Skiing for the Very First Time

18-year old Luca Reid James put skis on for the first time. It was daunting at first but he now seems hooked for life.

As we emerged from the thick cloud driving up the mountain and I saw my first piece of fresh snow.

I had been dreaming of this moment for weeks, but the nerves began to kick in.

I had a challenging week ahead as others in my group had skied before.

I was the new kid on the block.

Skiing for the first time. Image © PlanetSKI

Skiing for the first time. Image © PlanetSKI

Once we reached the Hôtel Le Mottaret in Meribel that is run by Ski France we headed down to get kitted out with rental skis from  Intersport.

Here the staff helped fit me out with all the essential equipment and I was ready to begin my skiing journey.

I felt nervous, but excited.

My first morning of skiing began with some complications as I faced putting my skis on half way up a slope outside my ski-in/ski-out hotel.

A task which seemed so easy from a far became my worst nightmare within a blink of an eye.

Slowly but surely I made my way down back into the village, after hesitantly attempting a multitude of greens and my first ever blue slope.

However the feeling of accomplishment was shortly outmatched by the relief that I felt unbuckling my ski boots.

We stopped for a rest before my ski lesson – with Bertrand from the ESF ski school.

I wish he had been there earlier as I started my time on skis.

Skiing for the first time. Image © PlanetSKI

Skiing for the first time. Image © PlanetSKI

Bertrand toured me around the village, showing me the opportunities Méribel had to offer for beginners.

These ranged from the infant school and yeti parc, to identifying points on the mountain he had taken a teenage group of more advanced individuals earlier in the week.

By Day One I transitioned from solely relying on the snow plow to practicing the intricacies of the parallel turn.

All thanks to Bertrand.

He used contextual and interactive activities to help me get to grips with the ski technique.

But most importantly he helped me gain a sense of confidence in my own ability, and he helped me realise the simplicity of skiing.

I loved it.

Bertrand told me the history of Les3Vallées and gave me a greater understanding of the vast layout as we ascended in Courchevel.

Skiing for the first time. Image © PlanetSKI

Skiing for the first time. Image © PlanetSKI

Les 3 Vallees is the world’s biggest interconnected ski region with 600km of runs and 162 lifts.

And 85% of the ski area is located above 1,800m, guaranteeing good snow coverage all season.

We explored the wide expanse of green and blue slopes Courchevel had on offer.

It gave me the opportunity to practice my technique and gain a little more speed – whilst remaining in control and without as much fear in comparison to the start of the trip.

At the end of the week we descended down the mountain face and stumbled across a decision –  blue or red?

Bertrand filled me with enough confidence to attempted the red slope.

In which I came out victorious.

We were officially one valley away from completing all three.

The final day was dedicated to reaching the final valley – Val Thorens.

La Grande Derniere, Val Thorens. Image © PlanetSKI

Val Thorens. Image © PlanetSKI

After taking several lifts and cruising along the slopes in between, we’d finally made it.

Now it was time to venture down into the valley.

After mistakenly misreading a piste sign we found ourselves half way down black slope leading into Val Thornes’ La Folie Douce.

All that I had learnt over the last days lead to this moment.

Quickly displacing my body weight from one foot to another to sharpen my turns, and traversing for lengthy periods to help manage my speed.

As I stood at the base of the slope and looked back on what I had completed a smile of pure ecstasy grew from ear to ear, signifying the true success of my skiing experience as a whole.

Skiing for the first time. Image © PlanetSKI

Skiing for the first time. Image © PlanetSKI

I think I am hooked.

Most likely for life.