‘I won’t ski if the conditions are bad,’ I promise my well-meaning friends who, anxious about my continuing whiplash, are disapproving of my Easter holiday plans. This is easy in the first three days as the mist clings to the valley and the rain seems never-ending. The boys (husband, son and friend) are all gung-ho and of course sally forth daily, although a lot of time is spent in mountain restaurants.
Our outdoor BBQ on Easter Sunday is hastily moved inside; the temperatures have dropped to around zero. Undeterred, our gang of friends has a lovely time and none seems to mind the lack of sunshine.
Easter Monday dawns one of those magical mountain days – by 7.30 a.m. the sun is glinting on the peaks of the Dentes Blanches and I can prevaricate no longer. We are on the slopes by 9 am! But those clear skies mean low temperatures and the pistes are packed icy hard – bringing back terrible memories of my pre-Christmas catastrophes, when no less than two skiers bowled me over, leaving me with my constant aching arm, shoulder and back, and the occasional flash of agony as I move my arm in-judiciously.
Despite being guarded by kind friends, front and rear – ‘just follow my bum’ I am rumoured to have ordered Tim over Easter lunch – I cannot find my mojo and can barely turn the skis on the ice. It is a terrifying day.
Then I get to thinking that my bravura performance in Japan cannot only have been due to the superb snow; it’s the skis too, stupid. So as a bad workman always blames his tools, I decide to try a harder pair of skis the next day. The difference is astonishing, confidence and technique return. Jean says the difference is as between night and day! And so, dear reader, I bought them…And our last day was glorious!
Easter, like all occasions is always a time when we remember family holidays here, and our dear Louise, who loved to ski, eat chocolate and to party. We scattered her ashes down the Swiss Wall in 2012 so she inhabits part of this majestic landscape. We never fail to have our spirits lifted here: I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. I am not religious but these ancient words rings so true.