Tag Archives: Alps

Shredding the gnar…

Well, we’re right in the middle of the Winter Olympics, surrounded by slopestylers pretzeling, corking and double japanning. I can’t do any of this stuff,  barely even understand it! But I can appreciate a good downhill skier, and Charles is certainly that. I can only just keep up with him…

Ah, to be 18 again, and have the cojones to go this fast without fearing the consequences. He’s regularly 90/100+ kph, and has no sense of mortality – he’s just shredding the gnar…

Off the corduroy is where he’s at, but not me – I just catch an edge and face plant. Charles? Hits the apex and runs the white room…

I must admit when Charles finally alley-oops, tastes powder, & loses a ski, I do laugh my head off… It’s only natural, and I can see he’s ok. He’s has to climb back up the hill – steep, through the powder mash,… But then within a nano-second he’s back up to ridic-speed….

 

I want to be 18 again and ride for fun! What am I talking about,… I can still do this! Wait until next year and I’ll show you my switch right lip 270 pretzel out of the top rail, 450 on the down rail, butter pad, then cork 450 out, double cork 12, double japan, switch right, double cork 10 safety and finish with a double cork 10 tail. Believe it! Basta!!!

 

(PS – apologies to any true slopestylers out there, I know I have taken the vocab in vain, and don’t really know what I’m talking about…)


Crash bang wallop in Obergurgl, plus laughs…

A week’s skiing is a week of laughs, but also of thuds, crashes, bangs and bruises. Indeed the laughs are usually at the expense of the thuds, crashes etc of one’s companions. And with the group that we go with, there’s plenty of that…

The speedster

Charles – the speedster

Charles (14): snake-hips-carving-speed maniac, does not believe he can crash, even when he does. Impossible to keep up with him. Parental fear twisted to the extreme.

Hannah (11) powers down the mountain, smashes through the moguls (who needs to go round them!?!), likes to scream at the top of her lungs as she schusses, and promptly falls flat on her back when she stops at the bottom of a slope…

Power skier

Power skier

Hannah 'sits down' 1

Hannah ‘sits down’ 1

Hannah 'sits down' 2

Hannah ‘sits down’ 2

Hannah 'sits down' 3

Hannah ‘sits down’ 3

Immy (12) is the only one who skis delicately. She also sings whilst skiing, mostly songs from The Sound Of Music. She brings colour light and of course sound to the slopes.

The hills are alive...

The hills are alive…

Stu (40 something), boarder, deep powder nut & general thrill seeker, also has no fear of crashing. Which is good, because he did, and I got it on camera…

Stu starts well in the deep powder...

Stu starts well in the deep powder…

Oooops, he's lost it...

Oooops, he’s lost it…

The resultant portrait.

The resultant portrait.

But the best of all is Stu’s wife Clem (no age given): beginner boarder, and daughter Mia (5 on the slopes, now 6 – happy birthday!): beginner skier. Their adventure goes like this:

Half way down slope Mia crashes. Clem takes off her board to comfort Mia. Board slides off down hill. Increases speed. Disappears off edge. Mia cries, wants Daddy. Skidoo turns up. Clem tries to explain, in German, what’s happened. Skidoo disappears off after the board. Stu turns up with Felix between his legs (4, can’t ski at all). A marital debate takes place on the side of the slope (@!**^$@). Skidoo returns, miraculously with the board! Mia continues down the mountain now with Daddy. Felix gets a lift on the skidoo! Clem boards down, slowly…

Ah, how we chortled over our Glühwein about that one. All’s well that ends well. And indeed the week did end well with no broken bones, although with many bruises. And some great laughs. Got to love the mountains…

Hannah admires the view

Hannah admires the view

 

 


The trouble with skiing…, part 2

View onto Col de Fresse

The view onto the Col de Fresse

Having had a jolly good moan in part 1 about the amount of gear you need for skiing (scroll down below this blog page and have a look if you haven’t already seen it), there is of course another problem about skiing that I have to mention. And that is, that just occasionally, quite by accident, you fall over. In this respect I feel slightly jealous of the kids. Lower centre of gravity, younger bones, less sense of anxiety, they just bounce back up and carry on. When I fall it’s either embarrassing or it hurts. And I managed to cram in both sensations this week….

Immy takes a well earned rest (fell over...)

The first occasion was the more excruciating. I had just got off the ski lift, gently skied down to the map billboard to discuss with wife, brother- and sister-in-law which route to take; I was coming to a halt, maybe doing all of 1 mph, when I slid into 3 stranger skiers who were also standing by the board. I swear everything then happens in slow-mo: I realise I’m going over, grab onto the woman who’s next to me, which means she’s coming down with me; she clatters into the next person who also topples. Embarrassment supreme as this English nitwit manages to cause carnage whilst moving at a snail’s pace (do snails ski?). I remember I was apologising profusely in French as I went down. She’s replying ‘it’s ok’ but her look says: ‘plonker’. Skis & poles everywhere as we try to get up again…. What’s worse – no help from the rest of the family, who have turned their heads away as they crease up in laughter and don’t want to embarrass the other skiers. The humiliation!

Boarders

My second tumble was not as embarrassing, but was potentially a lot more dangerous. I was piling down the giant slalom course, going as fast as I possibly could, when I lost control. Thump! went my head on the ice floor, off come the skis, and I’m sliding down the steep hill backwards at about 30 mph. I distinctly remember whacking my head (luckily wearing helmet – SO important) and thinking: ‘Ouch! that hurt, I’ve survived but I’m completely out of control, never mind, just go with it, enjoy the backwards arse slide’. By which time I’d come to a stop. Some nice French skier picked up my skis up the hill, brought them to me, enquired if I was ok, and skied off wishing me ‘have a nice day’ (?!?!?) For me, this was a lucky escape…

A tumble

Charles, on the very last moment of the very last ski, manages to fall down whilst taking his skis off. Thank God I’m not the only one…! Also I enjoyed my wife taking out my bro-in-law getting off a ski lift, highly amusing…. And below, the intrepid kids at ski school.

Ski skool!!!

So my last photo from Tignes is a pic of me practising my board jumps. Big squadgy balloon to make sure you don’t hurt yourself. Love it!

YeeeeeHaaaaa!