I have 31 days to fit into my ski pants. Not that I am counting.
It is a familiar struggle that comes round every year. Though I have been known to miss an entire ski season in protest at my pants clearly shrinking in the storage cupboard.
Peruse my wardrobe of ski outerwear from size XS to XL and you would swear a family of five live in my home for one. Instead the emotional progression of my life hangs within these closet walls.
There’s the size 14 Orage pants from my beginner days before I knew chairlifts never took you to the really good stuff. Back in a time when I wore stilettos out after dark on ice laden lanes in snowy ski resorts, of leaving my flowing locks wild and unkept and hanging down my back under my helmet rather than tucked up tightly inside or worse, not wearing a helmet at all.
A time of gaper gaps, of skiing in Miu Miu sunglasses designed for red carpet moments not harsh sun on white snow, a time of skiing with a backpack that only held my lip balm and a spare beanie when vanity ruled my life.
There’s the size 10 DC snowboard pants from the time I went to Portillo and hiked my butt off (literally) at 4000 metres in an effort to prove my youth. I was closer to 40 than 30 at the time and the only thing I proved was that you can’t party all night and ski all day without ending up in a gurney with a year of rehab to look forward to.
Oh look, there’s the fluoro yellow Burton pants (size M) bought on a whim. They say look at me, I’m here and I have no problem with my thighs. It was a ski season of love, self love, romantic for a night love, Berocca love. Oh how I long to wear them again.
This season I am edging towards black. Oh, sod it, I’m going all black from the waist down. This season I am an XL, otherwise known as a 14 to 16 in ski gear land. There I have said it.
For too long I have struggled with the belief that only uber thin or super muscled up folk are allowed to enjoy the slopes. Trouble is I don’t see too many role models otherwise.
Perhaps it is the lack of wearable ski pants for women. The choice between michelin styled pants that have been inflated with a bike pump and uber stretch over every bump pants is distressing enough when a size 10 let alone anything bigger.
Maybe it is the socio economic group skiers need to be part of simply to afford to buy a ski pass. If you can afford a week in Aspen then you can afford a personal trainer and aisle six through to eight at Wholefoods.
This year I am going for #fit2ski not #thin2ski in an effort to burst my own limiting thought bubbles. I have had an anus horribilus, actually I have had two as primary support for a couple within my family that wrestled with brain cancer, then the death of a neighbour, the breakdown of my de facto relationship and a cancer diagnosis for my mother that ended before Christmas.
Oh and injuries, torn cartilage with a meniscal cyst in my left knee and a bulging disc in C5 C6 which meant skiing was put on the back burner.
So I did what I always do in crisis. I turned to food. Well that’s not quite right, I turned to the mind numbing qualities of sugar and let it have it’s delicious ways with me. I will probably do it again.
I booked a ski trip two weeks ago to Telluride, Aspen and Vail and now I am staring at my cupboard. I have no shortage of beanies, in fact I probably have the best beanie and sock collection going as neither my feet nor my head have changed size throughout my adult life.
But I can’t ski in just socks and a beanie, well I could if I still fit into those DC pants.
So I have decided to be adult about this and focus on being fit enough not to vomit behind a tree at altitude with my third turn down my first run on my first day. I am, gasp, going to experience resort style skiing and I am going to enjoy it, goddamn me.
Hiking is not on the agenda, on this trip I would rather smile from within on powder pillows than grimace down a couloir you have to rapel into.
I am not going to buy into the competitive ways of pro skiers who try to up each others go-pro ante with selfies taken upside down in the air on a stick. I am not going to complain about the cost of a latte while driving my Range Rover back to a five star condo nor am I going to believe that only thin people are allowed to have fun at the snow.
I wear my pants, my pants no longer wear me. So, here’s my arse people if you see it you’re simply not going fast enough.
This blog originally appeared on Elephant Truths.