One of my friends hates Facebook – she calls it ‘Smugbook’. Amazing photos depicting wonderful times can make others feel envious and inadequate. Most of us only post photos that show the best bits; it’s not really representative of what’s happening in our lives. So what really goes on behind the Facebook façade? We went to St Anton, Austria last month, courtesy of Esprit and Travel Counsellors, as part of a large group with four other families. No one would ever know what really happened looking at my personal account. If you want to know what you can you realistically expect on a family snowboard or ski trip then read on:
- Illness: on the first day our daughter, Freya, threw up in the foyer of the hotel. Yes, that’s right – all down the communal stairs before she threw up again, this time down the back wall behind the toilet. I spent the first day of the holiday clearing up vomit and being confined to our bedroom watching ‘Zootropolis.’ Not the best start.
- Injury: I was recovering from injury and taking things easy, but two of the adults in our party had days off. One due to whiplash, and another with a damaged knee.
- Tantrums: some days were worse than others. Freya’s diva behaviour during her first day’s skiing meant I had to seek out her instructor. She was frustrated that she couldn’t blast down the slopes, because terrain in St Anton is steep. Her fear and inability to communicate her worries hidden behind a sulky attitude compounded the situation.
- Tears: these were evident most days from the kids. Whether it was falling out between some of the children, irritation of ill-fitting ski clothing or wanting to go home, tears had to be wiped more times than you might imagine.
- Homesickness: our daughter, understandably, wanted to go home when she was ill. She missed her own bed and our dog. She wanted us to get an early plane back to the UK – I had to explain why that wasn’t possible.
- Arguments: these happened from time to time. On the last day the children didn’t do as they were told and received a big ‘telling off.’ Adults shouted, children cried and onlookers gawped.
- Less time on the slopes: first lift up and last lift down is a fantasy you must consign to pre-kids reality. Don’t expect to maximise the lift pass as you once did. Children don’t always want to ski all day, can be ill or injured, or just want time with their parents. Accept it.
Despite all of the above, there were some good times. St Anton’s surrounding scenery is beautiful, the food (and Apple Strudel in particular) was delicious and chatting with friends over a coffee, beer or Jägermeister was cherished time. We all enjoyed the Wellness Centre with its outdoor heated pool furnished with jets, and I was able to get back on my snowboard for the first time since injury in December. The holiday was rounded off by a visit to the Ski Museum in the Arlberg-Kandahar-House which also featured in the film ‘Chalet Girl.’ And an impromptu session on the balcony meant we had our own version of the infamous Krazy Kanguruh bar.
Not all you see on Facebook is a true reflection of life. Holidays have a mixture of good, bad and indifferent days, and we all strive to have happy, healthy and fun times. With everyone having a smartphone, it’s easy to take photos, and of course none of us will post pictures of misery, arguments and tears. No one wants to look at that. But if you want to retain online friends be mindful of your posts on social media. For those of you stuck at home just remember, for each envy-inducing snowy scene on your newsfeed there will be an alternative reality.
Here’s to your next trip away, and may it be free from vomit, viruses and injury.
Ta ta for now,