I watched my Dad putting on ski boots for the first time in decades while on holiday in Italy in February. The toll on his whole being made it hard to differentiate between him and Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant during his fight with the wild bear.

It was very distressing for me to sit and watch.So, I left. But he told me about the whole ordeal later once he’d regained consciousness.

Allow me to recount it to you.


Go to rentals desk and ask for ski boots.

Use broken Italian, confuse the employee, who then proceeds to give you directions to the nearest pharmacy.

Resort to pointing at your foot and mimicking skiing to express that you would like ski boots.

Watch as the employee, standing in front of a plethora of rental boots, realises and says in Oxford English, ‘oh, you’d like to rent some ski boots!’


Take boots to bench.

Place boot on floor and try to shove foot in with all your might.

Hear the bones in your foot cracking as it takes on an unnaturally twisted angle.

Spot buckles.

Realise you have to undo the buckles before you put your foot in.


Stare at buckles.

Lift buckle up and down a few times.

Try and put foot in again.

Realise there is no difference.

Scratch head.


Ask rental employee ‘can I have a hand?’

They reply ‘no, it goes on your foot, not your hand.’

Do not laugh.


Figure out how to unbuckle boots after watching the five-year-old next to you do it.

Manage to slide foot into boot with a feeling of overwhelming relief. This feeling is cut short when your foot gets wedged half way. Commence aggressively stamping your foot into the boot in a variety of ways.

Sit down and bash your heel as hard as possible on the floor.

Stand up and press down on one leg with all your might. Use unsuspecting passers-by to steady yourself.

Wiggle your entire body to shimmy your foot the rest of the way in.


Have a breather.

Look around rentals, doubled over, regaining your breath.

Notice a skeleton in the corner with a boot on.

Think to yourself; ‘at least they got the boot on.’

Ski lesson begins without you.


Rejoice as your foot finally slides the rest of the way into your boot at the rate of a tranquilised snail.



Try to lean forward to do up buckles.

Realise you have the flexibility of a statue.

Look, with pining eyes, as a child walks past in a state of blissful comfort in snowboard boots.

Kick aforementioned child in shins.


Commence doing up buckles.

Get to top buckle.

Use all strength possible to close buckle. Twist back into disk slipping position and watch as your muscles shake like a jack hammer as you try to press the final buckle down with all your might.

Cry with happiness as you hear it click into place.

Sit down to regain breath.

Realise boot is on wrong foot.


Repeat entire process making sure to put boots on the correct feet.


Go to rentals desk to get skis, trying not to slip on the moat of sweat and tears surrounding you.

Rentals employee asks you to take off one of your boots, so he can fit it for the ski.

Wait until said employee regains consciousness after smacking him to the ground for not telling you this earlier.

Take off boot.


Put boot back on after having ski fitted.


Get skis.

Walk, like Robocop, to the lift across the road, feeling like your shins are in round twelve with Mike Tyson.


Reach the lift just as your lesson ends. Watch them all gleefully high fiving one another after a morning of successful boot renting and skiing.


Sleep in boots for remainder of trip to avoid having to go through the pain of putting them on and taking them off again.

Stay in complete denial about the fact that you can feel they’re two sizes too big.

And there you have it.

Dad says that this is word for word the truth of his ordeal. But he also told me once that moose aren’t real.

So, take that as you will.

This blog originally published on Rhi’s It’s All Downhill From Here blog.

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