What happens when you plan a dream family ski trip, but none of your snow gear fits? Do you even fit into the sport anymore?
It was the week before Christmas, and all through the mall, shoppers were picking up stocking fillers, laughing merrily over champagne lunches, and picking fabulous holiday outfits. Meanwhile, a beautiful princess named Olivia sat sobbing in the cramped fitting room of a fancy outdoor store.
In fact, Olivia wished she could crawl into that mouse-sized hole in the corner of the change room floorboards and far away from the pile of ski pants which the perky, young sales assistant had delivered.
Nothing fit. Some of the ski pants wouldn’t even pull up over her thighs, despite saying ‘plus size’ on the label. The store was overheated and Olivia found herself sweating as she wrestled with the heavily insulated clothing in the tiny space. Just when she thought things couldn’t get any worse, the assistant began to hand her men’s pants under the curtain. They fit over her legs, but gaped uncomfortably at the waist and just looked so… wrong.
Olivia swallowed her tears, not sure whether she was more ashamed of her public display of emotion, or her body which had changed so much after having children. She fled the store feeling as low as she’d ever felt. As she wiped her smudged mascara in the car, she began to wonder whether she even deserved to go on that ski trip with Mark and their kids this Christmas. What would all the skinny, athletic people think when they saw her in seam-popping pants and a jacket that barely zipped up? She would stand out like a sore thumb, and she’d hate it.
Picture Credits : Megan Banker@pdxoutdoorchiro and taken by Marissa Olini
Olivia and Mark had been planning a ski holiday to Colorado for what seemed like forever. They’d first talked about the trip before having kids, but as a young couple with a mortgage, it felt unaffordable. Then the kids came along, and juggling life as new parents with busy jobs was about as much as they could manage. Finally, this year, it felt possible. They had some savings put aside, the kids were old enough to travel and were becoming great little skiers. For once, Olivia and Mark had been able to get time off work at the same time.
It was all coming together like a dream. They’d booked the perfect alpine log cabin, with a hot tub and stone fireplace. Olivia was so excited to introduce their kids to the epic mountains of Colorado, powder snow adventures, and a white Christmas. She could already picture their gap-toothed hot chocolate smiles. This trip just had to work, it had to.
When Olivia first met Mark, she was two sizes smaller and they used to whisk off to the mountains skiing and snowboarding at every chance they could get. Both of them were strong skiers, and for Olivia, nothing beat the feeling of freedom and grace that skiing a steep, technical run gave her. She was good at this sport, but most importantly, it made her feel like Olivia. Not Olivia the mother, not Olivia the lawyer, not Olivia the wife. Just Olivia.
But now, she wasn’t so sure. She’d never been the stereotypical petite outdoorswoman - she had strong thighs from years of sports, along with natural curves. Like all women, her body had changed over time, especially as a new mum with a busy job. Her forgotten memories of squeezing into ski pants which weren’t designed for women with curves came flooding back to her and self-doubt was creeping in. Had she been stupid to even think this was possible?
Later that night, once the kids were in bed, Olivia felt the sting of tears once again as she described her experience to Mark. He took her hand and she could see the concern on his face as she spoke.
“Olivia,” he said quietly, once she was done. “First of all, you are and have always been beautiful. The size on the label of your clothes doesn’t matter. But more importantly, you’ve always been strong and adventurous. I know we can find a solution because I know how much it will mean to the kids to see you in a place where you feel strongest. You set such a good example for them as a brave and independent woman.”
Mark was right. She couldn’t give up now - she didn’t want her beloved kids to see her quit because she didn’t look like a 19-year-old in a marketing photo. What would that teach them?
She took a deep breath. She could do this. All those years of study had made her a master researcher - if she could find a precedent for an obscure element of commercial law, then she could find a pair of ski pants that fit. She fired up her laptop and, to her surprise, almost immediately stumbled on Plus Snow.
She couldn’t believe what she had found! Ski and snowboard clothing exclusively for plus sizes, and even in extended sizes. She clicked through the website and was surprised to find that this website had choices - not just a single token plus-size ski outfit, but many! And colour! And the technical ski gear features like venting, waist tabs, and gaiters that could be so hard to find in plus-sizes, as well as some luxurious ones like removable fur and quality stretch fabrics.
Olivia read through all the detailed product descriptions, delighted to find precise measurements for each product and a Virtual Stylist feature on Plus Snow called ‘Shop Your Shape’. Instead of a bored shop assistant handing men’s pants under the fitting room curtain, a real person would help Olivia with recommendations of size, styles, and shapes that would fit her body. They even had a helpful article and video explaining how to measure plus-size ski clothing. She felt a sense of relief flooding through her - this dream family ski trip was going to happen after all.
Bolstered by the excellent customer reviews, she settled on a pair of pants that she knew would not only fit her shape but would keep her warm and dry on even the coldest Colorado chairlift. And while she was at it, she added a gorgeous technical shell jacket in bold orange and purple to her cart. Damn it, she deserved to look good after waiting so long to ski again. Olivia grinned.
And then, just as she went to check out, her face fell. She realized that Plus Snow ships out of Australia - it would take weeks for her gear to arrive! ‘Do they even have snow in Australia?’ she thought bitterly to herself. Not willing to give up just yet, she clicked through to Plus Snow’s shipping page.
Wait! PlusSnow offers FREE DHL Express Post International Shipping and the estimated shipping time was only one week! Her gorgeous, high-quality and properly fitting ski gear would arrive on time after all! ‘Merry Christmas to me!’ smiled Olivia. And with that little comment, a thought struck her… and she added a ski jacket in a stylish olive green to her cart - a Christmas gift for her handsome supportive husband.
A few weeks later, Olivia breathed in the crisp mountain air as she gazed over the majestic peaks of the Colorado Rockies. She was finally here, and it felt amazing. All the cares of work, bills, and life drifted away, and she felt her shoulders relax, a huge smile spreading across her face. As she went to take her first turn, she felt a little tug on the hem of her new ski jacket. Her daughter Maya was gazing up at her.
“Mummy, how did you learn to ski so well?” she asked.
And this time, Olivia wiped away a tear of happiness with the back of her glove. Because she realized that she had nothing, absolutely nothing, to be ashamed of. She was just as strong as she remembered, and her pride in her capabilities was a gift she could give her daughter that would last a lifetime.