S’no Fear

Since it snowed a lot, we’ve done some skiing.
I don’t think I mentioned that it snowed a lot. Well it really and truly did. And it scared me.
When you grow up in southern England, the idea of snow being scarey seems ridiculous. Snow is exciting. It’s unusual, and when it happens it’s a huge deal. Scarey? Are you stupid?!  But here we had so much snow over such a short time… I was honestly frightened that if I let the girls go out to play they would fall in and never be seen again. It really was that deep.
Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.
 Japanese Proverb
(or in my case, as deep as the snow!)
Although the Husb thought my fear was a tad OTT, even he agreed that we should probably supervise our children out at play. Letting them go out alone is one of the many things I love about living here. In the summer and inter-season they enjoyed going up to the swings solo, meandering about our little town on their own. But they didn’t understand that snow was anything other than EXCITING. I couldn’t relax. I knew that on their own the excitement of so much snow would overtake any cautions we gave them about edges, snowdrifts and what not.
Photo of swings shortened due to snow fall

This was the swings in early Jan – the chains looped around the top bar so they’re stil useable by littlies

The swings after the humungous snowfall – taken once the snow had settled a bit and the top had reappeared. A few days before I snapped this you couldn’t see anything!

I really was afraid. I didn’t like that feeling – it didn’t feel like me. And I knew largely it was irrational. Maybe it was because of the fact that I grew up in southern England and hadn’t experienced snow like it. Stories of people getting lost on the way back from places peppered the news. Those people froze to death.

A nice bar graph showing the level of snowfall over the years. Red is where the snowfall has been in Jan, and how much. See that last bar where the red is way higher than all the others? That’s this year

I remembered my first ever night in a ski resort. I’d arrived the night before my friends and had gone out with some people I’d met on the bus on the way there. I’d never drunk Belgian beer before…it’s strong! I was in my early twenties and really quite naive.  I remember wandering alone, pretty drunk, the snowy streets, looking for my chalet. At one point I was definitely heading out of town. I about turned and flagged down a car – a 2CV. Thank goodness for that. Thank goodness for my sketchy French. Thank goodness the people I flagged down were kind. I got in the car and they drove me to my chalet. (Thank goodness they knew where it was.) For some people an evening like that doesn’t turn out so well.
It all made me think hard about how ill-prepared people are when they come to the mountains. The risks we take. The risk I’ve taken – in travels all over the place. I thought back to the lonely, remote caves I visited in Thailand, where a young boy in flip-flops with a torch leapt from rock to rock deep under ground, me following, hoping I wouldn’t slip. No one else was with me. No one knew where I was….
Note to self – raise travel-savvy, worldly, risk aware  offspring.
Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.
Dale Carnegie
Well, this post was going to be about skiing, but it’s ended up being about snow, and fear, and taking risks from ignorance and thoughtlessness…
Eventually I got used to the huge amount of snow. It settled in. I ski’d on it (and didn’t fall in – well, only about to my thighs anyway – the perils of taking your ski’s off!). The children loved it and played in igloos and snow holes, and I let them, buzzing them intermittently on the walkie-talkie to reassure myself that they were still there. They were, they are, and we are all learning a lot of valuable things about mountain life.

They loved it!

It was very beautiful too

Remembering those years-ago trips, and the risks I’d taken, brought other memories to the fore, so I might meander away from France once in a while and tell a few old tales, just to mix it up. That’s me for now. Stay warm, stay safe, ski happy!

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One thought on “S’no Fear

  1. Pingback: Will you be going home? | Jumping Off Books

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