Well, as I type this post, it is proof that I indeed survived skiing this weekend. Oh wow, big deal Sarah, you went skiing. But no. I WENT SKIING IN THE ALPS.
As if trying to understand and communicate in another language wasn’t hard enough, let’s throw some contraptions on my feet where I lose what little motor skills I have.
Myself and 7 other students signed up for a weekend of skiing at Chabanon (French Alps). Of course, this sounds AWESOME. I’ve been skiing once before, how hard could it be? The trip was organized by the local university students (all French), so we found ourselves tagging along. The Thursday night before we were supposed to leave, we meet up with a few of the students going for a drink and a couple games of billiards. They were so friendly and warm, which is rare to get initially from any French person. That Friday evening, we met at the Statue of Cezanne (which is where you meet for any bus ride… more on Cezanne in another post) and departed for Chabanon. We got to the ski resort around 10PM. Oh, by the way, it was -6 degrees Celsius when we got off the bus. Yea, born and raised in South Carolina, I don’t think I am made for those kinds of conditions!!
Anyways, the room was awesome. We had a balcony and little kitchenette, so we unpacked and settled in for the night.
Now the fun part. The next morning, we made our way down stairs and rented out our skis, boots, and poles. Slowly, we trekked up to the base of the slope and clicked into our skis. And then everything started going downhill for me.. quite literally. After I figured out how to stop myself solidly, I hooked myself into the lift for the top of the bunny slope. Baby steps people. The bunny slope was tame, as it should have been. But then I got cocky and went to the top of the green slope. And that was an epic fail. I still don’t understand how I didn’t break my legs, but about every 100 feet, I ate it. Not like a slow, graceful fall where I landed upright. I hit the ground at full speed and proceeded to slide 10 feet down the mountain, losing a ski and ending up head first and feet up… of course with a large cloud of snow settling around me. I finally made my way down the mountain, rather discouraged and battered. Myself and Katya, another student lacking the propensity to ski well, grabbed a coffee (even in freezing conditions, the French still enjoy coffee OUTSIDE for hours) and discussed how bad at skiing we were. After our break and receding levels of adrenaline, we made our way back to the slopes. Hey, if you fall off the horse, you got to get back on.
After the snow had softened a bit in the sun, we found it much easier to ski. Although we still fell frequently (myself more so than her), we got the hang of it and ventured further up as the day progressed.
That night, completely exhausted and sore in places I didn’t know muscles even existed, we enjoyed watching a rugby match, talking, and hanging out with our French friends. We tried pastis, which is a specialty of Marseille. It’s a rather strong, yellow liquor that tastes of licorice, and you dilute it with LOTS of water.
After another day of skiing on Sunday, we headed back as the snow started to fall. It was beautiful. So powdery. Not like the icy snow I’m used to seeing in the South. But, the fact that all cars and buses here are stick, the bus ride down the mountain made me a little nervous. But, the driver deserved a medal, because we had no problems getting down the snow covered mountain.
After tons of traffic and a 3 hour extra bus ride, we made it home late.
I have to say, although my body was in flight or fight mode all weekend, it was so worth it. Who can say they skiied in the Alps? This chick right here. Well, skiied is a loose term.. we all know I tumbled down the Alps. But I think it still counts.
Here’s to another week of awesome classes and new experiences!