Confessions of a snow plower

Its getting to that time of year again where theres chat of the alps, skiing and a winter holiday, and I must come to the brutal reality that I am a snow plower. Despite 4 family holidays and 4 university trips away skiing, combined with 2 years of lessons on a dry ski slope, my skis refuse to go straight. I cannot go fast, I cannot go on steep terrain, and I cannot do ice. For a big group of “lads,” I am your worst nightmare.

Now being a professional snow plower, I can shed some light on how to deal with the pizza slice style in a group situation. There is option 1, you drink. After a big first night on the town you often wake up with what I call “hang confidence.” Everything is still quite funny, jokes from a few hours ago are flying, and anything on the slopes is possible. If you approach the ski lift with this attitude you will get through the morning. Come 12pm when the fear and the sweats are gradually building there way in, you call lunch. Its time for steak, frites, and the strongest wine on the menu. Its very important that you keep going with the vin chaud/beer/anything alcoholic if you want to attempt the afternoon with your group. The “hang confidence” option can lead to some minor injuries and poor technique, and never, ever, attempt a jump.

(This is the lunch shift)

​ (This is building the hang confidence before the lunch shift)

​Obviously option 1 takes time and money, and there is always option 2, which is to injure one of your friends so they are forced to ski with you. This did happen by chance a few years back in Verbier, when a good friend “injured” his knee, meaning he could only then do blue runs. Not only did I have a new friend to ski with, but we both decided it would be fun to ski in our underwear because we were going so slow we probably would not get cold.

Once these two initial options have failed, your only left with one other choice, ski school. Unfortunately this year in Les Gets I was forced into option 3. Hang confidence was not enough for this group of advanced skiiers, and it seemed no one was keen to get injured. So day 3 I was called out, I got out the credit card, and I booked a morning of private lessons. I was under the impression an older French hunk was going to sweep me off my snow plow skiis, however I was greeted by Guillaume, a 19 year old arrogant twat, who told me he was worried I would embarrass myself with him. After an awkwardly silent hour of chair lifts and blues I broke the ice, and told him I liked his sunglasses.

After our session I felt revived, a new ski woman. With so much confidence I decided to ask him to join our group for a drink at the apres bar, which he kindly declined. Obviously he did not like my glasses.

So with the ski season coming up swiftly, I want to encourage all other snow plow professionals to embark on group holidays. There are ways around the red slopes, there are mountain drinks to get you through it, and there are techniques to lure other people onto blues. And always remember, only do bikini runs on the blues.

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