I FELT a gust of Arctic wind tickle my lower back, followed by the feeling of a loose trouser working its way down my bottom. As I sped up I realised I was in danger of mooning my handsome ski instructor behind me. I was halfway down a blue run in Val Thorens, France, when the large nappy pin holding my decade-old salopettes together cracked under the strain.
Luckily, I just made it to the bottom of the run before my black M&S pants became visible against the gaping white salopettes.
So you’d think I’d have learned my lesson and bought a new pair of ski trousers for my trip to Les Deux Alpes the following year but no — I just brought along an even bigger safety pin, plus an elasticated belt for extra safety.
As we career towards winter I start thinking about fashion on the slopes. As an occasional (read: rubbish) skier, my alpine wardrobe is limited and largely hails from the sales rack of TK Maxx. My poor old salopettes have had a tough ride over the years, not least thanks to the tartiflette diet I adopt each winter.
With plans to head back to the slopes this season, I’m now in search of a new look — one that will hopefully save the blushes of poor ski instructor Jean-Claude.
But which to go for? Over the years ski fashion has seen some curious trends. While I loved the neon-pink moon boots (both first and second time around), I can’t say the same for the hooded ski cape or the padded ski skirt.
Who hasn’t hankered after an all-in-one ever since Princess Di and Fergie rocked their royal blue and regal red ski suits in their Klosters heyday? Of course, the downside of any one-piece is needing a wee after eight pints of après-ski lager.
I managed to swerve the novelty ski hat trend of the 1990s, when every snowboarder seemed to wear a jester hat or neon Medusa-style beanie. Last year I noted that mirrored goggles and knitted hats with detachable beards were in but they weren’t for me.
Now, finally, leopard print has made it to the slopes. Luxury ski wear label Goldbergh has launched ‘the cougar’, a glorious leopard-print one-piece, complete with a fur hood for a smidge over £700. Alternatively, I could get down with the dope kids and opt for a Willyfinder (you heard correctly), which has released rhubarb-and-custard and red-and-white striped ‘Where’s Willy?’ ski suits.
But while it might be a fun look when I’m downing toffee vodka at the bar, when I’m failing to parallel ski properly in front of a gaggle of teenage snowboarders, I might come to regret anything that makes me stand out. Ski fashion? It’s a leopard-print jungle out there.