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Learning to ski as an adult: It’s not as scary as you think – here’s why you should try it

Simon Calder’s Travel

It’s hard not to take “it’s impossible to fall forwards,” as anything but a challenge on your first day skiing. As I slid face-first into the slush during my first hour on the mountain, I mentally prepared myself to feel a bit pathetic for the rest of my week on the pistes.

To be fully transparent, I had stepped foot on skis before. For a few hours aged nine, on a trip for a family friend’s birthday, I stood strapped in and crying on a mountain in Méribel because my feet hurt. My French instructor, who did not know what to do with me, eventually directed my quivering lip and legs towards a Nutella crêpe – a great call, one which distracted me from the boots torturing my metatarsals.

Where my fear was somewhat endearing in 2010, now I was merely an afraid adult at altitude. Intimidated by catching a chairlift while wearing two planks, an unknown mountain right of way and an unspoken après etiquette among the elite, this was not the fly-and-flop holiday I am used to.

Andorra’s peaks boast high-altitude nursery slopes

(Crystal Ski )

Crystal Ski’s ‘Slope Starters’ holidays aim to provide an introduction to the slopes without the pressures, they say. For the second year of the beginner’s week package, the itinerary was studded with a balance of skiing, spa lounging, bowling and sinking shots during a quiz night. All equipment hire was included in the offer and I was very pleased with my pink poles and beginner skis.

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I was in Arinsal, Andorra, an Alpine village with high-altitude nursery slopes built for learning, plus a lack of phone service that presented me with the added challenge of a digital detox. With snow unseasonably absent from the forecast, I didn’t quite arrive at a winter wonderland. Nevertheless, I was grateful to find the hire shop and hotel ski lockers sat just opposite the gondola and, even in 17C, sinking into a fireside armchair for the Hotel Montane’s mulled wine and cake hour fulfilled the Chalet Girl ski holiday I had envisioned.

You’ll find mulled wine and homemade cake at the Hotel Montane

(Crystal Ski )

It didn’t take much of Monday morning for me to realise I’d lucked out with a straight-talking ski instructor, who was prepared to put up with me as I fell over from standing still and met every new instruction with an “oh my God, no”.


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