So I thought I would do my very first blog post about what it was like to ski and my week up in the mountains.
My exchange partner’s great grandfather had built a chalet in Breil/Brigels approximately 80 years ago! I believe that the town is called Breil for the French speakers and Brigels for the Swiss-German speakers, but nevertheless, this town is a 4 hour’s drive from their home in Neuchâtel. Fun fact, Switzerland has 4 spoken languages, there is French, Italian, Swiss-German and Romanish. Romanish is spoken in the canton or state of Grisons which Breil/Brigels is located. Another little fun fact, the town’s name comes from the word ‘brigio’ which means little town.
Having 2 weeks for Christmas holidays, my host family took me to their gorgeous holiday home in the 2nd week. Flurina, who was my exchange partner, and I were lucky enough to share the master bedroom which featured a beautiful view over the tiny village and it was nothing less than spectacular! On the day of our arrival, it was so cold, however there was no snow. Apparently it had been their driest winter, they had never seen so little snow. I was hoping and praying for some snow and fortunately it began to snow later that night! I had seen snow once before but not physically snowing, it was nothing like I had seen before. For the next few days I played outside in the snow with Flurina’s younger cousins who luckily spoke English (their first language is German because they live in Germany, but they spent many years on a ship where everybody spoke English). After building up the courage, I was very excited and nervous to try to ski for the very first time.
I borrowed a neighbour’s ski shoes which was very nice of them (thanks Aline!) and my host family had some small and thick skis which are easier to learn with. Walking to the car with the ski boots was surprisingly tough, it was about a 100m walk and by the time I sat down my legs had already cramped up.
My host dad, Pavel, tried teaching me how to walk with the skis but oh my goodness it was hard! I only thought that the hard thing about skiing was skiing, but in my opinion it was the things that I didn’t even think about. He took me to a ski school for children and they were having a competition, which they have once a week. Honestly, that was so intimidating but I decided to embrace my quirkiness! The next thing to learn was how to stop and how to go down the slope. Can I just say that at this ski school, the slope was so high, I was legitamately scared.
Okay, so now it was time to try out the new skills that Pavel had explained to me. We walked up about 5m which was the most painful 5m I have ever walked in my life and in my opinion it was very steep! Then it was time to go down. I thought that I was going to fall over at least 3 times, it was so difficult. I kept trying and eventually made it to 15m and by this point my legs burned and I wanted to go back home.
The next day Flurina took me to a different place and we took the ski lift all the way up, which was so fun! It was very high up and I thought that I was going to fall off, but the view was magical. Her family owns these little things like go-karts and we used them on this track, it was so fun! At one point, a dog came up from behind me and I almost crashed because he scared me but he was absolutely adorable.
The day after that, we went to a different spot to ski which was less steep (thank God) but we walked up about 50m. All I can say about skiing is that it wasn’t really my thing but now, I totally respect anyone who can carve it up! And it was so cold, I don’t know how they can do it….and when I say cold I mean -15°C! I think I will just stick to go-karting and sledging, but who knows maybe I could become the next Janica Kostelic in my next life.