Our ever present friend, Chaos, was still lurking in our luggage when we arrived in Italy for our second ski holiday, though I have to say it was certainly more subdued this time around!
We had chosen to fly with a package ski company, Crystal, which had arranged flights, airport transfers and our half-board hotel just outside a resort called Sauze d’Oulx (pronounced Sow’zee Doo). Having suffered the trauma of car trouble driving across Europe the previous year, this was in our view a step in a better direction!
Our hotel was owned by an English wife and her Italian husband, breakfasts and dinner were served in a large dining room with yellow table cloths, and the main lobby of the family hotel boasted a wonderful bar with mulled wine simmering away 24 hours a day, though most of us waited until well after noon to get started! There was a games room with a pool table, and that European wonder of wonders, a TV featuring ENGLISH programmes!
I shall forever remember this hotel as the very first place I heard the Macarena playing along in the background. I thought to myself, “Wow, now THAT is a catchy tune… I like it, but I just don’t know WHY!” Little did I know at the time that this was going to be the one-hit wonder party dance craze that swept from Spain across Europe, the States, and eventually the entire world. Who would have thought a few old Spanish dudes would strike it big like they did? I say good on them! You’re never too old to start a new trend…
Or so I tell myself! (I’m still waiting for shoulderpads to make a comeback!)
This being my second year skiing, I was put into the same class with my husband. I have absolutely no idea why, but at first I thought it was because I was such a quick learner. However, my first day out assured me in no uncertain terms that I was well out of my depth.
At one point, we were to ski down a small incline while the resort made a little video of our brilliant skiing. Naturally, feeling the pressure of cameras and with my whole class watching, I proceeded to prove true to my middle name (Grace), crossing my skis on a turn and tumbling bum over teakettle all the way to the bottom of the slope. The cameraman told me it was one of the most spectacularly colourful falls he had ever seen, and of course, mine was the classic “crash and burn” video shown in one of the local bars on a loop all week long. Just to celebrate its awesomeness. People kept coming up to me all week long and laughing about what a great fall I had.
While my crash obviously went viral in Italy, I have no record of it. Go figure. But this little video will give you a general idea of why everybody was laughing!
My fifteen minutes of fame had arrived at last. Yay. Oddly enough, they found it much more funny than I did. To this day, I can feel my face heating up with mortification at the memory… Oh, the humiliation!
Toward the end of the holiday as I was taking the ski lift up, I was enthusing to my husband in the chair beside me about the beautiful diamond twinkles reflecting off the snow… when halfway up the mountain, I saw that a little girl had fallen and was unable to get up.
“Aww, poor little thing!” I said.
“Yeah,” he replied, “looks like her holiday is over… wait… isn’t that…?”
We saw the “blood wagon” come racing down toward the child just as I noticed that this was not just any child: This was OUR child!
“Baby! Are you ok?” I called from the lift as we passed overhead. Clearly she was NOT.
“Mum! Mum!” she called back, tearfully, as the rest of her ski class carried on down the mountain without her..
“I’m coming, baby!”
I exited the ski lift and made a heroic beeline for my daughter, but as a second year skier, of course I fell about 3 times on my way down. I pulled into a sloppy snowplow below her, just as the medics were loading her onto the sled and zipping her in. She looked so tiny and frightened.
“She’s hurt her knee,” the medic said, “It needs to be x-rayed just in case…” And off they skied, two strange men with my daughter suspended between them.
This was, for me, a genuine “freak out” moment as I struggled to keep up with the medics, who slolemed their way down the slope with all the vigour of Olympic racers. I eventually reached my daughter, by which time she had already been served some warm cocoa at the top of the chair lift. So much for my heroic speed. (Do you have any idea how long it takes to boil water at altitude?)
A few hours later, and with the diagnosis of a badly strained ligament, our daughter’s holiday was, in fact, over. The hotel owners were happy to keep her entertained for our last day of skiing, thank goodness! Hey, you can call me a bad mum if you want, but when you’ve paid a fortune for your lift ticket, you get your money’s worth! (In truth, I reckon she had a better time with them than she had with us, being plied with goodies and treats all day, and with unrestrained access to Cartoon Network, which is kind of a big thing when you’re nine.)
Best memory of the holiday: When my Inner Whitney initiated a round of “O Sole Mio” on the ski bus as we returned to the hotel one afternoon. Who could have guessed the Italians knew every word? It must be like their national anthem or something.
As you can see, my long history of extrovert behaviour is well documented. I can only hope this memory lasted longer for my Italian friends than the memory of my spectacular crash.
Thankfully, it was not a memory ever to be repeated! The next year, when we stayed in Verbier, Switzerland, the whole game changed…
© motherhendiaries 2014, all rights reserved.