WARNING: Just because you have the necessary snowboard equipment and took a few lessons in Cleveland does not mean you are ready to go to the Alps.
DAY 1: Yes, well I learned this the hard way as I strolled into our little winter cabin hidden in the snow covered woods and filled with veteran skiers and snowboarders. I was confident, I'm not sure of what but I was armed with my snowboard, the only one I'd ever known in my whole 8 times of snowboarding. We're in the Alps...bring it on baby.
DEFEAT: After only an afternoon of snowboarding I am acutely aware that to these people my skill level seeps far below beginner...I don't even understand how their lift works. The lift ride is an epic 10 minutes, there is a foot rest and a bubble shield for the wind/snow that you have to operate yourself. And there's a map??!!?? This is already looking bleak. My limited range of experience hails from Boston Mills...for those of you unfamiliar with this little Cleveland oasis let me tell you that there is no need for a map AND no no no we don't have extravagant foot rests and snow shields...by the time you put them into place it would be time to get off.
DRESS APPROPRIATELY: How many times did my mom tell me this when I was little?? But here I go, we left the cabin and it was really nice out so I don't need my coat right?. I'll just wear my 3 layers of fleece and take these horribly inappropriate biking gloves that, albeit waterproof have no insulatory properties. Good start. When we arrive at the chalet, it starts to lightly rain. Hmm, not good for my 100% water absorbing top-half. It continues to rain and Raph and Aude decide to opt out of the day. After giving me a good once over, Raph insists on giving me her jacket and gloves which are deemed "dangerous" because my fingers could literally freeze inside. I'm still not sure she realizes (or maybe she does) that these vital additions to my wardrobe saved me that day, I hardly survived as it was.
LESSONS WITH LORIS: If nothing else, my snowboarding seemed to dumbfound my french companions. Really, they seemed perplexed. "We notice you don't know how to turn" they said - not condescendingly but almost posing a question, waiting for me to chime in..."oh god no, of course I do, just practicing my full force breaking technique the whole way down for starters." Sheepishly, I admit that no I have no idea how to turn. Honestly, I'm so excited to get down the hill without breaking anything that learning to turn hasn't even crossed my mind. With the utmost of patience, Loris spends the rest of the afternoon teaching me the basics of a turn. Of course, I fail from the start. The hill is too steep for me and every time I gain a decent amount of speed it scares the crap out of me and I opt instead to wipe out...really trying the turn would be a better idea since I'll fall either way, but well that's the way I roll...literally. Various parts of my body crash into the snow, now decently hard from the rain...it doesn't even hurt anymore, my body has shut off the pain receptors. I have so much fun that the next day I feel like I have a serious case of car-crash whip-lash. ...the Alps anyone?
CONCLUSION: David has decided I need a teacher...almost like I had some kind of handicap and the only option would be to send a tutor to the house. I'm the "special" kid in snowboard class. Oh, the adventures in France. I have never really had a problem making a complete fool out of myself...it comes quite naturally actually. But this lesson has been driven home here, where I commit endless social faux-pas and tumble down the slopes...what pride you have is obliged to be set aside. So just bring it on.