This winter Rabble officially hosted it’s first ever group ski trip. With over 30 people going together it
was one of Rabble’s best events to date, and a great way to make new friends. I was one of the only
non-London Rabblers going, along with Vijay from Cambridge.
After arriving at Gatwick airport at 4am (on the day the clocks went forward no less) and claiming
some sweet new Rabble swag, I finally got to meet everyone in person for the first time. A cheeky
Nandos breakfast, a 1 and a half hour flight, a 3 hour coach ride, and a 15 minute rest stop in what
must have been one of the most expensive service stations in France, and we were finally there. The
snow had fallen the night before and the conditions were looking perfect for the entire week ahead.
Rooms allocated, equipment hired, a couple of pints, and we were ready for the next day.
With a group of over 30 people I was worried there may be too many of us to all have a good time
on the slopes. But with so many people, it was easy for everyone to split up into similarly
experienced groups, ski together, and have a great time. The first run down the hill pretty much
summed up my approach to the entire holiday… Going way too fast, falling over, and hurting myself
in the process… Yay!
At the end of most days, if we weren’t all too tired, there was of course après-ski drinks and
partying. If it wasn’t happening on the slopes at the Folie Douce, then it was happening lower down
in the valley. On one of those nights Sarah took this opportunity to introduce Rabble to slap cup, a
far more fast-paced version of beer pong. By the end of the night it had claimed a lot of Rabblers,
including myself, and the next day there were considerably less people skiing first thing in the
Pete, the most experienced skier in the group, had also decided it would be great fun to hire a guide
to go off-piste skiing one day. A couple of other foolhardy Rabblers and me decided to tag along.
Putting on avalanche safety gear and a special exploding rucksack didn’t leave me feeling particularly
confident about the whole thing. Though knowing that Pete knew the guide personally and he’d
survived this long, did help a little.
Skiing through the deep snow I felt like a total beginner all over again. Constantly falling over and
losing my balance. But to ski down mountains that I never thought I’d be able to conquer, was
incredible. It wasn’t stylish, but I did it. And with how deep the snow was, it didn’t hurt that much
each time I fell.
After a while I was starting to get the hang of it. On the final off-piste run of the day I decided to go
for it. Travelling at around 60km/h through the deep snow, one of my skis dipped under the surface
and just stopped. I went face first into the snow. Tumbling over and over again all I could think about
was how far away the skis would be when I finally came to a stop. I was told the whole thing looked
spectacular. Easily the biggest crash I’ve ever had. Too bad I didn’t get to see it. No injury this time,
just a tonne of fun.
Rabble had also planned to have a fancy dress day on the slopes. With everyone bringing along some
form of costume to wear on the day there was quite a variety of outfits. To name a few we had a
fried egg, a Christmas pudding, superman, a cowboy, and 5 postmen. Some of the group had all got
matching royal mail jackets. Which most then decided to wear for pretty much the rest of the trip
because they looked awesome!
Later on in the week as our confidence as a group improved we decided to hit the snow park and try
out some real jumps for the first time. Ranging from XS through to XL each jump had a marker on
the ground marking where you needed to start from. This would give you all the speed you needed
to make a clean jump. This was the point of no return. Once you’d started down that hill, you had to
commit or bail. And with the rest of the group cheering you on you had to see it through. The fact
the everyone was in it together really helped us get over the fear of just going for it. Everyone
landed the jump they wanted to by the end of the day.
A gauntlet had been thrown down earlier in the week to set the fastest speed on the slopes. After
already hitting 92km/h I was determined to hit 100km/h by the end of the trip. Hearing a few days
later that Pete had already beaten this target with 100.4km/h and with only 1 day left of skiing to go,
I knew I had to go for it.
I scoped out a piste for the job. Wide and steep, it was the run I was going to use. As the last run of
the day, with the piste being nice and quiet, I got on the chairlift ready for my run down. Scoping out
the bumps and likely jumps at that speed, I planned a route down avoiding all the surprises I could.
Carving round each crest and turn the speed was building up well. I could hear the air whistling
through the frames of my sunglasses and I knew it was looking good. I came up to a bump from the
chairlift that had looked like nothing. But going at the speed I was the ground just disappeared
beneath me. I was going too fast. What I had scoped out to be a minor hill had become a full-on ski-
jump. Thankfully with the time spent in the snow park the day before I knew what I had to do and
nailed that landing! No… No, I didn’t really.
My legs, initially landing the jump, decided to turn to jelly. I sat down on the snow at 88km/h. My
skis again went flying off and I kept sliding down the hill without them. Riding down the entire way
on my bum with my hands in the air I could hear people laughing at me from the chair lift. We both
shared a mutual understanding of how cocky I had been. I kept my hands in the air the entire way
down until I finally came to a stop. I looked back up the hill to see where the skis had ended up.
Sliding down the entire way I knew I had blown it. That was my one chance to beat Pete.
On the final day the snow came in, and as good as the skiing still was, the visibility was never good
enough to go for that same level of speed again and I had to settle for second place.
Rabble did a brilliant job of hosting their first ski trip. I knew it was going to be a great way to meet a
load of other Rabblers and make a load of new friends. Because Rabble keeps it’s uncompetitive
nature everyone was friendly and just wanted to have a good time. And because we all split up into
similar groups we were all able to get as much out of the trip as we wanted to. I had a great time on
the slopes with everyone and am looking forward to seeing what more events Rabble has planned!
Not to mention a bonus 150 Rabble Ranks points 😉
Conrad C, Manchester