Ingrid Harris, at the age of 59, shows that it's never too late for a change of scenery - or a new life. Now beginning her fourth ski season, she gives us an insight into life on an unfamiliar mountain, learning unfamiliar skills - and loving every minute.
At the age of 59 I have just embarked on my 4th ski season, working this time in Samoens, in the Grande Massif. Having shared a room with a 20-year-old lad when working in Chamonix two years ago (him in the top bunk and me in the bottom), I am luxuriating in a one bedroom apartment with two guys and a girl. The guys are sleeping in the living room and the girls have quite a large bedroom.
Our chalets are said to be within a five minute walk but it's triple that with the 5:1 climb! In three weeks it might be a 10 minute walk and thereafter I shall endeavour to make that five minute walk, even if it results in my inability to talk during breakfast. I can hear those sighs of relief - I can talk for Ireland.
The work is hard and the hours long but the people I meet more than make up for that.
I do miss my family and think about my children and seven grandchildren all the time. I do not miss Christmas having spent the last couple of weeks at home trying to sort out what to get for everyone. I took the grandchildren on a train ride to the Christmas village as our day out.
The work is hard and the hours long but the people I meet more than make up for that. Trying to perfect my pole plant takes my mind off everything and ensures complete concentration so as not to break my ever-aging bones. This year I am having lessons in snowboarding. I have my snowboard, boots and am seeking out ever-elusive extra small wrist guards. All I am waiting for now is SNOW!
I might invest in a pair of those magic knickers...the ones that make your bum look huge but keep it from freezing when sitting in the middle of the slope working up the courage to stand up again. I am told they also stop you from hurting when you fall, but one of my guests came home in tears every night saying "NEVER AGAIN"! She did though, so there must be something going for it.