Wednesday, 21 May 2014

To Ski or Not to Ski...when carrying extra baggage

Every year, G and I go to France for a bit of frolicking in the snow. So of course we found out that I was pregnant the day after booking a week in the Alps.

I had absolutely no intention of sitting this one out, but I was prepared to do some research to see whether the evidence against boarding/skiing in your first trimester was convincing enough.

Needless to say it wasn’t. 

Waking up to this view, the mountain calls!
There were two schools of thoughts. The first, which consisted of mostly mummy discussion boards, strongly advised against skiing and/or snowboarding while pregnant, even if only in your first trimester and not yet showing (i.e. no bump). The risks of falling and bumping yourself are just way too high and goodness knows what could happen.

The other school of thought was that of pregnancy care sites and other, more official sounding places. Here, the general consensus was that if you’re an experienced skier/boarder and not yet showing, you’d be perfectly safe to go up the mountain during your first trimester, provided you feel well enough. Most women don’t have a bump yet at that stage in pregnancy (I didn’t) and the baby is still extremely well cushioned.

Well-cushioned and well-fed. We had to lunch somewhere!
So that’s the advice I followed.

I was very aware that I wasn’t boarding for one but two people. Also, the fatigue that plagued me throughout the first trimester meant that we only managed about four hours a day up the mountain before I had to call it quits. When it hit me, it wasn’t just a case of, ‘Ugh, I’m feeling a bit tired’, but more a case of ‘If I don’t lie down right this second I’m gonna pass out and fall out of this chair lift!’ So yeah, I took it easy.

After day two of boarding, the slopes got a bit icy and I was doing a lot more slip’n sliding and tumbling on my board. So I decided to try to get back on skis, knowing that I’d do much less falling. (See, very responsible of me!)

Back on two boards for a change.
In the end, I ended up skiing for three days and boarding for three days, which was perfect. My skiing, which I hadn’t really done since I was 14, really improved and by the end of the trip I was getting down most slopes, albeit slowly and gently, but filled with excitement that we’d taken our future Olympian on his/her first of many family ski trips yet to come.

A bit later, after friends and family found out that I had a baby on board, some were mortified that I had taken such a huge risk ‘just for a bit of fun’ (read: selfish?!).

I do appreciate that for some women this kind of activity would’ve been a no-no and I wouldn’t judge them for sitting out a ski trip.

For me personally, the misery that going out to the Alps for a whole week and not going up the mountain would have caused far outweighed the worry about doing it. I know the benefits that being in the mountains and on one or two boards has for both my mental and physical well-being and so that’s what I chose to focus on during that week.

Keep in mind that I’m a pretty experienced snowboarder (I didn’t say good!) and that I was boarding/skiing pretty conservatively (no hitting the halfpipe and backflips this time ‘round – yeah right!).  
My absolute favorite spot on the mountain!

The moral of the story: at the end of the day, you have to do your own research, see what you do and don’t feel comfortable with and weigh up how important something is for you – no one knows your body and what it’s capable of better than you. I’m not trying to prove what a badass I am but am simply explaining the reasons that informed my decision. That is not to say that you should follow suit. Like I mentioned before, no two pregnancies are the same, so only you can really know what’s right and wrong to do for you.

In my case, I can go without running for the next five months, I am happy to do modified CrossFit WoDs and I realize that I probably won’t be able to ride my bike until the bitter end (mostly for reasons of balance, I’ve been told).

Having gone for my week in the Alps, however, is something I don’t regret.

Did you make it out into the mountains over winter? Where did you go and how was it?

Skiing or snowboarding? Go!


  1. Good job mama! see, mama instincts are already working :)

    1. Haha, glad you approve! ;) Just not worth being an idiot for...

  2. Snowboarding all the way!

    I think you made a very educated and considered decision here - that was right for YOU - and you had an awesome time. Good on you, being pregnant doesn't mean you have to wrap yourself in cotton wool and stay housebound!

    1. Thank you! My thoughts precisely. I'm preggers, not dying... ;)

  3. You say you won't be able to ride your bike... but my aunt is an extremely keen cyclist and last summer was cycling right up to the last month of her pregnancy! (She didn't cycle up hills though) It's all about what's right for you :)

    1. Awesome! This gives me hope. I think I'll definitely be dialing down the intensity soon but will hopefully be able to carry on for ages yet. :)

  4. Love that you still boarded and then switched to skiing! I (as someone who hasn't has kids!) think it's sound advice. If you are comfortable doing it and capable, and your baby is still completely protected, why not enjoy!

    1. Thanks. Yeah, I was being careful but I didn't see a reason not to head out. Obviously, had I had a proper bump, I wouldn't have done it. It's all about common sense.


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