Only having skied three times in my life, I accompanied my French husband and friends to Auron, a well-known ski resort about 1-1/2 hrs. from Nice, BUT only to have a coffee, read, and relax while they hit the slopes. The first problem was the windy roads, with all the switchbacks and turns, which made me nauseated. It was a nice, sunny day, as I wandered about there being enough snow to ski, judging from what I was seeing on the way there; secretly thrilled, since I don’t like being cold.
As I sipped my coffee, ate croissants, watched the lessons on the baby/bunny slope just outside the warm, restaurant window, and read my Kindle, I was enjoying a great Sunday morning. During lunch, for some reason – call me crazy – I thought it might be fun to take a skiing lesson, not to mention learning skiing French vocabulary. Funny, I never stopped to think that not verbally understanding something might compromise my physical ability during the lesson…such as, knowing the words for the *downhill and *uphill ski?!
Nothing like having a Frenchman put on your ski boots, since I couldn’t manage it myself, and then only remembering how to snowplow my way over to the baby slope lesson area to wait for Olivier, my French instructor. I had taken a lesson in English in Taos, NM, years before, from (Frenchman) Andre, but now this would be a REAL French skiing lesson – I was nervous and afraid and that was the first thing I mentioned to Olivier, well…after “Bonjour.”
Lo and behold, by the end of the hour, I was skiing still mostly in snowplow formation, but also a little “en parallel” in between the turns – maybe it was the orange netting barrier and the little kids skiing by me that gave me a boost of confidence to put my skis in another shape other than a “V.” Olivier said I was good enough to ski on the beginner slope, and all I needed was confidence (Le secret de faire du ski est la confidence!) Yep, “confidence” is the same word in English and French! My husband and friends had finished and were watching my lesson, got bored, and decided to go have a drink; I joined them in toasting my skiing triumph – OUI, even with skiing beside the 4-5 year olds on the *”Piou Piou” baby slope, but just a little in parallel !
* downhill ski = ski aval / uphill ski = ski amont / piou-piou = cry of a baby (chicken) peep