I’ve always been a bit dubious about my friend Mario’s vacation choices – he’s a big fan of gay cruises – so when he suggested a ski trip I was at first a little hesitant. After having learnt to ski on a few family holidays in Australia, since moving to London I hadn’t really got into the swing of regular winter mini-breaks to the ski resorts of Europe. By the time you add on ski hire, lift passes and new thermals, that amazing ‘cheap deal’ always seems to end up as quite an expensive vacation. Mario assured me that this was different – a totally all-inclusive package to one of the top ski resorts in France. He had rounded up a group of nine gays, all of fairly limited skiing ability. Our flight out of Gatwick airport was early. Really early. Mario marshalled us together at the check in desk – all present in body, even if the coffee had yet to kick-start our personalities. After a short flight to Grenoble and a (relatively) painless coach transfer, we arrived at our hotel in Les Deaux Alpes. I am always slightly taken aback by the overwhelming beauty of the French Alps – endless soaring peaks, their snow-covered slopes so dazzling white that it almost hurts to look at them. The organisation of our operator was impressive – hire gear and lessons were quickly sorted and we were soon settling into the bar to work our way through the cocktail menu. This was my first all-inclusive package trip and I hadn’t quite appreciated what that meant, but at dinner on our first night it became clear – all the food and all the alcohol was included – as much as you want! I’m not known for my self-restraint at the best of times, but this was a recipe for disaster.