With the ski season now in full swing, I was invited to join fellow writers on a trip to Austria: a fantastic opportunity to test out the slopes in a resort I have yet to visit in Obergurgl. But first, a visit to Hemel Hempstead’s Snow Centre, to meet the team and get reacquainted with the snow!
It’s no secret I am a ski-nut so waking up at the crack of dawn this morning came as no surprise. Only, I arrived two hours early (very keen), as I had expected the M25 to be gridlocked, but it was clear roads the whole way!
The two hours at the Centre gave me the dangerous opportunity to browse ski gear in their shop. I can’t explain to you the immense will power needed to avoid picking up a new pair of silver Salomon ski boots or ask the staff about their latest twin-tips! Christmas is rapidly approaching and I must not use this as an excuse to treat myself.
I ventured upstairs to the kitchen and lounge where you can watch the slope with a cold coffee and Breakfast roll. (The coffee being cold as the queuing system for the food is rather odd, having to hold your drink precariously whilst waiting for your order.)
I spent my time watching skiiers bomb down the slope, one man in particular making me laugh aloud to myself, creating peculiar looks amongst others around me. The poor man just could not get the hang of it, wobbly like a new-born deer, all limbs, falling down at every attempted run. Instructors kept telling him off but he would not give up! Perhaps he should of to save bruises to his backside, and his dignity!
Time slipped by and I met the team of writers over another coffee and biscuits. It was great meeting such interesting ladies, all of which were beginners: both excited and anxious about their first contact with skis. For a brief background, I am a ski instructor trained in Canada, having skied my whole life. I now work at a dry ski-slope whilst studying Journalism, so I always jump at the chance to hit the slopes!
After kitting up, we entered the huge indoor slope and the cold instantly hit us after we had got rather toasty layered up in the kit room. Breathing in the familiar fresh frozen air, I put on my gloves and helmet and started to queue for the button lift. I left the others to begin their beginner lesson with an instructor, but enjoyed joining them every so often to see how they were doing.
It was extremely busy, naturally being a Saturday afternoon. This did make things frustrating queueing for what seemed like forever, to then zoom down in ten seconds. Despite this, I still had fun, getting back into the rhythm, training myself back into shape. The snow was brilliant for skiing, with smooth and rouged surfaces to mix it up, the walls were pictures of mountains and blue skies, and the whole building was lit up very brightly with floodlights, you could almost be in Europe if you squint your eyes. It was also as jam-packed as a French weekend in high season.
An hour and a half went too quickly. I reunited with the team and watched them in their perfect snow-ploughs, practicing their even turns down the gentle slope next door. Legs aching and a little flushed as we entered room temperature again, we got our kit sorted and sat down for hot chocs and apple strudel and custard. We even had a bowl of marshmallows and a can of squirty cream, needless to say I was in my element.
Once fed and content we went our separate ways to beat the traffic home in the torrential rain, definitely snapping back into the reality that we do live in the UK, not the beautiful alpine mountains of Austria, yet. All we can do now is wait for our trip in December!
* Sarah is our new travel writer and will be hitting the Austrian slopes in December for several articles on scarlettlondon.com. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled!