During the months of January through to early April, my client, Maurizio often takes days off to go skiing with friends. I know this because we often talk about these fun days in our online classes.
Maurizio absolutely loves skiing and will grab any opportunity he can to head off to the Italian or French Alps. Last week he did just that and later that week he spent our first lesson of the year telling me all about it. As we were chatting I thought that I would share Maurizio’s day with you and at the same time introduce you to some skiing vocabulary.
Maurizio sets off very early in the morning (about 5am) for the mountains. He normally drives himself or gets a lift with a friend. When travelling to the mountains in winter, it is very important to ensure that the wheels to your car have snow chains.
And of course, you want to make sure that you have all the right clothes. It’s very important you have many layers on rather than one big, thick jumper. So let’s see – you would need:
- the base layer (thermal is best),
- a fleece,
- a ski jacket,
- ski pants or a pair of salopettes,
- a hat or a buff (neck warmer),
- gloves or mitts
- a pair of snow boots to walk in with some warm socks
Now for the actual skiing equipment or gear. As I am sure you would have heard recently on the news, Michael Schumacher’s medical team said that he would definitely have died if he had not been wearing a ski helmet when he went skiing off-piste. Off-piste skiing is when you ski on unmarked or unpatrolled slopes just outside a ski resort’s boundaries.
I am still so surprised by the number of people who ski without helmets, especially those experienced and fast skiers. In fact, Maurizio admitted that he doesn’t wear a helmet. He claims he is not a fast skier and never skis off-piste but I still say more people should wear helmets. Better safe than sorry……
Whilst the helmet may be optional, the following equipment is essential:
- a pair of skis and ski boots (many people can hire them at the resort or buy their own)
- a pair of poles
- a pair of ski goggles
When you arrive at the ski resort, you will need a ski pass that allows you to ski on the slopes for the day. You need to use a ski lift to reach the top of the slopes. This can be in the form of a chair lift or a ski tow.
So, Maurizio spends the first few hours skiing (he is a downhill skier). Around mid-morning, he and his friends stop for a break at the resort’s café. (Maurizio uses the Italian word “rifugio” which can be roughly translated as ‘café’ as the English word ‘refuge’ has a different meaning.) They often stop to enjoy a glass of mulled wine or hot chocolate.
There is more skiing before lunch beckons. I don’t know about you but after a morning’s skiing I would be starving or ravenous and so ready for a good lunch.
After lunch, you can normally fit in a couple more hours of skiing before it’s time to go either home or back to the chalet where you’re staying at the resort for a good soak in the bath and a well-earned rest.
I am not a skier and prefer the sea to the snow, but the few times I have spent a few days at a ski resort my favourite time of day has always been the après-ski!!! This is where all the socialising happens after a day’s skiing, usually around a bar. (The word is French and literally means ‘after skiing’ but the English language has adopted the word and it is used idiomatically.)
There is something magical and cosy about the après-ski with the cold outside and roaring fires and hot drinks inside that makes me feel all snug and warm. It makes me want to join Maurizio on one of his next skiing trips. Any room for me in the car?
Do you ski? Are you a downhill or cross-country skier? What is your favourite part of a day trip skiing? If you’re planning a skiing holiday soon, I wish you tremendous fun but please stay safe.
Thank you, Maurizio for allowing me to mention you and share your day with my readers.
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Ciao for now
PS The words and expression in blue are phrasal verbs and collocations that you could add to your vocabulary.