It had been something I’d wanted to do for years – take a skiing holiday in term time.
I’d had glorious ideas of shooting down the pistes while my class sat in a cold British classroom, plodding on mindlessly with Maths and Literacy.
Naturally I’d get an early ski lift up the mountain, spend the whole day up there and then zoom down as the sun set to enjoy asprès-ski and rest up for the next day’s activity.
Throw two small children into the mix and it looks slightly different…but what a fabulous week we had.
Sophie had been in training for this since last May – a succession of hit and miss skiing lessons had come and gone while I tried to put my idea of her as a fearless nimble toddler skier into practice.
She was excited – and nervous- about getting out on real snow on top of real mountains.
Fortunately we were able to stay with lovely family who live half an hour from Innsbruck in the heart of the Austrian Alps.
They are intrepid skiers with extreme levels of patience and wonderful generosity. Very useful for novices like us!
Sophie loves them to bits. Once she’d been kitted up with the tiniest skis and a stylish helmet – pink, naturally – she thought nothing of being asked to put her hands on her knees and take a gentle push down a little slope to the waiting arms of one of us.
Indeed the smile on her face was one of pure joy as she careered down the short distance, giving the distinct impression that she really quite liked being out of control.
She couldn’t manage too long though. Not because of the cold really but more tiredness from the charge down the slope and inevitable plunge into the snow at the end. She’d come a long way from her “I’m scared of the snow” skiing lesson experiences.
As for us, we did far more skiing than we thought, thanks in large part to the amazing help of our family and the awesome proximity to the ski lifts. It was perfect.
So, with the Winter Olympics around the corner, I’m not convinced any of us will be quite ready.
But give Sophie a few more years to get over her fear of the snow and anything’s possible. The only way is up as they say – well except on a ski slope that is…