Monday, 14 March 2016

I WENT SKIING!! (Santa Caterina Valfurva, Italy)

Hello Everybody,
I want to start this post with a quick apology for my short hiatus... life seems to have suddenly sped up and I seem to have 110x more work than I did a few weeks ago all of a sudden. Also, last Sunday I did actually write a post but I wasn't 100% happy with it, and I'm sure if you are a blogger that you'll understand it is very difficult to post something if you are not fully satisfied with it.
Today however I thought I would take you back in time, as a month ago now I went skiing for the first time in my life. I was so excited, but also really scared. I felt like there was quite a lot of pressure on myself to like skiing seeing as I saved up for quite a long time to go on this trip because it certainly was not a cheap trip.


 The journey

The journey was a long one, we were travelling from 40 miles north of London all the way to Santa Caterina Valfurva in Italy, near Bormio by coach. I'd be lying if I said I was excited by this prospect, seeing as I can't stand even short car journeys, let along a long journey on a coach with a fun ferry ride thrown in, just to make my tummy twist a little. 
Of course, along with the apprehension there was quite a bit of excitement. I didn't know what to expect, and I had time to break the ice with people I hadn't met before. Besides, I wanted to make the trip as memorable as possible. In fact, the journey wasn't at all bad, we watched movies, jammed to some throwback songs from our childhood, and gasped at the wonderful sites on our excursion through the Alps.
I did however manage somehow to fall all the way down a flight of stairs on the deck of the ferry before we'd even left the dock, which was hilarious, but also a slight worry that I would never even be able to manage standing up in my skis whilst skiing because of this stunt.
After 28 hours of sitting on a coach whereby our legs had gone numb, we finally arrived. I'm not going to lie, the final few hours felt perilous with the coach squeezing through small gaps between the chalets and skidding along snowy roads along mountain edges, but it was thrilling and exciting all at the same time.

The Hotel

We stayed in a lovely little hotel, called Hotel Santa Caterina. It had loads of space for us all to sit and socialise; lovely little rooms with beautiful views and classic alpine chalet style interiors, and we were even able to ski to and from the hotel once we got good enough- this felt fantastic. Not only that, but we welcomed with open arms the prospect of FREE WIFI! Okay, so the WiFi wasn't brilliant, however it was good enough to keep in contact with back home, which was enough for me, as other than that I was too busy enjoying myself on the slopes.
The only negative I have about the hotel was with the food really. Having pork chops and potato for lunch and dinner everyday can get a little bit annoying. Although, the pasta and salad bar was lovely. As well as the continental breakfast every morning, so I shouldn't complain. Also, I never felt hungry whilst I was there... apart from the odd occasion at the end of my morning lessons.
Overall however, the social area was lovely and cosy. We were able to sit by the bar, listen to some music as a group, and even play some card games around the fire (I say card games, really I mean Irish Snap or Cards Against Humanity).

The Skiing bit...

As mentioned earlier, I had never actually skied before in my life. I was so nervous to begin with, considering I am so clumsy at the best of times. However I picked up the skiing bug pretty quickly. After only spending 2 hours on the nursery slopes the Beginner group and I were headed up the mountain to go on our first blue slope. I was a bit of a speed demon by this point and had a bit of an issue slowing down, so ended up throwing myself on the floor every time I wanted to stop, which is actually quite funny thinking about it now.
On the second day we went back onto the blue slope and continued to practice our "Snow Plow" and control. I was beginning to feel more confident by the end of my 6th hour skiing and therefore ended up staying after the lesson with a few others in the group to continue practicing and going slightly higher up the piste. I quickly came to the realisation however, that I hadn't quite mastered getting off the button lift, and threw myself off multiple times, taking out a number of the people I was with in the process. This was quite amusing. We even ended the day by doing the bottom of a red run, this was so much fun, but speed got the better of me again, and was about inches away from taking out our own ski instructor at one point (good ol' Rolando). I also ended the day going down the blue slopes with one of my best friends Em. We hadn't actually skied with each other before because we were in different skiing groups.
On the third day I finally mastered the red slope without falling, although this did take quite a bit of perseverance, as I seemed to struggle to turn in the more powdery snow. However, we improved even more as the day went on as we managed to actually ski the red slope without any poles... and again, I didn't fall! I then spent the afternoon skiing with Em again, and also mastering how to parallel turn, which I was determined to be able to do. We did have a little bit of scare however when one of our friends fell off the button lift and had to be ski-doo'd to the bottom of the piste.
On day four we went on some slightly different red runs which made the day much more interesting, as we had more views to look at, this also gave us a bit more of a challenge. Even though it was also amazingly fun and enjoyable. We also managed to do our first bit of off piste skiing through the woods, which was so much fun. We even started to do some little jumps which was really funny, and also a little bit frightening... but I managed to land them, and ended up mastering it by the end of the week. We also skied back to the hotel for the first time which was a relief, as climbing back up the hill from the ski school had started to become a little tedious.
On our penultimate day we did a huge red run all the way back down to the bottom of the mountain. As well as myself nearly getting stranding on the mountain when I fell off of the button lift (doh). We then caught the gondola to back up the mountain which was amazing, and felt so wonderful that we'd got to the bottom of the mountain after days of practice. In the afternoon we went to the top to the most beautiful valley... nicknamed Sunny Valley... it was the most amazing afternoon.
On the Thursday we did some more skiing on sunny valley and just had a lovely day of skiing in the most beautiful clear weather. On the final day (Friday) we didn't go up to sunny valley however we did our timed slalom. I was really scared about this prospect at the beginning of the week considering I had never skied before, however by this time I was actually really excited by the idea of doing a slalom and putting everything I had learnt into practice.
In the afternoon and in our final lesson we did the longest red run in the Santa Caterina Resort. It took us most of the lesson, including getting to the slope, however it was the most amazing experience. Turning off piste and jumping back on piste and enjoying every moment of it. I wouldn't have ever imagined doing this at the beginning of the week when I put my skis on for the first time, thus this felt amazing.

Apres-ski

A big part of the ski trip was the apres-ski, which is essentially the time you having after your ski lessons in the evening. This included ice-skating, which was so fun as it was outdoors and it was also snowing whilst we were skating. There was one point when we were racing and I ended up taking a head first dive into the snow because I hadn't seen the end of the rink under the snow. Other apres-ski activities included karaoke and a quiz... as well as, spending more chilled evenings with a drink from the bar and games of cards.
My personal apres-ski favourite however (on day 5 of the trip), and most likely my favourite part of the trip, was the night skiing. A small group of us (shown in the image above), made it up to the top of the slope, pole-less, to get ready for the sun to set on the mountains. We waited in a little alpine restaurant for the sunset: eating panetone and drinking warm drinks, and then when the time had come we were each given a flaming torch. We skied down the red run with no poles and a flaming torch slowly in a line, following other people who had joined the event, including some of our ski instructors. This was the most magical thing... unfortunately, I haven't got any pictures of this right now, but keep an eye out on my instagram for when I do get hold of some.

 Ski Friends

Not only was this the best week of my life, I should also highlight how I made some great friends whilst being there. The trip would have been so different if the group of people whom went were different, and if I'm honest... I wouldn't want to change a thing.

After singing our final lines of Fix You our trip had ended, with memories that would last a life time.
Toodles,
EmilyBelleBlogs x