I went skiing to Courchevel this weekend. A quick trip courtesy of Land Rover, who are about to launch their soft-top Evoque. Expect to see them cruising their way down the Kinger (King’s Road, do keep up) from June.
It was a bloody ball, and I’m HONESTLY not even saying that because Land Rover paid for everything. Imagine landing at Lyon airport in the blinding sunshine and walking to the car park where there’s a fleet of 10 convertible Range Rovers all lined up. Actually you don’t have to imagine it because I took a photo. Here you go. I know they’re orange but did I mention they’re also convertible Range Rovers? Exactly.
The engines were on, the sat navs were already programmed and there were little boxes of croissants and apples on each seat. I paired up with my friend Pip from Vogue, so we climbed into our car, immediately ate our croissants, ignored the apples, faffed about with the music system for 10 minutes and then drove off for the Alps. Pip only passed her driving test in January so I was quite keen to do the motorway bit, only handing over control when we were 20 minutes away from Courchevel. I subsequently realised this might have been a mistake, because the road was obvs pretty windy and Pip had a terrifically cavalier attitude towards the ravines on each bend.
Never mind. We arrived, bolted a lunch in our five-star chalet hotel, trotted downstairs for a ski boot fitting with a handsome Frenchman and skied out from the hotel.
Now, I am not one of life’s best skiers. The first time I went was to Val d’Isere aged 13, when I was fairly tubby and wearing one of my grandmother’s old 1970s ski suits. It was maroon. And tie-dye. My grandmother, then an elegant, sprightly 70-something, was with us on the trip. On our first afternoon, she came with me on the nursery slope lift but I fell over on top of her while trying to get off it. She hurt her hip and never skied again. I haven’t done much skiing since. I spent most of Saturday afternoon on the nursery slope taking pictures. Of myself.
Thing is, on the Sunday morning of this last weekend, a Land Rover ambassador and mountaineer called Kenton Cool (not even kidding) was taking out the best skiers in the group early. The lift company was opening *just for us* so we’d have the slopes to ourselves for an hour or so and in a gung-ho fashion, I decided to go along.
‘Erm, haven’t really done a red run before,’ I said, looking at the slope as the lift went up the mountain. Hard to tell whether it was that or the 382 bellinis I’d drunk the night before that made my palms sweat a bit.
‘Oh. Um. You’ll be fine,’ said Pip, her face paling.
And then, at the top, everyone put their skis on and roared off. Bastards. I slid carefully to the crest of the run and, well, just had to go really. And then suddenly I turned too quickly, lost my balance and fell head first, sliding metre after metre down the slope, which was quite icy because it was 8am and the sun wasn’t terribly high. I lost my poles and ended up with half the run down my knickers. When I finally stopped, I couldn’t feel my legs.
Just joking. It was absolutely fine. I mean I’m probably not going to win any prizes for my skiing style, but I managed. Here I am looking quite pleased with myself after one particular run before the proles were allowed on the piste. So, as I said, a total bloody ball. Plus, the Range Rovers are really very nice so you should buy one of those.