The relief that overwhelmed my body when I saw the McCammons, close family friends of ours, waiting for me at Chambery train station cannot easily be described. To be able to just breathe and be in the presence of people who know me, love me and are filled with positive energy was something I hadn’t realised how much I’d missed until I met up with them. Driving up to Tignes from Chambery we had a wonderful road trip filled with grocery shopping and parking lot picnics. It was so wonderful to just be in a familiar family again.
Without this wonderful family my incredible ski resort experience in Tignes, France would just not have been possible. They were staying for the whole week and kindly took me in for the Easter weekend. It was an amazing weekend to say the least and probably the first time I’ve actually relaxed properly since leaving home 3 months ago.
Engulfed by the towering snow-covered mountains was the little ski town of Tignes Val Claret. The sheer whiteness of the snow was quite literally blinding and the expanse and beauty of these mountains just breath-taking. The town was filled with ski hire shops, cafes and restaurants. After sorting out our equipment and ski passes we enjoyed some delicious Nutella crepes basking in the bright winter sun.
We then decided to take advantage of the free access to the spa where we relaxed our muscles in the saunas, hammams and jacuzzi. Bliss! This was all great preparation for the next day when we would take on the slopes.
I had decided to save a bit of money and borrow ski boots and skis from my host mom. After just a few minutes in these boots which soon proved to be a bit too much on the small side I started really regretting bringing them and knew that the hours of carrying these heavy things on countless trains had so not been worth it.
I spent the morning in a beginner’s class learning the basics of stopping through a snow plough, how to turn and slalom. These skills were put to the test on a gentle slope where I managed my first few good runs. This wasn’t without a few embarrassing moments of falling on the slopes as well as off the drag lift (who even does that?). I think I would have enjoyed it much more though had it not been for the unbearable cramping in my calves and lack of blood circulation in my feet as a result of my too-tight ski boots.
I did it though! The only evidence of my pain being a very slow limp back home as I tried to ignore the feeling that my calf muscles were being stabbed.
My lack of skiing skills meant that the only way to enjoy the views in their fullness was to take a trip up a cable car. I did two of these trips: one in a funicular up to La Grande Motte and another in a bubble ski lift at Tignes Le Lac. Just wow.
My stay may have been short but I had a true taste of the ski resort experience which is exactly what I wanted. I got to relax in loving company and spend Easter with ‘family’. I can hardly say that skiing is one of my favourite sports but I have tried it and can tick it off the bucket list!