Switzerland is beautiful. No matter what season you visit, you will be astounded by the spectacular scenery that blooms around you. Whether it be aquamarine lakes that sparkle in the sunshine, the world of green that blossoms over rolling hills and staggering mountains, or the snow that blankets the picturesque boxed chalets that lie next to frozen iced lakes where robins chirp with enthusiasm. Switzerland’s natural and geographical beauty (as well as wonderful skills in creating chocolate and cheese) make it a prized destination for nature lovers and foodies. The most popular season to visit Switzerland is winter, due to its quintessential status of being the perfect place to ski, with its majestic mountains, unrivalled access to snow and excellent transport network (the Swiss are very good at being efficient if you didn’t know).
Which is why when I went skiing for the first time, my school in Bahrain, picked Morgins, specifically in the area of Portes Du Soleil. Before this point, I had never seen snow before. And coming in a large group of people, who most of them hadn’t seen snow either (that’s what happens when you grow up in a desert in the Middle East) we were aghast by the sight of it. It was stunning to look at. It layered buildings and trees as if icing on a cake, it floated in the air and caught our cheek as if a raindrop and it hurt when I fell over whilst attempting to ski.
Coming to this magical winter wonderland at the tender age of eleven, without any experience of snow before, made this trip even more picturesque. Here, I began to learn how to ski with patient and attentive ski instructors, who have a prestigious reputation for being so. Skiing is difficult. Wearing heavy ill fitting boots that make you walk as if imitating Robocop, then slinging two planks of wood onto your shoulder whilst grasping two long poles in your other hand, is a work out in itself. Lugging all the equipment to a green coloured (not the snow but the type of slope) patch of slope- for you to attempt to put your skis on by pushing them into a clasp, is an even harder feat. But actually learning to stay on your skis without falling backwards or sideways? Seemingly, a mission impossible.
For most, learning to ski is challenging. It takes perseverance, time and a lot of patience. With balance and agility, one finally learns how to smooth and slide over slopes with ease. Reflecting back on my first initial lesson, now having skied for 3 years and snowboarded once, I would say snowboarding is much easier to get to grips with. Although I am not sure this is because I had past experience with skiing or not, but either way, prepare yourself when learning to ski- and ignore the darting 6 year old local kids who whiz about the slope- they are used to it.
Choosing the area of Portes du Soleil, means that you obtain a vast amount of terrain to ski in, it being the second largest linked international ski area in the world. With 650 km of pistes that interlink and connect across both France and Switzerland with just one pass; it is the perfect destination for a group of visitors who have mixed ability, or crave new slopes and adventure every day in idyllic landscapes, such as Mount Blanc and Lake Geneva in the distance.
The little village we stayed in, Morgins, gives direct and easy access to Portes du Soleil, and links to the nearby villages of Chatel and Champoussin. The cute village retains its traditional charm by choosing unique bespoke chalets and chalet operators, rather than large hotel chains to entertain tourists. This means that Morgins also keeps much of its traditions whilst providing a warm shelter lit by candle light in a spectacular setting. If you want to learn to ski, I would advise visiting Switzerland because its withstanding reputation of the most popular skiing destination in Europe, makes the schools and instructors equally as phenomenal.