Saturday, August 17, 2019
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Finding First Love in the French Ski Resort of Flaine

A heart-warming tale about falling head over heels, literally and emotionally, in the French Alps. An account of two teenagers, brought together by a botched attempt to impress and how they were reminded that safety is all important, even when distracted by the opposite sixth Letter first went on a school ski trip when I was fifteen. I took the letter from school home to my parents, planning the things I would say to coax and cajole them into letting me go. I would do my homework as soon as I got it, keep my room tidy and help around the house more if they would just let me go abroad for those five precious days.

Thankfully, they said yes and I started the countdown, crossing the days off my calendar each morning. At school we talked about the school ski trip in hushed, excited voices when we were supposed to be concentrating on Algebra in double Math’s.

Le Peseta long last, the day of the school ski trip arrived. I had barely slept all night, instead staring at the suitcase that sat enticingly at the foot of my bed. We were setting off by coach at first light, after fighting off our emotional parents. After the long journey we arrived in the resort of Flaine, in the French Alps. We looked in awe at the snow covered peaks and felt well, terrified, to be honest. We had been given lessons at an artificial ski slope, but these slopes looked seriously steep and scary. We settled down and waited with trepidation for the following day.

Laughter We were woken at six, got dressed in many layers and went down for breakfast. Within minutes of hitting the slopes, I was totally hooked. The exhilaration of speeding down a hillside with the wind rushing past is unbelievable and completely different to skiing on the harsh bristles of an artificial slope.

The slopes got increasingly harder. On one occasion, my classmate was catapulted off her skis when she hit deep snow and came up covered in white, not unlike the Abominable Snowman. At fifteen, we found this hilarious. On another occasion, somebody lost control and the momentum carried her forwards. When she stopped, the slope was littered with several items of her clothing, causing much hysterical giggling.

Loves I skied down one particular slope, I spotted a boy who I liked from school. Ignoring my novice skiing ability, I tried to impress him. Needless to say I fell spectacularly, drew lots of unwelcome attention and twisted my knee. Fortunately, my humiliation was worse than my injury and apart from a slight limp, I was otherwise unharmed.

Maybe it was fate, but as I hobbled into the dining area that evening, our eyes met across the room and later on that last evening during the disco, he asked me to dance. I returned home the day after a changed teenager. I had fallen in love with skiing and with someone who would become my first serious boyfriend and my first love.

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