hour of the last day, before I was changing to skiing.
So we hung up our boards and collected our skis and new boots (which by the way are the most uncomfortable things I have ever worn in my life, throw me a ten inch stiletto any day of the week over these!) and were ready to go! Again, the challenge of standing reoccurred, but this time a lot worse – I was like Bambi on ice. Disastrous. But I did stand, I did ski and having my parents as my personal coaches I picked it up pretty quickly – a lot quicker than the snowboarding! We moved from blue runs to red runs (basically this means we were improving!) and then my dad, being the over ambitious person he is, decided to take us up a red run he and my mum had done, which was challenging but apparently ‘manageable’ for me.
This was possibly the most horrendous thing on the whole trip. As always, timing couldn’t have been more perfect. As soon as we jumped off the chair lift (which was a challenge in itself) a storm hit, the lifts stopped running and we were stranded at the top of this steep mountain. To cut a long story short, the snow on the ground was now shooting past me because of the wind whilst my dad, who isn’t of a small build, was pushed across the mountain by the storm. He tried for quite a while to get me to ski down, to what I believed to be my death. After a lot of crying – pathetic but yes – I skied down and made it to the bottom. An achievement perhaps, but not something I’d like to do again!
After a million falls, a thousand chair lifts, and a hundred hot chocolates, we packed our bags and returned from what was one of the best holidays I have ever been on. If you’re thinking about trying it, do it! It’s challenging, (and scary at times) but it’s incredibly fun! I’ve already planned my next ski trip!
All images are my own.