The morning after from getting fully equipped from the ski store is a very exciting time because you get to use the skis and see if you can rise to the challenge, I felt like a kid on Christmas day.
I was fortuitous because the company that brought me out to Morzine also treated me to a ski instructor.
Now, before I go straight into the action I feel I need to give you some valuable advice, as that’s my job with this guide. Make sure you have breakfast before leaving your chalet, you will burn a lot of energy very quickly and no one wants to be the weak link or the spoilsport of the group. Please make sure you fill up before leaving. I made a crucial mistake when I went to my first ski lesson and that is I forgot to bring water with me. I’m telling you from firsthand experience that you will crave water whilst out on the slopes. Food and drink is an essential please don’t try and skip any of this, you will regret it.
By now you will be in your ski kit and have all your equipment on you, ready to make the climb up to the top of the slopes. You can get the cable carts up there that’s not an issue but you need a ski pass to use them, adult passes range from €44.50 – €900 depending on whether you want a 5hour or a season pass, prices can vary depending what region you’re in.
When I arrived on the slopes the only information I knew about my instructor was that his name is Grant and that he will be wearing all yellow. Which at the time I didn’t realise the complications this could have, and it was only when I seen the hundreds of skiers that it dawned on me.
My lesson was meant to be at 11:00am and I ended up not starting it till 12:30pm because we couldn’t find each other but with a bit off luck and a phone call we managed to get it together.
Grant McNaughton is an instructor for New Generation Ski School, who I would highly recommend. We started off putting one foot in a ski and keeping the other one free from the ski. The point of this exercise is to get a good indication of your balance but also to get a feel for the ski.
The next part major part to your ski lesson and the hardest technique for a beginner is the snowplough. This is where your ankles need to spread as far apart as possible but your toes need to be as close as they can without touching, this will then control the speed you go at down the slope. It took me a lot of attempts just to get it at an average standard but with a lot of grit and perseverance I managed to progress. I will admit that it took me a lot of walking up the slope just to go again and your feet start to go numb from the boots after a couple of hours.
Once you progress on you start to learn how to turn and then things start to get interesting because you can really see the how well you’re doing.
Grant was very encouraging and I felt that he was with me every step of the way and as an instructor he was faultless. Lessons for beginners in Morzine cost between €79 – €99.
I must touch upon something said in the First Time Skiers Guide – Part 1, I was wrong to ever think that the dry slope for skiing would help me.
Overall the experience of learning how to ski was a most memorable one and I would encourage everyone to at least try it once. You will ache, crash and fall but like the saying goes ‘no pain, no gain.’ On my last turn down the slope before the end of the lesson, I opened pointed my toes down on the skis too fast and came to a crashing stop where my shoulder plunged into the snow but you just have to pick yourself up and go again.
Morzine really has everything to offer for the best first time skiers holiday, the chalets are beautiful, the town fantastic and the ski resort is up there with the best. Although if you’re out drinking avoid the beer Mutzig it’s lethal at 12%!
As a gout sufferer, I have learnt a few tricks along the way to help minimise the gout attack and maintain a diet that is beneficial to limit irritating the gout itself. What I am about to share with you will not only include food but also medicine to help you.
What is causing this rise in younger people with gout?
The main factors that trigger gout are obesity, high intakes of alcohol, high blood pressure and diabetes.
What medication will help with a gout attack?
Medication is a way to manage gout and can be crucial in the turn around time to get you back to normal without having to be in agony! I experienced the full force of gout one early morning and was in excruciating pain until I took some tablets which worked wonders and relieved the pain within a couple of hours. These tablets are Naproxen BP 500 mg (I would highly recommend these.) A key point that I must stress is that you don’t take just any painkiller or other types of medicine as they can do more damage than help! Medicine to stay away from at all costs are diuretics, bendroflumethiazide, chemotherapy medicines and aspirin. The reason these should be avoided is because they will raise the level of uric acid in you and that will only make your situation much worse.
Image via creative commons – Stewart Chambers
How can I reduce the chances of getting gout without taking medicine?
There are a couple of things which you can do to reduce your chances of getting gout. One thing you can do is change your diet and this will make a big difference, especially by cutting out red meat and alcohol. Keeping hydrated is a sufficient way to ensure that there is a reduced risk of crystals forming in the joints. This will in turn lessen gout attacks. Overindulging in sugary and sweetened foods can lead to weight gain which is linked with obesity which is risk factor of developing gout.
Try to eat your five portions per day as this will be key in keeping on track. A secret tip of mine is to eat black cherries/juice as this helps neutralise uric acid. I also have some sort of vitamin C everyday as this lowers uric acid in your blood. Frequent exercise will also give you a lifestyle that will keep you on the right track to stopping gout attacks.
Image via creative commons – Ton Rulkens