05 March 2011


I’m probably safe in assuming that very few of us are happy to find ourselves at the end of a holiday. Perhaps some ultra-type-A personalities exist – those anxious to return to normal life and work, those who find themselves fully revitalized in body and spirit. I count myself not among them. I have never even met one of them. Nor can I say I would ever want to. Let’s face it; the end of a holiday is a real bummer.

I would go further to assert that the end of a winter ski holiday presents a harsher return to reality than almost any other. Because as vacations go, I’m thinking ski holidays are a bit of a misnomer. If there is a more exhausting way to spend leisure time, like possibly trekking in the Himalayas without a Sherpa, then I would like to know so I can avoid it at all costs. At the moment, I’m fantasizing about another vacation where the only thing cold is a pina colada on a tropical beach.

For there is the undeniable fact that winter ski vacations, while irrefutably fun (and probably despite everything my most favorite holiday) are just plain exhausting. Even the mere thought of the stuff involved – in our case skis, poles, snowboards, boots, goggles, gear, helmets, socks, long underwear – times five – is more than enough to make me tired.

Then there is the mountain tan – another disappointment.  Everyone knows returning from holiday requires you to sport a great tan; it is essential in easing the transition from play to work mode. Those lucky souls who return beautifully bronzed from the Caribbean to join their poor pasty faced colleagues find the first day back a breeze. Because they are tan. Even if it’s hidden under winter clothes, they still know it’s there. But a ski tan just doesn’t provide the same satisfaction. Ski tans tend to be confined to a narrow, very dark strip of nose and cheeks just under the goggle line and above the chin warmer, which gives others the impression that you’ve returned as a human zebra.

But undoubtedly the toughest part is the diet. I can only speak for myself, but inexplicably, for whatever reason – and despite skiing every single day, my clothes are a bit tight. It seems the enormous energy I thought I expended didn’t quite balance with the thoughtful intake of food energy I assumed I needed. Go figure. Unless, of course, my scale is a bit off – that happens more often than you would think. Granted – raclette, chocolate, and the delicious apfel struedel are not exactly low cal choices, but aren’t they the reason people ski?

One would think surely it would even out. Yes, it must be the scale. And it’s a well-known fact that mountain air dries everything out – which accounts for the seeming shrinkage of the clothes. I mean, have you ever seen what happens to ski socks in the dryer? You buy these absolutely enormous socks big enough to fit not only your foot but your calf, knee and thigh, and after a wash or two they look like they are bobby socks for a three year old.

I wonder if there are any islands that serve low-cal coladas?

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