15 things you’ll hear on a ski holiday

It’s ski season. It’s the holiday that boasts the antithesis of relaxation, that leaves you needing another holiday to recover from it when you arrive home. And yet, we love it. Fasten your seatbelts to your ears, because we’re about to take a trip down memory lane (or preparation, if you’re a ski holiday newbie) and visit 15 of the things you’ll hear on a ski holiday.

1. “Right everyone, we need to be up for the first lift.”

Let’s get one thing straight: this is not a holiday for relaxing. If the first lift opens at 8:45, then this means you need to be up and ready by 1am. Everyone sets an alarm. Everyone sets 5 alarms, actually. The designated leader of the group (let’s call her Martha) will set their alarm 5 mins before everyone else’s alarm, so that everyone definitely knows Martha’s in charge and running this snow show (shnow?). You’ll want to get a good night’s sleep, skiing’s exhausting, but make sure it’s accompanied by enough anxiety and tension about the possibilities of (god forbid) missing the first ski lift. Otherwise you’ll be in trouble with Martha.

2. “You’re making us late for the first lift.”

Ok yes, but the thing is with skiing is that you must cover yourself in the ludicrous layers of thermals, base-layers, mid-layers and fleeces before you can even think about putting on your coat. Also there’s snoods to think about – do you put that on before the fleece? Before the hat? After the jacket? Who the fuck knows. Also don’t forget about gloves – not the ski gloves (it’s not time for that yet), but the normal gloves that transport your hands to the bottom of the lift at a tepid temperature.

3. “Ok, tomorrow we’re getting the first lift.”

Well it was always going to happen wasn’t it? Getting everyone up, ready and out to catch an 8:45am lift on a holiday was an outrageously bold assumption to make. It’s hard enough making it to work by 8:45 most days. You’re on a later lift, with a few more people (you had to queue, ugh) and now it’s time to sort out the whole glove situation.

4. “Hang on, I need to just get my gloves on.”

You’ve worked up a sweat lugging your skis, poles or snowboard to the first lift and OH MY GOD THESE BOOTS ARE SO UNCOMFORTABLE WHY HAS NO ONE DESIGNED COMFIER ONES YET IT’S 2018 FOR GOD’S SAKE so you thought you’d take your gloves off. Hands get hot, you know? But now you’ve got to put them on again, at the same time performing the elite acrobatic act of trying not to drop your poles. You could put the gloves on when you get to the top, but that eats into valuable skiing time and Martha won’t like that. Best do it now.

5. “Cold, isn’t it?”

You’ve breezed/hurled/zoomed/inched your way down the first few slopes, and whilst you’re catching your breath back at the bottom, (it almost feels like exercise sometimes, doesn’t it?) someone’s observed that it’s cold. On a snow-capped mountain. Unbelievable. Martha can’t believe it. No one can believe it. And now because someone’s said it – you can’t believe it either. Part of you thinks that if you’d come up the slopes a little later and not aimed for the first lift, you’d have skied through a much warmer part of the day, which would’ve been nice. Best not say it out loud though, Martha might smack you with her pole.

6. “Is it time for coffee yet?”

It’s too cold now, and by 10:30am there’s a cry for coffee. You mutter that you came on a ski holiday to ski, not to sit around drinking coffee, but after a sharp leftwards nod from Steven, you realise that this might get you in trouble with Martha. Coffee it is then.

Once you get to overpriced slope-side shack, someone’s shouting “WHO WANTS TO MAKE THIS COFFEE IRISH?” at you, pulling out a hip flask of whiskey. You find yourself wondering whether you can really call it ‘making it Irish’ if it’s not Irish whiskey. And why’s that Irish anyway? If you poured whiskey on a dog does it become an Irish dog? Also, you’ve seen it spelled ‘whiskey’ and ‘whisky’ too, so which one is this one? Oh god, just drink it. You can Google it later.

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7. “Wow, look at that mountain.”

Steven will point out mountains as if he’s addicted to it. He’ll point them out on lifts, at bars, just outside the chalet, on a different lift and midway down a slope, closely followed by a “WHAT?” from you, because it’s very hard to have a conversation whilst skiing down a mountain at 25 mph. Which you’d think Steven would know. And even as the week progresses, his mountain observations won’t lessen. The correct response here is, “Wow, yeah”. Then ski away.

8. “Is it time for a beer and/or mulled wine yet?”

As soon as 11:45am hits, you’ve moved into ‘acceptable full alcoholic beverage consumption’ territory – not just making things Irish. These words will be spoken, and will sometimes be followed by a bold, “Well it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, isn’t it?!”. Sometimes, they won’t be followed by that, and those are the times you have to hold onto. The good times. Again, now is not the time to mention to Martha that you came on a ski holiday to ski, and that there might be plenty of time for this sort of thing in the evenings, after ski slopes and lifts are closed.

9.”Shall we get the map out?” 

Ah yes, the mysteriously magical map of illegibility. One of the best things in life is watching a group of furrowed brows ponder over a map they clearly can’t read, making assertive statements to the rest of the group to prove that out of everyone, they know this resort like the back of their gloved hand. You’ve only done like, 3 slopes anyway – why do they want to get all adventurous and start edging to the farthest corners of the map, when you don’t even know what the slopes nearby have to offer? Again, this one’s not for you. Just squint, nod occasionally, say “hmm” and agree with whatever Martha says.

10. “Do you want some Vaseline?”

Be careful, for this is a trick question. Martha has her Vaseline out, and she wants you to have some. However, this means you’ll need to take your gloves off to apply it, because for some reason she’s gone and bought the tin one instead of the stick. And if you take your gloves off, it’ll eat into the ski time. Here, the correct answer is: “Ah, thank you! But I brought my own.” Magic. You’re welcome.

11. “Oh god, it’s so nice to sit down, isn’t it?”

It’s a wonder why anyone even bothers to go on a ski holiday at all. The sheer exhaustion after just one run, forces this phrase to arrive in your ears just as your bum is scooped up by the chairlift and plonked down onto a selection of either old, spongy cushion or new, alarming plastic. Every. Single. Time. And yes, it is nice to sit down Steven, but it’s even nicer to do it without your comfort commentary.

12. “What are our dinner plans?”

This one’s a hint. And it’s compulsory that you take it. This means the day of skiing is almost done, and you’re about to begin navigating your way back to the bottom of your resort. The group will throw around ideas of various restaurants they’ve walked past whilst perusing the village and Martha will immediately search each name on TripAdvisor, running a quick analysis of the credibility of the reviews. Ultimately, the restaurant will be chosen based on it’s selection of cheese-based meals. Steven wants a two-person fondue all to himself, and you’re in no position to tell him he can’t.

13. “Oh god, it’s SO good to get these boots off!”

The boots are off. Cue choruses of:

  • “Oh my god.”
  • “Aaaaaaaghhhh.”
  • “Yyyyyyeessssss.”
  • “Ohhhh my feet feel sooooooo good.”
  • “There really is a distinct ‘ski boot smell’, isn’t there?”
  • “Sweet releeeeease!”
  • “I can’t believe I’ve been in these all day!”
  • “These hiking boots feel like slippers in comparison!”

14. “I think I’ve eaten too much cheese.”

You know what Steven, I think you might be onto something there. Could it have been the two-person cheese fondue you just ate by yourself? Or maybe the tartiflette you had for lunch? It’s all a bit strange, isn’t it? Quick, someone call Scooby Doo and the gang – we’ve a mystery to solve.

15. “So where are we going next year?”

As you all trudge back to the chalet, with your heads ready to plummet into the pillow, Martha’s already searching AirBnb for good deals for next year. You’ll have to get in quick for the cheap prices, she says, so everyone needs to make a decision by the end of this week. It’s tough, because you do love skiing. But is a year really enough time to get over this week, before doing it all over again?


Published by Emily Ash Powell

Writer of words & lover of brands.

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