I've been skiing for 20+ yrs all over Europe but over recent years I've entered a new phase - a new skill level. That of the FAMILY SKIER.
A Family Skier no longer has to just pull him/herself out of bed and head to the slopes for the champagne powder. They have to get up and dressed, get kids up and dressed, head down to breakfast in time to get the Pain au Chocolates before they're all gone. You are then circling the breakfast table getting this and that for your kids never getting a chance to eat yourself, filling juice glasses all the while looking out of the window at the pristine conditions internally screaming (and externally sometimes) "COME ON, EAT UP SO WE CAN GET OUT!" This is then followed by what feels like a Hide and Seek dressing up session as you try to get kids into ski kit and sun creamed up. Down to the boot room bustling past other stressed parents as they all try to get their kids into ski boots until finally you can leave the Chalet to get the kids to the 09:00 ski lessons. This is where the difficulties start.
If you've spent a fortune then you'll have a ski in - ski out Chalet. You lucky lucky sods. The majority of us have to deal with a walk of varying distances to the lift or (worse case scenario) the morning bus!
Carrying your own skis and poles is a pain but relatively simple apart from the skis tend to want to split up at every opportunity even if you feel you have a firm grip on them both somehow one of them will come free and start to slide down. You can try to slide it back into place but then it completely separates and you end up dropping everything to the floor and blocking the footpath. This also tends to happen in front of an older French lady who is out walking her dog who tuts at you in the way only the elderly French can.
What tends to happen now as a Family Skier is that you have to carry your skis, your wife's skis and your youngest child's skis whilst your wife struggles with 6 poles of varying lengths + holding the hand of the youngest and your eldest child is in a huff because he wants to know why he has has to carry everything whilst his sister gets away with carrying nothing AGAIN!
You load yourself up with 3 pairs of skis because you won't be beaten and you haven't got the time to do two trips because you lost 10 mins searching for your eldest's gloves only to find out that they are drying on the radiator in your room where you put them last night and you've now got to take your ski boots off to go back upstairs to get them. Heading upstairs in a Chalet in your Ski boots on is only something you'll do once as your Chalet Host will give you the evil stare and you'll spend the rest of the day wondering what's going to be in tonight's dinner... Being late for a ski lesson is also not to be recommended as the other parents will look at you with utter disdain and smugness on the knowledge that they are slightly less incompetent than you.
So you start off with two pairs of skis on one shoulder and the third smaller pair held in the other hand like a walking stick. All starts well, you've got this, and you set off at quite a pace. Then you hear that heart crushing phrase;
"Are you not walking with us then?"
You stop, turn around, rhythm broken. You try to force an apologetic smile. Words of explanation about how you're just trying to get everything there on time fall on deaf ears. You set off again but its ruined, the sudden stop and turn has altered the balance of the load. The 3 pairs of skis which were initially perfectly balanced and locked in place have now become long bars of soap. Try as you will you've lost control. You try to bounce them up on your shoulder, you try to wrap your whole arm around them but all to no avail - they are going down. As a final effort you surge forward in the hope that the quick acceleration will force the skis back into place and your dignity will be saved. Sadly not. You end up on your arse because ski boots have no sole unit and will slip at the most inconvenient moments (often on the walk to the toilets in a busy piste cafe).