This time of year is always bittersweet. I find it hard to part ways with the summer months, generally, they’re the ones that we all look forward to, no? When I think of travel and holidays, I conjure up images of sunshine, warm waters, sandy beaches, lonely hammocks swaying in between palm trees. I imagine flip flops and sunglasses, ice cold drinks and unhealthy poolside meals.
Then September hits and before you know it the leaves have fallen and the rain is beating down reminding us of how shortlived those sunny dreams actually are.
Whilst I do find myself mourning for the long sunny days, I do secretly look forward to the winter months too. My favourite thing by far about winter is SNOW. Maybe it’s because I grew up in Saudi Arabia and the lowest temperature we ever faced was around 14 degrees. One of my most memorable citybreaks was our trip to Oslo back in January 2015 and I’m convinced we all enjoyed it so much more because we were surrounded by glistening white, fluffy snow.
So when Crystal Ski Holidays invited me to trial out a ski lesson at the Chill Factore last week, I was super ecstatic!! Ever since that trip to Norway, Mo and I have talked endlessly about booking a ski holiday, but with one thing after another cropping up, we just haven’t had the chance – yet.
I’ll be honest, my hand eye coordination is kind of shocking. I can just about stay upright at the best of times, never mind with skis on. But I didn’t care because skis mean snow. Lots and lots of white, super soft SNOW. (Are you getting how much I love it yet?)
I arrived half an hour late to the Chill Factore, thanks to the glorious traffic Manchester has decided to bestow upon us this festive season, but luckily I was just in time for the lesson. I grabbed my ski jacket, pants, asked a few naïve questions (i.e. will it be cold) and then the kind staff at the ski boots desk sorted out my fancy footwear (wow, skis and ski boots are heavy!?)
Rob, our instructor, led us out onto the nursery slopes and worked us through the basics. We learnt how to put on skis, (which is harder than it sounds), walk with them, slide down, stop – all the essentials you would need to eventually get you on to the slopes.
I never fully understood before, how people could book a dedicated ski holiday and spend all their time outside actually skiing, but I definitely saw the appeal after our taster. The hour session flew by and I was quite sad to leave. I could have easily stayed and carried on for at least a few more hours. I hardly felt the cold and I was itching to learn more.
I spoke to Rob after the session, and he advised that within 3 lessons most beginners can get themselves onto the main slope – not right to the top, but at least half way. The most popular bookings at Chillfactore are for the taster days, where you can spend six hours learning pretty much all you need to know to get you using the lifts and out on your own, a perfect idea pre-holiday to get you ready and in the mood.
After a quick wardrobe change, we were back at the upstairs sports bar looking out over the main slope. I suppose you can’t really expect a ski taster without trialling out some of the apres-ski vibe aswell. Us bloggers all convened around a couple of tables where we exchanged stories over an impressive buffet spread and drinks. The spirit of the evening was ‘Get More Winter,’ about how Crystal can help you enjoy all aspects of a winter holiday, not just the skiing (although the skiing plays a big part 🙂 ). There’s so much more to a winter resort holiday, theres the chalets, the food, the pools, so many more luxuries await!
The team from Crystal Ski holidays were excellent hosts, and with my newfound interest in shooping down mountains, I pestered them for tips. Kirsty named Whistler Canada as her favourite ski spot in the world, a place she said where everything was evolved around providing the best possible visitor experience.
But alas for those of us that cant get ourselves over to the other side of the Atlantic there are a plethora of European cities that can offer some top alternatives. My eye is still on Norway if I’m honest, after visiting the ski museum at Holmenkollen it was evident that skiing has been close to Norwegians hearts for centuries. As my Fantastic Four group and I had such a blast the last time we were there, I can’t think of a more perfect place for us beginners to catch the ski bug.
*** Thank you to Crystal Ski Holidays for hosting us at the Chill Factore that night and for finally introducing me to the world of skiing. I met some great bloggers too – Travelling Tom, Bambling of Nafy, Little Babble, Gabriela Mcr and Sindy Kai ***
Are you a fan of skiing? Where would you recommend I go for my first ever ski trip??