For Parisians, “le ski” is not a sport. It is a destination. Parisians go au ski.
Parisians usually go au ski once a year, for a week. The French Alps is the destination of choice. Pyrenees are a no go for they are not only far but also the preferred spot of people from Southern France. Lack of elegance.
Picking your Alpine resort makes a strong statement about who you are. Proper resort frequentation is imperative to be accepted in adequate circles. Tignes will bring you respect amongst real ski-fans. Courchevel will have you accepted in snob gatherings. Les Ménuires will classify you as struggling.
The primary goal of the annual week au ski is to develop the best facial tan lines. Facial tan lines are a strong yet modest statement that yes, you went skiing and, yes, the weather was splendid, thank you. For that matter, the odds of finding Parisians on the slopes are low compared to those of spotting some sunbathing at the terrasses of the restaurants d’altitude sipping on some vin chaud. First things first. Parisians know how to stick to their primary objectives. Whatever it takes.
Of course, it is necessary for Parisians to complain about these stupid tan lines on their faces when they come back to Paris. For Parisians are real athletes, they will always have a word about the quality of the snow. Which is always either excellente or dégueulasse. Anything in between does not exist.
If one year, the Parisian happens not to be able to make it to “le ski”, it is imperative to justify it to other Parisians. Only two reasons will be tolerated: “I was too busy with work” and “I went au soleil“ (sun, like ski being a destination for Parisians). Not going au ski for a Parisian is like not going to church for a Christian. It jeopardizes your respectability. Le ski is part of your identity as a Parisian. No ski, no Parisianity.
For that reason, it is crucial to come back from le ski with good Parisian stories: you need to be annoyed at meeting so many people you didn’t want to meet on the slopes. You also need to tell that story of how you almost broke your arm when this English woman ran into you (she didn’t know what she was doing). Your most popular story will be how everyone on the train ride back home was looking at you funny because your luggage smelled a bit funky. Parisians will always arrange to bring back some cheese (Beaufort, Tomme de Savoie or Reblochon) or charcurterie from le ski.
Parisians are so bold. You can tell from their stories.
Useful tip: On the slopes, to look Parisian, just wear jeans and a sweater.
Sound like a Parisian: « Ouais, on a eu de la chance, la neige était excellente ».
French sommelier Olivier Magny founded Ô Chateau in 2004. His idea was to share his passion for French wines and to have people from all over the world taste the great wines of France in Paris. And in the years since, Ô Chateau has held over a thousand wine tastings for more than 50,000 visitors to and residents of Paris. Check out their wine tastings, events and tours at www.o-chateau.com.