I had skied before. Oh, I had ridden the T-bar up the side of a nice Appalachian mound
, and rode my planks down again, enjoying a lovely bit of breeze and and occasional waves of frosty flakes flying at me along the way.
I’m no great skier, but I felt comfortable. I could go on several rides in a day. Most of the riding felt like going downhill through the woods, more than actually moving down a mountain.
It felt that way because I wasn’t on a mountain. I was on a hill. And then I skied the Alps, and my classification of geologically elevated land masses changed forever.
New Mexico church group ski trips are a completely different type of skiing then the East Coast day trips went on as a kid. Maybe the skiing is similar in the Rockies, I don’t know. But compared to the Appalachian bumps, the Alps are the kind of place that makes you understand how ancient cultures often imagined their Gods living on top of mountains. When you’re up there, it’s a different world, one where humans don’t belong. At all. It’s a little terrifying.
So you ski down. Which is even more terrifying.
My first experience of skiing the Alps was at the Courchevel resort, which is part of the Les Trois Vallées, the largest linked ski area in the world. The amazing thing about it is that there are barely any lines, ever. I don’t know if I was there during a slow time, but I don’t think I was. It’s just a really well run place.
Of course, when you’re up on the top of the mountain, the fact that the staff is excellent, and the food great, doesn’t really provide much comfort. That’s part of why I love ski resorts. You can have all the pampering in the world, but once you’re on the mountain, it’s you and nature. No matter how much you were the center of attention, and the object of bend over backwards customer service at the lodge, the alps are indifferent to you.
So point your skis downhill and let ‘er rip.