From Tears to Triumph: Girl In Czechland Hits the Ski Slopes

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Another English lady fails to get to grips with the slopes…

So I survived. Just.

Like a Hollywood epic, the much anticipated and long dreaded ski trip had plenty of ups and downs or to be more precise, tears, tantrums, a turning point – and finally, triumph.

DAY 1: Tiny Towels

We arrive at the pension. It has the tiniest towels I’ve ever seen. There’s no complimentary soap. Before anyone accuses me of being spoilt and western, Czechman notices these two facts first.

DAY 2: My Debut

As predicted, things do not go well. Unflattering comparisons are made to Bridget Jones’ performance en piste in that cinematic masterpiece, Bridget Jones 2.

I fall over.  A lot – and lack the upper body strength to get up again unaided. There’s nothing more ungainly than watching a grown woman floundering around in the snow like a carp out of water – with skis and attached.

Unfortunately my sufferings do not end once I get off the slopes. I realize while putting on my normal footwear that I have twisted my ankle. I’m told that this is impossible to do this in ski boots. Once Czechman realizes that my self-diagnosis is correct, I’m accused of injuring myself on purpose to avoid further humiliation – sorry skiing. I hobble back to the pension, squealing with pain every five steps, in somewhat low spirits.

DAY 3: Sports Injury

Czechman goes off to The Big Slope which has one of those proper ski lifts that you actually sit down in. I’d love to have a go on one but you’re only allowed on if you’re wearing skis, which thanks to my sports injury – the first one of my entire life – I won’t be doing any time soon.

I manage a bit of swimming in the pool at the pension then hang out in the jacuzzi or ‘whirlpool’ as they say in Czechlish. Whirling on your own proves to be a bit boring. I go back to our room and attempt to do the crossword at the back of Žena a život. There’s one clue I can definitely complete with some confidence.

Kočka (anglický), three letters…

fluffy cat in snow

No animals were harmed in the taking of this photograph


I may not be able to ski but I am a Czech speaking genius. Sort of.

DAY 4: Defeat?

Ankle not swollen but still painful. Being in the mountains surrounded by skiers and snowboarders in a hotel run by two international ski champions with ski trophies lining the bar makes me feel like a bit of a prat.

I consider heading back to Prague and leaving Czechman to piste it up alone.

Perhaps I would have done but

a)    I discovered a café with the best hot chocolate in the world

b)    I couldn’t manage to read the bus timetable properly without adult (i.e Czechman’s) assistance.

DAY 5: The Turning Point

Using a potent combination of bribery (hot chocolate, fruit dumplings) and emotional blackmail (“but isn’t it nice when partners have a shared interest?” Umm, yes, but does it have to involve the risk of physical injury?) Czechman persuades me to get back on those skis.

Getting to the top of the kiddie slope is by no means easy. I have to place a rapidly moving pole with a disc attached to the end between my legs and hang on for dear life. I manage to do so successfully and even remember to release it in time so I don’t end up on the ground.

I also master the snow plough or gliding wedge: that’s the technical term for pointing my skis towards each other to make a big V shape. I can even stop by means of an oblouček to the right. I still fall over sometimes but progress has been made.

There were moments when you might even have said I was enjoying myself. Don’t tell Czechman though or he’ll drag me back to the mountains faster than you can say waterproof insulated trousers …

Bridget Jones demonstrates the snow plough. Sort of.

Bridget Jones demonstrates the snow plough. Sort of.



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14 Responses to From Tears to Triumph: Girl In Czechland Hits the Ski Slopes

  1. Oh GIC – it is so good to have you posting once again. I, & I’m sure many other of your followers, were beginning to wonder if you had survived your week in the mountains.

    As it appears Czechman does read what you post here, I’m sure he will pounce on your admission that, towards the end of the week, you were actually beginning to enjoy yourself. So despite those ski trousers being both expensive & unfashionable, I think you’ll be wearing them again in the not too distant future 🙂

  2. girlinczechland

    Hello Ricky,

    Those ski trousers were both expensive and unfashionable. However, perhaps I ought to be thankful for the fact that unlike those sported by Ms Jones, they are not bright pink – I looked quite ridiculous enough while falling over!

    Alas, I fear a return to the mountains is inevitable whether Czechman reads this post or not. He’s already informed me that there’s snow on the slopes in some parts of the country until May…


  3. My advice: stay at home for the first four days and skip right to DAY 5: The Turning Point in the next winter season.

    • girlinczechland

      Hello Vitsoft,

      Excellent advice but I fear I won’t get away with only one day in the mountains. I also predict that I’ll be forced to work on perfecting a turn to the left as well as to the right…


  4. Just to confirm – you DIDN’T die, right?

  5. Peter

    You are now officially a better skier than me….

  6. Nope! Still definitely alive and kicking 😉

  7. Well done surviving! That’s a major achievement. 😀 Seriously, though. I still dread the memories of my school skiing trip and I was in the ‘cross-country skiing’ group. Plus I originally come from a mountain region (Jizerky), I should be a passionate skier. Uhm, nope. I quite enjoyed snowboarding (which I tried for the first time when I went to Lake Tahoe in USA, oh the irony!), it’s much more fun, even though your legs are stucked to one thing instead of two, the options for falling are better. :)) Have you ever tried that? You might like it better.

  8. Miss Merlot

    Hahaha reminds me of the awful time David and I went to Spindlerov Mlin and I DID almost die on the most un-health and safety toboggan ride (traversing several roads….) ever!! NEVER AGAIN.

  9. Eva

    Great post, the picture with the cat got me 🙂
    I learnt how to ski having been twenty-one…just to assure you that I know very well how far it is to the ground when you are an adult (and I understand why parents force their children to ski schools when they are small). My personal finding was that after two days of practicing one should avoid making their way through a forrest on a slope easier by putting the skis on after having fallen off a ski lift…just for a simple reason that you never know what´s at the end of the forrest. There was a “ski jump”. Well, if one is not able to pull up, the only option is to jump it down….
    Anyway, do not give up! Each day it gets better. And although I myself don´t like “overqualified” advice, I cannot resist one more – make sure you not only have good ski trousers, but also good skis and boots – they should protect your ankles 😉
    Good luck!

    • girlinczechland

      Hi Eva,

      Fear not: Czechman forced me to invest in good ski trousers, although it turns out they are a bit long so I’ll have to get busy with my sewing machine if I don’t want them to get completely ruined!

      Don’t give up is excellent advice for most areas of life: many thanks for your words of encouragement…


  10. I found the ski lifts harder then the actual skiing. Those T-bar lifts especially. Was in Austria skiing years ago and very slowly and gradually fell off one and slid back down to the bottom, my skis and sticks collecting a few disgruntled Austrians on the way down, there was about 6 of us at the bottom. The shame.

  11. Kalina

    The more I read your stories, the more I think that either you’re my astral twin-sister or something and you have the exact same experiences as me OR that all Czechmen are pretty similar 😀
    Now, I had THIS story a couple of years ago and, having skied successfully for 4-5 times (each time for about a week) since, I must admit I’m happy about it and actually love it! 🙂
    And when I say it’s 1:1, I mean it, except from the twisted ankle as in my case the damage was horrible buises all over and impossibility to sit on/stand from the toilet and other undesired side-effects. What i loved the most though was the “but isn’t it nice when partners have a shared interest?” bit – exact same blackmail used on me! They are all quite similar :)))))

    • girlinczechland

      Hello Kalina,

      An astral twin – now there’s an idea!

      Reading your comment almost makes me feel a bit sorry for all the Czechmen out there with spoilt and Western girlfriends who will only do winter sports if they have to have their arms twisted – and then end up twisting their ankles.

      It’s good that you enjoy skiing now. I didn’t fall head over heels in love with life on the slopes but I will go back – eventually…


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