One of the great mysteries of my life is why on earth anyone would want to go to all the trouble of packing masses of heavy winter clothing, putting anti-freeze in the car, driving north for several hours, stopping at somewhere like Mansfield (depending on where you’re heading for) to freeze your fingers attaching chains to the driving wheels, and then push on, up a sometimes dangerous road to the top of a mountain that is covered in ghastly snow!
Where exactly, is the pleasure in preparing for a weekend of damp clothes, a meaningless sport, sliding down a hill on a couple of planks, before being dragged back up to the top, so you can do it all again and pay for the privilege too? It’s a sport that gives me about as much excitement as surfing, though admittedly without the added fear of being eaten by a shark.
Surely the human body was designed by nature to place itself in a state of partial hibernation during winter. We really only come alive in summer once the sun rises at about five in the morning and you can get out of the shower and get dressed for the day in no more than a pair of pants, a shirt and a pair of sandals, whereas winter requires the donning of socks, heavy trousers, vest, shirt, pullover and jacket, plus some sort of headgear and warm waterproof shoes should you wish to do something stupid, like venture outdoors!
The main danger in going out in summer is that you might get sunburnt if you are careless about any exposure of your body, with the resulting few blisters here and there, quickly eased with heavy doses of calamine, backed up with a few health-giving gin and tonics. But a winter outdoor adventure could result in dying of exposure, fingers and ears turning blue before they solidify and a lot of expensive gear going to waste, unless they find you very quickly! And you can’t really fortify yourself with a wee dram of scotch either – the experts tell us (smiling in a sinister fashion) that the pleasant warming you feel just after imbibing alcohol is actually a cunning trap. They say booze is really a depressant, which means that once you’ve got over that warm feeling the stuff is actually cooling your body down. It suddenly occurs to me that this is the basic reason for a summertime G&T – it cools you on a hot day!
Of course, in the summer, you have the added advantage that, depending on where you go out in the midday sun, you will have large expanses of sand around you, on the edge of which is a whole ocean of wonderful cooling water (no I haven’t forgotten the shark, but who wants to bring that up at a happy time like this?) absolutely free and with plenty of space for everyone. Added to which you can enjoy alfresco dining at many summer restaurants, sitting in the warm evening air, chatting to friends, drinking champagne and eating beautiful Caesar Salads, or drinking Gazpacho with fresh-baked crusty bread, or noshing on a wonderful fillet of smoked Canadian Salmon served with new potatoes, fresh spring peas and a creamy, dreamy parsley sauce.
And what do the skiers do, after a hard day sliding up and down a mountain, if they survive the cold, I understand they call it après-ski, which is a colloquialism for ‘getting drunk’, something that I don’t criticise at all, having sampled it for myself, without the added mountain and skis of course (I’m not stupid!) There is a lot of merry singing involved as well as the consumption of things like Hungarian Goulash, Indian Curries and sticky date puddings, but the trouble is, you have to do all this while still wearing your heavy skiing clothes. Heaven forbid that you should allow yourself to be seen without all that stuff wrapped around you, the jacket, the trousers, and the boots – especially the boots, all topped off with a knitted bobble hat and a pair of expensive sun glasses mounted three inches above your forehead! Being seen in the stuff is one of the main reasons for being there, after all!
No, the more I think about it, the more I feel summer is the season for me, especially as, at 85 years old I think I would simply seize up on the mountain with my joints never to function again!
She became a member of Starts at 60 and got access to amazing travel deals, free masterclasses, exclusive news and features and hot member discounts!
And she entered to win a $10K trip for four people to Norfolk Island in 2021. Join now, it’s free to become a member. Members get more.