Ski-blog 2003

part 3


The next morning dawned to bright sunshine though I’d not slept particularly well, I’m not good in strange beds and I confess I was a touch nervous at the thought of strapping those planks to my feet again. I found my way to the loo to behold this view (above), DeeJay claims it’s the best loo view in the world.  I’d hate to be that contentious, but I have to say this is definitely a view and a half and it certainly helped fire my enthusiasm for the day. DeeJay was back from the Boulangerie with fresh croissants and bread by the time I’d showered and shaved and despite a leisurely chat over the bread products and coffee it was still only a short while before we had picked up some hire-skis and boots for me and were standing on a snowy, but very gradual, slope ready for me to see just how far I could go.

In the drive from DeeJay’s house to Ardent he had asked how much I remembered of my technique, “You remember you put the weight on the opposite ski to the direction you wish to go?” he said.

Well, actually, no, I hadn’t thought that deeply about it. I was hoping it would sort of just come back to me. The slope here was too slight to test out anything anyway. I reached the bottom and stopped with only a slight turn to the side. So, up in the gondola we went. Up through the forest and over some very steep looking slopes. Which were apparently only Blues (one above nursery slopes for those not in the know).
The view from the top of Avoriaz and the mountains beyond was nearly enough on it’s own to make it all worth it. I really had forgotten how beautiful it was up in the snowy reaches. The photos herein reproduced do not do it justice. Get on a plane, go there. And see it for yourself. Now.

Back already?

Good wasn’t it?

Well, back to the story then.

I skied.

With extreme trepidation for the first hour or so, but I wasn’t thinking about how I was doing it. I was just doing it. Which was what I wanted. DeeJay was being extremely patient, able to ski much harder and faster than this and I was stopping every few hundred metres with my bionics protesting loudly. DeeJay was using his expert knowledge of the mountains to take us up and down the slopes never the same slope twice, through a thousand (poetic licence) winding woodland tracks and a hundred ski-lifts…. Ski-lift passes have changed somewhat in the decade since I last skied. They used to be cards one wore round one’s neck on a bit of elastic. They were inserted into a slot and then pinged back out, twanging straight into your windpipe. Though I believe this form of pass are still available we were equipped with the new intelligent passes that could be read without taking them out of your pocket. You just had to wave the relevant pocket in the general direction of the ski-lift and not only would the turn-style open but also you’d receive a full commentary (in your mother tongue) on your last descent. This is what I call progress!

And then DeeJay suggested we stop for a hot chocolate. Which was just perfect. You haven’t tasted hot chocolate until you’ve had it after your first mornings skiing in 10 years. Out came the digicam and several more attempts to capture the breathtaking beauty of this glorious sunny day.
This was followed, you’ll be surprised to learn, by some more skiing.
Then a very nice late lunch on the Swiss border (still no elves though). My legs were beginning to feel like lead’n’jelly so we finished with a gentle descent back to the car. I didn’t realise how hot I was until I removed my ski boots and steam came billowing forth. And we thought that only happened in cartoons.
We stopped in at the local supermarket on the way back for a few staples. My game continues…

......can you tell it’s not an English supermarket?

I’m not sure, but I do know that you don’t get this view from the car park of my local Sainsbury’s back home.

Supper was a very pleasant Spaghetti a la Putanesca, also know as, I believe, Tart’s spaghetti. I’ve even seen it labelled as Tarte Spaghetti in an attempt to remove the supposedly risqué connotations of it’s real name. Whatever, it tasted a treat and replenished my reserves enough to enable me to beat DeeJay 2:1 at Jenga. And I don’t think I’ve ever played Jenga competitively before. Though surely it’s family law that says the older brother has to win at board games. It certainly did when we were kids (though I used to be a terrible, I mean, very accomplished, cheat).
And that was it for day one.

We just zonked out.



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