Skiing the Alps

Trip Start Sep 26, 2011
1
14
22
Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of France  , Rhône-Alpes,
Sunday, January 15, 2012

Having family in Minnesota and attending a university in St. Paul, MN for four years, you'd think I would've gone skiing at least more than once in my lifetime. Well the answer is 'no'. I've only been skiing once, and I vividly remember most of the day being spent on my backside. Rolling and yelling for help, like an awkward turtle, on the bunny slope, as some member of my family rushed up the hill to pick me up off my skis. 

So living in Grenoble, France, a center hub for skiers from around the world to fly into for weekends of skiing and boarding, I figured it's about time I learned the sport. Plus, who doesn't want to brag to all friends and family at home when they ask you what you did in France:

"What'd you do in Grenoble?"
"Oh, you know, just skied the Alps, no big deal." 

Who wouldn't want to be envious of that?! 
 
I joined an university "ecole de glisse" program (Ski School), with my old university card (in Europe, I still pretend I'm a student) and went to a local ski shops and rented ski for the whole ski season. And of course, in order to rent skis and get it properly fitted to your height and weight, you have to tell the shop owners your digits. I think now it's about time I learned the metric system. There was a bit of a debate in the shop to determine how tall I was. Luckily, I knew how much I weighed from my medical exam visit for my VISA, having a debate about my weight would not probably be the highlight of my day...

The day of skiing arrived. After rising up at 5:30am, in order to catch my 7:00am bus, I was more nervous about the bus ride than the actual skiing portion of the day (if you can remember my lovely experience on the bus from Autrans, you can imagine my anxiety). Learning how to ski in France has it's benefits, the bus ride to the ski resort was about 2 hours long of French mountainside views from the coach bus. Not to mention, lessons taught in French, helped improve my vocabulary. 

The morning was filled with bunny slopes and ski lessons, from unfortunately a horrible ski instructor. After maybe two or three runs down the bunny slopes, a friend and I decided to learn on our own and ventured off onto bigger hills. I skied like an angel on snow. Ok, so that's a bit of an over-exaggeration, but I didn't completely make a fool of myself. After a few falls and one mishap, the poor Frenchman didn't see me coming in time...ouch!, by the end of the day, I was feeling confident.  

However, when you've got four year olds passing you on the bunny slopes without any struggle or mishap, that confidence does get weakened just a bit. I'm just hoping none of my students were out there. I don't need gossip to be circling the classroom about Miss Alyssa's skiing experience. 
 
And to finish off the day, the only way I now see fit, is to spend a good hour at the one of the resort's bars on top of the mountainside. With music so loud, that I'm surprised an avalanche didn't occur and vin chaud at half-price, ending a day in your ski boots, awkwardly dancing with other drunk skiers, is the best way to finish any day. 

 
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