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Ski guiding in Meribel France with British ski instructors
Ski guiding in Meribel France with British ski instructors
Ski guiding in Meribel France with British ski instructors
Ski guiding in Meribel France with British ski instructors

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Cosmopolitan Festivities

Posted on
January 9, 2014
Cosmopolitan Festivities

Wow, that was one very busy and enjoyable Festive period. Meribel is jump started into winter life as soon as Christmas week starts, followed by New Year week and then finally the Russian holidays. As ski instructors, both Michael and I are much in demand at this time of the winter and thoroughly enjoy our work. So what have we both been up to other than eating and celebrating too much just like everyone else?

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Michael has been busy over in Courchevel with some of his regular clients. And I've been having a brilliant time here there and everywhere. Regular readers may realise that I occasionally get carried away with ski teaching and being in the mountains. I was recently given a book about a Belgian cycling legend called Eddie Merckx, and started to read it yesterday. And in it is a wonderful quote that goes "The fact that you are making your living out of your passion is very important. When something is your passion and you can make it into your profession, that is the most beautiful thing anyone can have." Well said Monsieur Merckx, I couldn't have put it better myself.

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Before this blog post turns into all about me, I'd like to elaborate a little more on why ski instructing is such a wonderful thing and how being in Meribel can open up your eyes. Sure, skiing most days of the winter is great, as is being in the mountains, the fresh air and feeling alive is also priceless. But one thing that I appreciate each winter is being in the position where I meet a whole range of people.

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I've had a great time with regulars The Joneses, and then Gilly and John who feature in some of these photos here (don't forget you can click on each image to enlarge). I have also met a very cosmopolitan mixture of skiers in the last few weeks. Not sure where to start the list, but here goes. I met a Turkish mother with her son and daughter. They now live in London with the mother working as a journalist and running a coffee shop. They were complete beginners and it was great fun helping them on their way to getting to grips with learning to ski. I don't think I've laughed along so much with clients as well, just brilliant.

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Another set of bookings was with some Chinese clients, also complete beginners. They live between Paris and Hong Kong and spoke French, with very little English. However we were able to communicate effectively as they took their first tentative slide on skis. Then there was a group of pumped up teenagers from Dublin I called 'The Rat Pack'. They were such good fun, game for anything (sometimes too much) and great company. Then there was another booking..... for six sessions..... under the name of Danilitskaya. To be more precise, Madame Ludmila Danilitskaya.

It's all too easy to stereotype Russians in ski resorts, but Ludmila is the complete opposite to what some people may think is this stereotype. When we first met she explained that she had skied for twenty years, but only wanted to ski on green and blue pistes in order to not be afraid. So we cruised around, staying safe, and had some of the most remarkable conversations. Here is Ludmila and I at the top of the Plan De L'Homme chairlift.

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Ludmila explained that her ex-husband was a Russian Ambassador, and they lived away from Moscow on duty in Bombay, Canberra and later in London for five years. She met the Royal Family including Princess Diana. She spoke a lot about Russian modern history. Did you know that during the World War 2, the German front line got within 5kms of Moscow? Her family were affected by the war, as were most families. She also spoke about Perestroika, Mikhail Gorbachev, Vladmir Putin, modern politics and of course the Sochi Winter Olympics that take place next month.

I would love to share more conversations we had, just because it was the most fascinating time sharing experiences. However I'll finish talking about Ludmila with an anecdote she told me about Russian Oligarchs called Boris and Vladimir. "Boris and Vladimir were having a glass of Chateau Lafite mixed with coke when they noticed they were wearing exactly the same tie. Boris proudly said 'I paid $300 for this tie'. Vladimir choked on his drink spitting it everywhere and shouted 'You idiot, I paid $500 for mine, you didn't pay enough'." I really hope to catch up again next winter when Ludmila returns to Meribel.

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So what's happening next week in the Ski Instructing world here in Meribel? I'll be skiing with a Father and Son from Brisbane in Australia and their friends, and then a couple who are Mountain Rescuers in The Lake District. Not sure what Michael is up to. If you enjoyed this article you might be interested in an earlier blog post called 'Skiing Slippers', he will be visiting again tomorrow night. Feel free to share away on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ by clicking on the social media icons. Or leave a comment below, it's simple to do and we love to hear from you. Have a great week everyone, and Live With Passion. Martin.

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With our skills- based system of learning, we give you the tools to safely negotiate any demands the mountains make on you, helping you to increase your comfort zone and ski in a wider range of conditions. Whether you are a nervous novice, a blue piste cruiser or an all mountain adventurer, we tailor your ski lessons to create a perfect fit. The question is, which one are you?

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