09 March 2014
Luxury ski holidays
In an ideal world, I'd spend every weekend at my home in Zermatt. I like to ski on Saturdays and Sundays when the slopes are quieter due to changeover day.
In summer I hike up into the mountains at sunset - my chihuahua, Max, comes with me. He has to do ten steps to every two of mine but he is super-sporty and can easily run up to 2,500m. I spend the evening taking photographs of the Matterhorn. Every day it looks different.
I've been skiing since I was four - the same age I started playing violin. My boyfriend, Lionel Catelan, a wine dealer, is a big skier too. He loves Val d'Isère, where he is from, but we both fell in love with Zermatt when we came here on a ski trip in 2005.
I bought a place in Zermatt three years ago. It has been a life-changing move, relocating here from London. Ive decided to make my main priority for the next two years not playing the violin, but training for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Ive been accepted to ski for Thailand - my natural father is Thai - in the Super G and Giant Slalom.
People find it hard to understand how, as a musician, I can risk injuring myself on the slopes, but I've always been a tomboy. As a
child I had Transformers and robots. I enjoyed climbing trees and did horse-riding for a while, until my piano teacher, who was married to my riding teacher, put a stop to it.
I was always jealous of my friends who would break their arms riding or skateboarding! When I finally broke my shoulder in 2009, I hopped up and down with joy but all the doctors could say was 'what about your career?' Even if I'm not going to be chasing a place on the podium in Sochi, I'm going to have to go for it because every second counts.
THE FEAR FACTOR
On the slopes the ski lift attendants often mistake me for a boy racer in my black ski outfit - they think I'm my boyfriend's son! But I admit I'm more fearful now than I was as a kid. I've been told by my trainers to work on becoming more fearless by taking my bike up in the cable car in the summer and riding it down full throttle.
Before I started ski training, I thought my music career was tough: the constant touring and hours of practice. But it's nothing like as hard as being an athlete. In music, raw talent and luck can get you a long way but in sport you
can't cut any corners. Luckily, Zermatt has a glacier so I can carry on training through the summer.
As soon as the regular ski season ends, I'm up at 4am on Saturdays to get the 6am cable car to the snow. This isn't easy, as I'm a night owl.
But if you leave it any later, you miss the best of the conditions on the glacier.
My weekends in the mountains couldn't be more different from my childhood weekends in Singapore. My mother, who is Singaporean, met my second father, who is British, when they were both working as lawyers out there. We moved to Britain when I was four.
My father played the viola and my mother the piano. But it was my teachers who told my nanny that I had a flair. I remember getting confused between the words 'distinction' and 'detention' and telling my mother that my teacher told me if I practised harder, I would get a detention.
It's wonderful to be in charge of my own schedule these days. When I do shows now, they have to fit in with my ski training.
I would love to play a concert at Sochi during the Winter Olympics - but I'd also settle for playing with the Matterhorn as a backdrop.
Congratulations to Dee Smith who won a stay in Chalet Seeberger with Wayne and his team on the 23rd March. Hope you have a fab time!
Great meeting with Vogue magazine today.... Hmmm photo shoot in the snow... Let's see what we can do!
Back from a flying visit to St Anton, it was snowing heavily in resort when I left and there's more to come.
I think we might just launch a holiday give away on Monday.... anyone interested?
Wow a tie for Womens downhill this morning, down to the last 100th of a second!
Award Winners Sunday Times 2003 - 2012
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