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DownOnOneski1Maria Realf got a snowy surprise when her partner Rob Lester popped the question in Obergurgl, Austria. We hear their story
Maria’s story

Though I’d often wondered how my boyfriend of nine years might eventually propose, I had never once envisaged a scenario in which I was wearing a balaclava and thermals. If his intention was to catch me by surprise, it was a cunning plan for two reasons: fi rstly, we were travelling with friends, so I wasn’t expecting any grand romantic gestures; and secondly, I was trying so hard not to ski off piste in challenging weather conditions that I wasn’t paying any attention to his behaviour at all.

After a morning skiing with the group, Rob suggested that we do a run on our own, which perhaps should have given me an inkling that something was coming. But it didn’t. We made our way down the mountain for 30 minutes or so – during which time I crashed off course at least twice – before pausing for a breather at a peaceful, picturesque corner.

“This is beautiful,” I enthused.

“Yes,” said Rob. “It’s the kind of place I imagined asking you to marry me, if only I had a ring.” He reached into his pocket and took a deep breath. “Which I do.” He then made a very eloquent and heartfelt speech, which I only half remember due to the shock, and promptly dropped down on one knee – or should I say one ski?

Having screamed yes, I proceeded to wave down a bemused Austrian skier, who was able to capture the moment for posterity on our camera [see photo].

Flushed with love, and probably the bitter cold, Rob and I made our way down to the bar at the base of the mountain, where we broke the news to our friends and celebrated with champagne. If there’s a better way to spend a day on the slopes, I certainly can’t think of it.

Rob’s story

When you make your girlfriend wait nine years for a proposal, it better be a good one when it fi nally comes. I decided a skiing holiday to the Austrian Alps fi tted the bill, but that was just the beginning. My fi rst challenge was to get the ring through airport security. I put it in my sunglasses case and hoped for the best. No alarms – panic over. Next up, I had to consider when, where and, most importantly, how – a task not helped by Maria’s inability to stay upright for more than two minutes. Having carried the ring around in my pocket for most of the week waiting for the perfect moment, I chose the fi nal bend on the fi nal day of our trip. The sun came out, the view was spectacular and Maria was on two skis – this was my time. The rest, as they say, is history. Let’s hope it’s not all downhill from here!


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