Lying prone on the floor, knees up near my chin, neck twisted to one side and feeling a touch self-conscious, I was beginning to have doubts about this skiing trip.
But the painful predicament I found myself in was not the result of a spectacular high-speed tumble on the slopes, it was in a nice warm room – on a yoga mat.
Skiing and yoga don’t sound like natural bedfellows, but after a couple of full-on days using muscles you didn’t know you had to twist and turn down the pistes, this mix of stretching and meditation is actually quite beneficial.
We were at Altiform yoga centre in the French alps winter resort of Avoriaz (pronounced Avroiaa, if you want to impress the locals). The place also offers massage and Qi Gong relaxation therapy.
Our session came after two days of learning to ski at this charming little town nestled on the top of a mountain at 1.800 metres.
Putting a group of people together who have never skied before was always going to have the potential for comedy, or painful, moments.
And we didn’t disappoint, with us sliding every which way but the right one, crashing into the back of each other and a very dramatic display by one colleague on how to use your bum as a sledge at high speed.
But under the guidance of our patient instructors from Ecole de Ski Francaise, Julien Tissot and Marine Garnier, we quickly got the hang of it and soon moved from the nursery slopes to green and blue ones (deliberately I might add).
Avoriaz is a ski-in ski-out resort, meaning you can begin your trips from outside your apartment and even ski right into the high street where all the bars, restaurants and shops are.
There are ski lifts in the heart of the town to take you to the higher slopes. It cuts out the need for transfer buses or long walks to the runs, saving precious skiing time.
If you fancy stopping off for a drink and a nibble while out on the slopes, try Seraussaix Farm. This place is a welcoming cafe/bar serving cheese made on the premises and sliced sausage with wine or hot drinks.
After a morning’s skiing, we had worked up a fair appetite and headed of for lunch at Les Cretes de Zorre, an alpine restaurant with spectacular views across the valley towards the lovely town of Morzine below.
This is a busy place but an efficient service meant we didn’t have to wait long for our food and were soon on our way for more fun on the snow.
A day of skiing, especially for novices, can leave you aching all over.
But a great way of soothing those sore muscles is to visit Aquariaz, a tropical-themed water complex with a lazy river pool, swimming area, outdoor bubble bath, U-shaped water slide and even a climbing wall.
It’s located slap bang in the middle of town and it’s a great place to take the kids to keep them entertained before they crash out for the night.
Talking of children, Avoriaz is a fantastic place for infant ski schools, with a range of lessons for the tots.
You can leave them in the care of professional instructors for the day while heading off to the slopes yourself. There is also daycare centre in the town catering for youngsters from six months to five years.
Of course no trip to the slopes would be complete without apres ski – that crazy time where everyone lets their hair down between the end of the day’s exertions and nightfall. It consists mostly of intense boozing and dancing on tables.
Our slide on the wild side came at La Folie Douce, a great place to watch the sun, and beer, go down while strutting your stuff to a live band or DJs If that’s your thing.
As far as eating is concerned, there is a decent selection of cafes and restaurants in Avoriaz.
We had our first dinner at Le Cabane, a stylish but cosy spot in the middle of town serving traditional food and with live music.
Next night we ate at Le Refuge, another lovely and very central restaurant.
Our final destination for dinner involved a bit of effort when we had to walk on snowshoes through the forest to L’Igloo Village. But the hike was fun and offered great views of the town at night.
The reward for our energy-expounding climb was dinner in an actual igloo, which was an experience in itself. If you fancy feeling like a bit of a polar explorer, you can even sleep here in snow-built bedrooms.
Our accommodation was a little more conventional. We stayed in the self-catering Electra Apartments with Pierre & Vacances. This is at the top end of the town with great views and a bit of a slope for you to start and end your skiing on right outside the front door.
The smart apartment I stayed in can sleep up to five, with a small kitchen and dining area.
We went to Avoriaz with ski holiday specialists Inghams, who also offer summer vacations and tours in a wide range of countries.
To get here we flew with easyJet to Geneva and were taken direct to the resort by Show Patrol transfers in about.
No vehicles are allowed in the centre of Avoriaz so you have to either walk or take a horse-drawn sled, which really does add to the charm of the place.
You can hire all your ski equipment in the town from Skiset shops.
But if you want to buy your own before you go, especially boots, try Ellis Brigham.
The store has a special boot-fitting service to tailor-make and personalise footwear. It also has a range of ski clothing and equipment and you can watch a virtual reality hili-ski trip while you wait, to help whet the appetite for your forthcoming trip.
A good pair of goggles or shades is essential to prevent snow blindness when out on the slopes, especially when the sun is very strong.
We were lucky enough to be able to try out Sun God goggles. The firm will customise your pair depending on what sort of conditions you are likely to be using them in. And you can change the screens.
From slopes to yoga, skiing in Avroiaz will really stretch your fun.
Want to book the holiday?
Inghams is offering a seven-night ski holiday on a self-catering basis at the 4-star P&V Electra Apartments, Avoriaz, France, from £439 per person based on five sharing a two-bed apartment. Price includes return flights from Gatwick to Geneva and airport transfers. To book, visit inghams.co.uk/ski-holidays or call 01483 938 047.
Ski passes: A six-day Portes du Soleil ski pass which allows access to the region’s 600km of slopes is priced at €285 per adult / €214 per child. Find out more on the Portes du Soleil website.
Ski lessons: Visit ski-school-avoriaz.co.uk for more information, or visit the Avoriaz tourist board website.
Ski gear: For boots and equipment see ellis-brigham.com, but if it's goggles you're after then visit sungod.co.
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