Travelled in: January 2018
A couple of weeks ago I tried a brand new sport, skiing!
I had never really thought about going skiing until last year. For my birthday my boyfriend decided it was time for me to learn how to ski, so he bought me skiing lessons at The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead. He is a seasoned skier and is determined to get me on the slopes.
With a lot of encouragement I booked in for my lessons. In total I participated in 4 hours of group lessons on the indoor ski slope. This was enough time to learn the basics… how to put the skis on, how to do a snow plough and how to turn. The instructors were great and my first lesson was a lot of fun. I managed not to fall over so in my opinion it was a success. The second lesson was not so successful! I had forgotten everything I had learnt, and it was a total bambi on ice situation. At one point I accidentally manage to ski over a mini jump, which could have been really messy, but miraculously I managed to land on my feet. After this whole experience I still didn’t really have a huge interest in skiing. I decided not to do any more lessons, but if I ever had the opportunity I would try again on a mountain.
That opportunity was handed to me a couple of weeks ago, when I went to visit a friend in Italy…
Skiing at Piani Di Bobbio Barzio…
Bobbio Barzio ski resort is located about an hour and a half outside of Milan. You can get there pretty easily from any of the 3 Milan airports. I flew in to Bergamo as this was the closest to my friends home. Flights were a bargain only costing me £25 return from London Stansted with Ryanair.
My friend suggested a trip to the mountain during my weekend visit to Italy. She has just started learning to ski herself and wanted to get some practice in. Luckily her boyfriend has been skiing since he was a child and could teach us beginners the basics.
I had a mix of emotions when we arrived at the mountain. For one I was super nervous. I was about to experience something completely new, and I really didn’t know what to expect. Secondly I was majorly concerned it could all go horribly wrong and was having slight concerns my travel insurance does not cover this particular sport, but too late I was already there. Lastly, I was really confused. We had driven half way up the mountain and I still couldn’t see any snow. What were we going to ski on?
It was a cloudy day so from the car park you couldn’t see the top of the mountain. To get to the peak we needed to take a cable car transfer. I didn’t have any ski equipment so I hired skis and boots from the rental office. This only cost me 14 euros for the day. The lift pass was 25 euros for 4 hours, which included the tickets for the cable car.
I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was pretty blown away when I got out of the cable car. Having never been on a snowy mountain before, being up there and taking in these views was a little bit overwhelming.
I had of course forgotten everything I picked up from my skiing lessons, even putting the skis on was a struggle. The skis and boots took a while to get used to. My calves and ankles were hating on me for a good couple of hours before the adrenaline/cold took over and numbed any pain.
I was really worried about getting the chair lift for the first time, but it was surprisingly totally fine. It felt amazing sitting up there above the slopes taking in my surroundings.
My first run down the mountain was actually much better than I had anticipated, although I had completely forgotten how to stop (a fundamental part of safe skiing). My friends boyfriend coached me through it and I soon managed to get the hang of stopping and turning. I felt a massive sense of relief when I finally got to the bottom of my first run and hadn’t fallen over. My biggest worry was that another skiier would come crashing in to me and wipe me out. It’s one of those things where you kind of have to just focus on what you are doing and hope for the best…
A few runs down and I was really getting in to it, look at me go… 🙂
My friends ventured off to the red and black runs. I stayed on the blue as I was nowhere near ready for that yet.
One thing I learnt after a couple of runs is that skiing is exhausting. A hot chocolate break half way down the slope felt very well deserved…
After meeting back up with my pals we stopped off for some traditional mountain food at Rifugio Ratti Cassin. I tried the typical dish of Pizzoccheri, a delightful combination of buckwheat pasta, potatoes, cabbage and cheese, it was comfort food at its best and just what I needed to warm up.
No mountain meal would have be complete without desert, so I also had to try their white chocolate and berry torte, which did not disappoint.
Although I only spent a short time on the mountain, my first experience of the slopes was a great taster in to the world of skiing. I would of course still need ski school if I am ever to go on a ski holiday, but at least I now have some good basic skills and the confidence it takes to develop further.
Something that has always put me off a ski holiday is the cost. Barzio Bobbio is no Val d’Isere I’m sure, but I found my day out on the slopes very affordable. If you are planning a trip to the Milan area or just want a quick getaway for a cheap ski fix, this could be your place. For my one day ski trip I spent 84 euros which included my return flights, lift pass, ski rental, lunch and a hot chocolate.
I was super proud of myself for giving skiing a chance and actually being able to do it! I didn’t fall over once all day and I really enjoyed every minute of it. Having realized I have been missing out all these years, I think planning an actual ski holiday is definitely on the cards for next year.
For anyone debating whether skiing is for them I hope I have convinced you to step out of your comfort zone and give it a go. You wont regret it 🙂