Never turn down an opportunity to travel to places you have never been before.
I must confess, initially, I did not want to go—I know, unbelievable! Here’s the thing; I don’t ski.
The last time I did the conditions were so frightful that more people than I can count found their way to the bottom of the run via a rescue toboggan. That was my cue to walk away from ever skiing again. I convinced myself that skiing was far too dangerous and I would never gracefully survive an injury.
That said, this trip to the French Alps was presented to me as an ultra lux vacation and it was! From Geneva we drove 2.5 hours to the Sainte Foy Tarentase to the Merlo Chalet, courtesy of Premiere Neige, where everything was included—breakfast, afternoon tea, dinner, endless champagne, sauna, jacuzzi, gym, driver, and infinite picturesque scenery.
When we arrived in the late afternoon, we were greeted with a fire, canapés (that’s appetizer to us) and anything else our hearts desired. This trip was, until now, only available in my dreams.
Packing was a problem but not because I limited myself to one handbag and one piece of carryon luggage. My problem was that since I don’t ski I did not have a wardrobe suitable for this type of trip. A quick call to a few friends and I had everything I needed for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or just hanging out in extreme weather.
Googles, ski pants, thermal underwear, moisture-wicking socks, and snow gloves were the items I borrowed. The other cold weather gear I had—down coat, down sweater, knit hat, hiking boots (which I wore almost every day), and quick-dry hiking pants. Other than that I packed my usual winter traveling wardrobe.
It was a tight fit for one carryon but it was doable. The one change I made to my packing routine was that I used a medium-sized backpack instead of my crossbody bucket bag that I normally travel with during the winter months. The backpack gave me just enough extra room to pack my hiking boots and everything else I normally would take in my bucket bag.
We reached St Foy Tarentaise in the French Alps to postcard views of breathtaking snow covered terrains. From every window of our chalet, we were treated to a spectacular setting.
Remember, my plan from the beginning was to arrive home without so much as a bruise and snowshoeing offered safety and a scenic workout.
Lunches on the slopes were nothing like dining at some of the lodges I have visited in the Sierra’s. In Sainte Foy the most reclusive and rustic facade offered an amazing array of gastronomic delights.
There was no amount of skiing or snowshoeing that could possibly burn the calories consumed on our trip. But vacation is never about losing a few pounds. Vacations are about gaining a few unforgettable memories.
On my last night I said my goodbye’s to our wonderful hosts and began the task of packing. Taking one last look out onto my veranda, I turned to grab my coat which had fallen behind an overstuffed armchair. I lost my footing, slid off the top of the chair and landed on one side of my ribs with a thud onto the armrest. The pain worked its way up into my throat and then back down to my ribs. They were not broken but bruised with a tiny hairline fracture. Here’s the moral of the story; take the trip and go downhill skiing because it’s not the things you think are going to break you that do.