If you can't ski, don't ski. Snowboard instead. If you can ski and can't snowboard, snowboard anyway.
Many people convince themselves that they've committed to skiing and that snowboarding is something they simply have to let slip. "It's too expensive to learn" they'll say "It'll take too long".
To be blunt, that's bullsh*t. We know because we learned to snowboard in three days in what we believe to be the most romantic resort in Europe: Verbier, Switzerland.
And with Valetine's bearing down, why not give the gift of of the 'board? We were taught by Vivid Snowboarding - the only independent snowboard school in Verbier. Ask for Rich Elliot as your instructor because he's incredibly friendly and patient. You'll need that. plus he teaches you the lingo. Here's how it pans out:
The first session is all about getting to know your equipment, your environment and mastering the basic posture on the nursery slope. Solid posture is king in snowboarding and creates the foundation from which everything else is built. Once the basic stance has been nailed, pressure, edge control and rotation skills are added which create the building blocks to a basic turn. You will have this turn nailed in the first morning. Even if you're not a natural at sport, fear not. Snowboarding is the the most unnatural thing you can do. The positioning is all weird. Your brain wants you to do all the things you're not supposed to. But you get it. In just a few hours you get it. Spend your afternoon on the nursery slopes repeating what you've learned but don't exhaust yourself.
Apres ski: Mont Fort pub. Walking distance from the bottom of the Medran gondola, happy hour is 4pm-5pm.
Eat: Cordée des Alpes’ serves a gastronomic menu of local and fresh flavours whilst their stylish bar, with its hearty open fire, will offer freshly made tea and cakes each afternoon (you should be 'boarding, mind you) and cocktails daily.
Day two is about re-establishing the perfect posture and again practising all the skills from the previous day which will help master the basic turn. By piecing together the skills learnt on day one and adding simple edge changes you will begin to feel how a basic turn is done and grow the all important muscle memory. If you're finding it comfortable you can grace the lower, easier slopes. But don't rush it if not. You'll get there. Ask you instructor what you need to work on in the afternoon and stick to it. Remember to take regular breaks.
Apres ski: Hotel Farinet - voted one of the top 5 apres ski venues in the world. Expect live bands playing great covers.
By day three you will be excited to get back on your board Aching, sure, but your body will be getting used to it. It’s time to start linking your turns together and add a little more speed. With a little more momentum you are able to make your turns more fluid and make your way down the slope in one continuous movement.
By the close of lifts on day three you will have built a skill set which will allow you to cruise around the mountain. Although still a novice you will be enjoying your riding and already planning your next trip. The beauty of snowboarding is there is always something new to learn at every level. It’s addictive. But remember, even though you can learn in three days, take lessons every day you're there.
Apres ski: Le Rouge - Now you're feeling a little more confident, ensure you're wearing your coolest piste threads. DJs play outside on the deck.
Apres apres ski: Time to really celebrate. Have a late night at The Farm Club. This place has achieved legendary status for hosting the most exclusive and stylish nights frequented by royalty, celebrities and ski bunnies alike who have bared witness to some A-list moves from the likes of Diana Ross, David Bowie and Bono.
Where to stay
If it's romance you're after then Hotel Nevaï is the answer. An intimate and stylish mountaintop retreat the north facing views (ask for one, insist on one) are truly stunning. The two penthouses even have outdoor jacuzzis. It's newly refurbished and the new sushi bar is sensational.
Swiss International Air Lines
UK to Geneva:
SWISS offers daily flights from London Heathrow and London City to Geneva. Fares start from £112* return, including all airport taxes, luggage allowance of 23kg and transport of one pair of skis & boots. (*Please note this is a lead-in fare and is subject to change, availability and may not be available on all flights.Terms and conditions apply.) For reservations call 0845 601 0956 or visit: www.swiss.com
Swiss Travel System
The Swiss Travel System provides a dedicated range of travel passes and tickets exclusively for visitors from abroad. The Swiss Transfer Ticket covers a round-trip between the airport/Swiss border and your destination. Prices are £90 in second class and £144 in first class. For the ultimate Swiss rail specialist call Switzerland Travel Centre on 00800 100 200 30 or visit www.swisstravelsystem.co.uk