I’m cured (By guest blogger, Stuart Elliott)

10 Apr

When I told people I was going skiing for two months they looked at me like I was mad.

I thought to myself, they just don’t know what it is to be surrounded by the most beautiful scenery in the world, blue skies, great restaurants and the opportunity to satisfy my need for speed without the risk of ending up in jail or worse.

The first two weeks were as I hoped. 450 kilometres of pistes, endless off piste opportunities, great snow, blue skies and fabulous food. All wonderfully reassuring in its similarity to previous ski adventures here in the Tarantaise Valley.






Then the weather changed. A week of grey skies. Sharon had escaped to Spain, but at least I could take a few days off and catch a rugby match at Twickenham with Charles and see my sister. Then son Tristan arrived and oh no, I had to ski every day again despite high winds, fog and cold!



Sharon returned from Spain and it seems she’d missed skiing, so it was back to the slopes. This was now getting tedious and my body was complaining.

Not long after this an old friend from our Japanese days came to visit for a week. The weather still hadn’t improved but Michael was keen to relive our glory days on the slopes so off we went, every day.



At this point I’d been skiing for nearly six weeks. I was shattered and getting really ticked off with all the cloud and fog. Then Sharon got the flu and passed it onto me. Now I really don’t want to ski because the weather still hasn’t improved and I can’t stop coughing in the dry, cold mountain air.

Two weeks later and the same number of visits to the Cabinet Medical and I can just about manage the rarefied atmosphere of 3000 meters, but the weather is still depressing; cold, damp and foggy. We try skiing but end up spending more time eating, drinking and playing scrabble in front of log fires. When we do venture outside we see nothing but the tips of our skis and just hope like hell we’re not about to ski off a cliff.



Not knowing whether you’re moving or not and seeing only 360 degrees of white is disorientating, particularly for a 61-year-old stroke survivor with a brain that freaks out when it can’t use visual cues for balance.

My boredom with alpine skiing led to a memorable day walking up some 800 vertical meters through snowy woods to a wonderful old world mountain refuge covered in fresh powder. Then there was our crash course in ski nordic; not as remote or solitary an experience as expected but an entertaining alternative to the downhill variety. (See previous posts by Sharon for photos of these adventures.)

In a nutshell I’m cured of my desire to spend a season skiing. Too much of a good thing can be too much! Damn.


Postscript: Sharon documented Stuart’s ’60 Day Ski Challenge’ in photos here:

6 Responses to “I’m cured (By guest blogger, Stuart Elliott)”

  1. Chevalier April 9, 2013 at 9:16 pm #

    Nice pictures and comments, you are both ready to write a book.
    Passez une bonne fin de séjour dans les Alpes et j’espère que vous resterez plus longtemps à Lyon la prochaine fois.
    Have a good trip to the next destination…and see you in Paris very soon!!

    • Sharon Tickle April 10, 2013 at 6:42 am #

      Merci Maryse, aujourdhui est beau soleil pour la derniere jour du ski!

      A toute a l’heure,


  2. Michelle Noble April 10, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

    Ah yes Stu! It comes to us all eventually……blue sky, deep powder are the only things to get us up the slopes these days! Maybe a change of scenery is what you need…next time we would recommend ski safari where you spend only a few days in each resort. We discovered Sauze and Super Sauze this year with a friend who has a flat in Barcelonette (Sharon would love the Mexican architecture); the best snow they’d had in 30 years, the only Brits in the resort and the whole place to ourselves. I skied all day for 2 days (given I’ve skied only 4 days here in Les 2 Alpes all season, that was mission accomplished!)
    Fabulous tree lined runs so even if the visibility was off, there was still some contrast.
    Hope you’re feeling better now. Try asking the pharmacist for “serpolet”; it’s wild thyme and a great old remedy for curing coughs – best drunk as an “infusion”.
    Love from us both on the other side of the mountain.xx

    • Sharon Tickle April 10, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

      Some great tips there Michelle, thanks!! We will look at the Souze option.

      My cunning plan is to spend two weeks in Granada in Feb so I can take flamenco classes in the evening and we can ski in the Sierra Nevadas on nice days. Stu has agreed to come for one week which is a big breakthrough.

      Today was stunningly beautiful so we are leaving on a high note and Stu is 90% well again.

      Hope you have many more gorgeous days of spring skiing.


      • Michelle Noble April 11, 2013 at 8:53 am #

        Enjoy your time in the big US of A guys. You really do cover some ground. Bryan and I are starting to plan our 50th year (2014); dancing around guest obligations but hope to take off the whole of January and go to somewhere hot!
        Lots of love to both and glad Stu is feeling much better…xx

      • Sharon Tickle April 12, 2013 at 4:54 am #

        Wow, that’s going to be a huge year year Michelle.

        Let us know your plans when made and we will try to cross paths for a celebratory champagne!


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