Spring on the Slopes

IT MAY seem odd that I’m about to chatter to you about what is more ‘winter sport’, when we’re finally seeing the first shoots of spring. But so it was that we rocked up at Cardiff Ski and Snowboard centre recently for my son to attend a ‘tubing’ party.

Pre-party invite, I’d never heard of tubing, much less attempted it. The repeated reminders from the birthday boys mum to wear long sleeves and gloves, made my mind reel about what my baby was to embark on.

But fear not, he was simply to be sat in what looked like a tyre and hurled down a hill, nothing at all for a fretful mother to give a mind to...

In truth he loved it, they all did. Perched in their inflatable rings, spinning, linking and whizzing down, the squeals, howls and attempts at ‘dabbing’ as they swooshed, were a joy to hear and see for the parents watching from the foot of the hill. The party was, “epic” to quote my son.

I’m no dare-devil. I’ve never done any kind of extreme sport and by extreme I include hurdles and high jump, so that shows you my level.

I used to go horse-riding but a couple of falls, one of which saw me as a human ‘Buckaroo’ game, convinced me that anything involving heights, animals or potential loss of limb or life, wasn’t really my bag.

I do regret this cautiousness sometimes now. I had the chance to go skiing in the sixth form (that’s Year 12 in new money), but my dare-devil barometer indicated there may be a risk and so I declined.

My lovely friend Lynne has since talked of her passion for skiing - the thrill, adventure and beauty that surrounds you. I must admit I have been entranced by her tales.

Similarly my wonderful friend Amanda talks of a special feeling on the slopes and when they both talk, I confess I want to experience it.

My daughter is a fine skateboarder, daring, adventurous and she looks very cool doing it. Talking to the staff in the Ski Centre we discussed snowboarding lessons and her little eyes lit up at the prospect.

I want my children to try all sorts and find their own passion. I’d be mortified if my own inner ‘but what if...’ limited their opportunity to discover and explore.

I want to let them fly (metaphorically not actually, although I guess if they want to learn to fly and have a sturdy helmet and experienced teacher and stay in the plane, the whole jumping out of it, utterly sets my shivers to spiral).

So at some point I will book a ski trip and they can snowboard and ski and just see if it’s their thing. And if it turns out not to be mine, well, I already have a hunch that sitting in a mountaintop cafe, eating strudel and gazing at sun dappled mountains is something that sits very comfortably with me, indeed.