Once upon a time, my friends and I went to Aspen, Colorado for a very fabulous New Year’s of chalets, parties and snowboard lessons. I lasted all of one day on the bunny slope. In spite of how cute the instructors were, I wasn’t really interested in learning to ski. It was cold and I had a “less is more” clothing aesthetic that not even stylish ski outfits and après ski fest could sway. If I’m being honest, I was too scared to learn anything new or cold at 30 years old but 10 years later, I had a change of heart.
Settimana Bianca means Ski Week
Every year, la settimana bianca, the winter school break usually dedicated to a mountain holiday, falls during Darius’ birthday week, and he and the little one head off for ski break. My idea was that skiing is not always economically prudent, and if I wasn’t actively participating, why waste the money. Clever, right? But after a few years, I realised that the best I could give Darius was learning how to ski.
Our destination was La Thuile, in Valle d’Aosta. Italy’s tiniest region in its northwest is a bilingual Franco-Italian ski have and gorgeous hamlet that may just be the best place for an adult beginner. Niched in the Italian Alps, Europe’s highest peak Monte Bianco overlooks the tiny valley and France’s La Rosiere shares the mountains, so you can ski two countries in a morning- my goal, believe or not.
With zero ski skills, my overall experience at La Thuile was incredible. The first few days were sunny, so learning the basics on the bunny slopes was more than pleasant- it was kind of like hanging out at the beach, but with layers. La Thuile’s ski instructors were incredibly patient and believe in morning lessons, not full day, so that I had time to recoup- which meant the Turkish bath to loosen up my muscles.
Day Three was very cold, but not *that* cold, thanks to The North Face wind-resistent gear, I was warm and dry every time that I fell. Did I mention by this time I was on the top of the mountain on blue pistes with descents and turns?
Day Four was France, yes, I skied to the border and then some. By this time, Darius, the girls and I did a few runs together (notice the ski jargon?) and I finally got the overall “it” of skiing- cold air on my face, catching up to an expert, wiping out and then happily getting up again. Day Five I was sore and tired, and vowed to come back.