IMUST be honest. There is one thing I am loving about the recession, especially at this time of year – we are no longer under pressure to go skiing. As a family we have never skied and as individuals we have never skied but had the ski-enthusiasts who inhabit our lives had their way, we would be seasoned veterans by now.
It all sounds lovely, sliding down a mountain with hot chocolate to go and fresh mountain air. Who wouldn't like it? Personally I'd go for the hot chocolate alone and though fresh mountain air is fine and dandy, I'm happier to gaze upon it from an altitude closer to my comfort zone, similar to enjoying the Conor Pass from the sands of Castlegregory, if you like.
To enjoy skiing, you must have balance, like those people on rollerblades, looking effortlessly cool, wearing the gear and all. Even if rollerblading wasn't your thing, I'd say you'd need to be a good ice-skater, competent, confident, not someone like me who does the circuit of the rink at a 90° angle holding onto the edge for dear life. This was my excuse over the boom years when it seemed all of Ireland was trying to drag us up a mountain.
But it wasn't just my fractious relationship with height and balance that came between me and winter sports, it was also the cost. I suppose we could have replaced the summer holiday with a winter one but swapping a hot drink on a cold mountain for a cold drink on a hot beach was never going to happen. So what were our options? Two holidays a year? I mean far from two foreign holidays a year was I reared and far from skiing down Mount Blanc was I reared too, (although I'm not actually sure if you can ski down Mount Blanc).
Yet, let's just say we had given in, gone up the mountain and put everyone into their ski thingies and stuff – would it really have been much better than a summer's day on an Irish beach, where the wind would cut you, the mist would drench you and everyone is pretending it's all bloody marvellous? Though you might not have the mist up the haute couture Mountains of Western Europe, you do have all that snow, which might be all very well for a day or two but once the novelty is gone – much like the Irish snowfalls of last year – it becomes plain work.
Of course I have neglected the "après-ski" aspect of the skiing holiday which in truth appears to be the most redeeming feature of the whole shebang. Evenings sipping fine wines in front of log fires long into cosy nights. This is so me. My only question here though is this, who takes care of all the exhausted children and who dries all the wet clothes?
I know nothing about skiing and I am probably missing out on the time of my life. All I'm saying is that I'm glad the pressure is off !