Just about everyone I know is mad about skiing. All that swishing down the slopes looking glamorous before sipping Aperol Spritz mountainside with your cool apres-ski gang — it sounds so easy and fun.
Except it wasn’t for me the first time I tried it in my twenties (I’m now 44). Nope, my first experience of skiing had unfortunately ended on a big low with me feeling terrified and refusing to put my skis back on.
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I had been on a ski break in France with a friend and taken lessons for a week. Things has been going fairly well, but by day four it all went wrong.
I kept falling over, couldn’t control my turns and was gripped by fear. I nearly died of embarrassment when my ski instructor had to ski me down a slope backwards when I froze with nerves and refused to move. One day I even called in sick to a lesson — on holiday.
Since this disaster, I have shuddered at the thought of skiing. Until now that is, and my change in mindset has surprised me.
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The beautiful ski slopes of Tignes
I’m a busy working mum of two children aged nine and 12, and maybe it’s my age and seeing the years starting to fly by, but I’m suddenly up for new challenges and much less afraid. I want to show my kids that it’s good to try new things and conquer fears, and I want to have fun!
So when Club Med invited me to visit their brand new all-inclusive resort in Tignes, France, I went for it (with a gulp). It was now or never. One last shot at the sport everyone adores and raves about.
Club Med resort in Tignes
The Club Med Tignes resort — which is totally dreamy, by the way — is located in the upper village of Tignes Val Claret, within the Tignes-Val d’Isere domain.
The area is known for its fantastic ski trails and exceptional snow coverage. Just driving along the winding roads up to the resort was spectacular with snowy cliffs and breathtaking scenery all around. You feel like you’re in a different world.
Some of the stunning ski runs in Tignes
Arriving at the resort, everything was already organised for me. On check-in, I received my room key, lift pass and the code which would unlock my ski locker downstairs — where my pre-arranged ski boots, skis and helmet were waiting for me. Slick.
My room was perfect and very spacious, with two bedrooms which are ideal for a family and views out onto the ski slopes. It was otherworldly waking up and looking out onto the beautiful white runs.
The rooms were lovely with great views
It’s so well thought-out there. The resort has a schedule of ski lessons each weekday, twice a day, for levels ranging from beginner to advanced. From the locker room, you walk out outside where all the ski instructors are waiting for you. Instructors here are from the National Ski School and speak multiple languages.
If skiing isn’t your thing, there are other activities to try, from snowshoeing, guided hikes up the glacier, bob sleighing and sledging. You can even dive under the icy lake should you fancy.
The first time I joined a lesson in Tignes I was pretty nervous – but I felt determined to enjoy skiing. It was not going to beat me!
The easy-to-use ski lift on the nursery run
My instructor was so friendly and welcoming. I was in a group of three other beginners (yep, I thought it best to go right back to the start since my first foray into skiing was almost 20 years ago) and we headed for a nearby nursery slope.
As soon as the skis were on my feet, something truly bizarre happened. My body seemed to remember what to do. I was not expecting this at all. It was that whole muscle memory thing, just like riding a bike, and I was shocked. I could remember how to move sideways up a slope on my skis and how to snow plough, how to stop and even how to turn.
I mean, I wasn’t that good, but I was doing it. I didn’t fall over and I WASN’T SCARED.
Here I am with skis on — success!
I give a lot of credit to my instructor here as he was really patient with us and had us practicing the same techniques over and over until we were confident. I couldn’t believe I was actually enjoying it. All those years of feeling terrified and I here I was on skis having a good time. And the sun was shining.
I progressed to trying out a green run on my own with my instructor. All was going swimmingly until we got to a steeper section of the slope. As I turned on my skis I started to feel that scary loss of control I felt all those years ago, but I tried so hard to silence the panicky feelings rising up in me. I think I might have given myself a pep talk out loud mid-ski. Whatever I did, I made it down. Go me!
At the end of the run, I glided down the long stretch of the slope quite freely and felt that buzz as you speed along in the open air. This must be what people love about it.
Of course, back at the resort with our group I was extremely proud of myself and told just about anyone who asked. Yes, I skied and I liked it. It was a huge personal achievement.
The lounge at Club Med Tignes
The food and entertainment at Club Med Tignes is incredible, and that evening I felt I thoroughly deserved all the delicious dishes and vino — well done me.
Their buffet offers a fantastic spread of international cuisine (think Moules frites, raclette, desserts to die for…) and the stage shows and disco in the lounge area had us up dancing every night. The resort has an infectious feel-good atmosphere you can’t help but join in with.
Fresh fruit at the buffet
I also treated myself to some time in the resort spa for an indulgent relaxing massage, plus a visit to the pool, whirlpool and sauna zone, which is a must after a day on the slopes.
The fabulous pool area
The experienced skiers in our group loved exploring all the ski trails in the domain, something I hope to do in the future when my skiing has improved.
I wouldn’t say I can ski that well, but I’m back on track with it and most importantly, I’ve broken through that fear barrier in my mind which has been holding me back for ages. I felt like I achieved what I’d set out to and genuinely surprised myself at how much I’d subconsciously remembered. I could have stayed at the resort for a month!
The locker room with skis and boots all pre-organised for you
Now back in the UK, my plan is to do a course of lessons on a dry ski slope or snow dome, so when I next book a ski holiday – hopefully a family trip with my children – I will know what to do and hopefully my newfound confidence rubs off on them a bit.
Club Med Tignes has a brilliant kids’ club with activities such as swimming, gymnastics, crafts and circus skills to keep children busy off the slopes. Ski-wise, there are lessons for children age four upwards, so the whole family can learn.
I certainly stepped out of my comfort zone with this ski holiday, and I’d do it all over again.
Seven nights all-inclusive stay at Club Med Tignes for the remainder of the season start from £1,968 per adult (based on double occupancy) with return flights from London (LGW) and transfers included. Book now at clubmed.co.uk or call 03453 676767
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