While I’ve been chained to my desk for the last few days swamped with work and getting annoyed at all the snow reports and pictures going by on my Twitter feed, I’ve been comforting myself by remembering that there really are some good reasons why I should be sitting behind a computer right now and not heading out there skiing. Here they are, I’ve come up with five:
1. The snow
credit: Chuck East
If you’ve only ever skied at Easter and haven’t really come across powder before, it’s a bit of a nuisance really. It can get pretty deep to ski through and when you do, it blows up and gets everywhere: in your face, on your GoPro lens, down your neck and gloves if you’re not kitted out properly… Sometimes you hear people whooping as they’re skiing through it, probably because the snow is blowing up into their faces and it feels cold. There’s even a risk that you could get snowed in at the resort and not be able to get back to the office…
2. The cold
credit: France Montagnes
It tends to be colder in January than in February or March which, OK, seems pretty obvious, but it can be a bit of a drag. You might have to pack more stuff in your suitcase, maybe some silk inner gloves, maybe another thermal base layer, that kind of thing. And you might have to stop a bit more often for a hot chocolate or a vin chaud, and sit by the open fire in a mountain restaurant. The cold also does things to the snow – it tends to make it lighter and more powdery, which can be a nuisance (see point 1 above).
3. The crowds
You know how in high season there’s a real buzz about the place, with loads of people on the slopes, in the mountain restaurants and in all the apres ski spots? You miss that in January… it can be pretty quiet, fewer happy, shouty kids all around you, mostly locals and seasonnaires in the bars… It can also get really tiring when you’re skiing, because you never have to queue for a lift so there’s no excuse for a breather and you end up covering miles and miles in a day.
4. The cost
Cost-wise, it’s just hard to know what you can trust, I mean loads of places are half the price of what they are in high season. Why do they discount them so much – is there something wrong with them? Some of the offers are really last-minute too – all a bit stressful really.
5. Home sweet home
Lastly, think of the alternative… You could be cosied up at home watching the rain beating against the windows. You might miss the last of the January sales back home… And then there’s all those post-holiday gym membership offers to take advantage of…
Really, why on earth would you want to go skiing in January?