- The Daily Mail’s Francesca Wickers hit the ski slopes for the first time
- She took her first lesson on a nursery slope at the resort of Kirchberg
- Breathtaking Alps retreat has plenty of friendly bars and restaurants
My instructor Christina is adamant. ‘Let’s go. It’s easy, I promise,’ she says, as I peer down what looks like a giant white cliff-face.
It’s my first day learning to ski. Christina’s definition of ‘easy’ does not match mine, and our relationship is on thin ice.
Being a non-skier has never bothered me, but I’ve had a niggling guilt that I was knocking the sport without trying it.
Breathtaking Kirchberg is dominated by a typical Tirol-style church, with plenty of bars and restaurants
So here I am in Kirchberg, a charming, traditional resort in the Austrian Tirol. On the first morning, Christina and I pootle around the nursery slope.
I get to grips with the snow plough — pushing the skis into a wedge to break my speed — and changing direction. Then she suggests we head up the mountain.
I hesitate. Christina assures me lunch is waiting at the top. We climb into the chairlift and rise above the most majestic landscape I’ve ever seen.
Clusters of ghostly mountains, sprinkled with pine trees, stretch far into the distance.
But there’s no sign of any restaurant. Or people. I thought we were having lunch? ‘Yes. But to get there, we must ski down.’
So we set off. Within seconds I’m going so fast I can’t stop. I try to snow plough, but in my panic I forget how, and I’m getting faster and faster.
Francesca Wickers was mesmerised by clusters of ghostly mountains while riding the chairlift
Fortunately, my skis hit a mound of snow and I topple over. I feel the hot prickle of tears in my eyes. I just want my feet back.
‘Keep going!’ cries Christina, her voice a speck in the distance. I stubbornly position my skis perpendicular to the slope, and painstakingly step down, inch by inch, as a shoal of toddlers in woolly pom-poms and skis the size of lollipop sticks whizz past.
I collapse into a chair at the Gasthof Ochsalm restaurant and watch with envy as hungry skiers swagger in, bronzed faces, hair flopping over their goggles.
I can’t believe how relaxed they look. Have we really just spent the morning doing the same sport?
Later, lying in the Rosengarten Hotel sauna, the worst of my mountain trauma drifts from my memory, not least because the hotel has great powers to soothe.
Kirchberg is awfully pretty, dominated by a typical Tirol-style church and with plenty of friendly bars and restaurants. I might not be a natural skier, but I’m good at the night life.
On my second day, I insist on the baby slope again. Christina looks disappointed. ‘You’re free here,’ she says, pointing to my legs, ‘but not here’, tapping my forehead.
So be it. I’m sure my brain will free up soon enough. The key, I think, to learning to ski is taking things at your own pace.
By the end of the week, even Christina seems impressed.
Easyjet (easyjet.com, 0330 365 5000) flies from Gatwick to Innsbruck from £65 return.
Hotel Restaurant & Spa Rosengarten (rosengarten-taxacher.com, 0043 5357 4201) has three-night ski breaks from £413 pp half-board, based on two sharing.
It includes a two-day lift pass, transfers to and from ski lifts and use of the spa. More ski hotel information at niche-destinations.com.
Courtesy: Daily Mail Online