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24 June
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What do you do when the urge to start skiing strikes at an age when all your friends are paired off and more interested in marriage and mortgages?  I was determined to have a go but did not want to try on my own and so started trawling the internet for suitable holidays.

I typed in singles ski holidays and it came up with the Solos Holidays website.  The website had a good variety of destinations each specifying different levels of skiers. I chose Folgaria as it was suitable for beginners

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At first I was excited then apprehension set in.  Supposing there were no other beginners?  What if there was no-one to ski with?  What should I take to wear in the evenings?  I packed and re-packed several times and each time the proportion of books to read became larger relative to clothes and other essentials.

At the airport I was greeted by a friendly tour leader who answered all my questions and assured me there were other beginners who would be going to ski school.  As other members of our party arrived we were introduced to each other and I began to relax and look forward to the week ahead.

On the transfer to the resort our tour leader went through the arrangements for that day which included a trip to the local ski hire shop to hire skis and boots. The tour leader was around to advise us regarding suitable equipment. I had always thought ski boots were designed to be uncomfortable but was assured this was not the case.  I was encouraged to try several pairs until I found some that were snug and hugged my feet.   We were soon equipped and after storing our skis in the hotel ski room we set off to explore the local bars and get to know each other.

The beginners had already formed an alliance - we had already put our names down for ski school and been told where to go to pay for our lessons the next morning.  We were taking the tourist train to the slopes at Costa (one of five ski areas in Folgaria).  The tourist train was a more convenient option than the ski bus as it stopped outside our hotel and was free with our ski pass.  Our Tour Leader had also assured us she would be on the train with us to show us where to go.  It was a bit of a performance getting myself and my skis on board but it was fun.  And yes, we did wave at people we passed on our way.

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Ski school in Folgaria started at 10:00 and finished at 13:00 each day.  After lessons finished we were ready for a rest and something to eat and there were several mountain restaurants.  One restaurant, Stella Alpina, became a particular favourite and as it was accessible from an easy blue run, we beginners were able to get there by the third day so we could meet up with the rest of the group.  The first few lessons were hilarious as we struggled to gain control of our skis which had a tendency to go off in different directions and we all had a few tumbles.  The beginners’ slopes were wide and gentle and we progressed quickly.

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The days flew by, strangers had become friends, my novels remained in my suitcase and all too soon my first skiing experience was over.  There will be more, with Solos.

Valery Collins

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