I've probably previously trotted out the lame joke on here that I use to describe my relationship with skiing whenever anybody asks me. "Ah", I say, "I liken going skiing to childbirth - I scream, cry and curse my way through it, yet always still feel a weird compulsion to do it again once it's over". And if you think I'm exaggerating about that, you should have seen me sobbing uncontrollably in the middle of a red run somewhere in Italy last Thursday, once again cursing the fact that I don't really like speed, which, apparently, appears to be kind of fundamental for most other people when enjoying skiing.
Personally, I've always preferred gliding slowly, swan-like down a piste, soaking in the mountain air and enjoying the scenery. I'm definitely all about the posing, the sunshine and the vin chaud. The skiing for me has always been slightly secondary, which unfortunately appears to make me the exception, and the one who everyone else has to wait hours for when they have zoomed to the bottom at 90km/h (the apparent top speed of one of our party. Mine? 38km/h. Which statistically was probably quite likely to have been on a chair lift, let's face it.)
"But skiing", other people will tell you, "is such a great family holiday". Well, not really. Not if you assume that a family holiday means you all spending quality time together. This is definitely not the case in the early years of childhood, when you will hardly see your children as they are in ski school, and maybe afternoon childcare to enable you to not spend time with your husband who is busy doing 90km/h while you are dawdling along at your own more sedate pace.
We spent a final Saturday skiing en famille, which I loved, and which did give me a taster of things to come - namely that both children will soon be outrunning me while I scuttle along desperately trying not to think of the sticky end I could come to any minute. The bad news is that I think the kids might be hooked...
Of course, the fact that I fell and twisted my knee on the first day both gave me an excuse to stay in the chalet on day 2 drinking tea, reading a book and soaking up the sunshine at a stationary pace, but also probably contributed to my fragile mental state for the rest of the week. Skiing is definitely mind over matter, and I fear the mind played nasty tricks on me this time.*
Anyway, the fact that we also had a non-skier in our party for the first time meant I had someone else to moan about the speed freaks at, and go on walks with, which was lovely and highly recommended. Also, I have to say that skiing is an excellent environment to observe the middle classes in their natural habitat. From this exercise I have decisively concluded that Fat Face is definitely the new Boden, and Spyder jackets are so 2011!
Well, here I am, sitting back at home in front of a computer, reflecting on a week of such amazing highs and lows, and knowing that I'll soon be getting the call from our friends wanting to know if we're "in" for next year. For the first time I really don't know what answer to give.
*(On a slightly separate note, but still on the subject of mind tricks, why is it that the more I fly, the less I like it? I have been on airplanes regularly since the tender age of 4 months, and with living abroad and regular business travel reckon I have probably clocked up close to 100 flights in my lifetime. Also, both my husband and brother work in the aviation industry, and I'm more than aware of the stringent safety requirements at all stages of the process. This should reassure me, surely? Why then, do I feel the urge to scream "We're all going to die" the minute we get thrust back into our seats on takeoff?)