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If you’re anything like me, after a certain age snowboard trips with your mates became synonymous with sex and alcohol as much as shredding. You found yourself spending more time on the piss than on the pistes and all too often a day’s “riding" became a quest to get your head out of the toilet and hot foot it to the télépherique in a desperate attempt to make the last lift. The run down was then of course punctuated by a pit stop at a piste-side pub, before you headed back to the resort to sink the first Jaeger-bombs of the day.
I no longer want all my weeks away to resemble Club 18-30s holidays (complete with piss-ups, parties and orgies)
Perhaps it’s because I’m getting older, but recently I’ve found that I can’t quite keep up with that rate of alcohol-induced attrition. And anyway, I no longer want all my weeks away to resemble Club 18-30s holidays (complete with piss-ups, parties and orgies). It’s in this slightly more mature frame of mind that I’ve recently rediscovered the joys of going on vacation with the parents.
If you’re not one to look the gift horse in the mouth, time on the snow with the elders holds numerous advantages, not least the fact you’ll probably get a lot more riding in. All of these should be seriously considered before completely writing off the idea of a potentially free holiday although of course there are numerous pitfalls that must also be taken into consideration.
So here is a fool-proof guide to the top 10 “do’s and don’ts" of taking a snowboarding trip away with your parents, which we hope will avoid any potential confusion or embarrassment. [part title="DO: Get your parents to choose the accommodation."]
The chances are that up until now, you’ve been used to bedding down six to a two-person flat. That reeks of damp, sweaty snowboard boots and used durex. In which sleeping arrangements are limited to a sheet-less top bunk. Above your horny flat-mate, who’s nocturnal activities have seen more girls inhabit the bottom bed than Peter Stringfellow’s backroom. Nice.
Parents favour comfort, practicality and erm, hygiene, so not only will your chances of catching trench foot or contracting herpes be eliminated, your hotel/chalet will probably be 20 metres away from the nearest lift. Plus you may even be fortunate enough to have other “conveniences". A room to stash your board perhaps (much safer than a balcony) or maybe even a jacuzzi. [part title="DON’T: Take your parents to the snow park."]
If you’re more accustomed to sessions in the park with your mates pushing each other to try all the boxes, kickers and rails on offer, then enter your at peril with your parents. Having waited all week to get into the park, my run was abruptly brought to a stop when I attempted a wall-ride in front of my mum.
Rather than the usual whoops and cheers my mum took a more direct approach: “I wouldn’t do that if I were you. You’re going to hurt yourself" she announced, before swiftly heading out of the park. [part title="DO: Give your parents the camera."]
Unless you’re fortunate enough to be besties with Matt Georges, or Jérôme Tanon, your mates are probably going to be a bit reluctant to shoot you. Let’s face it, your sketchy indy grab isn’t exactly gonna get them a cover, and you’ll never convince your mates that cameras aren’t bulky, heavy and liable to stop them from throwing tricks of their own.
Parents are a different story. Mums love taking photos of dogs and nature. Seize the opportunity and pass the camera over to the willing recipient during a tree-run. Although be warned, if you do venture into a snow park, do expect a lot of photos of you on the run up and the landing, as opposed to on the actual obstacle in question.
[part title="DO: Use a map."]
And carefully explain your choice of route before you get off the chairlift. This avoids any confusion and any potential misinterpreted gesturing, that could lead to the parent in question accidentally ending up in another country. Like Switzerland for example, as mine did. [part title="DO: Take a mobile."]
Parents aren’t as au fait with technology and thus feel the need to tell you that not being contactable at all times is “a good thing". They are wrong. Especially if they’ve taken the aforementioned route to Switzerland.
Taking a mobile phone (and ensuring that they’ve got theirs) avoids wasting time scaling the mountain or warning the French pisteur- secouristes to look out for your lost mum. They’ll probably just laugh at you and compare your mother to a stray goat anyway. [part title="DON’T: Queue jump."]
You may be used to snaking your way through the masses in an attempt to gain time and hit that powder stash quicker, but it’s a definite no-no if you’re in the company of one, or worse, both of your parents.
Like little children, parents don’t ‘do’ discreet and have the tendency to broadcast your actions to the rest of the queue. “Where are you going?" “Isn’t that the ESF ski school line?" etc. [part title="DO: Lend your parents some of your snowboard kit."]
I’m not suggesting that you hand over those XXL pants that were worthy of their own part in a Mack Dawg movie, or that skin tight Def Leppard pair you bought in a mistaken moment of Flying Tomato fan-girl madness.
No, just a normal pant/jacket combo will do, and preferably a pair of goggles/sunglasses to match. It’s worth it to avoid any potential sartorial errors - Dad-style Oakley wrap-around shades, or embarrassing Sarah Duchess of York circa 1980 all-in-one ensembles.
[part title="DON’T: Be temped to get the shots in."]
If you feel brave enough to partake in après with the elders, drinking should be confined to beer or a few glasses of Glühwein.
Succumbing to the temptation to show off your Jaegermeister drinking skills to your parents will only reveal either how incredibly lightweight your parents are, or worse, their ability to drink you under the table. [part title="DO: Get the parents to choose a restaurant."]
If up until now your Alpine haunts have been limited to “Charlie Burger" and “Crepe à Gogo" now’s the time to actually try the local cuisine: fondus, pierrades and raclettes are just a few dishes you’ll find of the ubiquitous cheese and meat menus.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, try out frogs legs and snails, not typical of the Alpine region, but definitely worth the experience – especially when the parents are paying.
[part title="DON’T: Bring anyone back."]
Ever. Don't even think about it. And don’t get with anyone in the chalet for that matter. It will only will result in any subsequent communal chalet time being turned into a rendition of Snow Sex and Suspicious Parents as you try awkwardly to avoid eye contact at the breakfast table.
If the desire to copulate is really too overwhelming for you to contain, there’s always the télécabine or the jacuzzi - the chalet host’s shagging spot of choice. But do bare in mind, you won’t be the first (or the last) to fornicate in the bubbling hot tub. So just be wary of any floating rubber protective ‘gear’.