the alps Photo Essay

Arriving in the mountains on your annual ski trip is filled with pent up enthusiasm. For a year you’ve been dreaming of the deep blue skies that only mountain landscapes can provide, the noises of the chairlift rocking along, the dubious smells emanating from your gloves, and the adrenaline rush of flying down the slopes just slightly faster than you meant to. All these thoughts whir round your mind on the tedious coach journey into the mountains.

 

You’ll no doubt arrive in your resort at night, completely unaware of the landscape around you. The admin drags on and on.

“Where’s our ski rental shop?”

“It is freezing out here!”

“Why one earth do you need to dislocate your ankle to put these ski boots on?”

“It is so hot in this rental shop.”

 

You’ll eventually trudge out the shop, exhausted and sweating, and hoping  to pass out for a crucial big sleep.

 

Waking up and standing in front of the curtains on your first morning is a nerve wracking moment, praying that the weather gods have delivered the blue skies you asked for. Slowly sliding back the curtains to reveal that your dreams have come true will send excitement through your body, better than any wakeup call around.

 

The bright white mountain peaks are illuminated one by one by the rising sun, and while the warm snug chalet may be tempting, you should see past the beads of condensation on the window and get out into the fresh mountain air. Your holiday has finally begun.

Take a stroll into the village to buy some fresh bread, croissants, and a strong espresso to work up your energy. If you can tear yourself away from the café, grab your skis and let the wind in your face get your adrenalin pumping as you tip your skis over the edge of your first run. After a few runs imitating Bambi, it should all come flooding back, at which point you’ll have earnt your lunch.

It can be difficult to resist the ice cold beers to quench your thirst on the sun terrace at lunch, which can quickly disappear after your morning’s endeavours. A long lazy lunch in the sun is followed by a casual afternoon run before you stock up on the afternoon cakes by the chalet fire line your stomach.

If it has all been a bit too much, take yourself to the sauna and Jacuzzi to relax and recuperate before taking on the joy that is Raclette, which will wipe you out once and for all. The giant slab of cheese is slowly grilled at your table and melts into a creamy mess, which is when you get the real treat: scraping off the layer of melted cheese onto your meat, potatoes and salads, washed down with a glass of red wine.

Life in the Alps is indulgent and probably not great for your cholesterol in the long run, but for that one week a year, just tuck in.