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Old 7th January 2022, 20:03   #1
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Default I learnt to Ski at 40 | Les Gets Ski Resort, France

Hi Friends,

I am back again, to share yet another experience with all of you. But this, time, in addition to the exciting road journey across Europe, I will share my experience of experiencing something that I have not experienced before As you may have guessed, yes I just returned from my Christmas/New year's holiday and this time I have a proud feather in my cap - I learnt to Ski...at 40!

I learnt to Ski at 40 | Les Gets Ski Resort, France-screenshot-20220107-5.56.28-pm.png

Background

Coming from a family where generations had not even touched a ski, forget trying it out. This seed however, was planted in my head when just as a casual experiment in December of 2019, someone made me wear a ski boot and gave me a pair of skis to try on a flat slope in Valloire Galibier in the French Alps. Must I say, that experiment failed royally as just on my own, I just did not know what to do with the skis. Also, I must admit just before this experiment, I had injured me knee in another sport, so just the first two falls from the ski called off that experiment for me, because I did not want to injure my knees any further. There were a couple of realisations with this ski experiment; one, that skiing is definitely not easy as it appears to be when seeing other people do it and two, despite my failure at the experiment I could have done better.
With these two thoughts planted in my mind, we left Galibier, back to home, back to work, only to be hit by the pandemic 3 months later, in March 2020. Just like anyone else at that time, I was sure that the pandemic would be over by summers, and I will then, start researching on, if and how can I learn to be on the skis. Come summer, followed by the winters of 2020, whole of 2021 by and large, it was only in October last year sighting no risk of lockdown, or a complete lockdown if I say so, that I did my research and narrowed in on the place where I would learn to Ski and it was to be Les Gets, France.

I learnt to Ski at 40 | Les Gets Ski Resort, France-screenshot-20220107-6.03.55-pm.png

Why Les Gets?

For a couple of reasons,
  1. Les Gets is known for the infrastructure and facilities it has for beginner skiers
  2. It attracts a lot of people from UK, and therefore by and large everyone understands and speaks English (which other wise can be a challenge, if you followed my post here (The French Riviera | Cote d'Azur | 9 days in the South of France) or followed my French Riviera series on YouTube)
  3. It looked really picturesque

What and where is Les Gets?

Les Gets is a small beautiful ski resort town at the base of the French Alps, just an hour drive from Geneva, Switzerland.

I learnt to Ski at 40 | Les Gets Ski Resort, France-screenshot-20211231-6.06.55-pm.png

Other places to learn to ski in Europe?

Oh, there would be plenty. Switzerland and Austria for example, are almost the same distance from my home in Germany, and much closer than Les Gets, but in my limited knowledge and opinion, they are much pricier, almost double (as I will explain later), for the not as good beginner level infrastructure that Les Gets has to offer. Of course, if you are a avid skier, then its quite the opposite, where I would not mind that extra to be able to ski down Mt Titlis and other peaks of the likes.

Just like my other travelogues, I have also attempted capturing my experience of learning to Ski in the form of a video series on YouTube on my channel - BeermanTalkies. Please do consider subscribing to the channel, if you like the content. It will only motivate me to improve from here and to follow the same format of travelogue + video series to share experience and knowledge. The videos also have english subtitles, because language that I have used is a mix of Hindi and English.


To keep it fair to the heart of this forum, let's also talk a little bit about the road journey to this resort, because winter is not winter, without an adventurous drive in snowy conditions and icy roads!

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So, some statistics with respect to the exciting journey to this ski resort town of Les Gets are as following,
  • Total Duration of the trip - This time, it was one activity that dominated our entire itinerary, and that activity was our ski class! Will share the details of the ski class in later sections, but to summarise we had 6 days of ski classes, from Sunday 19th Dec to Friday 24th Dec 2021. So we started on the preceding Friday 17th Dec (second half, just like we do every time), and returned on evening of 26th Dec, making it an overall duration of 9.5 days.
  • Total kilometres covered - Our route map for the entire trip was,
    • Dusseldorf, Germany to Weil am Rhein, Germany - 530 kms
    • Weil am Rhein to Les Gets, France (and the car was parked in the garage for 6 days, straight) - 270 kms
    • Les Gets to Chamonix, France (day trip on 25th Dec) - 60 kms
    • From Chamonix back to Les Gets - 60 kms
    • Les Gets to Dusseldorf (on 26th Dec) - 800 kms
      So total kilometres covered were 1720.
  • Total fuel expenses - Given my car gives a mileage of 7.9l/100 litres, I must have consumed 7.9*17.2=136 litres. Now the cost of petrol of Super E10 in Germany has really hit the roof in the past 12 months from 1.2 euro per litre to 1.7 euro per litre, making my over all fuel cost to be ~230 euros
  • Road tax - Swiss Vignette, Autobahnvignette Schweiz 2021: 38.5 euros. This is required, as you can see from the map, we travel quite a bit (rather majority) in Swiss while going to Les Gets from Weil and Rhein.
  • Toll charges - as applicable, and as explained in the French Rivera thread (The French Riviera | Cote d'Azur | 9 days in the South of France) and also the YouTube series. I had to pay the toll only twice, while going from Les Gets to Chamonix and back.
  • If you hire a car, then rental + insurance costs sit on top, as mentioned here (The French Riviera | Cote d'Azur | 9 days in the South of France) .

Last edited by raveesh_k : 16th January 2022 at 17:50.
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Old 7th January 2022, 21:46   #2
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Default Re: I learnt to Ski at 40 !

Les Gets - A gorgeous small ski resort for Beginners!



Our ski classes had to start on a Sunday as mentioned in the post before, so we wanted to be comfortably settled in our chalet in Les Gets by Saturday. Les Gets is approx 800 kms away from our home, so just like we always do, we covered more than half of this distance on Friday second half and travelled to a small town called Weil am Rhein in Germany, 530 kms into our final destination. What makes Weil am Rhein special is that it's a German city that is meters away from borders with France and Switzerland. In fact the trams from a Swiss city, Basel, also ply into Weil and Rhine.
We reached Weil and Rhine only late in the evening and because it gets dark here at 4.30 pm this time of the year, we did not have any light (...and energy) left to explore the city. So we called it a day and departed for Les Gets at 9 am the next morning (Saturday). Although Les Gets was only 3.5 hours drive away, we did a few stops in-between, so reached our final destination by 2 pm and completed all the check in formalities.

Few highlights from our journey to, and exploration of Les Gets,
  • Evian - home to the Evian mineral water, this is a very up market resort and spa town along the French side of Lake Geneva. The entire promenade of this town is lined up with imaginative sculptures, made from driftwood from the lake (you would see some of them in the video as well)
  • Les Gets, the resort in itself - Simply put, it's the cutest ski resort that I have seen so far in Europe. Additionally what also makes it even more attractive is its cosmopolitan feel, with many visitors from the UK, numerous restaurants and cafes serving different cuisines. You would not believe it, but there is an Indian restaurant 'Baaji' as well in this exotic resort (I was stumped when I saw it). Given the small size of this resort, you can cover all of it on foot and with super ease. We booked our chalet through Thibon Immobilier and must I say they have the best options for you to stay right in the centre (as you can also see in my video).
  • Alta Lumina - This was pure magic re-created in the form of a light and sound show right in the middle of the forest. An experience that I am sure, I will not forget.





Some pictures from our exploration,

I learnt to Ski at 40 | Les Gets Ski Resort, France-screenshot-20211231-6.01.38-pm.png

I learnt to Ski at 40 | Les Gets Ski Resort, France-screenshot-20211231-6.06.55-pm.png

I learnt to Ski at 40 | Les Gets Ski Resort, France-screenshot-20211231-6.02.58-pm.png

I learnt to Ski at 40 | Les Gets Ski Resort, France-screenshot-20211231-6.03.20-pm.png

I learnt to Ski at 40 | Les Gets Ski Resort, France-screenshot-20211231-6.06.21-pm.png

I learnt to Ski at 40 | Les Gets Ski Resort, France-screenshot-20211231-6.07.56-pm.png

Last edited by raveesh_k : 13th January 2022 at 19:21.
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Old 7th January 2022, 23:13   #3
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Default Re: I learnt to Ski at 40 !

I Learn't to Ski



A quick summary of how our ski course was structured and what was the actual daily outcome of it, is mentioned below,

Design of the Ski Course
  • The Ski School: 360 International Ski School
  • The Ski Course: Adults Beginners. Even in this category they had had 3 sub categories, with 'Have not touched Skis' being the one that we opted for.
  • Course timings: 9.30 am to 12 pm. Sunday to Friday (6 days in total). They also have an afternoon batch that you can opt for.
  • Course Fee: 179 euros per person
  • Ski Rental: from Skimium but via the ski school website which gave a 10% discount, on already reduced prices. We paid 140 euro per person including insurance for these 6 days and it included Skis, ski boots, helmet and ski poles.
  • Ski pass: Because of a discount voucher that we got from our ski school, we got our ski pass for 139 euro as against 210 euro original pass. This pass again was for 6 days. Also this pass gave us access to all the gondolas and chair lifts in this region.

High level skiing ability progression
  • Day 1 - Know your ski equipments, take the gondola and go to the beginners slope and then learn, braking (ploughing), getting up in case of a fall, going up an incline with skis on, ski down the beginner slope in a straight line in controlled speed (by ploughing all throughout).
  • Day 2 - Take the gondola and go to the beginners slope and then learn making big turns on the beginner slope
  • Day 3 - Take the gondola and go to the beginners slope and then learn making short turns on the beginner slope
  • Day 4 - Learn to use the chair lift and go to the main slope and get acquainted with the main slopes and its different kind (green, blue, red and black). The instructor also made us do a blue slope on this day.
  • Day 5 - Take the chair lift and go to the main slope and just gain efficiency, like speed control, parallel turns etc.
  • Day 6 - Repeat of day 5 and in the end a de-briefing and feedback session as it marked the end of the classes.

In general after 12 pm, our instructor used to leave us on our own and we used to practise on the progression of that day. I have shared my entire experience in this video, which I hope you will enjoy watching.




Some pictures from our Skiing sessions,

I learnt to Ski at 40 | Les Gets Ski Resort, France-screenshot-20220107-5.58.05-pm.png

I learnt to Ski at 40 | Les Gets Ski Resort, France-screenshot-20220107-5.58.23-pm.png

I learnt to Ski at 40 | Les Gets Ski Resort, France-screenshot-20220107-6.00.02-pm.png

I learnt to Ski at 40 | Les Gets Ski Resort, France-screenshot-20220107-6.00.18-pm.png

I learnt to Ski at 40 | Les Gets Ski Resort, France-screenshot-20220107-6.01.50-pm.png

I learnt to Ski at 40 | Les Gets Ski Resort, France-screenshot-20220107-6.02.33-pm.png

I learnt to Ski at 40 | Les Gets Ski Resort, France-screenshot-20220107-6.04.13-pm.png

I learnt to Ski at 40 | Les Gets Ski Resort, France-screenshot-20220107-6.03.05-pm.png

Last edited by raveesh_k : 13th January 2022 at 19:29.
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Old 12th January 2022, 12:31   #4
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Default Re: I learnt to Ski at 40 !

Chamonix - Base valley for the famous Mont Blanc

Ever since we planned this holiday, we knew that for the days when we are on the skis, we would not get any time to explore any other place close to Les Gets. Also because at this time of the year it starts to get dark at 4.30 pm, and it is no fun and not safe to drive in the dark in such snowy and icy conditions. Since we knew we will have one free day after our 6 days of ski classes, we had thought of exploring (a little) either Geneva or Chamonix. Both of these places were equidistant from Les Gets, but somehow I was more keen on Chamonix as it was more connected to the overall theme and mood of our winter holiday - the theme of Skiing in the French Alps; and so, Chamonix it was! In addition to the theme part of it, also from my holiday from Dec 2019 that I mentioned in the opening part of this travelogue, we passed through Chamonix, on our way to Valloire Galibier from Gstaad, Switzerland. We got stuck in a snow storm in-between and to navigate the storm we took an alternate route that lead us to Chamonix. Our entry into Chamonix was unplanned but we loved this breathtakingly beautiful place which was covered in heaps of snow all around. All this while I had this image of Chamonix in my mind so for the past 6 days, even though there was snow every where, I was just flapping on it like a penguin (with skis on), and I just din't get the opportunity to get behind the wheels. So for the day after the ski classes got over, and for my perpetual thrill of driving and even more so in snowy conditions, the destination was quite obvious.

Highlights from our journey to, and exploration of Chamonix,
  • It always about the journey - as you can see in the video, the stretch between these two places cuts through the 'Mont Blanc Massif' mountain range in French Alps and is surrounded by snowy peaks and heaps of snow on either sides of the road. This was the situation when it had snowed 2 weeks before, imagine driving through a heavy snowfall or snow storm through this as i did in 2019! I was lucky enough to do that and to survive to tell the tale. The snow season kicked in quite early in Europe in Dec 2021 and thats why I also had my snow chains in my boot, but din't get to use them as the snow had been cleared at most places.
  • Chamonix, you beauty! - the base station of Mont Blanc, and a picturesque town set in-between the mountains. Chamonix also attracts skiers and additionally mountaineers (since Mont Blanc is only accessible via mountain climbing). Chamonix is also very cosmopolitan and therefore, there are a lot of different cuisine serving restaurants here. Difference between this and Les Gets as you can see is the size of this city which is quite big, wherein in Les Gets, pretty much everything is approachable in a few steps.




Some pictures from our exploration,

I learnt to Ski at 40 | Les Gets Ski Resort, France-screenshot-20220112-7.44.52-pm.png

I learnt to Ski at 40 | Les Gets Ski Resort, France-screenshot-20220112-7.45.16-pm.png

I learnt to Ski at 40 | Les Gets Ski Resort, France-screenshot-20220112-7.46.36-pm.png

I learnt to Ski at 40 | Les Gets Ski Resort, France-screenshot-20220112-7.47.10-pm.png

I learnt to Ski at 40 | Les Gets Ski Resort, France-screenshot-20220112-7.47.56-pm.png

I learnt to Ski at 40 | Les Gets Ski Resort, France-screenshot-20220112-7.50.17-pm.png

I learnt to Ski at 40 | Les Gets Ski Resort, France-screenshot-20220112-7.50.32-pm.png

Last edited by raveesh_k : 16th January 2022 at 22:14.
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Old 13th January 2022, 17:17   #5
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Concluding Remarks

How we prepared ourselves - our mind, followed by our body and last but not the least - my car, for this adventure

Ski Adventure
  • Be positive, and be confident, not over confident
  • Be prepared to fail (fall), and with each fall the confidence that you gained flies out of the window. Re-gather that confidence. Fail. Getup. Repeat. Just keep going on.
  • Know your body and its limits, and know where to stop. If you injure yourself at the beginning itself then its over quickly, so till you are sure take it slow. Let yourself be the turtle in the group for the initial few classes/days
  • Its all about balance, and the agility of your body parts below the torso, especially the hip, knees, and foot. Be sure that this machinery is in good shape before you put the skis on
  • In general good fitness required.
  • Respect nature, not challenge it. Even a 4x4 cannot compete with snow and icy condition...need I say more!

Snow Drive Adventure
  • Snow tires, very important (and mandatory in Germany, else insurance guys look away)
  • Correct tire pressure
  • Top up anti freeze
  • Have a snow brush and a snow scrapper in the boot
  • Snow chains - I have these ones which I personally love. Putting on and taking out is a breeze.
  • Bottle of water - to clean the sensors around the car, that get dirty and thus disabled by driving on the snow slush
  • And finally as with the ski adventure, respect nature, not challenge it. Even a 4x4 cannot compete with snow and icy condition...mine is a crazy fast, adrenaline pumping, fun rear wheel drive So make doughnuts in snow (!), but in an empty car park. Will share video sometime soon!

Last edited by raveesh_k : 16th January 2022 at 22:14.
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Old 17th January 2022, 05:17   #6
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Default re: I learnt to Ski at 40 | Les Gets Ski Resort, France

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 17th January 2022, 10:14   #7
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Default Re: I learnt to Ski at 40 | Les Gets Ski Resort, France

That is amazing feat at the age of 40. I miserably failed to learn skating at the age of 30. I thought I can learn anything at any age. Then I gave up, with the learning that, there is a time for everything. 5 years ago, I tried to learn surfing and failed again. Then I settled for body boarding. Skiing is something I want to try, when possible. Learning cycling, swimming, skating, surfing etc at an early age will make a lot of difference.

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Old 17th January 2022, 16:45   #8
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Default Re: I learnt to Ski at 40 | Les Gets Ski Resort, France

Kudos bro. This is bucket list stuff for me. It's also dangerous I hear (Micahel Schumacher accident) but definitely something I want to learn and do once in life.
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Old 17th January 2022, 19:32   #9
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Default Re: I learnt to Ski at 40 | Les Gets Ski Resort, France

Congratulations to you on not giving up and picking up skiing. Wish you loads of fun ski runs over the years.

It is never too late to pick up a skill!
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Old 18th January 2022, 10:58   #10
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Default Re: I learnt to Ski at 40 | Les Gets Ski Resort, France

Congratulations on learning to Ski.

Skiing is a excellent sport, now that you have learnt it, please visit the slopes when ever you get a chance.
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Old 18th January 2022, 19:25   #11
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Default Re: I learnt to Ski at 40 | Les Gets Ski Resort, France

Congratulations!
Now that you have learnt it, winters will never be the same for you. Prospects of skiing holidays and different ski resorts will take over!
France is very good to learn. They have lots of beginner slopes..lots of green and blues. Now that you are past Le gets, you can try three valleys (Courchivel) which is really cool but a bit expensive. Megeve is much better.
Austria is near to you and has amazing skiing but no greens in Austria at least to the places I went to.
Switzerland is also good.
Never did any skiing in Germany.
But the ultimate test is Scotland! Im joking. It is horrible to ski in Scotland, the resorts are a pale comparison to anything in europe and the ski slopes are also ice covered, but since I lived there, I did lots of skiing in Scotland.

Dont forget the "Vin Chaud" at night post skiing!
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