Just after Christmas (cripes – nearly a whole month ago!) Mike, the kids and I went on our first family skiing holiday to Chantemerle in Serre Chevalier!

Serre Chevalier - learning to ski in 20 hours in the French Alps with Protest

Despite never having skied before, I finally agreed to have a ski holiday under the condition that I could have some lessons in advance.

The universe stepped in and I won a project to work with Protest again (See my previous bikinis project with them here), showcasing their really wonderful Snow Wear.

But this time they challenged me to learn to ski in 20 hours!

Over about 4 weeks before setting off I had 7 one-hour lessons, and a brave one-hour solo ski. I’m so glad that I did this. It was truly invaluable and, as everyone kept telling me, I did indeed find it easier on snow, so it really put me in good stead for hitting the pistes!

Thanks so much to Everyone Active and my lovely instructor, Lesley, for teaching me at the Silksworth Sports Complex in Sunderland.

Without further ado, here’s how I got on with the challenge and my final 20th hour:

 

Skiing in Serre Chevalier

The holiday was absolutely lovely. Exhausting. Challenging. And, loads of fun. Here’s what we got up to…

1. The Mornings

We were all taking 2 and half hour lessons, except Mike, in the morning and I found that really physically tough. Seriously, by the end of Day 2 I was so tired that I celebrated getting a tummy bug that kept me up half the night as it meant I could have the next day off! I was aching all over.

Serre Chevalier - learning to ski in 20 hours in the French Alps with Protest

Neither Gabby nor Reuben had had any lessons before but after the first day they were both flying around the place and loving it. There is something so adorable about a 3 year old on skis!

Serre Chevalier - learning to ski in 20 hours in the French Alps with Protest

And Gabby was a natural!

Serre Chevalier - learning to ski in 20 hours in the French Alps with Protest

We would spend our mornings from 9 to 11:30 in lessons, Reuben in Club Piou Piou (which we obviously renamed Poo Poo), Gabriella in the Debutants class and I was in Classe 1. Mike would have just enough time to do a couple of runs before having to dash back down the mountain to get Reuben.

For most of the trip there wasn’t much snow.

A lot of the runs were closed (including all the easiest Green runs *sobs*) and the ones that were open had manufactured snow. That stuff is impressive though and although icy in places, we got by just fine.

I have to admit I found my lessons really difficult. I was in a group of about 6 and I was the only non-French speaker. I was also one of the more nervous so I was always at the back. By the 2nd lesson, the teacher more or less stopped giving any instruction in English! I learnt a lot (including some French) but there were times when I really hated it!

The best day by a mile was when I went out with Mike to do the footage for the video. I was able to relax and go at my own pace and Mike did loads of encouragement – which is what I like. All carrot, no stick!

Serre Chevalier - learning to ski in 20 hours in the French Alps with Protest

I think if (when) we go again I would have 1 or 2 private lessons. On day one to get some confidence and then on day 3 or 4 to try some new techniques and work on improvement. Any more and it’s just not fun!

2. The Afternoons

After our lessons we would meet up for a hearty lunch and then either do something else or, if we were up for it, get back on the skis so the kids could show us their new skills.

Serre Chevalier - learning to ski in 20 hours in the French Alps with Protest

By the end of the week, Reuben was able to go down the full length of the nursery slope, turn, stop and get himself on the conveyor belt and off again at the top. All completely unaided! That blew my mind.

Gabby did brilliantly too – and even did the blue slopes with her class too, managing her turns with complete control. She did fall over lots (as did I!!) but it never dampened her spirits.

Serre Chevalier - learning to ski in 20 hours in the French Alps with Protest

It is incredible how unnatural skiing is but how quickly these two picked it up.

On another afternoon, we took a trip in the second Gondola, which took us right to the top of the mountains.

Serre Chevalier - learning to ski in 20 hours in the French Alps with Protest

And, phew, what a view!! It was stunning but I couldn’t fully enjoy it as I was super nervous being so high. I don’t know what I thought would happen but I was still on tenterhooks.

Serre Chevalier - learning to ski in 20 hours in the French Alps with Protest

Serre Chevalier - learning to ski in 20 hours in the French Alps with Protest

Serre Chevalier - learning to ski in 20 hours in the French Alps with Protest

3. The evenings

We were staying in a self-catering apartment so more often than not we ate in in the evenings and had early nights. We needed to! Plus the restaurants weren’t really used to people wanting to eat around 5:30/6pm.

Serre Chevalier - learning to ski in 20 hours in the French Alps with Protest

The resort was lovely, with a few things to entertain the kids – a merry-go-round, trampoline, bowling and a hill for sledging – and lots of nice restaurants. We were also there over New Year when there was a huge fireworks display and a stage with a band.

Serre Chevalier - learning to ski in 20 hours in the French Alps with Protest

I was more keen than Reuben to dance!

Serre Chevalier - learning to ski in 20 hours in the French Alps with Protest

All in all we had a wonderful trip to Chantemerle in Serre Chevalier for our first family skiing trip. I’m not sure we’d go to that particular resort again (although it was perfectly nice, it’s fun to try somewhere new) but we’ll definitely be skiing again.

Next challenge …tackle jumps??

Have you been skiing this winter? Or have you ever been to Serre Chevalier?

I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below or come and join the conversation on the Mums’ Days Facebook Page!

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post with the sports and fashion brand, Protest. All word and thoughts are my own. Both the kids and I are wearing Protest Winter Wear and you can see my outfits in more detail here in How to Ski and Winter Fashion.