Skiing leads on to apres-ski. There are few sports more suited to the aging frame than skiing, particularly if you have achieved a reasonable level of competence before your joints start to creak. This is because the better you get, the less stress to your bones and muscles. So, provided that you are careful there is no reason that you shouldn’t carry on skiing well beyond normal retiring age. Of course, there are certain pitfalls to avoid, and I listed a few in my earlier post –Top tips for over 50’s skiing. Also some ideas about making life on skis just that little bit easier.
So, provided that you are careful there is no reason that you shouldn’t carry on skiing well beyond normal retiring age.Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the more energetic types of apres-ski.
This was brought home to me some time ago when I booked a last-minute skiing holiday to a chalet in St Anton. I was travelling alone, but usually in those circumstances you can link up with other skiers in the same situation. This time the other chalet customers included a group of 10 junior doctors, who very kindly invited me to ski with them from the first day. And what a charming group they were – lively and full of fun. The other occupants were a married couple who were taking their first holiday together after the birth of a first child. For the whole week they spoke to nobody else, not even to each other, judging by their looks at breakfast.
The doctors also asked me to join their first apres-ski outing. I was surprised that apres-ski started before dinner with several bottles of vodka, followed by an unlimited supply of wine as we ate. By the time we hit the street I felt pretty well-oiled, but rather less so than my companions. The chosen bar was pandemonium with one big crush to get to the bar. I gave up after 10 minutes, made my excuses, and went home alone. The next morning two of my companions from the night before made it down for breakfast but then disappeared in a hurry looking very pale. Two more managed to put in an appearance and actually got to the top of the first lift before calling it a day.
By dinner time the whole group appeared to have recovered and were set for a repeat. I politely declined, explaining that I didn’t want to cramp their style. Walking back down the high street that afternoon I had spotted a rather elegant four star hotel. So after dinner I set out for the almost deserted bar of the Hotel Alte Post. A coffee and digestif along with my book added up to one of the most pleasant, and dare I say luxurious two hours of my apres-ski experience.
Of course, apres-ski was not always like this. I remember with shame a much earlier event when Karen and I had joined a group to Mayrhofen. The ladies had spent the afternoon preparing for a group gala night out of dinner, log-chopping and thigh slapping. Unfortunately after a rather long and liquid lunch we had taken the wrong route down from the mountain top, so when we got back to the hotel I was already under fire for running late. The beers we had in the bar to recover did not help, so I didn’t quite make it for the evening out. I was left alone and had to endure the black looks of the rest of the group the next morning. Happy days, but of course we’re all past that now.
So the simple lesson is to match your apres-ski to your skiing capacity. If you have to stop off at the Mooserwirt, go early and leave before sunset – the last run through slush is no fun, and even less so in the dark.
But even so, the road to ruin is always paved with good intentions, isn’t it?