Snow, beautiful snow!

Given the challenge that we face in Ireland each year in trying to coax the sun to peek its head out from the impenetrable cloud cover that blankets this country from coast to coast, is it any wonder that given a choice, most inhabitants of this emerald isle of ours will invariably opt for sun over snow any day? It’s as if the art of sun-worshipping has been hard wired into our brains and we become increasingly sullen, moody and depressed, the further we go without that ‘hit’ of ultra violet. On a personal level I get it, although I’ve never been one to count down the weeks and days to when I can next lie on a beach, doing absolutely nothing while I run the very real risk of contracting some form of malignant melanoma. Give me snow and mountains and Après Ski any day as at least I’ll know I’m alive and having fun and burning calories with very little ‘pain’.

Whereas one must fly at least hour hours from Ireland at this time of year to have a reasonable chance of securing some guaranteed sunshine (realistically, it must be the Canaries every time unless you’re extraordinarily lucky!) you get to access the white stuff in less than half that time, depending on where you’re flying to and how long the transfers are. Skiing and snowboarding and snowmobile riding are not exactly cheap holiday options, but they are worth every single penny of what you spend on them as I can guarantee you that you won’t have more fun engaging in any other activity. Snow-based activities are like the psychological equivalent of an enema — they purge your brain, indeed your very soul, of all the irrelevancies in your life as you rejoice in the crisp virginity of all the nature that surrounds you. Your own furtive steps on the nursery slopes and your regular humiliation in front of other wannabe skiers is a very cathartic experience and strangely destresses you and these are not the kinds of side benefits that they tell you about in any of the ski brochures.

Skiing (or the prospect of skiing) can be very intimidating for someone who has never skied before and thus is not familiar with all the jargon that surrounds it; the protocols that surround its activity or even the considerable arrangements and decisions that must be taken in advance to prepare for that first trip to the slopes — ski and boot hire, ski school, lift pass, suitable ski apparel etc. Anything that one engages in for the first time can always be daunting but that shouldn’t be a reason why you never try it. They jokingly say that skiing is the best fun you can have standing up which is rather ironic since in my experience I spent a lot of my time lying face down but that was more due to my centre of gravity being in my ankles rather some other, more appropriate pivot point on my body. But boy did I laugh that first time I tried it. I laughed incessantly at my own awkwardness (and indeed that of others in my little group). It was as if I had smoked a joint and everything was now hilariously funny for no reason. Skiing — and that incredibly pure and crisp mountain air can do that to you. Talk about being high on life!

So, do yourself a favour this year. Just once, forget about topping up your tan and instead think about topping up your sense of well-being and indulging in a bit of self-imposed humiliation. It’ll do wonders for your complexion, both inside and out! Speak to your local travel agent who can suggest some great resorts where you can discover the real you! Click here.

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